Corinne had to work in Napier on Saturday morning, so we decided that was a good excuse for a ride and a tiki tour back. The plan was to meet her outside Napier Boys High around lunch time, head around the East Coast to Hicks Bay Motel and Lodge for the night and then do some more tiki touring home.

It started off well enough, with a great ride, in brilliant weather, via Horahora Rd, the full length of Old Taupo Rd (hadn’t done the end bit past the Kinleith Paper Mill before) and then Tirohanga Rd and Poihipi Rd into Taupo. Tirohanga Rd was another new road for me with lots of gentle curves and a good surface.

I had breakfast in Taupo and set off down the Taupo-Napier road (SH 5) which is always good value. I met Corinne outside Napier Boys High, after a few missed turns in Napier and we headed off to Wairoa after gassing up at the Bayview BP. The Napier to Wairoa road is one of my favourites and I was enjoying having to work the 250 to keep momentum up, compared to the practically unlimited grunt I’ve had on tap in the past with the ZX-10R and ZX-12R.

The fun began in Wairoa, when I happened to look at the ignition and wondered where the keys were. Years ago, like a dummy, I’d parked the bike in Auckland, immobilised it with a grip lock and left the keys in. Some loser stole the keys, but the grip lock stopped them from stealing the bike. I put a second hand ignition in to make sure they couldn’t steal it. I’d done tens of thousands of kms since.

Next, the dance with the AA began. Corinne and I have AA Plus and I highly recommend it as “Plus” gets your bike transported wherever you want, not just the closest local storage. I could also have had a rental car. The trouble was that there isn’t much in Wairoa, so I needed to get to Napier.

The people in Wairoa were amazing. The ladies in the Hammer Hardware that we’d stopped outside, kept asking if there was anything that they could do and gave us key blanks on the off chance that we could fluke something with the lock. The AA contractor (Barry from Wairoa Autobodies) turned up not long after to transport the bike, but quickly came up with a solution.

He knew an automotive locksmith in Napier and one quick phone call later to check that he could do the job, we had organised transporting the bike into him on Sunday. With nothing else that we could do, I pillioned on the back of Corinne’s Street Triple and we went to Mahia for the night.

Neither of us had been to Mahia before and we really enjoyed it. We had a cabin at the campground and went to the pub for dinner. The food was great, the prices were very reasonable and we had fun yakking to the staff.

We’d organised to meet Barry in Wairoa at 8am so that I could catch a lift with him in the truck instead of pillioning back to Napier with Corinne. Clive from Johnston Locksmiths was a legend. 20 minutes after getting there he had the ignition and petrol cap locks out, created the new keys (+ spare copies), put the locks back in and I was good to go. I was also pleasantly surprised by the cost given that he’d come into work on a Sunday.

Barry and Clive were brilliant to deal with and couldn’t do enough to help. If you ever need automotive services in the area I can’t recommend them enough. Corinne and I had breakfast in Napier and high-tailed it home. The riding was excellent (too good to stop for photos), but I could have done without the stress.

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