Friday, June 4, 2021

Riding The Great Dividing Range - Part III

 

Well, as I alluded to, I wasn't disappointed with the overnight temperature!

 It was on the lower side of "comfortable" during the night and perhaps because of this I was awake quite early. Everything was wet with dew so I wasn't going anywhere until the sun hit our little campground to dry things out. This was fine as I went for a bit of a walk around as it was now daylight and I could see what was where.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Riding The Great Dividing Range - Part II


While the sound of the waterfall was a soothing background sound for the night, it was overpowered at times by the heavy rain falling on my tent. At least this new tent was completely waterproof so I was warm and dry, again, while tucked up inside.

In the morning light I could now see that I was camped right next to the falls, hence their volume during the night. I started to take the walking track down to the bottom of the falls for a look but as soon as I did it began to rain again. This saw me beat a hasty retreat back to the tent.


I used a break in the showers to quickly pack up. There would be no drying the tent before packing it up today but I would sort that out later. For now I just wanted to hit the road and find some food and coffee in Glenn Innes. 

Hitting the road to Glenn Innes I found visibility quite limited in thickish fog (more likely cloud down to the ground) and light rain. Level 5 on the heated grips and hiding behind the enormous screen kept me warmish and dry. The shiny, wet tar wasn't much fun on cold knobby tyres so I spent a lot of concentration on staying off the shiny line, just in case. Once out of the fog I stopped to look back at the brooding sky. At least I could see blue sky faaar off to the west.

Looking back to whence I came. Brrrr.

Riding into Glenn Innes there were cars and people everywhere. I was going to check out the Australian Standing Stones but as I passed the entrance it looked like they were taking money and the road was lined with cars for kilometres. Some event or other was clearly happening in town this weekend. Trying to find a park in the main street confirmed this, with every park full and the main street a conga line of cars going both ways. WTF!?

I eventually found a spot next to a line of ADV bikes, in front of a new-to-me cafe'. Chatting to the guys it seems they were the large group of ADV riders I passed on the Old Grafton road yesterday. They said "ah, you were the guy flying along the other way" . Lol, I was standing on the pegs and "making progress" at the time but I wouldn't say I was "flying".

I wandered into the cafe', called "The Local" and was greeted by the most cheerful waiter I reckon I have ever met. Taking a seat I grabbed some coffee and breakfast. It seems The Local is dedicated to sourcing local produce from the New England region and providing top notch service. I was mightily impressed with not only the food but the outstanding service they gave on what was clearly an extremely busy day for them. If you are travelling through Glenn Innes another bonus is that The Local is right next to The Great Central Hotel, another excellent food/accommodation option in Glenn. You can't go wrong with either.

While sipping my coffee I perused the BOM website to check out the weather further west. It looked like rain all along the ranges while the forecast (and more importantly, the actual) was for blue skies and mid twenties temperatures out west. I decided to head that way and check out Inverell, a town I hadn't visited since ~1988. The benefit of doing this is that I would be able to dry my tent out at some stage too.


I fuelled up and gave the bike a quick pressure clean at the car wash to knock the worst of the mud off from yesterday. After a quick look around Glenn Innes I got sick of the heavy traffic and decided to hit the road again.

Just crazy traffic for a small country town!

The road to Inverell was quite busy this morning. It was a good stretch of tar that reminded me a lot of the roads around Parkes, NSW. I passed a cute little church in a paddock and decided to turn around for a closer look. It was interesting that the church was inside a farmer's paddock and oriented toward the north-north east i.e. away from the road. Time for some droning...

Rolling again and I was soon in Inverell. I was actually quite surprised at the size of the town and how prosperous the main streets looked. Every building was occupied and the street was packed with parked cars. I found my way around the back of the shopping centre to park on the Macintyre River where I proceeded to unpack my tent and spread it out over a park bench. I also spied a power box on a power pole...on closer inspection it was unlocked AND had several power points inside. This was a great opportunity to multi task as I plugged my drone batteries in for a charge.

Battery charging post


Macintyre River

After an hour or so of chilling out in the sun my tent was dry and my drone batteries charged. Some quick photos around town, then I head out the Tingha road to the south, another road I have never been on.
 

I was originally going to cut across to Guyra but I must have missed the turn and keep tracking south toward Bundarra. It was a pleasant enough ride but I kept getting showered on. This was weird as every time it rained on me I was in full-on, bright sunshine! I could see individual clouds around the place with rain falling from them but every time I got wet I was in the sun! There must have been a stiff breeze pushing the rain away from the clouds it fell from.

I was now tracking for Uralla - somehow - but I didn't want to go that far south as I needed to get through Armidale so I could head out the Ebor road for tonight's camp ground at Point Lookout.

I ended up coming into Armidale from the west on the Budarra rd, another new to me road. I was initially a bit disoriented as I came into Armidale as I hadn't seen it from that direction before! I eventually found the shopping centre and proceeded to buy some supplies for tonight. Two more sausages from the butcher and two ...er... four beers (hey, they were $2 more for 2 more cans) and a top up of fuel for the bike.

I had forgotten how far out the road the Point Lookout turnoff was. The better part of an hour later I was turning east, onto the gravel, to find a spot in Thungutti campground. I had stayed here in 2019 on my last ADV bike ride and found it to be a top notch (for Australia) facility with the added benefit of breathtaking views from Point Lookout.

It was a rather bleak and dreary late afternoon when I arrived. I was pleased to see that there weren't many other campers and even more pleased to see that the spot I camped at two years ago was free, with nobody close by! Score!

Again, I set up quickly (probably Olympic record pace) as it looked like it could rain at any moment. Some guy come over for a chat while I at it. Turns out he was between jobs and was camping because it was cheap and he was basically homeless. We chatted for a bit then I took my leave to ride up to the lookout to see what I could see.

The lookout is about 4 kilometres up the hill and as I climbed the cloud came down to meet me. Bugger! It was clear that I wouldn't be seeing much today. As I arrived in the car park a fellow who was just leaving informed me that there was a nice little fire going in the hiker's shelter. I decided to sit by the fire and read the information boards that line the inside of the shelter for a while. Who knows, the weather may clear....


I decided it was now or never so took the short walk to the lookout. It was spectacular after the very wet last few months with moss and lichen growing abundantly.



Unfortunately, the view was switched off today. Not totally unexpected.


Oh well, back to camp then.


I set to work on getting a fire going in my little fireplace. Like last night, no easy task as all the timber was wet from days of rain. I had the company of my new best mate, Mick and a few beers to while the time away so it was actually a pleasant enough afternoon. Two young girls pulled up in a Prado and proceeded to set up camp near me. We all chatted for a while and eventually cooked dinner on the campground bbqs before retiring to my fire to stave off the cold. The girls worked for Sydney Uni as researchers and while clearly intelligent, had opinions that they couldn't back up with life experience. It was like talking to my daughter I thought to myself. Very intelligent, lots of opinions but no experience. I guess we were all there once and it is probably more a reflection of how many times I have been around the sun. Mick seemed like a pretty decent, well educated bloke, just down on his luck at the moment. 

This whole Covid bullshit year has brought home to me how easily one can lose their way and find themselves in a tough spot. It began to bucket down again, ruining a nice evening by the fire, so I wished him luck in his job hunt before we all turned in for the night



Day 4


It rained a lot again during the night but again, my little tent was warm and dry. I also slept in this morning, finally getting up at about 0830. I just had a quick apple/museli bar breakfast before packing my gear up. I headed up to the lookout in the hope of a view but it was just like looking at the inside of a ping pong ball again.

I had fun on the road out as it was damp but really good gravel, unleashing a lot of the 94 ponies onto the rear Bridgestone. Controlled standing drifts - just like Toby Price....well, in my head anyway.

I got myself into Armidale pronto and went in search of a coffee shop for a breakfast and planning session. It was actually pretty difficult to fine one on a Sunday morning. Perhaps I was looking in the wrong place. Anyway, I eventually found Era Espresso which conveniently had a tree directly opposite it....so out came the wet tent and got the clothesline treatment...in the middle of the main street of Armidale. 


At least I could keep a good eye on it while I ate.


What was I doing in Armidale I hear you ask? That isn't on the planner! Well, with the rain seemingly confined to the coast I decided not to drop down the Kempsey road, then come back around through Gloucester, Nundle and Scone to Barrington Tops (the road to the Tops was closed on the Gloucester side due to a land slip) as not only would it be wet but also an almost 800 kilometre day, a lot of it on gravel. So, I would head down to Nundle and stay on the western side of the range.

My tent dry again, I popped into the petrol station to top up. The car next to me was all wet so I took a chance and asked the woman driving it where the car wash was. "Just around the corner" was the answer so I popped around to pressure wash the worst of the mud off the bike and bags again. I like to look after my stuff and there is no need to be covered in crud for a week.

It is always a boring ride across to Walcha but must be done if a rider wants to access the mighty Oxley Highway or Thunderebolt's Way. A quick look around a very quiet Walcha and I spied this metal art shop. It was closed but I got a couple of photos through the window. This is one very talented individual!


Please excuse the thumb....d'oh!


With not much happening in Walcha today I hit the road toward Gloucester. This is the Thunderbolt's Way, a renowned bike road. A bike road that I had never sampled on a bike before. In fact, the only time I had been on it was during 2017 on the drive down to ride the Thunderbolt's Adventure on the mountain bike.

The road wasn't great being narrow and poorly surveyed - typical old school country NSW road - so not unexpected. I came to the Nundle turn off and stopped for a quick break. 
More new to me road beckoned!


This was the countryside right behind the bike in the above photo. Lush and green for Australia!


The next few kilometres were awesome! Newly sealed, nicely surveyed 75 and 85km/h signposted curves over hills and down dales. I had a ball on Topdale road! It didn't last too long though before the road went all narrow and rough, overhung by stunted gum trees. There was moss/lichen growing on the cracks on the road and in the crevices of the chip seal, a bit like on the road to Milford Sound in New Zealand.
I continued on until I came to this sign. Steve had mentioned Port Stephens Cutting recently but I had no idea what or where it was. To me, Port Stephens is a town just north of Newcastle on the NSW coast. I liked the look of all of the "slow down" and "trucks use low gear" warning signs though. It sounds steep and twisty to me!


And it was! Only one or two cars, quickly dispatched and I was having a blast again. This taking the road lesser travelled thing was paying dividends in the enjoyment stakes!

The rest of the ride to Nundle was on quiet, narrow back roads. After turning at Dungowan there was an immense amount of traffic coming the other way - almost all 4wd cars. I was trying to figure out whether it was a 4wd convention or what, all the way to Nundle. All was revealed as I rolled into Nundle to see hundreds of cars lining the road and signs proclaiming that the Nundle Dog Races were on today! Not greyhound races, just every other sort of dog by the look of it. I'm not sure how they raced them. I reckon it would have been like trying to herd cats....

One of the main reasons I wanted to check out Nundle is to see the memorial in the main street to the victims of a DC3 crash that occurred in the nearby hills back in 1948. 



The "Lutana" crash was another bloody footnote in the slow, plodding progress that Australian civil aviation authorities made on the path to a safe, reliable air transit system. There is talk that the flight attendant was running late and another girl agreed to do the flight. As the Lutana taxied to the end of the field the rostered flight attendant arrived and was rushed out to the aircraft as it sat, running, on the end of the runway(or field). Sadly, little did Miss B.M. Wise realise she was rushing to her death!


Leaving Nundle the sun was starting to dip toward the horizon again. Blast these short Autumn days! I had about 200km to go to my camp site for the night and quite a bit of that was up a winding dirt road. I set of at a fair clip for the New England Highway. Once on the highway I settled down to a respectable pace as it is infested with some of the state's finest mobile revenue raisers and I didn't need to contribute.
I stopped briefly in Scone for fuel, some chocolate and two beers for the night's camp. No sausages tonight! I was in for a treat!
Heading out the Gundy road it sure was nice to be heading east - away from the setting sun. The Gundy pub was pumping as I cruised past. I was so tempted to stop but I was racing the light as it was, so pushed on. The road onward to Moonan Flat was actually a hoot, with some single lane bridges, lots of bends and a cracking set of 35km/h corners as I descended into Moonan Flat.
I cruised straight past the pub (pretty much all that was there) and headed for Barrington Tops road. I had ridden down this in the Thunderbolts ride and knew to expect a wide, winding gravel climb. I got the arms out, weighted the outside peg again and gassed the big girl up the hill. This was fun!
As I got near the top of the climb the sunset behind me was too good to not stop and take in.


Just after this photo I got to the dingo gate at the top of the climb and started across the "Tops".


This bit of road brought memories of the Thunderbolts ride flooding back. We were not quite half way around the ride that day as we got to this spot after about 6 hours of hard pedalling and about to drop down that hill which I had just climbed. I recalled the feeling of euphoria as we effortlessly dropped off the Tops to Moonan Flat pub for lunch.

For now though I just had to put my head down. I blasted across here at about 100km/h as I was really pushing the light. When I got to the Little Murray campground turnoff I was relieved....until I saw it was another 5 kilometres into the campground and the "road" was rough and rocky. No problem, it just meant slow going,
So I arrived at the campground literally on last light and bettered my Olympic record tent setup time from last night. My gear was in the tent as darkness fell and I was soon changed and chilling out, looking at 1 000 000 000 000 or so stars above me.
This was a "bring your own firewood" campground and of course I hadn't so I sat on the picnic bench, nicely rugged up as the other four groups camped around me burned a mountain of wood.
No stress though. I set the Jetboil to work on some water while I tucked into one of the beers I had picked up in Scone. It was a New England Brewing (from Uralla) IPA that was bloody tasty.


I used the quiet time to peruse the map and sip beer. Win/win.


While I waited for my gourmet Morrocan lamb dinner to rehydrate I started to feel a bit tipsy. On closer inspection of the beer I could see why. 


6.6% !!?? Normally I don't like the taste of beer with more than 5.5 or 6% alcohol in it but I didn't notice it tainting the flavour in this Hop Cannon. Bloody nice stuff actually!

I chowed down on the Morrocan Lamb which was quite tasty, then retired to the tent for a bite of chocolate, then turned in for the night.


It was the first clear night of the trip and as I was at 5000ft above sea level I expected it to be pretty cool. I wasn't to be disappointed!

Another great day in the saddle with 440km under the wheels.

Stay tuned for more.....


Cheers.










































Thursday, May 27, 2021

Riding The Great Dividing Range

Ok, so I eventually got away.....

(The prelude to this post - you can catch up here.) 

...with the intent to roughly follow this route. I would make variations to the route if the weather wasn't playing nicely but at this stage the forecast looked promising.

You can zoom and pan the Ride With GPS map . You can also download the route!


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Jack Cracks it

 

Well, it has been a long time coming but Jack Miller has finally won his first dry Moto GP race for Ducati!!

I'm a "Johnny-come-lately" to watching Moto GP again, basically missing all of the action from about 2005 until 2018 when my young bloke, Will, started showing some interest in it. So I can't claim to know Jack's back story or his trajectory through to this win very well at all. He does come across as your typical Aussie lad though so I, like many of our countrymen (and women) feel a certain connection to him - he feels like one of your mates or your brother's mates if you get what I mean.

The reality is probably very different as he is most likely far more sophisticated then your average Aussie yobbo. His accent changes during interviews with reporters of different nationalities would seem to hint at the fact there is more than meets the eye. 10 years in Europe will probably do that.

Which brings me to the point of this post.


Well done Jack!! Bloody awesome!!

Chillertek photo from the 2019 Australian Moto GP

It has been a long time since we have had an Aussie to cheer for (remember, I missed the Stoner years)  and I must say it feels nice! Fingers crossed for some more crazy celebrations.....





Cheers




















Thursday, April 29, 2021

ADV Tracking Link

 

Ok, so I've got some more unpaid time off and I thought "fcuk it, I'm going to ride my bike. But first I need to fit up the Barrett pannier racks that came with the bike AND I need to sort out these contaminated brakes......oh, and if I'm going to do a few thousand kilometres loaded up, I am probably going to need a new rear tyre. ($$$$$$$)

I am trying a(nother) Bridgestone AX41 Adventurecross (the bike came with one on the rear) on the rear as that will match the new front I put on a few months back. We will see how they go on proper gravel but I have been happy with the last one so far.


I really hope these new pads and a good scrub of the discs with brake cleaner fixes their issues. 


The "old" pads were virtually new by the look of them. Shame they are contaminated.


I probably should have rubbed the discs with wet and dry paper as well but as it was my daughter's birthday yesterday, I just ran out of time.
New shiny pads!


It is also time to try out the new tent that I bought in mid 2019 after my last ADV camping ride. Yes, it has been that long since I did one of these and the poor tent has just been sitting in the cupboard. I bought this tent as it is a little more spacious than my bikepacking ones and still quite light at 2.4kg. It came recommended by one of the regular tourers from the Netrider forum and is a bit different as it is assymetrical - sort of.


So, I am finally all loaded up and she be a mighty, portly beast....



and only 2-3 hours late in leaving! Oh well, I have 8 days until I need to be home so no rush!

This here post also contains the link to my Spotwalla page and the Ride With GPS route I created. The tracker goes live from 6am EST (Thursday 29th April) but I probably won't actually hit the road until 9 or 10am. (edit: see above for timings!)

I have some cool "new to me" backroads planned as well as some old favourites so I hope the tracker(s) work! I have used Chris Wiltshire's tutorial on how to load a base map onto Spotwalla so lets see how it goes.


https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/8d40-1296073c-3de3/view


Spot Tracker Link






Cheers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

State Of Origin

 

With some work (and income) finally on the horizon I thought it might be time to take my foot off the gas for a weekend to just get out and PLAY.

My little Bro (Chillertek) and his mates from Sydney were planning a ride up my way as a piss weak replacement for their planned Tasmania trip. 

Unless you have been living under a rock you would know that planning interstate trips in Australia the last 12 months is a bit of Russian roulette, what with snap border closures and hotel quarantining at your own expense for two weeks greeting the unsuspecting traveller. So, the crew decided to Go North, North to Alask.....er....Queensland actually, or to be more precise, to Kyogle, which is just short of the NSW/QLD border and would allow cross border raids while being able to quickly retreat behind the safety of  Gladys' apron.

I missed the first day's riding and shenanigans due to the afore mentioned income producing activities. But I was up at 0415 to get the first flight home so that I could jump on one of my bikes and meet the crew as they headed North. I wish I had a dollar for every sunrise I have seen from an aircraft. At least this morning I could kick back and close my eyes for a bit.


Back in Brisbane I raced home and threw my gear together, loaded the bike, took a quick photo and headed off to meet the boys. Probably not hard to guess which bike I chose.


I had a rough plan to meet the guys as they came off the range from Tenterfield toward Casino but as I rode I figured I was making "good progress" (eh Geoff ) and I would be able to head them off by Tenterfield. With this in mind I changed my route to the awesome Mt Lindesay Road which is a mixture of seal and dirt. This would give me an opportunity to test the big girl on some fast dirt roads after her recent suspension work.

As I was keen to not miss the guys and girls I didn't make too many stops. I did however stop on the famous "Head Rd" a few times as the views are simply stunning.

Yes, it IS steep and it IS narrow so I took The Head climb very carefully as I always do. I didn't stop at The Falls lookout today as I wanted to get up onto the plateau overlooking Condamine Gorge as quickly as possible. There was a bit of traffic on the second narrow climb but to my delight they all pulled over and let me pass. That has never happened before!

I had to stop at "my" Nissin hut though. I love the simplicity of this old war surplus Nissin hut with the way it is plonked, sitting at almost exactly 1000m (3280ft) above sea level, in the middle of a lush green field, overlooking SEQ's Scenic Rim.

One day, one day......

Mounting back up I passed the cars who had let me through again, with all their kids madly waving at me, which were stopped at the Mt Superbus lookout. 

There was no stopping now for me though, as I blasted my way past Queen Mary Falls, Killarney, Legume, Liston, Wilson's Downfall and the F-111 crash site, into Tenterfield.

I thought I would ride through town to the BP station on the southern side of town as the group would have to pass me there.

As I pulled into the petrol station there was a HUUUGE group of riders on loaded adv bikes (mostly DR650s) and I was standing on the pegs looking at them as I peeled in. Stopping at a pump, a big group of bikes came in the Glenn Innes road and I recognised Geoff (Bushpig) and Dave's Tuono. A half a dozen of them pulled in and we exchanged G'days.

My phone rang and it was Steve asking me where I was, clown? "I'm waiting for you was my reply". "Didn't you see me as you pulled into the station" he asked? "Nope" I said...... apparently he and Doug had ridden past at the exact moment I was ogling all of the adv bikes and I didn't see either of them...even though it was just a two lane road....in a small country town.....

Anyway, we quickly saddled up and met them at one of the other servos in town, exchanging more G'days. Then we were off down the Bruxner highway, next stop Drake. This is a very nice bit of road and I was having fun trying to keep up with the leading quartet of R1s, Tuonos and MT10s. I would be dropped on the flip flop turns as I just couldn't turn the big girl quick enough but winding on the throttle hard out of the turns to make that ground back was fun. Luckily the lads weren't going too hard and I could tag along to watch the freight train.

Pulling into Drake we stopped for refreshments at The Lunatic Hotel. Yep, that is what it is called and no, I didn't ask why. Some things are better left unanswered....


The Drake courtesy bus looked a bit underutilised.


I got to put a few faces to internet/Facebook names here meeting Scotty, Brett and his wife Marjo. Brett was the super fast guy wheelying everywhere on his MT10 and Marjo had a very nice, matching blue MT07. Scotty was on a puss yellow V-Strom but seemed like a nice guy in spite of this.... 😜

We didn't stay too long here. I swapped Geoff bikes here and he sampled my Africa Twin Adventure Sports while I tried out his 2020 AT1100. 

Wow! The two bikes were chalk and cheese. Mine was way taller than Geoff's bike and his bike seemed way punchier than mine. Maybe the load/fuel slowed mine a bit as 100cc shouldn't make that much difference. Geoff's brakes were also much stronger than mine which helped confirm my theory that there is something wrong with my front brakes. (During the last service I asked that they check them. They cleaned the discs, which made a difference but suggested the pads may be contaminated. This adds up with the original owner saying that he replaced the fork seals at 9000km. I assume fork oil got on the pads so I will be replacing the pads and scrubbing the discs in the dishwasher soon)

I also noticed how friggin bright my lights were while Geoff was following me. With the driving LEDs running all the time, the tall screen and the white hand guards it looks a lot like a police motorcycle in one's mirrors. Maybe this was why people were letting me past so easily this morning?

Arriving in Kyogle we went to the Exchange Hotel where there was a bit of a cock-up with the rooms. Or more precisely, there were too many of us for the number of rooms. This worked out in my favour as I got a room at the other (better IMHO) hotel, the Commercial Hotel, where Steve and I had stayed when in Kyogle two years ago. The down side was I was sharing with Scotty - a world champion snorer according to the other guys. Right, let the battle begin!!

But not before lots of beers and some great food at the Exchange Hotel. I tottered off to bed around midnight and managed to get a reasonable amount of sleep.

Day 1 route -




Day 2


Day two started with a bit of messing around with my drone. It wouldn't connect to my phone/controller initially which I think has something to do with the metal fire escape we were standing on. Once I moved away everything worked normally but I was over trying to mess with it by this stage, so got no real footage or photos. Just two clowns on the fire escape...


and our bikes behind the pub.


We lurched off for a very nice, if slow breakfast at a local cafe. There WERE 14 of us so I guess on top of the local clientele, we were a big group of hungry mouths.


After much faffing around at the petrol station, we were finally under way. I rode Steve's R1 so he could try my Africa Twin. I tried to swap him helmets too but he wouldn't be in it. So, I rode the R1 with my ADV helmet. Actually, the clear air made it run smoother than behind the screen of the big AT!

I was designated leader for the day even though Kwokky and Relphy (fellow Brisbanites) were in the group. It took me a good while to get used to holding onto the front axle of the R1 so I took it pretty steady to start with. The northern end of the Summerland Way is FUN, as is the last section of Mt Lindesay Highway before it crosses the border. I went as fast as I was comfortable with here and waved Brett through as he was having a ball on the MT10. 

Once you cross the border into QLD, the road turns to absolute shite. It is a bumpy goat track and riding a sports bike set for a 110kg rider saw me launched out of the seat multiple times, so I backed right off until we stopped for some photos and a leg stretch at the base of Mt Lindesay.

Chillertek photo.

ChillerTek and Mt Lindesay


The Lads and Ladette.

Marjo hurrying everyone up with "The Force" while Troy fiddles with clickers.

We regrouped in Beaudesert with a splash of fuel so that we wouldn't need fuel again today. The next section of road is pretty mundane and very busy, with road works holding up traffic and Sunday traffic....er...holding up traffic. There were a couple of turns to make and with such a large group I was concerned that we might lose someone. Luckily, we didn't and everyone made the final right turn past Canungra jungle warfare army training base and headed up to Beechmont. Just as the traffic reduced and the riding became a bit more spirited, I crested a rise to see a police road block covering the road. Shit!!
I rolled in to be guided to the officer at the end of the line, thinking "shit, this will be a rego/noise/compliance check" and what a dickhead I was to bring everyone up here on a Sunday. 😳 
The officer opened with "I used to have one of these in blue"! I said "I do have one in blue"! Then quickly explained this R1 wasn't mine, but my brother's and he was on my Africa Twin somewhere behind me. After a quick breath test and a "take it easy fellas, its busy up here today" from the officer we were on our way.
Phew!! That went well!!

We tootled the last few kilometres into Beechmont and stopped at the famous Flying Bean cafe'. I have never been here on a Sunday and I probably won't ever again! It was BUSY!!
To be honest, we were served very quickly though and as the adrenaline rush of the police road block wore off we settled back to enjoy watching the paragliders and the parade of bikes going past.




Dodgy Bros...plus Brett, Craig and Relphy. Behind is the Numinbah valley and Mt Warning. Our next stop.

Flying Bean cafe'.

We then dropped off the mountain, onto the Advancetown road down along the Numinbah Valley towards Mt Warning and the NSW border. The Advancetown intersection is where we bid Kwokky and Relphy goodbye as they peeled off left and headed for home in Brisbane.
This is a nice bit of road but was very busy on a Sunday afternoon. We stopped at the old Tick Gate on the border crossing for a look over the Murwillumbah valley. I didn't get any photos, so here is one I stole from Steve!

ChillerTek photo.

While stopped I carefully explained to EVERYONE that the very next hamlet we came to, Chillingham, we would be taking the only right turn which is in the middle of town. 
So, how many do you think made the turn?
Doug, Marjo, Steve and I. Out of 12 riders that isn't a good percentage. (it might be 33.3333% in fact)
Well, they knew where were heading so would just have to negotiate Murwillumbah's streets and meet us in Uki. Mean time, we enjoyed some of the best, fast back roads in the hinterland with the run from Tyalgum to the Uki road being a real cracker.

About 3km from Uki the "lost boys" joined onto the back of our quartet, just as it began to rain on us. We were soon outside the Mt Warning Hotel in Uki and very quickly inside it for a refreshing ale. There was a one man band playing and while he wasn't bad, he WAS LOUD, so a few of us retreated to the far end of the verandah so that we could hear ourselves think.

The others were keen to get back to Kyogle and complete the day's riding but Dave M, Steve, Scotty and I decided to wait a while to let the road dry out as it is also one of THE best hinterland roads in northern NSW.

Another ChillerTek image I stole. Thanks Bro!

No more photos for the afternoon as we didn't stop along here (well, Steve did apparently) as the road was dry and the riding spirited. We got split up by a couple of slow moving vehicles and it was fun trying to catch back up. The Uki to Kyogle road is a real hoot and everyone should try it at least once.

ATASportsbike. Chillertek photo.

Rolling into Kyogle I resisted the urge for instant beer and instead filled the bike up. Steve rolled in a bit behind and did the same. Here are our mighty steeds, resting after a right thrashing. I'm not in the league of the sporty boys but it is surprising how quick you can punt a big dirt bike along. It's no slouch.


A short 100m ride back to the pub and I headed for a quick shower. There were two showers in the pub. One was "normal" while the other you seriously had to run around under the rose to get wet. I made sure I got the "normal" one tonight. No more exercise was required for the day!

Arriving down at the bar we were SHOCKED to hear they were almost at last drinks!! 
WTF!!?? It was just after 5pm on a Sunday! 
The other pub in town was already shut and this one was about to pull the rug out from under us!
A crisis was averted as we managed to sweet talk the bar maid into serving us for about another hour and a half, then picking up a "supply" of takeaway beers for our Chinese banquet at the local restaurant. 11 or 12 (I couldn't be bothered to count by this stage) of us tucked into a very nice feed of Chinese inspired Aussie country town reataurant tucker while bantering the night away.
After scoring some ice cream as a desert we wandered back to the upstairs lounge to help finish off the remaining beers and tell some more stories. I bailed at around midnight again and was asleep pretty much as my head hit the pillow.

Day 2 route -





Day 3 

The boys (and Marjo) needed to be up reasonably early today as they had some miles to cover to their overnight stop in Uralla. I, on the other hand, only had to do about half of the distance we did yesterday to get home.
We started with breakfast in another cafe in the main street. This was punctuated by a Coke truck driver trying to shave the awning off the cafe with his pantec truck. The owner didn't look too impressed and the young bloke driving the truck looked a bit sheepish but there seemed to be no major damage done.

Some of the others needed fuel so the better organised of us waited in the middle of the street, saying a few goodbyes. Steve showed us his elastic man arm and you can see the front of the Coke truck on the left of the photo, where it was still embedded in the cafe awning!


Once the troop headed south toward home I decided to cruise back along the Uki road, with no real plan in mind. After a while I thought it was as good a day as any to check out the little hippy town of Nimbin. I had never been through and decided I had better rectify that. 
Turning off the main road I was instantly on a narrow, winding goat track of tar. It must have become too "goat tracky" because I was soon parked at a road works stop and go sign for about 15 minutes. It was on a steep hill so I couldn't get off the bike. I also couldn't get my left leg to reach the ground, lest the mighty AT topple over and crush me, so my right leg was pretty damn knackered from supporting us by the time they waved me through!

I stopped soon after getting through the road works as there were some interesting rock formations on the hills above the road.


Arriving in Nimbin itself I found a VERY busy little village. The main street had no parking spaces left and after a couple of passes looking for a likely spot I gave up and headed out of town, pulling into a servo for a bottle of water and to plan "what next". 
It was nice having all day and not far to go.


I decided to go take a look at Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park. We used to race the Freedom Marathon on mtbs there when the kids were little, so about 8-10 years ago. It is a lovely place and I figured the falls would be roaring with all of the rain we have had.

The road out to Tuntable Creek and The Channon was very tight and narrow so I took it very carefully. It wound through a tunnel of trees and vines as this is definitely rainforest/jungle country. I was tempted to stop for a photo but decided not to at the time. I'm kind of wishing I did now though I am not sure how I would have captured it well because it is quite dark under the canopy.

I had the GPS on the navigation case and with it's "adventurous routing" active it started to get adventurous!


I quickly recognised sections of road that I had raced on the mtb years ago. Unfortunately I soon came to some temporary fence and 'road closed" signs. The road behind looked like VERY wet, slippery clay. I figured that they must be working on the forest roads and as this was actually the back way into the falls, I would turn around and take a look at the "front door".

It was a nice, cool, quiet road so I wasn't at all concerned by the reroute. In fact, it was awesome as I got to do the road twice!



The Dunoon rd was a real pleasure to ride, with a series of left/right/left/right/left/right flicks that went on for quite a while. 
Turning up the Minyon Falls rd I came to a locked gate, manned by...a...man. 
I stopped the bike and said G'day. The falls were obviously closed so I asked what was up. He said they were replacing the board walk from the parking area to the falls lookout and would be another 4-6 months. 
FFS! 
They must have the slowest carpenters in Oz working on it as I don't recall there being that much boardwalk. He went on to say he had turned away 93 cars on Saturday and 67 on Sunday. 
Clearly, this is why they had the gate manned. Otherwise people would find a way to get in there. 
I know if I had my mtb with me I would jump the gate and go for a pedal. They have a whole forest/national park closed so that they can replace a board walk that isn't even on the main access road through the forest?  
Just bu11sh1t!

Turning around I stopped for a very quick look at some sculpture works by the side of The Falls Rd. The guy is very talented but unfortunately I didn't want to get off the big bike (sloping ground) to get any decent photos, so this will have to do.
You get the idea.




I was a bit over it by now and decided to just make a bee line for home. Instead of doing the Burrinbar range rd I just hopped onto the freeway and buzzed home. I really need to do something about my speedo as it is over reading by 10km/h at 110km/h. So, that is showing 120 at an gps indicated 110. That is 10% ish more kilometres winding onto my odometer. I'll have to look at a speedo healer.

I also noticed that as I came up behind cars in the right lane, they all pulled into the left lane. Like immediately! This happened for the whole 130ish kilometres home and NEVER normally happens.
I think with all the lights, the tall screen and the white front it really must look like a police motorcycle in people's mirrors! 
I LIKE IT!



I arrived home to the regular Pademelon welcoming committee, who were busy mowing my lawn/shitting out weed seeds and gave the bike a wash. It actually had real mud on it this time! (just a little bit)


It was great to catch up with my little Bro after almost 12 months apart. He has a great group of mates who make me feel welcome, so thanks to all of them for inviting me along on the ride.
I only did 989km for the three days so definitely am the "candy ass" of the group for this ride but I was just happy that the work situation allowed me to get along for a part of the NSW vs QLD ride.


Cheers folks!



Day 3 Route -