Mind you, it didn't get off to a good start with them landing in torrential rain which continued through to this morning. The irony is that we haven't had any appreciable rain since Christmas and were verging on a serious drought - thought that we must have displeased the motorcycling gods in some way! A scan of road conditions in the province showed local surface flooding but looking at rain radar on the Metservice website showed a clearance from the north so it was all on!
Steve and co were keen to ride the famous Coromandel Loop en route to their overnight stop in Rotorua and it would have been rude not to escort them up the west coast section of the Loop and give them lunch, wouldn't it? So, in drying conditions and temperatures in the mid 20's C, it was off to Thames to meet the guys, all arriving within minutes of each other.
Steve, leading the lads to the meeting spot
Two Yamaha Tracers, a Tiger 800 and a Street Triple, all decked out with touring luggage pulled in and it was a case of instantly getting on with each other. Quick introductions, a bit of banter and then it was an absolute privilege to show them the 55 km of highly technical twisties up to Coromandel village (population 1600 on a good day!)
Manaia Hill lookout, about 15 km south of Coromandel
Arty-farty shot at the Manaia Hill lookout
After a nice brisk ride through the hills, it was round to the Coromandel wharf for an obligatory photo op.
Coromandel wharf with the Coromandel mountain range in the background
It's only about 800 metres to our house from the wharf and it was round home for a bit of rehydration and to blunt an appetite honed by a morning's riding.
Filling up for the afternoon sprint to Rotorua
Geoff, Stuart, Rick and Steve getting ready to depart
What a great privilege it was to meet and ride with Steve, Geoff, Rick and Stuart, whose past adventures I've enjoyed following for some years on Steve's blog - makes all the difference in the world to have actually met them now. It's sad however that we were only able to spend a couple of hours or so in each other's company. Might have to remedy that at a later date! Travel safely guys, watch those hangovers, have a fantastic tour and look forward to seeing a full account of your tour when you get back to Australia!