FRE S#67 – Bermagui

Different plan of attack for this one….up and back in the day.

Stayed at Mum & Dads on my camp mattress with my sleeping bag but an upset tummy was root of a disturbed nights sleep. After fighting to gain more sleep was up and out at stoopid dark o’clock and off to the Metro Doyalson to gain my start docket @ 3:31am ODO 102770.

SPOT tracker red light starts flashing not long down the road – will have to wait. Fog is this mornings threat it’s not bad just present but we all know how that can change. Down the deserted freeway, well maybe only a dozen cars and 1 bike the whole way and the new Freecom4+ playing country music in my ears. Hornsby for an unscheduled stop for SPOT batteries and then back on the freeway.

Hornsby Shell Coles Express – change of batteries

Passed Campbelltown and I’m tired and know the signs well enough now to not ignore them. Into the Frank Partridge VC rest area to grab a 20min nap. Lots of truck with their air conditioning rattling away.

Frank Partridge VC rest area

Back on the freeway and the fogs still hanging around. Uneventful until the sun starts to awaken around Kiama and offers some fantastic views.

Around Kiama
Morning has broken

Arrive in Nowra about 7:30am for raisin toast and coffee (was more like luke warm dish water) and a couple of QLD FarRider pull in for their breaky, across the road for Dudleys breaky (fuel) and we are off again. The new Freecom4+ has been great but now after stopping the voice command isn’t working. So it turns out that the bluetooth disconnects at a distance and you have to manually reconnect it, with that done, I’m off again with Troy Caser Daly singing away.

From here, the blissfully traffic free morning stops. So much road works and slow drivers, people you don’t have to do 10-15kph under the limit…..the roads clear. Note: always obeying the roadwork speed limit signs….there could be someone working on the side.

Turn off the highway and just follow the road into Bermagui. See a couple of riders at the servo, get to the check-in location, park 10:50am and only 1 other bike to be seen….hmm, check-in could be real easy. Have I got the right day??? Then like bees swarming, riders start to arrive, flag hung and check-in opens. A HUGE thanks to my esteemed FarRider assistant Hackle for helping and feeding me!!

Congratulations to the new riders for completing the first of may more FarRides.

But my ride isn’t finished still have 500km to go. Fuel on the way out of town and up the Princes Highway, a bit more traffic than this morning and a few spirited overtaking opportunities were taken advantage of. Past many times but don’t recall ever stopping at is the pink plane at Coila, so today was the day.

Oops, Coila plane

Heading north through the pretty town of Moruya (must stop here one day) and into Batemans Bay and as Snaggle Puss would say “exit stage left” at the roundabout. The Kings Highway is a road I have not done in years and today was perfect. Clear winding roads, a tiny bit of roadworks, great scenery and a seamless run into Braidwood, then Bungendore.

Been up for ages and thought, yep I deserve an ice-cream but the town was packed so just kept going. I haven’t been on the road that heads west out of Bungedore before (turns out it’s called Bungendore Rd) and the GPS wasn’t happy that I took this route and kept telling me to do a u-turn. In the end it messed with my head that much, that I pulled over and consulted the phone and decided to cancel the GPS route and plug in a single destination and kept going.

Watched the sky change though and thought at some stage I am going to get wet. Went to have a sip from the trusty camelbak and bring the tube around and whoshska….the sucky thingy flew straight of the end of the tube fixture. Bugger!!! Lucky it has a swivel valve and was lucky to turn it around so Dudley didn’t get soaked with drink.

Popped out on the Federal Highway and the rain clouds I’d been watching decided to shed some tears. Not heavy just enough to wet the road and say it rained. It was short and sweet only about 20 minutes and took the heat right out of the day….was sitting at 32degrees prior. Mr Freecom4+ also decided that he was tired and after being on since 3:00am that morning said “goodbye”.

Goulburn for fuel about 3:40pm and some chippies and drink for me. About 200kms to get home, a stretch of road I could “almost” ride with my eyes shut (assured I did not). Cruise control set, singing to myself and it’s just a matter of get around all the traffic. There was this one Ranger Ute that I’d watched for about 1km sitting behind another big ute who I actually thought was towing the Ranger (he was sitting that close). But no he wasn’t in tow and waited until I was at his tailgate at which point he decided to pull out……”tool”!!! Crisis averted…..some how new this idiot would do something so was prepared. He did the same thing to another driver further up the road……”tool”.

lost the sucky thingy

It’s been a long time since I’ve required to crank out a big day like this and the old body and bum are starting to burn. Navigating through the traffic heading and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when I turned into home at 6:20pm ODO 103793 – 1023km for the day & FRE S#67 Bermagui….Done and Dusted.

FRE S#67 Bermagui Done & Dusted 1023km

Now to get new shoes for Dudley ready for the next adventure.
Thanks for reading.

FRE 65 – Tooleybuc

So much for the ride calendar this year but thanks to relaxing of some restrictions we were able to still proceed with a slightly modified FRE #65 to Tooleybuc.

Start ODO

Simple plan, leave the local Shell servo @ 12:02pm Fri 6th Nov, head out through Lithgow via Bells Line of Road, onto Bathurst (no stopping at Mount Panorama this time)…traffic was terrible before cruising into Cowra. A quick stop at the Cowra Shell for fuel and on the way outta town, nearly got t-boned by some numpty not giving way to me….certainly got the heart rate going and gave Dudley horn a good work out.

It’s so picturesque and green at the moment and the tantalising smell of clean air danced in my nostrils. Bit of a different route today, going through Gooloogong where I naturally had to get a pic in front of the pub.

Bike in front of pub

Then into Eugowra a lovely quiet little town full of amazing murals. Would’ve liked to take more photos of them but time was ticking and a comfort stop was resting heavily on me…lol

Continuing onto Parkes through the greens fields and thought about stopping for dinner which was my original plan but decided to push on through to West Wyalong. The sun is starting its decent where visibility becomes challenging. Fuel and dinner (cheese and tomato sandwich) in West Wyalong. Heading out to Dudley and Squeeky has just fuelled up. Asked his plan and he was staying there the night while I still had 2.5hrs to go.

Out into the lowering sun which at times is blinding and before long Weethalle is upon me and the necessary sunset and silo photo. Temps are starting to drop but as usual I’m layered up and at the turn of a dial the heated suits will fire into action.

Sunset at Weethalle
Weethalle Silos

Exit stage left onto Kolkilbertoo Rd in search for the Big Tennis Racquet in Barellan. The sun has now set and lights blazing I head off on a very desolate road. Not much happening in Barellan tonight and the tennis racquet was pretty easy to find…..even in the dark – you’d have to be blind to miss it. LOL

The Big Tennis Racquet Barellan

Next stop Griffith for fuel and it’s proper dark now. The only wildlife I saw were bunnies…..lots and lots of bunnies. Starting to get weary and wondering why I didn’t plan to stop in West Wyalong…..ride fitness just isn’t what it used to be. About 40 minutes to go and the body is protesting. Much more traffic on the Kidman Way both north and south bound. So many oncoming vehicles refusing to dip their lights on my approach almost blinding me in some cases….at a minimum leaving little white spots in my vision. 

Finally into Goolgowi Motor Inn for the night after 750km for the day. As per my last stop over here, the room was spotless and the bed comfortable and beckoning me.

Beautiful morning out on the Mid Western Highway as the sun rises and I bop along heading for Hay. Ya gotta love it when you have the road to yourself, the smell of a fresh new day and peacefulness all around you. Through Hay and onto the plains…that long vast stretch where the horizon never ends. I decided to stop and see cousin Sheila and Reg on their little stretch of land 49km east of Balranald at Hells Gate….how do cousin!

Mid Western Highway
Howdy Cousin Sheila

Balranald for a scheduled stop for fuel and food. Decided to try out the Discovery Café Justin the right hand side as you come into town. Lovely café with good coffee and friendly service. I recommend a stop here if you need a coffee and food. Have plenty of time since I left earlier than planned this morning so decide to relax a little.

Outta town and onto Yanga Way heading for Tooleybuc. Lots of signs advising of the COVID checking stations at both Swan Hill and Tooleybuc…luckily I don’t require any passes to get there. Very uneventful but noticed fields of new plantings and one adventurous fox. Like a few others we are early and enjoy the time playing catch up.  I decided to go and say hello to the officials man and womaning the check point. Quite a friendly bunch who were happy to oblige me with a photo.

Tooleybuc NSW – check point with friendlies

The gravel carpark of the Tooleybuc Sporting Club is where we convene today under the shade of the gum trees. My ride is done and dusted at 1072km. A good gathering for the first ride in a while and even a few crossed the border to say hello. Lovely to see friendly faces and chinwag at a safe distance with everyone. Big thanks to Reader57 for conducting both checkins.

Done & Dusted – 1072km
Finishers FRE 65 Tooleybuc

Time to turn back and start the trip home. Depending on how I’m feeling I have a Plan A and B. Plan A Deniliquin for the night, Plan B Wagga Wagga. It’s getting warmer and I’m hungry, should’ve had my sandwich I bought in Balranald while I was in Tooleybuc…never mind. The roads to Kyalite and Moulamein are deserted but peaceful in that “love riding” kinda of way. I find a nice big tree in Moulamein and park under it, find a park bench and take a few minutes to have my sambo and check in with Sweety. Shoulder is starting to get really sore and I decide to reassess in Deni. Fuel In Deni and ask directions for the Deni Painted Water Tower. After a few wrong turns I eventually find it and get a pic.

Deniliquin Water Tower

Seems too early to pull up so I decide to push on through the pain and the next 250km and head to Wagga Wagga. Had plans to get pics in Urana of the Giant Spider and then the Lockhart Water Tower but my butt is sore and I just want to get to where I need to be. Room booked at lunch time at the Club Motel and am extremely pleased to pull into the carpark, get off, unpack and get some dinner. Old mate 2 rooms down recommend the fish & chip shop a short walk away and he was dead on the money. Awesome hamburger…thanks man.

Check in with Sweety, full tummy, hot shower and it’s into bed for a not very good nights sleep. Woke at 4:30am, thought about getting going but my shoulder decided it needed more rest time. Ended up leaving at 6:30am instead. The plan was to go through Junee, Boorowa, Crookwell, Goulburn then home…but ya know what plans don’t always go to plan.

A farmer moving sheep just out of Junee had me stopped for 10-15 minutes while they made the next paddock. It’s a very very windy morning 9 degrees, heated gear working nicely and 12 degrees when I pull into Boorowa for a coffee at Chelle’s Kitchen. So far all is going to plan, that is until I leave Boorowa. Firstly I head out in the wrong direction – uey and back into town. Take the correct turn, then the next but not the next (so it turned out). GPS tells me to go straight ahead and the sign says “Crookwell Alternate Route”……so I followed the GPS.

I don’t know this area so follow the GPS into Rye Park but after that….well I should’ve taken the alternate route back in Boorowa. The road turns to gravel…yep and I have no idea for how long its going to be like this. It’s gravel isn’t too bad and I even manage to keep decent speed (very unusual) and just mosey along. Off camber corners on back country roads..gravel roads not my favourite. Use the back brake and the gears….don’t touch the front…had to keep reminding myself. Blakney Creek and I thought the road was going to change but no and now I’m doing calculations and am not sure if I will make it with fuel…..oops, should’ve taken that other turn.

Rye Park or Blakney Creek Rd…gravel either way

A sign says Dalton but no fuel and the road eventually turns back to tarmac and with a sigh of relief I ride into Gunning. Decide not to test the fuel gods and fill up at the Mobil take a break, have a stretch….and suck up the shoulder pain.

From here’s it’s like auto-pilot…onto the freeway and the slab home. Still windy and cool, an easy but uncomfortable run. Not a lot of traffic until you near Campbelltown and then the jostling for road space begins. King Georges road, Homebush Bay Drive, Ryde Rd and home is not far.

Into the drive just after 1pm having completed 2027km for the 3 days….a tad sore and Dudley’s very dirty and needs a bath.

Thanks for reading….until the next time…..rubber side down.

Hip Hip Hooray!!

After a fabulous feed at the Goolgowi Ex-Servies Club, it’s time to get on the road again and pump out another 400 kays. What for I hear you say…….well there is a birthday party that I need to be at in Tintaldra – “naturally”. The humidity is oppressive and I am struggling with not enough sleep but I take the precautions I need and head back over previously travelled roads to get there.

A short stop at Waddi Roadhouse Darlington Point to soak myself to bring the body temperature down and refill my camelback. The heat of the day is climbing still but the humidity is relentless. A beeline for the turn off to Collingullie which takes me through The Rock, Henty, Culcairn before turning east and heading for Holbrook. Dudley loves the country roads and now with the oiler feeder temporarily fixed, I can focus on keeping myself fixed.

On days like this the camelback is an essential piece of equipment. Drink, well sip actually, even if you don’t feel you need it…..your body will thank you for it at the end of the day when you get off. Feeling pretty ordinary when I pull into Uncle Leo’s Caltex Holbrook, heads pounding and the humidity is killing me. Another dousing and some Panadol, message Karl and the birthday crew with my eta and off we go again.

Once you leave Holbrook and head east it’s apparent the fires have touched this area. Charred and blackened trees are all around, paddocks are scorched while some stand green as green can be…..how it can be so precise is just beyond my comprehension. The best way to experience this country I reckon is to take the minor roads that have you weaving your way through farmland, forestry and mountains, watching the farmers work their crops, livestock or more so of late due to the fires, rebuilding fence lines and shed for feed. Your heart goes out to them and all they’ve been through.

Keeping a nice steady pace and it’s not long before I come to Jingellic. Lovely sight to see campers back and the river up (not to normal but more than it has been) across the bridge and into Victoria heading for Walwa, then Tintaldra. The air has changed, smells different…..still the burnt smell lingers but mixed with the fresh aroma of new vegetation and water – yes you can smell water, but the view of the devastation that the fires bought to this area is upsetting. The hillside has collapsed in one area and part of the road is closed (traffic light system in place). And she’s coming round the mountain here she comes….winding my way around and watching the scenery change, the livestock with wide eyes (can only imagine the images that taunt their minds) as I approach Clarkes Lagoon. Visited here at xmas, now the land is scorched, the sign melted but new foliage is apparent everywhere you look.

6km to go and that sense of being home beats hard in my chest and Dudley is feeling spirited. That final turn onto The Back Rd and into the caravan park and all is good in the world. Friends are gathered at the camp kitchen, so glad to see them all. Up to the cabin, unpack, shower (feel human) and join the festivities.

The pub for dinner and a well-earned Ginger Ninja, socialising, birthday wishes and generally just chillin’ out. The night descends fast and likewise my energy levels and it’s time to get into bed.

Happy Birthday Mellie & Daddy Bryan!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!! Thanks for allowing me to celebrate your specials days with you!

Sleep came easy and waking came all too soon…argh. Could’ve done staying the day or grabbing a bit more sleep but I have to get home to Sweety. Packed, cuppa tea, breakfast and chit chat and before I knew it was 8:00am. Wait for most to wake and mosey down to the camp kitchen to start my farewells before heading off. Got away at 9:00am

Tintaldra Caravan Park

Home the quick way but not before the obligatory stop at Southern Cloud for that photo.

Southern Cloud Lookout

Mother Nature is hard at work in this entire area repairing herself.

Mother Nature hard at work

Temperature today is much better almost perfect riding weather and Dudley and my hearts sink a little as we leave this area that has so entrenched itself into our hearts.

Through Tooma, into Tumbarumba, Batlow and Tumut again the evidence of the fires is very apparent and again Mother Nature is hard at work as are the locals and volunteers rebuilding what once was….bigger and better.

Out onto the freeway and it’s an easy run home and into the garage at 3:40pm…..not bad for a late start.

Full trip track for the weekend – 2010 km for the weekend

SPOT track

Join the Dots

After having to relocate the destination for the first FarRide for 2020 due to the devastating fires that have swept through the south east coast of NSW & VIC, I decided to make a little treasure hunt out of the ride.

Formulating a plan and checking on trusty old Google had that light bulb shine bright behind my eyes for this one while adding to an ever going collection of wonderful photos of splendid art. Friday mornings when you are waiting for the clock to tick over seem to take forever but eventually I have my start docket and point Dudley in the direction of our first dot.

Who knew there were hidden treasures that are dots on the map not that far from home. Into Glenbrook for our 1st Dot – Glenbrook Water Tower (strangely enough it’s actually located at Lapstone).

1st Dot – Glenbrook Water Tower

The weather of late has changed its mind more times in a day than your average woman and I was hoping today the weather gods who not cry on my parade and bath me in sunshine…..the black cloud cover that came and went just taunted me.

Off we go to the 2nd Dot – The Water Tank at Mount Riverview. Kinda had to double back on myself to get there but it was a nice ride through an area not often visited. This art is looking a little tired and could do with a little touch up here and there.

2nd Dot – Mount Riverview Water Tank

With traffic and stopping, I’ll still making good time….slightly ahead of schedule (which is a change for me). Further up the hill, I knew the next dot was going to be difficult. Goggle says it’s located near the highway up the bank but actually getting to the darn thing is impossible. I reeked havoc on other motorists here trying to find the bloody thing. Into the pot place, nope, up the side streets, nope, u-turn after u-turn and I’m sure the locals thought I was crazy. As it turns out unless you have a key to a special padlocked gate where the water tank is you cannot get this photo. The 3rd Dot – Lyrebird Water Tank Wentworth Falls is non-existent…….*sigh*.

No time to dilly dally, wasted too much time trying to get #3 and head up to Katoomba for the 4th Dot – Katoomba Water Tower. Someone has actually graffitied around the corner of the artwork. 

4th Dot – Katoomba Water Tower

From here Dudley gets to stretch his legs for a bit and I get some airflow to get rid of the humidity which is starting to build up. The 4th Dot is located in Portland and I’ve not actually been to this town before. You see the signs but really, unless you have a reason it’s not likely that you would venture out there. The road however is a nice detour, no traffic and you know you are in the country. Into town and it’s not hard to find the Portland Silo (again a locked gate permits you from getting the front version of this artwork). However I was not disappointed with the view my eyes beheld.

5th Dot – Portland Silos

These gentlemen hold the collective gems of wisdom and worldliness. Hard workers of the land I’m sure and could spin you a yarn or two no doubt over a few cups of tea or the good old coldy. Respect gentlemen, respect. I can’t actually describe the feeling that overcame me when admiring this structure.

Portland Silos

Back out of the highway and through Bathurst and into Blayney Caltex for fuel. The temperature is starting to climb and again so is the humidity. Off again and through Cowra with a beeline to Grenfell to locate the 5th Dot. Really glad I missed this one last time I was out this way as it gave me an excuse to come back (not that anyone really needs an excuse…right). The Grenfell Silos is located in the back of town (away from the main road) so unless you know it’s there, you’d just ride through. I tell you though, it’s not one you want to miss……again the attention to detail is amazing.

6th Dot – Grenfell Silos

It was really good to take a little refuge in the shade while I made adjustments to Dudley’s Tuturo Oiler. It has a little forked feeder that has an arm locate either side of the sprocket. The goop that held the near side feeder broke loose at xmas but the right side was rock solid, well that was until this ride. Moved it back into place and I’ll have to do some MacGiver repairs at the motel tonight. Anyway time is ticking on and it’s almost normal dinner time but I have stretched that out to align with the next fuel stop at West Wyalong.

My rock solid memory…Bwahahahaha should’ve remembered not to stop at the Shell roadhouse and travel a tiny bit up the road to Mr Caltex Roadhouse….I won’t forget next time. Fuel at Mr Shell, in an out in a reasonable time and parked up in front of the roadhouse for dinner. BIG mistake. Three families all related decided to run up to the counter to then stand there while they couldn’t decide what they wanted and then changed orders, while their ferals ran rampet through the roadhouse……all I wanted was a pre-made roast beef sandwich and a carton of milk (which I already had). Anyway, I did enjoy the sandwich but couldn’t wait to get outta there. A quick call to the Motel to make payment and find out the details for my room (since I would be arriving as a late check-in). During dinner Fatman messaged to let me know my SPOT link was not working…argh. I had just discovered that myself and said I would have a look at it tonight once I arrived at my destination. He graciously let the forum know that I was ok.

It’s coming on dusk and the magical hues that mother nature is producing across the skyline is like a colourful symphony. I love this time but am vigilant of the impending wildlife that also enjoy this time of the day. A couple of roos on the side was all I saw between here and Weethalle (pronounced Wheat-tally) where I pull in for Dot #7 – Weethalle Silo.

7th Dot – Weethalle Silos

Another quick adjustment of the oil feeders and it’s off for the last leg for today. It gets dark real quick from here and Dudley likes to use his spotlights (although the left one is pointed just a little too far out and requires adjustment). Through Rankin Springs and arrive into Goolgowi Motor Inn at 8:40pm and the motel lady is just heading down to open my room and turn on the aircon…timing. Unpacked and set to MacGivering the oil feeder in the dark with the head torch. Job done, time to checkin with the folks and ring Sweety to let him know I’m ok (although he does get the SPOT message every time I stop).

Hot showers after a ride….don’t cha lov’em!!! Yeppah. Donned the jammies and ready to jump into bed and try to fix the SPOT tracking when I hear this almighty rumble and crack which sounded to me like massive trucks rumbling through town. I stuck my head out the door and Skidoo and Hagar are out, so say hello. That hello turned out to them putting Dudley up under the verandah of the room and quite the lengthy chit chat by which time I had to excuse myself as I desperately needed sleep but had to address the SPOT thing first and who knew how long that was going to take.

Back in bed now to figure this technology thing out. Followed the instructions but still getting the error message, gave up needed sleep more than a tracking line but took a screen shot and posted on FB so everyone knew I was OK and where I was.

SPOT track Dots

Grumbled when the alarm went off this morning (Sat 15th Feb), need more sleep but up, packed and off. I LOVE early morning riding and after a nice down pouring last night there was a sweet smell in the air. Watching the sun rise, well really has me lost for words. Over my years of riding I have had the pleasure of experiencing this quite extraordinary moment of the day and this morning was no exception. This was taken between Goolgowi and Hay. Good morning Australia!!

Sunrise on the Mid-Western Highway

Into Hay for fuel and the sun is properly up now and right in that spot where you end up with spots in your eyes. They have had a deluge of rain out here and water is laying in the verges stagnant and it stinks. The landscape changes over and over and has done so for the entire ride. It’s like your nanna sewing together the pieces of a patchwork quilt….green fields here, a brown patch there, burnt blackened ground, crops and then work them altogether into this beautiful work of art. Amazing!

Along the Sturt Hway there are freshly planted fields of citrus (I think) tress for as far as the eye can see. Just another patch to add to that quilt that nanna is patching together.

new citrus plantings

Waddi Roadhouse, Leeton and Griffith all come and go as I make good time this morning. Finally I head back into the lovely little town of Goolgowi and head to the Goolgowi Ex-Servies Club, destination for the 1st FarRide of the year. I’d planned to arrive early and glad I did because I grabbed a 10 minute sleep at the park bench before everything started to go into full swing. It’s so good to see so many arrive early and eager to spend a penny or two in this little town that has been affected by the drought.

With check-in done, thanks to Hackle for his assistance, it’s time for lunch and the group photo.

FarRide #60 Goolgowi done and dusted – 1060km.

Goolgowi Ex-Servies Club
FRE #60 – Goolgowi

I have to say that the hospitality and quality of the luncheon provided by the staff – volunteers and employees was above and beyond what we were expecting. A big Thank You to the President of the Club who coordinated such a magnificent spread and made us feel so welcome. We as a group were thrilled that we could contribute to their club and have no doubt our injection will be well welcomed into the coffers.

So if you are heading out that way along the Mid-Western Highway and feel the need to stop somewhere, pick Goolgowi. The Goolgowi Motor Inn run by Lynne and Frank is one of the best I’ve stayed in and they are more than accommodating when it comes to motorcyclists and our odd hours of arrival and departure. The fuel station is independently run and also houses the now general store (as sadly it closed just a couple of weeks ago). A local tells me they make a fine breakfast and the coffee is good….and with a local recommendation, what can I say. You can catch a feed at the Ex-Servies club or the pub which ever strikes your fancy on the day. So stop in and say g’day to this little town…..they could really do with your custom.

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
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.