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Hill End latte day ride

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by XJ6N, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. 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.
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  2. The road suddenly steepened - I hadn't been along this section of road since the 1980s - and a panorama over the Turon River valley opened up before me.


    The asphalt road surface was nearly new here and in excellent condition but a scree of fine gravel covered just about every sharp bend. I felt the rear tyre start to slip out on one and saved a possible highside by staying on the throttle. On one side of the road there was a guard-rail and one hundred metre drop, on the other a rock wall. A four-wheel drive pulled over to let me through, very obliging, and soon I was going over the Turon River bridge beneath massive rock cliff faces.



    This being gold country, there were signs here and there warning of various legal (and illegal) outcomes of trespassing and gold prospecting on private property. I didn't have my gold pan with me today so I was more or less safe.


    There were a lot of little shacks along the road, pre-fab cabins people had either hauled on to bush blocks or put up at low-cost and low-fuss. Quite a few of them had satellite dishes on the roof tops and most of them with a trail of smoke coming out of the chimney. A few people who wanted the quiet of the bush without paying the earth for it. I reached the village of Sofala just after three o'clock and paused only long enough for a quick photo of the gold stamper battery at the cross roads.


    The sun was getting lower and I had two hundred and fifty kilometres to cover. I rode through the villages of Wattle Flat and Peel to Bathurst where the traffic of the Great Western Highway was jarring after the quiet back roads. The sun set about an hour from home and the cold of the tablelands managed to find its way through the six layers I was wearing. A very enjoyable Winter's day ride.
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  3. Brilliant day XJ6NXJ6N, stunning photos and great commentary. You definitely have amazing way with words, I told you this before :) Thanks for sharing!
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  4. It was a brilliant day Fr33dmFr33dm! You're so very generous and complimentary. I got home, got the fire going and lay in front of it for about an hour warming up last night.
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  5. Thats the price to pay for getting carried away on a crisp winter day :) Fire or long hot shower works for me. Well worth it though and still better than riding in +40 degrees summer day!
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  6. Man you picked a great day for it! You take an awesome photograph. They are stunning. Ninja riders, who can understand them! I fueled up beside one today and got the same treatment. Guy though. Inferiority complex? lol ;)
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  7. Great ride and read XJ6NXJ6N lovely photos!
    Such a beautiful area and so often overlooked by the coast huggers.
    I love riding out that way and every ride I do out there just draws me back again like a iron to a magnet.
    Lovely and except for nightfall how good are these winter days for riding ? :)

    Oi no dissing the whinja riders Q3ArenaQ3Arena
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  8. Great ride, photos and report, enjoyed it all.
    Thanks for sharing
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  9. XJ6NXJ6N that was quite a journey you took us on. Thanks for letting us freezing Mexican's live vicariously though your trip! Beautiful photos. :happy:
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  10. I'll bet you didn't have the mother of all barbeque sauce smears across your dial though! I said, 'G'day...' (because I'm a smooth operator like that). She took off her helmet and turned towards me, visibly pausing to assess the likelihood that I was wearing elaborate make-up to achieve a Joker-esque effect. Riders can be a funny bunch though. In some circles there is definitely a social strata of some sort or other.

    What a beautifully appropriate simile considering the gold-bearing country I was riding through. I always get a little bit excited when I see a hillside covered in iron-stained quartzite...but enough of my innermost fantasies.

    It was the day of the week to be riding. Just now I'm watching a heavy shower of rain outside the window and suddenly riding down to the Post Office doesn't appeal. It is a great feeling to be able to enjoy the sun's warmth on your back as you ride along. Your eight A.M. start at Yass would've been fairly brutal considering the minimum temperatures around those parts - minus nine for goodness' sake!

    Thanks also to GoldenberriGoldenberri and HighettHighett for your comments, I'm glad you enjoyed reading - I certainly enjoyed riding and writing it! I'm looking forward to more of each of your ride reports.
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  11. Excellent report, how do you mark map routes like that?
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  12. One of the best posts I've read, very enjoyable, thank you.
    But who do you think you're kidding when you say "this is Netrider not Latte World"
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  13. G'day 50Shades50Shades. I used the Google Maps route feature.

    To use it, you start typing the name of the start point of your route in the search field - it might be a street address or for my route, just the name of the town - 'Wellington'.

    Google Maps will display a drop-down list of suggested place names; I selected 'Wellington, New South Wales'.

    To start marking the route, type a space then 'to' and another space, then start typing the name of the next route point; I typed 'Mudgee' and selected 'Mudgee, New South Wales'.

    Now Google Maps will highlight the most likely road route between those two points in blue and a box with point A and point B listed will appear to one side. You can then add more route waypoints to that list.

    Sometimes Google Maps will suggest routes that are way off what you want. You can click-&-drag the blue route line to match the roads you're taking or add more waypoints. You can also click-&-drag to change the order of waypoints in the list.

    I took a screen capture (in Windows, keyboard shortcut is ALT + PRTSC) of the route I marked in Google Maps and saved it as a JPEG image.

    You can also copy the URL from the address bar after you've marked out the route and create a link for other people to click here that will show the same thing in Google Maps:

    My route link: Wellington-Mudgee-Hill End-Sofala-Bathurst-Orange-Wellington
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  14. My word that's high praise, thanks very much KurtzKurtz! It'll be a week before I'll be able to safely walk through doorways with my head this big! 8-|

    Yeah, I know. I was sitting there in the bakery talking silver mining in Montana Winters and gold prospecting in the nearby river valleys...while wiping the delicate milky froth off my upper lip. :-/
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  15. Thanks that worked well, used the snipping tool to save the map
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  16. Looks like a stellar ride, XJ6NXJ6N, and great photos too.
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  17. Thanks very much ExportswedeExportswede! It was a beautiful day - too good not to take the opportunity at this time of year - and a route I can both thoroughly recommend and will return to.
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  18. XJ6NXJ6N

    Looks like you found the butcher shop cafe. My fave spot to go for brekky :)

    Up to hill end is a great ride. Bloody cold up there now!

    Great pics.
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  19. Well-spotted, _wheel__wheel_. I've been going to the Butcher Shop Café every now and then for quite a few years now too. Friendly staff, very quick service (I ordered at the counter and barely had time to go and sit down before my food and coffee were served), reasonable prices and tasty, well-prepared food - a full ten points and not surprising it's your favourite brekky spot. (y)

    I inadvertently picked the best day for weeks before and since to ride to Hill End. I think they would've received some of the snow that's fallen around the region in the past week which would have been nice to see...just not while on a motorcycle.
  20. Great ride XJ6NXJ6N. You re-ride it when you post it, I have found.
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