FRE #58 – CJA – Day 5

With my ride plan worked out on a napkin the night before and an excellent nights sleep under my belt, a cuppa tea and muesli bar for a starter and all Dudley all headed up we headed on into a beautiful start to the morning.

Up the Yanga Way toward Balranald and the sun is just rising, it’s so peaceful and haven’t seen any wildlife. There is nobody else about at the moment but I’m sure as the day goes on that will change.

Sunrise on Yanga Way
Yanga Way

Turn right at the Sturt Hway intersection at Balranald and head east along the Hay Plain to South Hay Caltex for breakfast – which wasn’t that flash when I was really looking forward to it.

Now on the way over a coupla days ago, I wasn’t able to stop in on Hell’s Gate and see how cousin Shiela and Reg Sprinklersystem are doing but this morning, the weather conditions were much more favourable and I was able to stop for a bit. The property fencing has had an upgrade and is looking nice a new.

Home to Cousin Shiela & Reg Sprinklersystem

We headed north through Goolgowi then into Weethalle to see the Silo Art. Saw the red dirt and thought “oh no, not more” but it was reasonably well packed and there is ample parking, although the flies were really bad and they can keep them.

The Silo Art is one again amazing and the photos really don’t do them justice. The level of detail the artists go to to capture the essence of their subject is astounding.

Weethalle Silo Art

Do yourself a favour, map out some Silo or Water Tank Art and take a weekend to go and visit some. Spend a night in the caravan park, pub or motel and spend a coin or to in these regional areas….they could really use the support.

It’s just after 11am, so it’s through Grenfell (which I have just discovered also has their own additional to the Silo Art that I will have to come back to see) before rolling into West Wyalong for fuel and lunch.

I’ve never been here before. Past a couple just out of town heading home from the GTR meeting in Orange…Daisy & Reg, I’d recognize the 7ft Red Head anywhere 😁. There have been quite a few riders out and about this morning but not surprising given the beautiful weather conditions today.

Into Cowra and it’s getting getting warm and Dudley and I are felling good. A little nervous about his tyres, so I find the local bike ship and pull into the car park to check out the situation (at least if required, I am in the right spot and can then find some acco for the night). However not required as tyres are holding up well so, it back out on the road heading for Bathurst.

Through the not so sleepy town today of Blayney and then the run into Bathurst…all very non-eventful. Mid afternoon about 3:30pm arrive, fuel Dudley up and grab a snack and cold water for the camelbak, find a park, facilities and take a short break. RIng Sweety and let him know “I am feeling good, so am comin’ home”. With my Cherry Ripe safely stowed in my tummy and the spurring on of the run home Dudley and I are raring to go.

There really are some numpty heads on the road but we don’t let them dampen our spirits as we head into Lithgow and make the run down the hill. Being a Monday the traffic on Bells Line of Road is as congested as it is on the weekends but there is still the odd cage driver that believes they require all the lanes of the road and I’m sure they figure cos I don’t take up all my lane…well I don’t require it.

North Richmond and on I hit the people heading home from their days work. Finally onto the M7 / M2 and it’s the usual run home from there.

Into the driveway at home just before 6:00pm and couldn’t wait to see Sweety. Total for the 5 days riding 3213km. Dudley is very grubby and in need of a well earned bubble bath and for that matter so am I.

Another adventure completed and a great time was had. Dudley booked for his new shoes and really enjoyed his bubble bath 🙂

FRE #58 – CJA – Day 4

Being mindful of fuel consumption as the winds are still hanging around but not as ferocious as they were I reworked my plan last night. No hurry today just a leisurely dawdle to Tooleybuc.

Hardly anyone on the roads makes for a peaceful ride this morning and we roll into Wellington to catch the ferry across the Mighty Murray River to get to Tailem Bend.

The Mighty Murray

While on the ferry my GPS decided to go on the fritz so some unknown reason. Stopped in Tailem Bend and pulled the GPS apart cleaned out a bucket full of red dust (surprise, surprise) and now it seemed to be all ok again 🙂

Along the Mallee Hway and there’s a lot of dry fields and then lush greens at other points….the dry are very hard colours and you have to feel for the farmers.

Mallee Highway

The more you travel, the more you notice the disappearance of the little country town. What was once a small general store is now a boarded shop front or an old bowser that has rusted away and stands solemnly on the site of a petrol station of yesteryear. With the temperature starting to climb up and it’s into Pinnaroo OTR Roadhouse for lunch as nothing in town is open. They have done some major renovations since I last visited…it’s all shiny and new.

Once again another state is welcoming Dudley & I to them…thanks Victoria.

Welcome to Victoria

It’s a pretty straight run along the Mallee and the scenery hasn’t changed much nor has the spotting of the country town. Through a deserted Manangatang and further down the road into Piangil.

Piangil General Store is the last stop for fuel and an icecream before the final grueling 5km to Tooleybuc 🤣🤣. Today’s ride has been the easiest so far. Dudley’s doing GREAT as you’d expect, he’ll need new shoes when I get home though.

Just before 3:30pm we roll into the driveway of the Tooleybuc Motel (best place to stay in town IMO). I’ve stayed here before and knew exactly what to expect….a big comfy room, with comfy bed, a beautiful verandah out front, under cover parking for Dudley and very friendly staff.

Dudley says his feet are sore so he’s on his stand for a rest under his verandah.

Don’t worry Dudley, you’ll be getting new shoes when we get home.

Apparently the pub next door doesn’t do meals on Sundays but I met some lovely older ladies and we walked part of the way to the Tooleybuc Sports Club at the other end of town. Tell you what, don’t bother with the pub…..the clubs meals are awesome and fabulous value for money. Had the best chicken with cashew nut and rice I’ve ever had accompanied by a Great Northern…..and….the walk there and back didn’t do me any harm either.

Tooleybuc Bridge over the Murray River

The long ride is starting to takes it’s toll on the wrist so it’s plenty of TLC for it tonight – wheat bag and stretches, hot shower and kick back and plan the ride home.

Spoke to Karl like I do every night and decided that pending how I was feeling tomorrow and how Dudley’s tyres were holding up, may push all the way home or might pull up at either Cowra or Bathurst (both of these places provided opportunity for tyres and bed if need be).

FRE #58 – CJA – Day 3

Today I get to have lunch with a bunch of my crazy friends who “get” why I/we do this. Cape Jervis Tavern is the destination another new location for me.

The start of a new dry day and I was on the road earlier than the plan…just cos I woke up and there’s no use just hanging around. It’s so quiet and still, a little cool but compared to the last couple of days, pleasant.

Road between Berri & Loxton SA.

I haven’t travelled this road before B55 – Karoonda Hway and the last time I travelled in SA I hit a roo heading to Morgan so was very alert this morning. Didn’t have need for concern though as the only wildlife I saw was a cute little bunny…awww, not even another vehicle until I reached Karoonda.

Painted Silo’s & Water Towers are popping up all over the place and it’s hard to miss the beautiful art on the silo’s in Karoonda.

Karoonda Silo Art
Karoonda Silo Art

Into Murray Bridge for fuel and Hahndorf for coffee to warm up a bit. Was still bl@@dy windy and had a little bite to it. The heated suit has well and truly paid for itself over and over.

Hahndorf – beating rush hour

From Hahndorf it’s a lovely run south bound, the sky opens up with blue and the fields are green and luscious. Echunga, Meadows, Willunga HIll, Myaponga, Yankalillia and then the meander down and round the mountain to Delaware. The scenery is beautiful and lush such a contrast to the drought conditions being experienced elsewhere in the country. From Delaware, it’e like sitting on top of the world looking down on the creations that form the Penninsula. At the top of the mountain before you transend into Cape Jervis, I pulled over to get this pic.

I hadn’t seen another FarRider for the entire trip so far but that changed just as I pulled out and was overtaken by a my fellow crazies on a mission 🙂 – they were obviously hungry.

Into Cape Jervis, check-in, group photo, lunch and FarRide #58 is done and dusted. Quite a few new riders were also welcomed. If you are ever down that way drop in and say hi to Phil (tavern owner) and get a meal or grab a coffee, these little towns need the support. After our bellies were full we all dissipated to wherever we were bound for the rest of the day. I took the opportunity (being the last to leave) to check out the lookout at the end of the peninsula and see a distant Kangaroo Island.

Cape Jervis Lookout
The ferry which takes you to Kangaroo Island…off in the distance.

For Dudley & I, it was a nice leisurely meander along the coastline through Victor Harbour, Goolwa are such pretty coastal towns

Victor Harbour
Victor Harbour

Then it was up to Strathalbyn for fuel before heading south again to prop in Milang for the night.

Milang is a fishing village on Lake Alexandrina which like lots of little towns has lots of history. The local community new letter was a wonderful read over dinner. Your options for dinner are limited to the take away shop or the Milang Pier Hotel were the staff are super friendly and take the opportunity to make sure you are welcomed.

Accommodation is also limited to the Motel or the Caravan Park. I stopped at the Motel and it’s tidy, the staff are welcoming and do welcome you and make sure you are comfortable. However, while I’m not paying big bucks for the room you do expect it to be totally cleared from the prior occupant. Had an early night to be nice an fresh for the next adventure tomorrow.

FRE #58 – CJA – Day 2

Today was all business, that is after a sleep in, a leisurely ride into Narrandera to kill some time before getting a start docket.

Well who thought that Narrandera had painted water towers sitting on top of the town…..amazing!

Narrandera Water Tower
Otherside Narrandera Water Tower

Off to find the café of the locals to get coffee. Chatted with the ladies at Robinsons Department Store and got the best place to plonk for a bit.  Parked Dudley up opposite the adventure park and took a little walk of town. Located in the Memorial Gardens you’ll find the Royal Doulton Memorial Fountain. There are only two of this type of fountain in the world, the other one is in Pakistan.

Royal Doulton Fountain

With my trusty start docket in hand Dudley & I get down to the business end of the day of cranking out kilometres. By the plan I was going to be 50km short so did a bit of a double back to Grong Grong before heading west “go west” oh no now that song is going to be stuck in my head…..LOL 🙂

I can’t deny it is another windy day and as it turns out was a battle of forces to stay vertical and this played havoc on the ole fuel consumption. Dudley is never this thirsty which required some on the fly re-calculating to ensure we were NOT going to run out of fuel. Filled in South Hay which if the windy didn’t die down would have us safely in Buronga for the next stop.

Well the wind didn’t die down, it only got worse. 40kph winds from Hay across the plain meant no stopping in at Hells Gate to see cousin Shiela & Reg – there was no way I was chancing the tip over that was bound to happen if I put my feet down. The BOM had said there was a dust storm settling in and “oh boy” they actually got it right. You could watch the mood of the day change and from Balranald it was game on with Mother Nature.

I had to pull off the road at a rest area just to give the hand a break, it was really hard work and not something I had anticipated. You could see the dust billowing across the skyline making everything look murky. The pic really doesn’t depict how thick and red the storm was.

Dust storm

Buronga IGA Express for fuel couldn’t come soon enough, I need to get off and have a bit of a break. People were looking at me strange at the time I really didn’t have any idea why and just got about my business. I was thinking should I pull the pin??? I was getting tired, well the left wrist was starting to get stiff, Dudley looked like nobody loved him and well me, I’m just getting old but it’s only another 2hrs ~166km, let’s just see how we go.

I’ve never ridden in a dust storm before and it truly is a mess with your head thing. The visibility was atrocious, was down to 70kph at some points as you couldn’t see where the road edges were or whether you were on your side of the road. The red dust would just coat the road and move in waves across it giving your the optical illusion of the road actually moving beneath you. The concentration was intense and will the stay upright against the forces was physically exhausting.

Yamba Quarantine station and the inspectors wanted to go through Dudley – all good and of course had to get “that” pic and right on Sunset.

Not far down the road you are welcomed by South Australia to their lovely state and as much as the wind and dust had been blowing for the best part of the last 4hrs, it just stopped after the sign. Just like someone flicked the damn switch off.

Welcome to South Australia

Dudley & I were very happy to make it to Berri (our stop for the night). Check in for the Motel is at the Big River Tavern (just round the corner) and they have a “dress code’ sign right at the door. It was only then that I took a look at myself and thought “oh dear, I don’t comply” but the lady behind the desk said “don’t worry love, I know where you have come from so just come on in”, Thank you!!! Checked in and headed into the tavern for a big feed after a hard day. Then off to get fuel ready for the morning and find my room and collapse for the night.

Poor Dudley is putrid

As much dust that was on Dudley’s screen (both sides) was on my glasses, it’s a wonder I could see at all.

Adventure to Cape Jervis – Day 1

A few days off work and what should one do, well naturally go on a ride to get some sanity back. FR#58 Cape Jervis is the perfect destination to clear some space in my bumble brain.

Starting just like any other day, up at the same time but in exciting gear, riding gear…woo hoo. Hugs with Karl before I head out the door for 6 days travelling around the countryside doing what I enjoy.

Stopped in Kelso for a hot chocky and to put my heated suit on, has turned out to be a bit cooler than I thought and a very yukky looking sky is waiting for me.

McDonalds Kelso

No lap of the mountain today just out the back way and onto the Mid Western Hway. How windy is it…extremely!!! Through Blayney and get stuck behind a couple of trucks, stuck behind them for ages as it’s too windy to chance the overtake with the trailers swaying like a damn hula skirt. Eventually past and stop into Cowra for lunch.

Was in Cowra in August for the WRWR and made a note to try the Coffee House when I was next in the area. Fuel first and then a toasty for lunch and got to have pats with this beautifully well behaved doggy..even got a kiss…YES! I needed to get something in town but alas there was no parking and get it later. Have I mentioned how windy it is, the road white side posts are bending at mothers natures ferocity. Dudley and I are hanging on with white knuckles while riding at an angle.  

Coffee House Cowra

It’s so dry out here, it’s depressing seeing empty dams. A farmer had moved his stock out on to the highway to feed on the verges, so slow going but he did give me a wave for not zooming through his herd.

There are a few greens field but most are brown or have the start of a wheat crop sprouting in them. I was so nervous about stopping for this pic as the windy was almost blowing us over.

Fuel consumption wasn’t great due to the wind so I did a splash and dash at Beckom. Back out and headed straight for Grong Grong….this wind is testing my fitness or should I say lack of it. The trip into Narrandera scarped for this afternoon and I just want to get off and out of this hideous wind.

Grong Grong Motor Inn, if you are looking for a very reasonably priced room for a night then this is the place for you. The room is basic, has everything you need and very clean….I even have brand new linen on the bed…noice! Hoping for a good nights sleep ready for a decent day which I have a feeling is going to include a bucket full of Mother Natures obstacles.

Grong Grong Motor Inn
Tucked up out of the elements for the night.

WRWR 2019 – Women Riders World Relay

WRWR day has arrived and I’m off to Wagga Wagga to meet up for the next leg. It’s of course raining when I leave home and continues on and off all the way to Binalong. Quick stop for fuel at Pheasants Nest and then into Yass for coffee and a snack. Stopped at the usual Dolcetta Café, but the coffee wasn’t great this time. There is a new artsy fartsy looking café on the left before you get into town might try that next time. Its pretty chilly got down to 5 degrees….thankfully I have my heated suit 😊

Cafe Dolcetto

Off the highway and head through Binalong, Harden and Cootamundra before stopping in Junee at the Licorice and Chocolate Factory for lunch. Morrocan beef bruschetta for lunch and a ginger beer. Wasn’t bad sitting outside soaking up the suns rays, lovely setting. Would love to come back when all trees are in leaf and bloom.

Sitting back reflecting on the day so far and realise, todays travels is the day of twin nomads. Matching setups times 2 everywhere. But even more so is that feeling of being “out”, two wheels beneath me and Mother Nature’s elements all around me and just the sheer pleasure of “no stress”. Until you can’t do these things do you realise how important the simple things like getting “out” are to your well being….and naturally a fabulous Sweety!

Wagga is just down the road now and just after 2pm I roll into The Club Motel (digs for tonight). In the heart of town and walking distance to what you need.

Went for a little walk about town this arvo and spotted one of the locals walking her dog.

Not long after Kate and a whole bunch of new friends arrive at the Motel. We all head down to the Bolton Park and wait for the Lilydale-Wagga leg of the WRWR roll in. Such an array of bikes and riders, all united for this occasion. The passing of the Baton and thanks are shared to everyone for experiencing an extraordinary event.

Off to the Victoria Hotel for dinner with our adopted daughter Tash. She rode on her own from Canberra to Wagga first trip solo and got a puncture. In true riders style the 5 of us all had a hand in fixing this for her 🙂 you can never have to may mums on a ride.

Saturday up early and we head off to the Botanic Gardens our start point for todays ride. I got to meet the French Ride Ambassador who was participating in the entire Australian leg of the WRWR. She had lost a bolt on the exhaust guard of the Royal Enfield Himalayan she was riding and guess what….yep, out came my trusty bag of tools and had just the right bolt to do the job. No more rattle or headache for Joanna. The atmosphere is electric and even the local constabulary got in on the action providing an escort to the Junee turn off.

Our little band of 6 were quite happy cruising toward the front of the pack along the roads I’d travelled yesterday.

Beautiful morning riding in the sun and before long we arrive at the Wallendbeen rest stop. This was supposed to be 15 minute stop and we were already running behind the scheduled and of course this stop was nearly 45 minutes……it’s gonna be a long day.

Finally off and we head of at the front and then yet another stop in Young and more delays before we head off again for a nice stretch of the legs into Cowra for lunch.

The CWA put on a fabulous spread for us, a variety of soups, sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee all for a tiny $15….what more could you ask for. Basking in the sun, chewing the fat with new friends and trying to convince Tash to continue on to Dubbo with us (didn’t work though) and we parted ways here.

Cowra to Bathurst another great stretch of the legs and the 5 of us have a great riding rhythm happening. An unscheduled detour to Mount Panorama for a couple of laps and chaos reigns supreme. It’s getting close to 3pm and we still have ~200km to bash out, at this rate we will be riding on the dark which is not ideal. I crack it and tell the rest of our group that I’m splitting, they are more than welcome to come with me but either way, I’m gone. We advise the ride captains and head off.

Taking the industrial road we avoid Orange, breeze through Molong and set a cracking pace into Wellington as the sun slowly starts to begin it’s descent. Quick stop here to a snack/drink and call Karl as we are running so far behind time and SPOT batteries had started flashing red (so he might not be able to track me).

The Mitchell Highway while riding straight into the setting sun is straining. Thankfully we make Dubbo while we still have light and eventually find the Lions Park and are greeted by a group of WRWR ladies cheering us in. The poor things had been waiting there since 4pm and we pulled in at 5:45pm to advise them the rest were at least an hour away.

Eventually the rest of the WRWR Wagga Crew arrived and the signing of the baton got under way.

A very happy Kimmie holding the all-important WRWR Baton that has travelled the globe for this auspicious event.

The Australia Ambassador for the WRWR Christi, who without her tireless dedication to pull this all together wouldn’t have happened…THANK YOU!!!! You should be really proud of yourself.

Tonight at the Dubbo RSL we share a WRWR Dinner where we meet more female riders and exchange wondrous stories of our individual riding accomplishments, laugh from the belly, boogie with Elvis and embrace the friendships spawn from this event.

Back to the Matilda Motor Inn for a fabulous nights sleep. Sunday morning is no plan, pack and head to Maccas from breakfast and a good coffee (yeah I know it was a surprise) then off to the next meet point to see the Wagga Wagga to Glen Innes leg of riders set off for their part in this auspicious event.

This is Elizabeth, I happened to meet her at dinner last night and caught up at the meet point this morning.

The group of riders for the Wagga Wagga to Glen Innes leg……good luck ladies.

New friends Karyn and Martin were there too and we said our farewells as we headed in different directions to our homes.

Another beautiful morning, still cool so the heated suit is getting work out and I head out of town towards Goolma, Mudgee, through Lue before rolling into Rylstone for an early lunch or late morning tea J. It’s been a long time since I’ve been through here and saw Oma’s on the left and thought it a quirky little place that required checking out.

I ordered the Dutch Buttercream & Cinnamon Crepe, which was very decadent and way too much for me to devour.

It’s been an amazing morning, no weekend of riding through glorious countryside, chilling out, socialising and reminding myself how lucky I am to be able to do this.

Lithgow comes along so quickly and that sense of the over bustling of city life hits you like that proverbial sledge hammer. Most of Bells Line, I have a great run and enjoy moving into and through the corners on Dudley providing a smile only to be burdened by some Sunday driver who rides their brakes all the way down the hill.

Taking a deep breath I brace myself for the city driver and what seems like forever to get home eventually roll in the drive at 2:20pm after a good 3 days riding. A little tired & unfit, will have to do more riding 🙂 . Hand held up pretty good and a little tight but nothing a wheat bag and some massage can’t fix.

Here’s the trip from start to finish.

I’d like to thank Kate, Karyn, Tash, Martin & Tony for the riding company….would ride with you guys any day of the week.

Bring on the next adventure.

If I could……

Talk to the animals……just imagine it!!! Chatting to a chimp in Chimpaneze 🙂
Wouldn’t it be great! I feel like Mrs Dr Dolittle.

A day off together and after years of suggesting this, we finally make it to Taronga Zoo!!! Yippee!!! Karl just says “oh no, what have I done”….LOL

Not even in the gates and the camera on the phone is out and Karl just knows today is going to photographically painful for him…me, I’m like a kid in a candy store.

With map in hand, well Karl’s, I say I don’t want to miss anything…let’s go!!! Catch up with a couple of “old ducks” before entering the bird avery. They have these cool but annoying doors that won’t allow you to open the opposite door until the other one is closed…I get it, don’t want to let anything out.

Some things I remembered from my childhood, like the Elephant Temple but it isn’t used anymore as they have a new enclosure. I did get pics of the elephants they just aren’t good ones.

This little guy was waiting for us as we exited…..nearly missed him.

We meander around the pathways Karl in one direction and me, well off in my little world of wonder and excitement in, another direction at times…oops…. Mrs Dolittle let loose. I’m sooo excited and take photos of nearly everything.

The nocturnal section was pretty cool. Spotted the Australian Easter Bilby and this guy just hanging around…LOL

There’s even this rare species called “The Sweety Bird” which is extremely hard to photograph. Some people say I make it up, others think it is a ghost but “I have proof”!!!

The Sweety Bird

So many amazing things to see. This one caught my eye

What visit to any animal thing is complete without a trip to the petting zoo. Lama, goats, bunnies, guinea pigs and more. My sister and I had guinea pigs as pets when we were young. Ended up with 22 of the buggers…they just kept breeding like rabbits.

Winding our way down and around, we come across the sea life and the seal show (a bit late to enter but watched from the sides). These guys (the seals) are so clever and very cheeky.

These guys are very gracious

Feeding time at the zoo and the cafeteria is exactly that…..a mad house of screaming kids, yelling parents and all manner of human wildlife. We managed to find a quiet place to eat before starting on the second half…YAY!!! Oh, and Karl says there is an Ibis exhibition everywhere…LOl

A 30 minute wait to see the Tigers was a little too much for Karl, so I flew solo to Sumartra to see them..well one that you could get a pic of.

Sumatra Tiger & Giant Tortoise

When I emerged The Sweety Bird was just chillin’ out

The Sweety Bird

Let’s see some more……..follow me he says, “yes Sweety” as I detour to look at something else…LOL
More bird averies and these little feathered friends were very pretty.

It was time to monkey around…… There was one little baby monkey clinging to it’s mum, the rest were just hanging about, lazing in the sun or sitting and observing the strange creatures observing them.

Then it was off to see something for dad. back in the day, dad used to service the aircon unit in the enclosure of the Komoto Dragon…it’s name was Lenny (we named him Lenny the Lizard). Anyhoos, this dragon chased dad up the ladder one day and the only thing that saved him was the keeper enticing Lenny down with a chicken….close call for dad. Remnants on the old enclosure are still there but Lenny has a new one now.

It’s getting on but we have to see the Meerkats. Funny little dudes and dudettes they are. Basking in the sun, no shame about them and very busy fossicking in the sand for no doubt some maggots or insects….yuk.

Well, we saw everything that was able to be seen. Some of the animals are not available at the moment due to new homes being constructed for them and some, well, just didn’t want to come out and play.

After getting an ice-cream to end our Zoological experience we headed home.

Thanks for having us, it was a fabulous day out and beautiful weather for it. I have a feeling I’ll be back some day but it might take another 10 years.

10 Years at Tintaldra

Can you believe we have been coming to this nirvana in Australia for 10 years now…..I have to almost pinch myself 🙂

Well this year I almost didn’t make it. Work got in the way of my scheduled annual leave on Friday and had me “grounded” back in Melbourne on Thursday night with the next available Sydney flight at 2pm Friday….not happy Jan!! This too ended up being late and I didn’t get home til just after 5pm Friday.

Not exactly the start to my holiday and Pilgrimage that was planned and I advised Karl to head on with out me and I would see him there at some point.

Out the door “toot sweet” on Dudley at 5:50pm to fight the horrendous traffic out of Sydney. Plan, slab it to Albury and turn left Clyde and head east along the Murray River Hway. By the time I got to Goulburn I had to stop, eat, fuel in Dudley (unscheduled) and put on more clothes as the night wind had a nip in it. Chat to Karl and changed the plan.

Next stop South Gundagai 10:16pm as Dudley and I barrelled down the highway fuelled with anger at having missed a ride with my Sweety and being late. More fuel which would see me through and I had to have sleep….the poor old body had been deprived of it for 2 days and it was catching up on me. Messaged Karl and let him know where I was and how I was travelling. “Should arrive approx 12:30am”, I say. The rickety old wooden table opposite the Shell served the purpose and I grabbed a 15 minutes cat-nap.

New plan – Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Tooma, Tintaldra. Roads works on Gocup Rd heading to Tumut held me up in total for 30 minutes but otherwise was feeling ok. I’d love to do the road to Batlow and Tumby in daylight (it’s been ages since I last did it) but in the dark with the wind whipping around and wildlife galore wasn’t exactly ideal conditions to be scooting through the twists and turns.

I saw everything tonight, foxes and cute baby bunnies to Tumut and the rest of the way was wombats, lots of roos and can you believe sheep…even that one took me by surprise. The concentration it takes to ride through the night is all consuming, trees look like roos and everything, the slightest move in your peripheral has your eyes darting ensuring you have safe passage.

A little disorientated until I saw the sign to Southern Cloud Lookout (one of my favs) but you couldn’t see shite in the dark, so no stopping. However that feeling of euphoria started to wash over me as I then realised that I wasn’t far from where my heart sings. A few more kays, twists and turns and I spotted the familiar sight of the poplar trees – standing to attention as if to greet me “home”. Dudleys lights “lit up the Tintaldra” town sign like a beacon guiding a ship to shore and we rounded the corner an into the driveway of the Clearwater caravan Park – Tintaldra…….ahhhh!!!!

Yedi was the only one awake at 12:56am on Saturday to greet me but honestly I was just glad to make it. I stumbled into our cabin like a baby elephant trying to be quiet and was greeted by a “Hi Sweety, you made it” from Karl before he rolled back over to serenade me with his purring. My head sank into the pillow and reckon I was asleep in less than a second…zzzzzzzz

7 hours solid sleep….YAY!!! the most I’d had in a coupla days. Tintaldra you never disappoint me.

Morning Tintaldra

Everyone was surprised but glad to see me and likewise….think I was surprised to see me too!!! 🙂 As I was in no state to be making decisions the group decided we would go to Dederang Pub for lunch today. So after a hearty breaky we geared up and headed out.

I nice easy run through Granya, noticing how low the water is in the river. Karl’s waiting for me at the T-junction with Rick in his historic car and Bubba and Karen.
Into Tallangatta for fuel and a regroup.

Karen, Bubba, Karl & Yedi

Down the Cow Rd and some zig-zagging to avoid the highway and Mr Plod on a beautiful riding day and we arrive at Dederang Pub.

On arrival at the pub you are welcomed by this bronzed statue of a man. He is apparently “The Storyteller” inspired by Banjo Patterson. There is something about him that actually gives you the impression that there is more to this place than meets the eye or more to him….might have to do some research.

There is a really nice relaxing beer garden out the back where we all had lunch and soaked up the sun. But I’m getting tired so Karl and I leave the crew early and decide to head back to Tintaldra. I decided to head into Corryong so Karl waved me off at the Cudgewa turn off and on my merry way I went. Nibbles and some drink for tonight and fuel which I had to back to the Mt Mittamatite Caravan Park for as the BP in town now closes at 1pm…WTHA!!!

Time for an afternoon nap before socialising.

most of the 2019 Crew

Eve, Karl and I take the dogs for a walk, well I ended up on a tangent talking to some other people who were camped at the closed pub and eventually ended up going for a walk on my own. That’s OK, I still enjoyed the walk and the view from the bridge. The new sculptures commissioned by the council popping up around the various small towns in the area are great. Tintaldra’s Murray Cod spins in the breeze and has glass green eyes when the suns hits them.

Tintaldra Bridge looking west
looking east

And as the sun goes down on a sleepy little town…..

Back in time for a wonderful dinner and catching up with and reminiscing about the 10 years of adventures that we have all shared converging on this town.

The time goes too quick or maybe just maybe we are all getting just a little bit older and before 10pm the dining area under the wonderful weeping willow is silent…..everyone in their own world of slumberness.

Another great breaky and the realisation that we all have to say “see ya later” for another year.

Sunday breaky

It’s a fabulous morning again….when aren’t they but it’s time to go. Karl & I head out through Tooma but take a turn that has up at Holbrook where we slab it up the Doom Highway. Gundagai for fuel and then Gunning for lunch. The skies aren’t looking fabulous and I’m hoping the weather holds off.

We reach Goulburn and it starts raining and poured on us the entire way home. Quick stop for fuel at Pheasants Nest before the unpleasant fight to get through the Sunday afternoon traffic heading into and in Sydney.

Finally in the dry of the garage and a warm shower.

BIG Thank you to Clearwater Caravan Park hosts Rick & Ailsa who are part of our extended family and looked after us again this year as they have for the past 10.

Tintaldra Pilgrimage for 2019 done and dusted for another year.
I might add…..some of our usual suspects were unable to attend this year which is a shame…the 2019 Crew pic just isn’t the same without you!!!

Tintaldra Pilgrimage Crew 2019

FRE #54 Bermagui

WOW, the first FarRide I’ve organised and the nerves were a little high. Would the event work, would people turn up, how will I manage check-in? All good questions and as it turned out all ones I didn’t need to stress about. People turned up (on time) well most of them, the venue was better than I imagined and YES, I had help from our larger than life friend Hackle. But how did it start…..

Friday 12:32pm from the local Shell servo (a new guy on the counter now and just didn’t get the whole “what time does your machine say” importance and I’m off. Getting out of Sydney is always a testing experience so headed through the back roads of Dural and popped out Windsor Rd and high-tailed it for Richmond, Bells Line of Road and into Lithgow with some annoying traffic…oh well

Freeway to Bathurst and a coupla laps of the Might Mount Panorama to make up some kays.

Mount Panorama

Out through Manildra when I had to get fuel (91 unfortunately) and a quick snack / comfort stop as I wanted to nail as many lays while I still had good light and the wildlife decided to coma and play.


Through Parkes and Forbes then travelled a road I don’t think I’ve done before…The Henry Lawson Way. Very picturesque, calming in fact but not calming enough to left my guard down for those damn hopping rats. Grenfell a nice little town came and went, time marches on and the sun starts it’s slow descent.

Between Parkes & Forbes

Young to Cootmundra and the sunset is truly leaving me to the mysteries of the dark….but I’m still smiling (inside my helmet…LOL)

Not far down the road though, my heart was in awe of the sight before my eyes…..

Sunset on a never ending road

Cootamundra for fuel and it’s well and truly dark proper now. I check the new Tuturo oiler we installed on Dudley and it seems to be using (flinging) a lot more oil than I would’ve thought. Oil on the tread isn’t good so I do my best to remove what I can and make a note to keep an eye on it and rectify further once I get to Tumut. Needless to say the trip down Muttama Rd (one I haven’t travelled before was tense). Too afraid to lay Dudley over and nowhere to pull up. Just before I reach the Hume highway though there’s this pub on the right with good lighting so I pull up stumps there and access the situation. More oil in the oiler and dial the thing down, wipe off the tyre and head for the Hume Highway.

Turn off at South Gundagai – Gocup Rd and on the final leg now to Tumut. That last bit seems to take forever, but I realised that at the last stop my vertigo had kicked in somewhere along the ride in the dark….not ideal, I just need to take it easy. Roadworks on Gocup Rd and “gravel” in the dark not my idea of fun. Followed the cages in front at a nice easy pace under the speed limit and eventually we all arrived in Tumut.

Tumut Golden Arches for dinner, a quick call to Karl for some technical advice and then off to the Amaroo motel to hit the hay for a bit.

Saturday morning the alarm is yelling at me….get out of bed you lazy cow, but mmy head hurts and no drugs on board to assist. Over to the servo and address the oily tyre situation is the priority today and then head off. Bit chilly, fresh I’d say but maybe I shudda put me cardi on.

Ah, The Snow Mountains Highway should be on every ones list of roads to ride or drive, I just wish I could see it. The fog is so thick it’s like a fluffy doona wafting down to embrace Dudley and I. A short stop at Blowering Dam and I think I’d like to come back here and camp….looks lovely and not too far from town.

Blowering Dam

My head isn’t playing fair this morning and the world is moving in it’s own dimension so I just have to take it easy. It’s hard to believe that when you can see views like that, that others things can occupy your mind but it is “vertigo” and at Perry’s Lookout not too far down the road I have to stop again. I know, I hear you all….you should’ve stopped, rung in sick, something but this isn’t new to me. I’ve dealing with this for over 10 years now and know when enough is enough. Anyways, Perry Lookout provided a lovely vista for me.

Perry Lookout

Not far to Kiandra and the fog is just getting thicker. Parts of it was like some one got a bread knife and carved a perfect rectangular block out for Dudley and I to venture through before closing the end of the loaf for us to slowly weave our way through. But the fog isn’t the only thing happening this morning, the Brumbies are out. Lots of them if the poo on the road is any indication. So it’s eyes wide and hearing alert for these majestic creatures.

At the Mt Selwyn turn off though I had to stop again cos I’m freezing – yep shudda put the cardi on earlier. It doesn’t matter I allowed plenty of fat in my plan this morning just in case. When you actually look at where you are, it was mind blowing. The sign was rising behind the cloud cover and fog….absolutely breath taking.

Mt Selwyn turn off

To my amazement though just up the road the Brumby poo was real fresh, steaming fresh so I look around slowly and

Mum, Dad & Colt just off the verge heading into the mountain

Sweeping into Adaminaby and the cloud is starting to lift and by the time I get to Cooma, the morning has been born. Breakfast at the 123 Coffee House (somewhere new to me), fuel for Dudley and lets get cracking.

Feeling a lot better since breakfast and the oiler seems to be better tuned in now so we sit at a nice pace on the eastern side of the Snowys Highway. Compared to yesterday the fields on this side are green and lush and fresh smelling.

Down Brown Mountain but not before another stop at Pipers Lookout

Opposite Pipers Lookout the sign to fun…..

And a bit of fun we had….not too much but just enough to lift my spirits. Get to the end and turn left and head to Cobargo. Now somewhere along here I see another rider (in my rear view) not sure who but figure they must be going where I am….and they were! I sat at a slightly spirited pace and was feeling much more comfortable now that the day proper had emerged into something glorious.

TAH DAH Bermagui!!! and to my amazement nearly everyone was already there 🙂 Being the ride coordinator for this one left my socialising time out the window and my official hat popped on pretty quickly. Had enough time though to find the chemist and get something to get my head sorted.

What a whirlwind checkin was. Everyone is so lovely, wanting to say hello, eager to get their names checked off, enjoy a little piece of Kimmie time…thanks everyone you made me feel special.

Thank goodness, I had Hackle and Clint there by my side to assist me and then the group photo was taken (well several) and everything was done. 6 new members and one of those is a whole 9 years Young – congrats Jett (hopefully grandad will let you steal *cough* borrow one of his bikes when you are old enough and you can lead him on a ride).

The venue was fabulous!!! Bermagui Beach Hotel opposite the park and perched up on the high side of town overlooking the ocean. Those of us who stayed overnight gathered for a little social function back here for dinner and lies *cough* story telling before retiring to our respective abodes for a goods nights sleep.

Sunset at Bermagui

Sunday morning and it’s time to head home to my Sweety. Dudley and I are tired, the hand is sore and the head is in check (well better than it was) and we wave good bye to Bermagui but hopefully we’ll be back again next year 🙂

Easy run up the coast and enough fuel to get me a fair way up the road. Nothing except Macca’s is open on the way up and I wanted to stop at a cafe for breakfast. After 9 I decide to stop at Burrill Lake just south of Ulladulla at a little cafe that you can’t see from the street…it’s round the corner and delightful.

Lakeside Cafe adjoins a retirement village and has a lovely set up and the service and coffee are good. Met a couple fellas and their wives and they both have Tracers too!! Swapped stories but I needed to get home and didn’t want to get too stuck in the 38 degrees that was predicted for the day.

Lakeside Cafe – Burrill Lake

From there it’s home on the tank, so no need to stop unless I absolutely need to. Traffic from Nowra through to Gerringong was a nightmare and I should’ve turned off and gone through Kangaroo Valley, never mind. Up Mount Oulsey and as soon as I got to the Sutherland Shire, the traffic was horrendous all the way home. I was melting and Dudley was getting hot sitting idle in the traffic.

Eventually we made it home, hot, a sore bum and tired in general. Thankfully My Sweety had the air con on….he IS the man!!!!

All up 1418km for the weekend.

Here’s the maps. the long way round to get to somewhere 🙂

Home to Tumut
Tumut to Bermagui

FRE #53 – Eden

So not qualifying for this ride either since the hand is still up the buggary but doesn’t mean that I still can’t attend. Dr gave me the go ahead to start riding but not cranking out big distances…which we agreed to disagree upon….LOL but settled for time in the saddle.

Set off nice an early on Friday since I didn’t require a start docket and headed down through Macquarie Pass, Robertson and Kangaroo Valley beore stopping for breakfast/morning tea at one of my favourite spots Mount Cambewarra Lookout Tea Rooms . Naturally I had to have the homemade scones with fresh cream and jam with a side of coffee.

A Queens breakfast

The locals here are pretty friendly and like a feed too.

And what a view! It was just a tad chilly this morning but the heated gear does the trick…..some of the best money I’ve spent.

Lookout View

It’s a dilly dally day and so different to riding without having to watch the clock, check the plan and check again. Alas, I must leave this little gem and head of down the mountain to battle the traffic through Nowra.

The weather gods haven’t been particularly nice to me and it’s raining, a steady dousing and I’ve discovered for certain now that my boots are definitley “no longer” waterproof……argh!!!! The run down the coast road is pretty uneventful (thank goodness). There’s not a lot of traffice so I just set the cruise control and dawdle on down the road.

Milton, Ulladulla, Termeil all very family towns before rolling through Batemans Bay, Mogo (I really have to go to the zoo one day), Moruya before arriving in Narooma, my destination for the day staying at The Top of the Town Motel and ~400km for the day and the hand and old body are a tad out of ride condition 🙄. Plus though, the sun came beeming out with some fabulous heat just as I got to town…cooked me with my thermals and heated suit on.

Found a lady in Narooma that fit me in for a 40min massage to ease the knotted up shoulder and neck..thanks Kay. Feeling much better. Now on a little walk of the town well the top half…I’ll never make it up the hill if I go down the bottom 🤣🤣.

The views are lovely and the sun is fabbo. Chillin out on the bench seat near the history plaque of Ted & Daisy Street as in Streets Paddle Pop.

Narooma Estrey
Narooma Beach
Dedication to Ted & Daisy Street

It was a little late for lunch so a packed of potato chippies did the trick. Dinner was at the pub across the road (the locals pub) which was ok but think I should’ve walked down the road a bit to the other pub. I was lucky the rain held off to walk back.

The night was spent drying out my boots ready for the next days ride to Eden.

Well, it rained all night, bucketed down so it was a wet departure and poured all the way to Tathra. Had to stop for breakfast and get off the wet slippery roads as the strain on the hand was already getting to me. Took refuge in an aptly named cafe HoWeRoll Cafe.

HoWeRoll Cafe Tathra

Back out in the rain and travelling the Sapphire Coast Road. What a shiteful road, is in terribly disrepair with potholes, crevasses and washout all over the place. Was not one of my better decisions especially since it was raining…have I mentioned that.

Made it to Eden and stopped at the Coles there to get some waterproofing (plastic garbage bags) for my boots and some dry socks to ride back with. Arrived at the Wharf Cafe to meet the rest of my crazy friends who come out in rain, hail and shine.

Reader57 & I

Those who braved the elements……

With check-in completed (as I was on desk duties), it was time for the group photo.

Before everyone dispersed, Team FarRider announced that one of my icons in the family was stepping down from the FarTeam and advised that I would be taking up the reigns. This is quite a privilege for me and I was very honoured to accept the role….although I have very BIG boots to fill. Thanks Fatman & LTP for all the dedicated years to the Team and hope I can do half as good a job.

With the formalities completed, everyone headed off as we do and I headed up the highway this time to get back to Narooma….still raining.

Arrive back in Naroom after 3pm for a late lunch at the Ice-Creamery just before it closed for the day…..still pouring. Swear I am going to break this drought…just need to travel the effected areas 🙂.

With Dudley safely tucked up in his undercover parking, it’s upstairs to dry out the boots and socks again…..argh!!!!

Dinner tonight was in the onsite Italian Restaurant, but don’t bother eating there if you are in town. Dirty dish water would’ve tasted better and looked a lot nicer.

Heading home today and guess what……’s another damp day. Slumming it this morning at Maccas. Hoping to miss the storm front heading south….well that’s the plan.

And I am home. In the drive at 11:55am (yes, I was up early). Unpacked, load of washing done & had lunch. Now ready for a nap.

Not much rain from Ulladulla, seems the plan to miss the storm front worked.

It’s soooooo good to be back on 2 wheels, might take a lttle bit longer before I can do a big one but that’s ok.