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A trip down memory and some other lanes

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by XJ6N, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. #1 XJ6N, Dec 15, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
    You might've read or seen photos already; Netrider members Fr33dmFr33dm and GregglesGreggles very kindly invited me to join them on a ride to Bathurst and a lap or two of the mighty Mount Panorama race course road a weekend or so ago. As you also probably know, they are both pretty awesome people so I was fairly chuffed to be asked to go along. They are very patient which is just as well because a large portion of the riding was at my provisional licence speed limit of 90 km/h.

    I got home and realised I was very light-on in the photo department which makes for a bland ride report. So you'll just have to take my word that it was a good ride and a great day. Based on some of the roads we'd ridden along in the Orange district a week previous, on Saturday night I got the idea to ride a circumnagivation of Mount Canobolas early Sunday morning. I'm a slow learner but I'm beginning to get NosohNosoh's idea; if you want to take some good photos you better be up riding and riding early.

    However the cat decided that since it was Saturday night it didn't want to be found and hauled inside until after midnight. Of course, I slept in until after ten o'clock and didn't open the garage roller door until after one o'clock! 'Do or don't I go? It's too late, it's too hot...I should be doing jobs around the house...' Sometimes I just need a good kick up the a*se: 'Get going, stop carrying on, just ride for goodness' sake!' So I did.


    It was warm, thirty-three degrees and blustery on the busy highway to Wellington where I got fuel and a bottle of water. As I was riding out of Wellington the sudden fragrance of jasmine followed me for a several seconds; another of those unspoken benefits of motorcycling. I turned off along the back road to Orange through the villages of Mumbil, Stuart Town, Euchareena and Mullion Creek. The New South Wales central tablelands rise dramatically and suddenly from the east, south and west. From the north it is a gradual incline over thirty kilometres from 300 to 900 metres above sea level. The first little bits of cooler air started from about sixty kilometres from Orange. I have to focus on loosening my throttle grip as my right hand grows numb from the webbing between my thumb and forefinger as it did now and I stopped in the shade for a short break.


    The previous weekend, Fr33dmFr33dm, GregglesGreggles and I had brunched at a teahouse at the base of Mount Canobolas under a massive canopy of green leaves. Pancakes, bacon & egg rolls, coffee and juice. Today I topped up the tank in Orange and purchased the finest lunch fare that a service station could offer. The sandwich was tucked into my jacket and a drink into my tank bag. Talking of tank bags, Greggles showed me what a real tank bag looks like - big enough to do an overnight trip. Mine is about the same size and appearance as a small handbag. Suspiciously, it also came with a shoulder strap. I didn't show Greggles my tank bag.

    I went to high school at Orange. I only live a couple of hours' away but I haven't visited much until recently. The place holds mixed memories, the same for most people and their home town I suppose. I rode past a house where I'd visited a school friend many afternoons. He was the eldest of three with a sister a couple of years younger and a brother a couple of years younger again. The youngest, Bradley, had a bad habit of going into the bedrooms of the older two, taking their things and frequently breaking them. He'd put them back in place as though they'd magically leapt off the shelf on to the floor and broken. The older two had a peculiar free-form way of getting back at him later.

    "Hey Briddley, what are you doing?"

    "Noth-nothing...what did you call me?"

    "I didn't call you anything, just your name...Bridd."

    "...That's not my name, why are you calling me that?"

    "What do you mean, Briddley? What's the matter? I'm not doing anything."

    "Why are you calling me BRIDDLEY?!"

    Their sister would chime in.

    "Settle down Bridd, no one's being mean to you. What - don't you like your name all of a sudden..?"

    "My name's not BRIDD either! Stop it or I'll tell Dad!"

    "Okay go tell Dad, we're only calling you by your name..." And once more to seal the deal: "Briddley..."


    At this point one of their parents would hear the last thing Bradley had yelled and would rapidly appear.

    "Right! Bradley! Bedroom - now! No dessert! Don't you DARE speak like that!"

    The older two would give each other the 'Mission Accomplished' look.

    Briddley, or Brad grew up, stopped breaking his siblings' posessions and got his motorcycle licence when he turned sixteen. He bought a second-hand Honda, possibly a CBR if I recall correctly, and looked very cool riding around town in the mid-Nineties.

    But I digress. As it's my ride report you might have to put up with it from time to time.

    The first commute section of the ride done, it was time to head south from the city on Forest Road, turning onto Cadia Road towards the gold mine and then Four Mile Creek Road. I'd ridden this road a few weeks ago and apart from some variable surfaces to be expected on a logging road, it was reasonably bendy with sharp descents and ascents through the pines.




    As I went up through a three-bend section, CRRRSSSSKK! I'd never heard that before and it didn't sound good. You probably already know what it was but it took me at least a minute to pull over, get off the bike, look at the chain, tyres, guards. Nothing amiss. Hmm. It'd happened just at the apex of a left turn. The penny dropped and I lifted the left foot peg up and it was nicely scraped.


    I went on and the pines stopped. Blackberry bushes were everywhere, the berries just starting to appear. A trip back here in late January or early February with some buckets might be in order.


    Up to where eucalypts line the road as it runs along a ridgeline for a kilometre or two. Bracken ferns and beautiful long grass ran down the slopes where cattle grazed. This is another edge of the tablelands. Just beyond, the land falls dramatically and is brown and dry. The asphalt was in perfect condition and I made good use of it until stopping at the top of a steep hill to eat lunch, such as it was.



    Cattle wandered across the hillside to inspect me warily. I heard a vehicle approaching and a woman in a Landcruiser slowed to see if I was alright. I gave her a thumbs-up and 'Thank you' and off she went. As to most others, I find this particularly good. I've met quite a few people who, if they saw some bloke on a motorcycle stopped on a lonely rural road, would not consider stopping.

    After my sumptuous repast, I got going down the bends of the steep descent ahead. Double the advisory limit? Who can say? As advertised, the temperature rose and the landscape turned from green to brown and yellow. At the locality of Panuara I wasn't sure to go straight ahead or turn left. As I sat fiddling with my phone to work it out another rider on a cruiser taking advantage of the twisty roads went past me turning left and looking over his shoulder at me. I waved and thought if he's going that way it must be the way to go. A short way on over a hill, the view spread out to the slag heaps of Cadia Valley gold mine.


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  2. I followed the road around south side of the mine. Small valleys had been entirely filled with rubble from the mine. The road ended at a T-intersection with the Beneree-Flyer's Creek Road. The road name was vaguely familiar to me. I turned right only to be met by the other rider coming back and I soon saw why. The asphalt ended and a 'Road Work' sign was up. The white gravel road turned up a hill some kilometres away and I wasn't sure which direction it would ultimately take me. No sense of adventure, you see. After turning around and retracing my route past the T-intersection I found I was rising up the hills again. The narrow road was quite amazing. It was a patchwork of repaired potholes. There was hardly any of the pink aggregate of the original surface remaining and it went on for kilometres like this.

    At the intersection of a gravel laneway I stopped again, squeezing hard on the front. The sign said Watersons Lane. It's strange how time can pass but some things can come back in recognition in just a moment. I hadn't been here in thirty years but I remember visiting with my grandparents. They would come to see another elderly couple in a farmhouse sheltered by pines at the end of the lane. I would walk to the copse at the top of the hill ('Don't you go far!') and look down over the slopes towards Cowra or pedal a rusty tricycle along the garden paths. In Winter the wind would be bitterly cold. I remembered the good baking smell of their kitchen and the wood stove. I also remember watching a neighbouring farmer on his motorcycle across the paddocks and wanting one of my own (a motorcycle, not a farmer - let's be clear). Thirty years gone and everyone - the kindly couple, my grandparents - all long-dead. I didn't go far down the lane before turning around.


    No need to pry; off along the atrocious asphalt to Forest Reefs where people sat in the late afternoon on the tavern verandah and of course a few bikes parked.

    Time was getting on, it was now after five o'clock and my intention of riding all the way south and around the mountain was lost. Instead, I went back to Orange and then out again along the Cargo Road. Not so much a road for cargo as to a small place called Cargo. The road is frustratingly limited to 80 km/h. It rises and falls through orchards and vineyards for twenty kilometres and is very pretty, especially with the late afternoon sunlight on the shiny road surface. I turned down Bowan Park Road and soon came to a fairly spectacular vista to the west and north.


    After stopping to take it in I had, shall we say, a fairly involved run though to the small bushranger town of Cudal. Nothing particularly twisty but nice sweeping bends and a reasonably good road. At Molong I stopped for fuel and water again. A fellow with almost no English language was trying to pay for fuel ahead of me. He tried the PIN at least ten times while giving an explanation of why it wasn't working each time before giving in and paying by cash. Another cruiser rider gave me a thumbs-up outside the service station and with one in return, I went home in the sunset and unexpectedly cool air.

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  3. Awesome.. Just awesome..

    Love that last snap..
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  4. Know what you mean about the fragrance being one of the hidden bonuses (occasionally drawbacks) of motorcycling. There is a banksia plantation on the way to work that smells magic in spring. Never knew it was there until I rode the bike to work.

    OTOH, following a livestock truck can be unpleasant.
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  5. Eloquent, witty, engaging, heartwarming..... Excellent! Once again I was taken on an amazing riding adventure. That part of Aus has it's own magic, and I hope I can return one day riding my own two wheels. It was a pleasure to meet you XJ6NXJ6N, thank you so much for taking me down my memory lane too. What a brilliant way to start my day (y)
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  6. XJ6NXJ6N nice one and let me say it was a pleasure to meet you and one day I will be back down that way and we'll be able to try some new roads, without the speed restrictions.
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  7. Mate there's a book in here somewhere. Hope you keep all of these. In 10 yrs you can publish "my Australia by bike"...
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  8. Thanks LLLL! I was trying to get the ice-crystal halo around the sun. All the colours of the rainbow on either side too, but I needed a real camera to capture it. I stood there drinking a can of Sprite watching every vehicle take a race line into the oncoming lane on the curve across the brow of the hill, shaking my head. I'd nearly been cleaned up there on a ride a few weeks ago by someone doing just the same.

    It's just so good isn't it. The white cedars bloomed around here and the vanilla musk was everywhere, like riding in heaven or something. How's the riding been since the gravel incident? I nearly did the same through roundabout road works a few days ago and I'm still involuntarily puckering and clenching. Regarding livestock trucks, I watched a Triumph Tiger rider get coated in a nice thin spray of liquid cattle manure behind a truck last year. You'd never get the smell out of leather.

    Thank you, Fr33dmFr33dm! Also, I checked the Post Office box on Monday and there was a very welcome surprise! Your thoughtfulness is outstanding, thank you again. Also, the Dipper and the S's at Mount Panorama await! When I did the pre-Learner course at Bathurst in July 2014, I stayed overnight at the Rydges Mount Panorama and it was quite plush, not to mention the view over the mountain course and I can recommend it. There are just so many riding route options from there which leads me to...

    Well! If you stay at Parkes again, the route I went along from Orange to Cudal is well worth it; I'll be going that way again at some point too. Further east, there's the roads from Bathurst to Sofala, Hill End and Mudgee, the Bylong Valley Way and the Bells Line Road (both of which reach very close to each end of the famed Putty Road from Sydney and that HotelWhiskyHotelWhisky rode earlier this year), the road to Oberon and Goulburn and on it goes. Not to mention me riding to Queensland at some point too. The local roads you described sound awesome. Thanks again for your patience riding at that dratted highway speed with me.

    Thanks for reading through, chillibuttonchillibutton! It sometimes feels a bit incoherent when I go off on a tangent but it's all part of the ride isn't it. I can't wait to start doing some longer distances. I will have to become one of those people I sometimes see furiously scribbling into notepads they keep in their top pocket along with an assortment of Biros in order to remember what goes on and turn it into something remotely readable later.
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  9. I'd buy this ;)!
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  10. You are most welcome XJ6NXJ6N, keep taking those wonderful pics of your lovely bike and sharing them with us here. I can only imagine how lovely it will look without a P plate on it's tale, all "grown up"!

    Well, that's an idea! Thank you very much for the tip (y)! That's definitely something for me to aim for. Another "Boroka challenge"!
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  11. I've had a similar image idea in my mind for a while. The bike silhoutte against the setting sun (Both a close shot and a from afar) but never got around to it plus I've not been able to locate such a perfect spot. Maybe one day I'll. :)

    In the interim, I've saved your photo (I hope you dont mind) in a 'Bike Photos' folder which I revisit from time to time.

    As I've said before - you've a natural flair there and those 'incoherent' sentences strike a chord with a lot of us riders.

    One day I may write something too and share here...BUT till then, I'll visit these place through your words!

    So keep riding and keep writing and keep sharing!
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  12. Pens and paper...or.....voice activated digital recorder so you can get your thoughts down without missing a beat. Question is, does the writing at current standard require "down time" for thought processing. Interesting question...?
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  13. Good write up XJ6N, hopefully many more tours to come ;)
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  14. XJ6NXJ6N straight back on the bike after the little incident.
    Confidence took a hit but it'll pass.
    Came out with a big purple bruise behind my knee so I think I had a minor tear in a hamstring. Pretty good now though.
    I'm yet to scratch a peg - I'd feel pretty damn happy with myself if I was getting some of that action unintentionally.
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  15. There's also Annie's Old-Fashioned Ice-Cream Parlour at Bathurst too. I know from your comments about ice-cream stops you've made at on Grampians rides that this might feature on any return "challenge" trips to the mountain. An ice-cream van doing laps of the mountain would be perfect.

    It is a big compliment. Finding the right light for a photo is like the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow a lot of the time isn't it. Thanks again - I will look forward to a ride report you might post in the future.

    A particularly insightful question and solution. Now, I sit down at the computer after a ride, open a text document and note down the main things I want to include in the report so that I don't forget in a few day's time when I actually write the thing. I am getting pretty, pretty...pretty good at forgetting things which leads me to a case-in-point: I have a Zoom H2N microphone/recorder. I have never thought of actually putting it in my hand tank bag and taking it with me. Which is because until you suggested a digital recorder I had forgotten I owned it. q Thanks very much for causing a few synapses to reluctantly fire up in my mind! Regarding processing the events of a day's ride, as long as I quickly make that dot-point list and add to it as things occur to me over a few days I get the best results. I wouldn't mind attending a writing workshop one day too.

    Agreed and likewise for you too kwikkwik! Again, I was very fortunate to have patient people to ride with at the provisional licence speed limit. When I've got an unrestricted licence I will be very keen to tour much further. Any touring suggestions?

    Back on the horse straightaway, good on you. As drops go it sounds about as good as it gets. My turn awaits; as they say 'It's not a question of "if" but "when..."'. If I'm over in your area again and you wanted to go for a ride, let me know and vice versa.
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  16. Thanks for the share XJ6N
    I enjoyed reading your report,
    Ramblings and tangents made it interesting and great photos.
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  17. Attending a writing workshop.....to teach surely :)
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  18. Thanks again for reading through another ramble, Highett! I'm looking forward to emulating just a few of your many touring kilometres. In the meantime, local rides are enough to keep me occupied. No doubt I'll be canvassing your opinions on touring set-ups at some point too.

    Ha, I've got a lot to learn in riding and writing but thank you chillibuttonchillibutton. :]
  19. Another good read..
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  20. Anytime mate
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