Make the plan and ride the plan is trusty advice that you’ll find here on FarRiders. So when Charlieb asked whether Karl & I were we going to register for FRE#16 my brain instantly went into plan mode before even registering. Unfortunately Karl couldn’t make this one so it was me & Charlieb.
Two days before heading out I asked for some advice about the route. Huge thanks to Ron – Grey Gentry for his words of wisdom as it prompted me to change the original plan and take the alternate that I mapped out just in case.
Friday rolled around and off I set off for the start point and to meet Charlieb.
With a start docket of 12:01 and huge smiles we headed for the M2 to make our way down Sesame Street / The Spume Highway to Wodonga our stop for the night. The Big Merino at Goulburn is our first fuel stop and we were ahead of the schedule, cheering and time to put on another layer as it was starting to get a bit cool.
We rolled into Tarcutta a bit before 5:00 for more fuel. I took the opportunity to munch on a muesli bar and have a drink while waiting for Charlie’s convenience stop. Visors changed and tummy satisfied we head out for our last leg for the day. It’s getting cold but hey Wodonga’s only 140 kays away, so I’ll be fine…….WRONG.
It’s cold and I felt cold through to the bone by the time we arrived at about 6:15pm. Checked in and unloaded the bikes and then on the suggestion of the lady in the office headed to The Edward Tavern for dinner. Rugged up like Eskimo’s we walked to the Tavern people were looking at us like we were aliens. It was well worth it though, the food was excellent and the heating was awesome to my frozen body. Highly recommend if you are in Wodonga and need a feed check it out. Chicky rang to see what our plans for the morning were and we said we might meet up along the way…cool. An earlier night was in order as we had a 3am rise with the aim to be on the road by 4am.
Well the best laid plan didn’t work. Charlieb was having some technical difficulties getting started this morning which put us behind a little. Off to Wimpys for fuel and I decided to check with the lady attendant the route I’d planned out of Wodonga to get to Hway 58. Glad I did cos I had us going not on the best roads considering it was so foggy this morning. Inform Charlieb of change to plan and he says “I’ll just follow you”. So here I am with GPS and laminated map with alterations now leading us into the dark foggy morning….OMG I’m as nervous as hell. I don’t have the best night vision and get lost in a car park and I leading us “what am I doing?”.
The fog is dreadful, visibility is down to two centre dashes in front of me and it’s cccc-cold. Thank goodness for the spot and flood lights that Karl installed on Angel cos they were brilliant. I’d never have been able to travel in those conditions with just the standard lights on the bird. Our speed was somewhat slow but steady (I kept thinking of the snail, slow and steady wins the race – not that this is a race but the theory is sound). We had to stop on the roadside and find the torch so I could check the manual directions. Charlie says we should turn up here according to the GPS but I said just follow me hoping that I was going to get us to Finley for a loo stop.
Thankfully Finley had open public toilets and we HAD to stop. I heard a bike approaching so flashed the torch to signal thinking it might be Chicky and it was. On meeting Chicky it was starting to click in my mind of what I’d set out to do. Said we were stopping in Deniliquin for breakky and a hot chocolate and he says “ok – see you there”. Chicky was off but as we don’t know the roads and the fog is still around we are miles behind. As the sun starts to rise the fog starts to clear thankfully and by the time we get to Deni I am relieved that we arrived safely. Pulling into Deniliquin Maccas Chicky is already tucking into his breakky and we are frozen and looking forward to ours. To my surprise Ricecooker rolls into the car park and I’m wrapped. We discuss our various plans and Charlieb & I decide to stick to our plan and head down the Cobb Hway to Hay.
By the time we leave Deniliquin the fog is gone the air is crisp and the road clear – awesome. Unfortunately according to the plan we are behind schedule and in fear of missing the check-in and I don’t want that. There were some beautiful photo opportunities but as time was of the essence they had to pass….sad. I was watching the GPS stats and hoping that things would be ok. My spirits were lifted by 1000% when on approach to the Mobil servo in Hay before my very eyes are about 20 FarRiders at various stages of their stop. My heart skipped at beat and my journey became reality!!
I pulled up to the bowser and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I think I was in a daze when I saw this smiling fella coming over to say gooday, it was Diesel and said “see you there”. It then registered that we were going to make it, the panic was over and the excitement kicked in. The last 200 odd kays to Euston was the most exciting of the trip for me. My heart was racing ten to the dozen and I wanted that victory of checking in on time and my FarRide under the belt.
I honestly cannot describe the feeling I experienced as I road down the drive of the Euston Club and saw all the other bikes and riders. I couldn’t park quick enough to take a couple of photos and meet some people. A big HI 5 to Charlieb and a kiss for Angel and I was one happy lady but I hadn’t checked in yet so that was priority number 1 for now. I was so proud of myself when I gave the gentleman my name and docket (not Clint but I didn’t catch the gents name). I’d completed my first FRE completing 1144kms and the sense of achievement is undeniably amazing. Now let the socialising begin.
Everybody was so welcoming and it was great to finally put faces to names. I would’ve liked to have met everyone but you soon realise that’s not possible as folks have goals and need to keep pushing on. Took a walk around and took pics…as you do.
After chatting and meeting many and listening to the wealth of knowledge and stories from the seasoned riders I needed some time out and headed for the cabin which I was sharing with Charlieb & Mel for a bit of a nanna rest. A cuppa tea with Mel and a lay down with my book was good time for a recharge of the batteries before dinner.
Sitting at dinner with those who had stayed on was fabulous. But time is too short and before you know it the clock is ticking on and you realise that you have many more miles to cover tomorrow. You say your goodnights and goodbyes til the next one and head for your cabin.
Alarm bleeps at 5:00am…..NO I don’t want to get up, but have to. Check to make sure Charlieb is awake and get ready to leave. Ready to go say hoo-roo to Mel and start Angel……well tried –flat battery Oh No. This can’t be happening!! I’ve never clutched a bike before so Mel gives me some tips while her and Charlieb push and push and push. I can’t get her going…crap. My knights in shining arm are in the forms of Diesel, Chez and Paul (I’ve got jumper leads but just want to watch them push)- sorry mate couldn’t let that one slip…. After two attempts they have her going YAY. My heros!!! Hugs all round and wave everyone farewell. Angels low beam isn’t working for now but by the time the battery charges back up she’ll be all good again.
It’s a beautiful morning, clear sky and not to cold. With hi-beam only we head to Balranald for fuel. Switch Angel off hoping that she’ll start again. Vroom Vroom and the low beam is back in action – all good. Next stop Hay and what a nice ride as we watch the sun come up over our wonderful countryside.
We stop for a photo about 70km out of town we stop again to change to tinted visors as the sun is blinding.
Another 10 kays down the road and what’s this FOG…damn and it’s turned cold. By the time we get to Hay hot chocolate and breakfast are in order to warm up. Ricecooker stops in for fuel and a quick hello before heading next door to meet up with Tony K.
With full bellies and feeling somewhat warmer we head off. What a beautiful day for a ride. We are just cruising along with each town for fuel being a milestone to get home. I started to get a bit yawny and a bit sore in the left shoulder so decide to crack the visor suck some fresh air and take in the gorgeous scenery surrounding us. My yawning soon passes and I’m glad for a stop when we get to Narrandera. Charlieb said he was feeling the same so we decide to take a short break. As we are getting ready to park the bikes Greg rolls in on his ST1300. Armed with chocolate and drinks we stand around have a good old natter.
I didn’t get to meet Greg yesterday so was great to meet someone else today. We are relaxed and feel much better but still have a long way to go. Say bye to Greg and push on.
Bopping along to my country music I think to myself I don’t remember this section of road from my SS1600 but then realise it was dark when I came through here then. I take in the sights and would’ve liked to stop for more photos but each stop adds time getting home so keep going. The worms are biting by the time we hit Gundegai where I’d planned a lunch stop. Bullocky’s Cafe is the go here but make sure you don’t pick the day the seniors bus pulls in. There are nanna’s and pops everywhere dithering around and cluttering up the bathrooms. Seriously how many nanna’s have to brush their teeth when all I want is to get out of there….geez.
Gearing up and the sky is turning this yukky grey, we might, just might get a bit wet but I hope not. Slabbing up the freeway well it’s not very interesting. Pulling into the Big Merino, there are cars everywhere at the bowsers and we have quite a wait to refuel. This foreign dude had no idea how to put fuel in his I30 and asks me for help. I fuel his car up for him and he thanks me graciously. We are doing good time and look to be at home on schedule.
I’d scheduled a hoo-roo at Pheasants Nest and it’s a steady trip there. I thank Charlieb for the company and the adventure of the weekend for my first FarRide and he thanks me for planning our trip. We head in the same direction weaving through the traffic until the M5 & M7 turn offs, were it’s here we give a toot toot, wave and head in our own directions home.
What a great feeling it was pulling up the driveway to be greeted by Karl and very satisfied with my achievements for the weekend. Trip home was 974 kms and total for the weekend 2118 kms. I had a ball this weekend, met some fabulous folk and can’t wait for the next one.