Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Between Buttf**k and Nowhere - a tour runs wide

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by titus, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Part 1
    Only distant birdcall and the tick-tick of cooling exhaust metal. No other sound. The leaves are still and the air is heavy. Hot enough that I have to take my gear off after a while. I’ve been here for ten minutes and for ten minutes I’ve been straining my ears for the sound of bikes coming up the Bonang but there is nothing.
    I’m about 60km in – half way more or less, and this really is close to nowhere. The last half an hour have been one of the best of my life. This road is legend with good reason but the rush is ebbing away as the worry starts to rise.
    The lead group should be here too, this is the obvious regroup point. But they are not. How far ahead have they gone? Where the f*** are the tail enders? ARE there there any tail enders? Or did I miscount and am I sitting here in the middle of the bush for no reason?
    Eventually it gets too much for me and I gear up and head back the way I came, taking care in case they are flying toward me around the next corner. 20 agonising km back and it’s now decision time. The fuel strategy is at breaking point. I can’t go back any further and still rejoin the group I don’t know who is still out here and they don’t know where I am. Go back and risk losing the group, or head onward and hope they are all there? FFS.
    I choose the latter. Bad decision as it turns out.
    After turning north again, it’s not until 110km from Orbost before I find the group waiting by the side of the road at Delegate River. Bad news, there are two missing. This is a f*** up.
    But at least there is coverage, a cryptic text about a tow truck, but nothing mentioned about an ambulance. A spray is dished out, pebbles kicked, hard words exchanged, some withdrawn… this isn’t Nowhere but you can see it from here.

    It’s a bit cool on the front veranda of the Delegate Hotel but the crew doesn’t notice it. Too busy listening. “I’m a Sydney girl, basically. We came to take up land a few years ago, ended up working for DSE and living in town. Who’d have thought I’d have ended up here in Buttf**k?”
    “Nah, It’s not that bad, it’s not Buttf**k, but it’s ….”
    “…between Buttf**k and Nowhere!”, a half a dozen voices finish the sentence, laughing. She laughs too and says goodnight.
    The sweeper arrived about a half hour ago, much to everyone’s relief. We didn’t need another injured member of the group, left alone out on the Bonang at night. A jug and a parma eases his nerves, but not our guilt. He had delivered the injured rider to a doctor, then motel, arranged pickup for the remains of the bike, and got in here before the kitchen closed. Damned good effort. We (I) should have been there to help.

    The plan was there. The execution was a disgrace.

    Delegate Hotel , in the cold light of day.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Part 2
    Dawn comes slowly, and not much sign of life with it. The verandah is an awful mess, just as we left it last night. It’s one of those places where the kitchen is open for you to sort yourself out in the morning and clean up after. Someone notices the tyre. Flat as roadkill. Not mine but it might as well be.
    Got tools, got repair kit, got a pump, get to work. It’s a small hole and the Dynaplug seems to do the job. Hey, we rock! Then a call comes in, it’s the injured rider in Orbost. Seems that one of us has got his medication in a bag that was transferred to another bike just before the crash. He needs it, and he’s 130km away. Shit.

    Only one bike has the range and he takes the job anyway. This is going to add 250km to his day. I give him clear alternative route instructions that will cut 50 off that, but later in the day his sat nav will override them and delay us further.

    Righto. The plugged tyre is holding pressure, off we go to Bombala in alternating sun and rain.
    At refuelling, a fellow traveller relates the bad news of a fatal yesterday on the road over the Divide we are about to take. Spirits are low. The rider with the plugged tyre decides to play safe and head straight to Cooma to look for a replacement and the tail gunner – still weary – goes with him.

    We are down to three as we go over Mount Darragh in steady rain, but the road is so damn good that it starts to feel like fun again. Myrtle Mountain is a delight, along with the whooping, rolling hills into Candelo and a nice lunch stop. Rain clears, maybe things have turned the corner?
    Brown mountain is not so light-hearted. Heavy fog, rain and traffic. Unbelievably, No. 3 loses his glasses while trying to clear the condensation off them, but there is no stopping here.
    Finally we are released onto the desolate high Monaro where there is nothing but grass, cloud, distant hills and eagles. There’s one there bigger than a Cessna and he’s cruising in low from the right, on an intercept heading. I blink first, roll off and he gives me the evil eye as he glides past at head height, 5 metres in front of me. Totally unflappable.

    At Cooma, it turns out the Dynaplug has proved leaky. No tyre shop open but a workshop has managed to do a better job with a mushroom plug. It will have to do and the rider is confident. We are a long way from home.

    The remaining rider is even further out, still a good 150km behind so we burn off a bit of time. I expect him to join our route at Adaminaby but then a text confirms he is not on the short cut through Berridale, he’s following our track. Jesus H. Christ, what else?

    Someone has to be at tonight’s pub to keep our booking, and I don’t want everyone doing Elliot Way at dusk either. We have to go, I’ll sort out the rendezvous later. The Snowy Mountains Highway is desolate, dark and wet. And fast. At one point an overtake involving a boat goes very iffy. At Kiandra Junction I decide to push three riders on ahead after a quick breather at Cabramurra (shop closed). Two of us wait an hour and a half for the lone rider to straggle in exhausted. This is a godforsaken place when you stop long enough.

    Waiting for the postman at Cabramurra
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Part 3
    But finally the cloud is left behind, the road dries and Elliot Way appears in perfect conditions. Even the brumbies and roos stay out of our howling, growling way. Too late for fuel at Tumbarumba but we’ll get into Jingellic on fumes. The Bridge Hotel is modern, sophisticated and roaring on a Saturday night. It feels like a long way from Nowhere.


    The adventure is almost over now but the final leg still throws a few twists to the tale – a roo that dodges and feints like a NRL forward on the Murray River Road, a kelpie stuck up to it’s guts in a bog at Granya, searing heat at Glenrowan, a bushfire that flares up in our path near Strathbogie. And the slightly bitter aftertaste of knowing you’ve had a bit too much in too short a time, and that you’ll have to wait a while before doing it all again…

    Last breakfast stop at Walwa
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Great read Titus....

    Sounds like a memorable one......
  5. titus, what's the road from Tumba to Jingellic like at the moment. Last time I was on it a few months ago there was road works in the most inconvenient places.
  6. It's fine, although I could barely see it due to the setting sun in my eyes ;). Might have been one short section of repair near Jingellic, nothing else.
  7. That bit always seems to be getting repaired.
  8. It was in good shape three or four weeks ago.
  9. Great read Titus, I had a sh*t of a day at work so for one brief moment I was out there on the road too. Thank you. :)
  10. Haha. There were times out there last weekend when I would have swapped with you :LOL:
  11. I had the Beatles A Little help form my friends pop into my head as i read this.

    Great read, and I'm sure it something you'll all look back on and laugh.
  12. Damn good read Titus. Please share more if you got it!