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Nev & Jo took their bikes out for a ride...

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Nev.., Jul 6, 2006.

  1. A brief description of the journey.

    Day 1 Melbourne to Wagga Wagga.
    Not much excitement. Aim to get as far north as possible, so Melba Hwy to yea, Then Midland link Hwy towards Benalla, some backroads through Tatong, Greta West, Glenrowan, then east to Myrtleford, north to Yack, Wodonga, on the Hume at Albury and off it again onto the Olympic Hwy and to Wagga Wagga.

    Day 2 Wagga Wagga to Windsor
    Olympic Hwy through Junee, Coota, Young, Blaney, Bathurst.. the obligatory photo stop and lap around Mt Panorama, then off the Hwy to Oberon, too wet and foggy to enjoy the Jenolan caves road so shortcut to Lithgow, then Bells Line to Windsor for the night. The wet weather gear came out midway between Young and Cowra and stayed on for most of the day. Light rain around Cowra, lots of fog around Oberon/Lithgow and then again near Richmond where it turned to rain for the last few km to Windsor.

    Day 3 Windsor to Wyong.
    Went to visit Joe from Underdog Leathers for breakfast then he led us through Galston Gorge and up the Old Road to the Road Warriors Cafe at Mt White where Boky's family were planting a tree and a plaque and his ashes in his memory. From there Pisshead Pete led us astray, up the rest of the old road and to his house where the rest of the afternoon is best remembered by she who didn't have a beer in her hand for the remainder of the day and night.

    Day 4 Wyong to Muswellbrook.
    Finally a destination which doesn't start with "W"! After getting lost by missing a Kulnura turnoff, we were back on track, down to Mangrove Mtn, down the Wisemans Ferry road, across that ferry, and the Sackville ferry north of Windsor we run the Putty Road from Wilberforce to Bulga, then left to Jerry's Plains and a few km thereafter right to cut the corner to Muswellbrook. Slowed down a few km short of Muswellbrook because the ratio of roadkill to road is increasing, and stopped at the crest of a hill to take some scenic photos shortly afterwards. Once we were checked into a motel closer inspection of a photo Jo had taken revealed no less than 25 roos standing about 100 metres from the roadside.

    Day 5 Muswellbrook to Port Macquarie.
    First stop of the morning is Singleton where we have a pie for breakfast at the bakery we have been well advised by a Ulyssian who approaches us in town is the place where all bikers go. We must have looked particularly hungry. As luck would have it the bakery is a few metres down the road from the local bike shop, which I need because I lost my throttle side bar end somewhere back near Bathurst and my throttle handgrip keeps wanting to slide off the end of the bar. The dealer gives me the part numbers I require and I take a punt on them arriving in Lismore before me and order them from the Lismore Honda dealer over the phone. We're off the Hwy again, to Dungog via Gresford on a likely candidate for the most potholed road of NSW award. Then north on Bucketts way to Gloucester and Nabiac for a poke around the National Motorcycle Museum before taking the Pacific Hwy north through Taree. Off the Hwy again at Kew, around the beach to Lake Cathie and to Pt Macq for the night.

    Day 6 Port Macquarie to Ebor.
    Up early and run the Oxley Hwy west to Tamworth, then north again retracing a few km of ground already covered to Uralla, off the hwy again and some backroads to Gostwyck, some pretty good dirt and gravel roads leading from there around to Dangar Falls, but there is no water falling, north to Armidale and then onto Waterfalls way to Ebor falls and I've already booked a motel room at the Ebor Falls Hotel. The sun is just setting as we arrive, and the thermometer is dipping substantially. The bar of the pub is warmed by an open fire and our motel room is already warm because the owners have fired up the heater in the room pending our arrival. They win our unanimous vote as the best place we've stayed at on the trip, and retain that title throughout the trip.

    Day 7 Ebor to Gold Coast.
    Not too early a start today, when we wake up the bikes parked in a carport overnight are covered in ice crystals. We wait until the sun has melted the frost on the grass and ice on the roads... and also until the sun has warmed up the BMWs fuel lines enough to let the fuel flow and the engine kick over, then Dorrigo, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, and up the Pacific Hwy to Grafton. North on the Summerland way to Casino where a check of my phone messages reveals the parts have arrived in Lismore, which is only another 30km down the road. Good timing. They're fitted and we're off again, in search of some backroads to Nimbin. After getting lost we're running out of daylight, so we take the road to Mullumbimby which looks much more sealed on the map than in person, then the Pacific Hwy across the border to the Gold Coast.

    Day 8 Gold Coast Hinterland day
    Through Nerang to Canungra for breakfast, then take the 40km trip to O'Reilly's Guesthouse. Back to Canungra, then to Beechmont, Advancetown, down the Numbinbah Valley Road, turn off to Natural Bridge, and Best of All Lookout, then back to the Gold Coast via Mudgeeraba.

    Day 9 Gold Coast to Lismore
    First north on the motorway to Yatala for a pie for breakfast, then via Tamborine and Beaudesert to the Mt Lindesay Hwy, take the Lions road turnoff about 10km before Rathdowney, across the border and onto the Summerland way to Kyogle, across to Nimbin, then off the beaten track, this time finding road through The Channon and Dunnoon and then on to Lismore.

    Day 10 Lismore to Brisbane
    Was planning to head back into QLD via Murwillumbah and the Numinbah Valley this morning but the low clouds and forecast of rain send us to the coast. First to Ballina, then up the Pac Hwy again to Brisbane. Wet roads and a couple of small showers to the coast, then a very brief but heavy downpour near Byron Bay. Over the border again and a find and dry run into Brisbane. A bed in a friend's house, a fridge full of been and GP racing on Foxtel.. NOW that's a holiday :)

    Day 11 Brisbane to Noosa Heads
    Dayboro Road and Mt Mee, then to Woodford to visit Elvis Parsley's Grapelands and to see the singing greengrocer. Back down the D'angular to Caboolture, Beerbarrum, Beerwah, left to Peachester and a loop around Candle Mountain with a detour around Melany, Montville, then down the hill to Palmwoods, a gem of a road, Woombye, Nambour then around about 700 roundabouts to get to Noosa Heads.

    Day 12 Noosa Heads to Bundaberg
    Tewantin, then Gympie up the Pacific Hwy for most of the run. The roads are wet but no rain yet. Wet weather gear on in Gympie and we're off the Hwy again to Tin Can Bay. A shower on our way into town which clears. North to Maryborough and Harvey Bay where the sun is out, but the wets stay on, because on the rain starts when we get to childers and it's bucketting down all the way into Bundy. As fate would have it as soon as we get ourselves settled into a motel the rain stops and the skies clear. Unpack the bike and discover the Ventura rack has started to crack just above where the rack sits in the l-brackets.. another trip to the bike shop to order a new one from Melbourne.

    Day 13 Daytrip to 1770
    There's really only one road to 1770 and back. Through sugarcane fields with terribly undulating and bumpy roads at first, then onto some more reasonable roads. Huge lunchtime servings at the cafe in the township opposite the beach.

    Day 14 Lazy day.
    short ride out to South Kolan to view the "Mystery Craters" which were much more mysterious before we entered Qld'd version of pissweak world :) Stop at the bike shop to see when they think the rack might arrive, only to be told it wasn't ordered till this morning. They give me my money back and I take the broken one to a welder for a $10 repair.

    Day 15 Bundaberg to Kingaroy
    Bundy to Childers, this time via Elliot. The roads are dry from overnight shower by the time we hit Ban Ban Springs. North up the Burnett hwy to Mundubberah, Boondooma, Proston, Murgon, Goomeri, south on the Burnett and into Kingaroy for the night.

    Day 16 Kingaroy to Rathdowney
    On Glitch's recommendation we head out to the Bunya mountains. WHAT A fcukING RIPPER!!!!!!!!!!!! The 25km through the mountains there would just about be the best road we've ridden this far in the trip, and hard to imagine any better still to come. Next we're on the plains, and the roads are relatively straight and flat through Goombungee to the New England Hwy. South and then off the Hwy at Hampton for the run to Esk, another great road. Esk to Somerset Dam, then down through Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo to the outskirts of Brisbane, a quick squirt up Mt Coot-Tha, then the motorway to Ipswich. Had planned to spend the night here but unable to find any accomodation so we head south to Boonah. A few km short of Boonah we can see rain ahead, so divert east to Beaudesert expecting there will be a better chance of finding a motel there.. there's a chook festival of some sort in town and a tour bus has booked out all the motels, but the lady at the motel we chose does a ring around, finds Boonah is also full, but there's one room left at the Rathdowney hotel. Another great place to stay. Excellent rooms in the motel units and great counter meals in the pub.

    Day 17 Rathdowney to Tenterfield
    This morning we head down the Mt Lindesay Hwy, across the border for the final time, Woodenbong, Urbanville and down another contender for potholed road of the year. Fortunately the road improves the closer it gets to the Bruxner Hwy. East down the Bruxner then north on the New England to Ballandean and back again, stop for a quick squiz at the Tenterfield Saddler and have some lunch. After lunch I have a look at the rear tyre on Jo's bike. The metal belts are exposes the whole way around the centre of the tread, and it's sunday so we head straight for a motel and search the yellow pages for the local bike shop.

    Day 18 Tenterfield to Grafton
    Straight to the bike shop this morning. Jo needs a 160/60 rear. The only road tyre they have in stock is a 170/70 which will be too big to fit without rubbing. They do a ring around and find a suitable tyre at Stanthorpe. Armed with their address I ride the 50km north back across the border to collect the tyre. The Andy Strapz which Jo has been carrying for the whole trip finally find a use securing the tyre to the bike. We're back on the road again and stop for lunch in Glen Innes before heading across the Gwydir Hwy to Grafton and find a cheap room in a pub.

    Day 19 Grafton to Gloucester
    Up early again and down the road to Ebor for breakfast. Then turn off the waterfall way and head to Guyra. About halfway there I look in my mirror for Jo to see my bag in the wrong place.. and Jo stopping behind me. My Ventura rack has broken again. The welds on both sides have broken and the rack and bag has completely detached except for the strap holding it onto the pillion grab handle. I stop and examine it, contemplate it for a while, before hanging it in a tree on the side of the road. The rack bag has straps which make it a backpack. For the 2nd time in two days the Andy Strapz come out and I strap the rack bag to the seat bag on my pillion seat. The bag sits on the seat bag and i keep it steady by wearing it loosely as a backpack as well. Armidale is only about 50km away and I hope I can buy some throwover panniers there... which I do. The contents of the bags swapped at the bike shop and the rack bag parcelled up and posted back to my home. Visit a friend in Armidale for a 3 minute chat in the afternoon then we have to get moving, because we've set Gloucester as our destination for the night and have over 200km to cover in little over 2 hours of daylight left. Thunderbolts way is a quicker run than I remember, and we roll into Gloucester just as the twilight fades.

    Day 20 Gloucester to Woronorah
    Yet another early start. No idea what the overnight temperatures have been on this trip but this one is no warmer than any of the others. Bucketts Way south to the Pacific hwy, duck into Karuah for breakfast, then south again on the Hwy to Hexham, then Kurri Kurri, Cessnock, Broke, Wollombi, Bucketty, Kulnura, Peats Ridge to Hornsby. Armed with the knowledge that it'll be an easy job navigating the Cumberland Hwy to the #5 Motorway all I need to do is follow the #7 signs. This works well for a while, say 2 or 3 km, and then I discover that the RTA has gone and covered over all of the numbers on the signs... so now I have to navigate by road name and town name. How convenient. Some signs are labelled by Cumberland Hwy and some by the road's specific local names. Some point to Parramatta, others to Liverpool or Canberra. After a few mis-navigations, and much cursing of the RTA we finally make it to the #5 motorway, take the Heathcote Rd exit and follow Heathcote Rd all the way back to the Princes Hwy. Within stones throw of the caravan park we're staying at I stop to check directions. Jo stops and points at her almost new back tyre. Within a few minutes it's dead flat. Get some rough directions to a bike shop from some shop assistants and with the help of a compressed air cartridge she's back on the road again. A few minutes later and another cartridge and we get to a petrol station, with an air pump and better instructions to a bike shop. With 40PSI in the tyre it's leaking air so fast it sounds like the valve is missing. It's late and the shop can't repair the puncture today so we leave the bike overnight and they'll do it first thing in the morning. The van park is just a short taxi ride away for Jo, and following the taxi saves me the trouble of trying to navigate around the city with no straight roads.

    Day 21 Woronorah to Narooma
    A not-so-early start due to puncture repairs. Straight into the Royal National Park, through Stanwell park, across the new Seacliff bridge which really has to be seen to be appreciated, through a dozen little villages before bypassing Wollongong on the Fwy and visiting the Nan Tien Buddhist Temple, up Macquarie Pass to Robertson, gross disappointment at the lack of potato pies at the pie shop, down Kangaroo Valley to Nowra then the Princes Hwy to Ulladulla, Bateman's Bay and Narooma for the night.

    Day 22 Narooma to Sale
    Off the Hwy soon and along the coastal road to Bermagui, Tathra, Merimbula for breakfast, back on the Princes Hwy then off just before the border and onto the Imlay Road, one of my favourites (and they've sealed the final 400 metres). Down the Monaro/Cann Valley Hwy to Cann River, the Princes Hwy again to Newmerella, the back way to Buchan (some sections of this road appear to have been upgraded recently and plenty of road workers paint on the road marking other sections likely to be smoothed out in the near future. Lunch at the Buchan pub then Bruthen, Bairnsdale, off the highway again shortly after and then backroads through Bengwarden to rejoin the Hwy right on the outskirts of Sale.

    Day 23 Sale to Melbourne
    Our last day and plans for it to be our biggest. The forecast is for afternoon showers so we set off at the crack of dawn to cover as many miles as we can before then. Straight off the Hwy and Longford, Rosedale, Glengarry, Tyers, Walhalla, Willow Grove, Icy Creek, Noojee, Powelltown, Yarra Junction, Warburton, Reefton Spur, Marysville bakery for lunch, then down the black spur, Chum Creek road to Toolangi, Kinglake, backroads to Diamond Creek, then home tired and exhausted. What do they say about the best laid plans? We get to Yarra junction and park for a rest. Given the amount of moisture on the road through Noojee-Powelltown I decide to skip the spurs.. they'll be wet too.. and head straight to Healesville. Then Jo kicks her rear tyre. Hang on... it's not supposed to make an impression in it when you kick it. I get down for a closer look. There's a nail sticking out of it, only a few cm from the first puncture repair... but it isn't leaking audibly and is doing a reasonable job of retaining air. Decide to head straight to Ringwood for another puncture repair. An air cartridge for starters and then a few petrol station stops to keep it going and we're in Ringwood at lunchtime. The bloke at Treads n Things tells us it'll be ready in 30 mins. After lunch I try to resurrect what's left of the ride, by heading home via Warrandyte, Eltham. Got home a few hours earlier than expected, and beat the rain :) 23 days, about 8700km covered on most of the best roads in Australia. Can't wait for next winter to see how I will top it :)