Having a day spare mid-week and being at a bit of a loose-end I headed out on Wednesday morning with a vague idea of getting some lunch at Mudgee, about 120 kilometres to the south-east. A clear and still blue-bird day. I skirted around the edge of Wellington, past the gaol's razor wire. It sits oddly among the kurrajong trees across the surrounding farm land. I overtook a couple of grey nomad caravans and fetched up in Mudgee for a BLT and latte at midday. I got some petrol in the main street and was snubbed by a woman on a white Ninja at the next bowser. And yes, before you ask, she was hot. She gave me confused look with lips curled. I got myself a red Vitamin Water to feel better and headed out of town on Hill End Road. The road starts out fairly open with long bends and slow rises. Soon it becomes properly twisting and the climbs and descents become more involved. As the country got higher the eucalypts grew spindly and bracken ferns spread over the pale chalky soil. A pair of sheep ran out into the road at the end of a bend and I locked the back up but no harm done. I stopped for five minutes to take a photo and have a drink. Pulling my helmet off, something didn't feel quite right. I glanced in one of the mirrors and saw why that Ninja rider had looked at me with something between pity and disgust - a swipe of barbeque sauce from the BLT had dried nearly giving me an ear-to-ear mouth like the Joker. I washed it off with some Vitamin Water. I rode on and the road twisted harder and all the while the country got higher and bushier as I went through the village of Hargraves where a sign was asking for prospective onion-cutters to turn up for paid work at one o'clock on Thursday, up to Tambaroora and into the gold rush village of Hill End at 900 metres altitude. A lot of people still come to Hill End for gold, armed with pans and metal detectors. I've walked along the tree-lined street heading through town on a frosty night after many drinks at the Royal Hotel and despite the trees being mostly bare it is still a nice place to stop for a gratuitous bike photo. I was ready for another latte. I've got no plans to buy a Ducati but I think the signs are there already, don't you? The affable, ex-pat English bakery operator told me he gets lots of (rolled eyes) 'Sydney "adventure" riders' through each weekend. I don't care, they probably come for the carrot cake and good coffee like me. I sat and talked to a local about his one-time Montana silver mining claim, how cold it must be riding a bike through there (I gave a very manly wry look and said, 'You get used to it...') and watched a black Labrador shepherd his pup around outside. But this is Netrider not Latte World, I hear you say - 'get on with it'. Alright. I turned right at the sign that said 'Bathurst - 85' and went out on the Sofala Road which I have to say, in my limited motorcycling experience, is a winner in the motorcycling road stakes. Linked sweepers, short rises and descents and views east and west to the Macquarie and Turon valleys which goes on for thirty kilometres through Sally's Flat where wattle is already blooming. I don't know if it was the second coffee, the near-perfect road and weather conditions or everything but it was a high-point of the day. My riding felt just right. I hadn't planned to ride this far but it's often the spontaneous things that are the best experiences.