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Back in the saddle.

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Benny Boy, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. Its been a while since i last posted on these forums. The last bike trip i did was to Victor Harbour back in 2014.
    It didn't end so well and had me contemplating should i get of the bike. But love prevailed. I still have my big Blue Boulevard and after about 20 months of small rides, i decided it was time for another bigger ride. Not to any where in particular. Just a few of my favourite place from past trips.

    Day 1. Dec 3rd 2015. Heading to Cathedral Rock National Park via Pacific Motorway. The weather was predicted to be patchy rain. And it didn't bother until i got near Ballina and the sky up ahead looked like they were about to truly open. My summer gloves were soaked and my leather jacket was showing sign of needing to be covered up. I got into better riding gear at a Ballina servo just as the sky really open up. Thankfully i was undercover and just waited for the rain to lighten up before i headed down to Grafton and the Waterfall way. Though i had re waterproofed my groves before the trip, they were soaked by the time I made it to Native Dog Creek campsite, and my boots had sprung a leak too. At least i got to try out my new camping setup.

    Day 2 was Brilliant. a few ominous clouds but no rain. I spent the morning hiking the woolpacks track before heading to Tamworth to stay and visit some friends.
    Day 3 Was meant to travel to Newcastle but Localised flooding meant this was out of the question. Depending on weather i would instead head for Bathurst the next day.

    Day 4 Heading South Along the NewEngland Highway. Some rain around Scone. Headed inland though Merriwa and Mudgee before ending up at Bathurst. The trip took a little longer than expected and I arrived in Bathurst later than i intended. The Mineral and Fossil Museum was closed so i decided to take advantage to the free camping at Chifley Dam and say there for night and try the museum again the next day.

    Day 5. Was up and early so of course one has to do the obligatory lap of the track.

    Finally got into the museum. If you've got rock in your head, this has got to be one of the best places to visit.
    I've been told this is a life size replica of a croc that is thankfully extinct.

    Next, down to Carcoar, home town of Paralympian Kurt Fearnley. A place that even he described as a town that time forgot.

    I had a quick stop off at Cowra where i found out about a WW2 POW camp near Cowra and the massacre that happened there during war time.
    Apparently Cowra is the only place in the world outside of a capital city to have a World Peace Bell.

    I then made a direct ride to Canberra where i camped at the cotter dam campgound.
    My main reason for stopping at canberra was to see my granddads plaque in the Woden Cemetery Military service section. This was my only certain plan, but this changed when I discovered that i had camped directly across the track/road from a friend who live in Tasmania. Pure coincidence that we in the same state, at the same campgrounds, and camped right across from each other. He had his family with him. The catch up meant i decided to stay an extra night in canberra, but it gave me time to do a lot of sight seeing and riding. Mt Stomolo has a great view of Canberra.
    P1090100.JPG P1090093.JPG
    This day My bike started making a bizarre warring noise whenever the gear box was engaged and i was slowing down. I've since discovered that i broke a bolt holding the gear inlace that drives the main shaft. Thankfully it only damaged a bearing and my bank account.

    Day 7. Off to Kosciusko National Park. I love these parts of Australia. there is nothing like it in SE QLD. On the way I discovered a nice little craft brewery in tumut.
    I couldn't take my favourite beer with me but i settled for some of their porter in stubbies.

    I spent the night camped at Rocky Plain Horse camp, south of Kiandra.
    The campsite has no facilities aside from long drop toilet. I found the road to be quite rough leading to the campsite. But the stars in the nights stay around this area are the brightest i've ever seen.

    More to follow soon.
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  2. Welcome back to NR. It looks like a case of: I have a touring bike, so I will tour. And what a feeling that is. Thankyou for your ride report, keep them coming.
  3. welcome aboard :)
  4. gday Benny BoyBenny Boy I'm glad you came back to share that with us. I'm constantly amazed by the pics and stories/history that folk post on here that I had no idea existed. thank you!
  5. Awesome pics...
  6. Thanks for sharing that mate
  7. Thanks for sharing this Benny BoyBenny Boy . It certainly has taught me a few new things about places I haven't seen - makes it more appealing :) Can't wait for the next part!
  8. Cheers everyone, thanks for the welcome back.

    Here is a photo of that road leading up to Rocky Plain horse camp. It doesn't look too bad from a distance but it was rocky and i found it tricky on a loaded up cruiser. Much prefer the camp at 3 mile dam. But i had Rocky Plain all to myself for the night, and it was free.

    Day 8. A slight delay to getting away this morning The cool night meant the tent needed to dry from the overnight dew. But i dare not complain because it's a beautiful part of the country.

    The bike has started to give me issues. The engine intermitantly cuts out when i have a dramatic decrees of speed, even if i have the clutch in. (My bike has since been included in a recall to replace the regulator rectifier. It looks to be OK now)
    At the time i wasn't sure if it was bad fuel, so i bought some engine cleaner in Cooma which i used for the rest of the trip. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

    I've included this photo as a proof that i was in Cooma.

    I forgot to mention that while i was in Tamworth i upgraded the fly i used for camping to a 3.5m x 3.5m tarp. reason being the fly wasn't meant to be used as an awning and the stitching was getting stretched in the corners. By the Time i was in Cooma i remembered i needed to get extra rope to hold the poles more securely.

    Cooma was the Southern most point of my trip.

    Just outside of Cooma is a tourist information spot about the Snowy Hydro Elective Scheme. I've ridden quite a few of the main roads around Kosciusko National Park and was always aware of the infrastructure that is around. But seeing a model of it at the centre put into perspective how big this engineering feat is, and how well most of it is hidden.
    LEDs highlighting the massive pipes underground

    A better angle, and one that shows off the man made reservoirs.

    Now was the time to start heading North, up the Monaro Highway, one of the most heavily policed road in Australia. Last time i rode this i was unintentionally speeding and was fined $400 and 4 points. But I'd already used two of my three spare days (1 in Tamwort, the other in Canberra) so i didn't think i could take any other route expect the most direct one to get to my destination, Bungonia National Park.
    I went via Goulburn so i could pick up some BBQing food for dinner.

    Bungonia Has fantastic facilities. Hot showers, Toilets, BBQs and a camp kitchen. It was also the most expensive campsite of my trip , but conserving the facilities, it was worth it.

    Day 9.
    No riding today, but if had to have a main objective for this trip it was to visit Bungonia and hike the red track, which takes you though Australia's deepest gorge.
    P1120193.JPG P1120199.JPG
    Some sort of Brown snake on the track. Thankfully more interested in moving away.


    Just to give you some idea how big the boulders get in the Gorge. Some times you got to go over them, some times under them.
    The Shoalhaven river from the top of the White Track.

    Day 10.
    Heading back towards the coast.
    I had already been though Macquarie pass so i decided to head south a little though Berry and visit Kiama and it's blow Hole before heading north.

    I underestimated how long it would take to get through Sydney. I thought i was one one of the main highways but there was so much traffic i could have been wrong.

    After stopping and starting though sydney i was great to finally hit the Old pacific Highway and enjoy revisiting an old favourite.

    My first road trip in 2011 didn't start off too well. Flooding in queensland and pot holes meant i lost some gear off my bike and i was a day late getting started, which meant i missed out on staying at Munmorah State Conservation area.
    5 years later i finally got my chance to camp at Munmorah. Good facilities all round except for the cold showers. But when your this close to the beach, i guess cold water is of little worry.

    P1130263.JPG P1130270.JPG P1130273.JPG
    Im not one to take sunset photos, but a sunset that turns the water golden is worth taking.

    Attached Files:

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  9. thank you. each time i read a trip like this i get a little more motivated.today am off to the great ocean road for 3 days no camping more luxury but a camping trip by myself is on the cards. thankyou or getting me one step closer
  10. Hi jttt, glad to read this is motivating people. Have fun on the GOR, it certainly lived up to the hype when I did it a few years ago.
  11. thanks for sharing
  12. Sweet Benny.
    These threads should be under an umbrella banner of "How to shame NRider's to get off their lazy butts". Great trip.
  13. spectacular pics Benny BoyBenny Boy
  14. Thanks, Im just doing what I do. It been about 2 years since i was a regular reader/poster of netrider forums, so i've got a bit reading to do in order to catch up with what others are doing. Not complaining though.
    It seemed that that two years ago every second person was on a big road trip, but only about half of those again posted reports and photos.

    Quite a few magazines i used to read started to focus more on overseas trips, which for me was a nice fantasy but is not achievable at the moment. I love touring OZ, it's something i can do now. My no. 1 motorcycle goal at them moment is to tour Tassie.

    I could skip a a few local road trip holiday's and save up for an overseas trip, but there is so much to see here in our back yard. It really, a matter of have the right gear and emergency plans, allocate enough time, pick a direction and go.

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  15. G'day and welcome back to Netrider, BennyBenny. I must be one of those many members who've joined in your absence. Thanks for posting your ride report, very enjoyable to read and some spectacular photos too. I have made a note about the Red Track through the gorge; I would like to walk it one day too.
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  16. Thanks Benny BoyBenny Boy for the unreal pics and write up. Have been through Bungonia numerous times and never knew that track existed (knew the rotten brown snakes did). Have stopped at the lookouts but decided "stuff the walk" and kept going!! Not much into hiking.....:p
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  17. The red track is spectacular. I made it a bit longer by following the green track from the campsite to the start of the red track and then down into the gorge. Instead of coming up where the track say to, i followed the creek down to where it meets the Shoalhaven river and which is where the White track begins, or ends, depending on if you've started from the right point. Just make sure you carry plenty of water, the creek is full of algae.
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  18. Day 11. Matilda Bay Day. Showers and possible storm predicted for today

    Ever since i had discovered a little amber ale on tap Called Ruby Tuesday I had kept my eyes peeled for stubbies that i could take home. Unfortunately I've had no success. I was prepared to go out to the Hunter Valley to the main Matilda Bay Brew house to see if i could find some but I thought I'd start the search a little closer to the coast.
    My first stop off for the day was Central, the Madilda Bay Pub in Newcastle.
    Their opening time was 12pm, too late for me to be hanging around, so i had a relaxed coffee from the pop up cafe in the front.

    I made a visit to the Newcastle museum and their temporary T rex family tree exhibition.

    Aside from the T rex, it was fascinating to see that these ferocious killers weren't actually as big a i thought. Still wouldn't want to run into one it it was alive though.

    Time to move on to Matilda Bay Hunter valley. The day was getting pretty hot. I stopped off at the Hunter valley info centre to cool down in the aircon and confirm the Brew house location.

    And here it is. Matilda Bay Hunter Valley.

    Still very hot outside, so the first thing i do is order some of that heavenly ruby Tuesday. I then settling in of the afternoon for a feast of food as i worked my way through paddles, sampling every single one of their products. I now have a new appreciation for hard ginger beer.
    Take the paddle back to the bar and they give you an extra drink. So i was stayed a little later than expected. But the best part was finding a 6 pack of Ruby Tuesday to take home with me. (Still haven't found it locally since coming back)

    Time to leave, and i decided to aim fro Booti Booti National Park.

    As i left I was greeted with this view outside.

    Checking the BOM i realised it was huge , and it was heading straight for my location. I decided to head straight back to newcastle. I didn't have accommodation sourced and i knew i was running out of time so i headed for cover in an office building carpark entry. It was eerily quiet with very little traffic on the road. Within a minute or two the rain hit hard.
    P1140332.JPG P1140335.JPG

    I used the time to wait out the worst of the storm and source accomodation at the Ibis.

    Day 12.

    The rain had continued though the night and looked to be patchy for the rest of the day. I made the decision to just stick to the pacific highway and head north. The rain didn't really let up.

    The colour of the road and selective nature of water meant i could tell if there were puddle on the motorway. The constant rain had soak my boots and gloves and the lower than expected visibility and cold meant that by by the time i reached the BP service centre at the Oxley Highway Pacific Highway I was done. It was ridiculous to try and continue any further. I had been aiming for the Oxley Highway, but decided to find accommodation instead and try tackling talking the Oxley Tomorrow.

    It was the best decision as my bags had decided to leak and let the water in, soaking a lot of my gear.

    I spent most of the afternoon drying everything.

    I can only assume that the water was pushed in though the seams while travelling at highway speeds over a couple of hours.
    (Hopefully the shoe goo i've since put on the inside of the seams will fix that issue. Not that I'm looking to go riding in that kind of weather agin to test if it worked)

    Day 13. Patchy showers are still predicted for today. But it's already looking better than the previous day.

    I did a quick ride to the northern section of Crowdy Bay National Park to see if the roads might be suitable for my bike for a future trip. They are loose gravel and dirt. Scratch that idea then.

    Back to the start of the Oxley and hope that the shower continue to hold off.
    I can't remember if it was Long Flat or Ellenborough, but i pulled over under a big tree to wait out a heavy shower that was very close ahead of me. When it finally continued on, i was thankfully that i made that decision as the landscape ahead was soaked. A light drizzle settled in the further into the mountain in went and the temperature dropped. But there was a beauty that came with the wet rain forest and unlike the previous day, very little fatigue.

    I've done the Oxley before, but i missed something that first time. A stop off at Gingers creek for lunch was welcome pause from the cold and wet.
    P1160339.JPG P1160340.JPG
    A few other idea had the same idea and were the pause to fix a few handles from slips that had occurred on the Highway that day.
    Wish I'd taken a photo of the very talkative Cockatoo down the back.

    I Hit a few more patches of shower before On the western side of the range before it became clear riding all the way to Tamworth where i stayed with my friends overnight again and celebrated an early birthday for one of them.

    Day 14.
    Straight back up the New England Highway. Quite a few nice sections along here, especially the section between Tamworth and Armidale, and between Tenterfield and Warwick. I love stopping off at Vincenzo for pie and it looked like i'd miss out on this trip, until i realised i'd forgotten about the hour difference due to daylight saving. I made it with plenty of time and was a really nice way to begin the final stretch of my journey home.
    The final part of my trip took me thought the spectacular Cunningham s Gap. The afternoon sun light up the range and the distant storm clouds in a spectacular way.

    The rest of the trip was incident free but very satisfying because despite the wet, some issues with the bike and a now bald set of tyres, i had made it home. My bike was still rideable and in one piece an i was not broken.

    Thanks for reading folks. It been good fun remembering this trip again.
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  19. Hello,Thank you for coming back also for all the wonderful tips through out your writings and sharing your ride.The photos are excellent.
    2 questions
    1) what do you use on your visor when it rains? i wish they would invent a visor wiper! ha ha
    2) What type of camera are you using?
  20. #20 sr500, Jul 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
    I really like Benny Boy's story. Great photos. It's reminds me of when I did the Warrumbungles and central NSW on an XL250 in 1974 - when I nearly froze to death. Spurs me on as I'm about to come back to riding after 35 years away. Still have my original SR500E intact, well actually, except for the engine, it's/ she's still got to be totally reassembled with her polished, prepared & beautifully repainted bits and pieces. 34 years ago I stripped her down to a bare frame. I put the rest her 'on the shelf' in boxes of bits and broken dreams. Oh sure, I had plans for this creature, then life catastrophically interrupted everything. Throughout the ensuing decades of restoration impasse and otherwise seeming neglect, I maintained hope: "One day", I said, but that turned into a lifetime. Somehow my postponed priorities survived, I know this because I hung onto her regardless of life's vicissitudes - I was partial to her parts, recalling her youthful personality. She survived where many a relationship didn't. My 'SR' is however the tragic love story of my life. Despite being 'single', she stayed with me through thick and thin. The fact that I had stripped her bare, with not a solitary nut or bolt left in or on her lonely frame; despite being sand blasted and resprayed a gorgeous glossy black, revealing her shapely flanges and empty factory holes, tempting me to do something, anything, to fondle her back to perfection; alas, but I was constrained by circumstance unjust, unfair. Oh cruel fate! He wept...... Ironically, in happier days she was registered, way back when her plate was "SR000". "Ooo" as for a sigh of delight, but that nomenclature prophetically proved to be "Oh" instead. I recall I was always able to readily kick start XLs, XTs and SRs to life - slut that was to these single creatures. "It's really just technique", the lusty lad did boast, but of course, having a well tuned and willing-one between you legs is more satisfying. Yes, I'm a nut, a single cylinder nut, but she loves me - I know. And this time around, when she's ready and looking gorgeous in glossy deep black, glinting at me with her tastefully pin-stripped chrome, the real challenge will be....., ah, throwin' the leg over mate.
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