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[NSW/QLD/ACT] Voyager & Garou Head North (complete)

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by voyager, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. Well, after several long minutes of planning (took 6 months of procrastination to leave it all to the last minute - it takes effort to be this lazy I tell you!) we have finally set in stone the trip we've been talking about since last year. So its official - voyager & garou will head North (mostly) up through NSW and into QLD. With a bit of luck, we may even make it back.

    This thread will possibly contain all sorts of information about planning, the trip, etc, or I'll forget to post in it and it will die a slow death and become nothing more than wasted bytes on a lonely HDD somewhere.

    I'll post the route later - I'm trying to put it into Wayfaring and thats taking some time.
  2. Heehee

    He said root.
  3. You're incorrigible, Loz :LOL:

    Don't forget to call in at Wollongong, mate, always a warm bed and a meal for errant Netriders!
  4. Thats OK Loz, that response beats the random picture of a shopping trolley...

    Route is done, and although many of you will probably go "why are you going that way", we have places we want to visit and people we want to see as well as just doing some riding. We're not going fast either, this is as much a retreat as it is a ride.

    Outgoing inland route is as follows:

    Melbourne - Wagga Wagga - Parkes - Bathurst - Singleton (gotta include Putty Road) - Tamworth - Tenterfield - Brisbane.

    Then the "return" trip along the coast is:

    Brisbane - Lismore - Port Macquarie - Gosford - Canberra - Merimbula (via the coast) - Bairnsdale/Lakes Entrance - Melbourne.

    So thats the basics of the trip. We'll spend a few days in and around the Brisbane area, so the overall trip will take about 17 days. I'm still trying to map the damn thing out in a visual form.
  5. Should i post up some puns about Garou Taking a Voyage, or are they just images no one wants to consider?
  6. RE: Singleton - Tamworth...are you going via Scone? Some excellent rds and scenery out the back of there, unfortunately I can't remember where exactly we went or the names of rds etc, apart from stopping at Denman for lunch at the pub.

    An alternate route to the Singleton to Tamworth - and it's one I'm sure you're aware of but prob have reasons for going the other way, but thought I'd mention it anyway - is Thunderbolts way. If you don't already know it and haven't already done it, I reckon you'd both love it. And then when you get to Walcha you just turn off for Armidale and then up to Tenterfield etc.

    But anyway, I'm excited for you both. When are you thinking of heading off? Have fun planning!!
  7. Date was set down - we begin the ride on May 12. Thunderbolt way is a possibility - we know the direct distances between places, but the exact roads we take will depend on prevailing conditions, our own fatigue levels and the like. This the first bike tour either of us have done - we don't have a good idea of how we'll do day after day. Except maybe on the 16th. We are catching up with some mates in Bathurst the night before...

    FL - you will anyway, regardless of anyone saying yes or no.
  8. Have any plans while you are in Brissie? If not, we can always organise something :)

    When Loz and a couple of others (sorry I don't recall exactly who it was, I'm bad with names) was up we QLDers met up with them, but to be honest not too much effort and planning went into it, so the result wasn't as good as it could have been.

    I'm sure we can do better, but don't want to nose in if you already have plans :)
  9. No concrete plans as yet for Brisbane apart from taking a day off from riding to chill out. after that its pretty open at the moment. I'll post some contact details here later.
  10. So we're one week out from the trip now, and the reality is starting to become apparant. I feel totally unprepared, still got a lot to do to be ready for it. Sad geek that I am, I'm finding a lack of space for all the various plugs and cables, and I'm not even taking a laptop. MP3 player, phone, camera - all need different setups for recharging. Typical really.

    The route has shifted a tad, with the inclusion of a couple of nice roads added in on advice from a few people (thanks deyago, rosie & mrs scumbag for those tips). The ever-handy Mr Chairman has been having fun with an arc welder and gas axe to modify Garou's bike for extra luggage capacity - I'll see the results tomorrow. Like all of chairmans work, I'm sure it will be both a marvel of home engineering and probably tough enough to survive a several megaton blast.

    For her part, my beloved '99 Road Star is almost ready to go. Needs another couple of short runs to ensure all is well - she's been serviced and tuned up by Adam & the boys at City West, but it looks like in their efforts to make her sparkle they've gotten a spot of water where it perhaps should not go. We'll see if it poses any lingering issues in the next 48hrs, but I doubt it will. A quick field repair to the left saddlebag and she'll be done.

    All that remains is to make a couple of advance bookings for accommodation (we'll handle the rest from the road) and finalize packing. Sounds simple enough. Wish it was...
  11. Sounds awesome, good luck with the trip!
  12. Aah! Am excited for you both! Have a great time and take plenty of photos. And if you do Thunderbolts Way, there's a great lookout along there with picnic tables - it's worth your while to pack some lunch in your luggage and stop there to eat and admire the view. have a blast!
  13. OK, its started. Woke up this morning with a realisation that we're only 5 days out from this. Still got heaps to do.

    Thanks and props out to Mr Chairman, who's skill with a welder is unmatched. He's gone and fabricated a luggage rack for Garou's GV250 out of tube steel, so that problem has been solved. Thanks mate, we owe you way more than the beer you asked for in trade.

    Another thankyou to Deyago, who has kindly loaned us a ventura bag. Once again the generosity of people here is just amazing. Thanks mate!

    Route is now finalized and locked in, and we're beginning to make a few reservations for accommodation for the first couple of nights. Still got to do give the bikes a final once-over, but that will have to wait until the weekend. Also have to pop down to Rays Outdoors for some industrial strength scotch guard, and rig up a toolkit (yeah, yeah, I know - I couldn't fix anything anyway, but a passing motorist might be more handy so long as I have a kit).

    Oh well, back to work. I'm sure some more pointless rambling will be posted here in the next day or so.
  14. We made it back from the trip last night. Ride report will probably be very long winded, so will follow in the weeks to come.
  15. Fantastic stuff voyager! Hope you had a blast! :)
  16. Voyager & Garou Head North
    A Tale of Roadworks, Repairs & drooling over Rocket IIIs.

    May 12th, 2008
    Day 1
    Melbourne - Wagga Wagga

    Voyager says:

    Day breaks with the resonating beeping noise of my alarm clock. 7am? Who the smeg gets up at 7am willingly? The misery of being awoken at dawn gives way quickly as I remember what day it is. ROAD TRIP!!!

    We're set for a 9am start from the BP station at Kororoit Creek Road, which means an early wake-up call. I pack the last of my gear into my bags and load the bike up. Remembering whats happened to me previously, I nervously fire the bike up. The big engine roars into life at 08:20am, and I pull out of the driveway. The neighbours car alarm wails a goodbye to me as I kick into second and rumble down my street.

    Its a brisk morning but not too cold, for which I'm thankful - there simply wasn't room to pack cold weather pants. Besides, we're going north to QLD, it will get warmer, right? On the freeway and off again quickly to the meet point.

    Its 08:50am. I've just filled up one tank and emptied another, packed myself a bottle of water and am now awaiting the imminent arrival of Duncan on his GV250. 09:00am comes around - no Garou. Then 09:15 - still no Garou. Finally my phone bursts into life - he forgot to do a last job at work the other day and has to do it quickly. 5min and he's out the door he promises. Riiiight. He finally pulls into the servo at about 09:50am.

    He fuels up, gets his first Pepsi Max of the morning and we check the map. Confirming that the first stop will be Seymour, the helmets go on and we're on our way.

    The traffic is light as we cruise up the Western Ring Road and out onto the Hume. Todays route will be simple and probably uninteresting - straight up the Hume Highway to Albury, then veer onto the Newell for the final stretch to Wagga. It turns out to be relatively straight but I'd not call it uninteresting. For two very new to motorcycle touring riders, it was probably a good place to begin.

    The scenery out to Seymour is urban, breaking into light rural as you climb the hills past Craigieburn. We test out the bike's abilities as we go - the little 250 does remarkably well holding the speed limit with its luggage and oversize rider aboard. It was to be tested more often in the days to come. For its part, the Roadstar is running fine - it was a little rough for the first 100km but probably just needed to stretch its cylinders.

    We pull into Seymour about 11:30am, stopping for an early lunch at the local Subway and have a chat about the days that will follow. The girls behind the counter ask if we have room for passengers as we leave - as it turned out it was a good thing they weren't serious (as the days unfold you'll see why).

    Back onto the highway and we press onwards. We pull over at a rest spot just after Euroa to let a truck we just couldn't quite pass get some distance on us, and have a chat to a guy on an old Ducati who looks in trouble. Turns out he's run out of fuel, but he's an RACV member and there is an officer on the way. If we were carrying fuel we'd have sorted him out, but we weren't, so with a handshake we were back on the road again and up to Wangaratta for fuel and to de-bug the visors which by now are hard to see through.

    We leave Wangaratta about 2:00pm, intending to make a shorter leg and into Wodonga for a late lunch. We know we won't make Wagga until dusk, so we'll grab a decent bite to eat here. We find a nice little bakery with decent sausage rolls on the menu, so taking advantage of the last chance to park on footpaths for 2 weeks we just stop out the front of it and sit on a low brick wall with the map spread out alongside.

    We pull out of Wodonga along the main street and over the bridge. At precisely 16:15pm we cross the border. Welcome to New South Wales says the sign, and the road changes to that pale grey runway-like surface to remind you that you're not in Mexico anymore.

    We turn off the Hume to the Newell and immediately hit a patch of roadworks as we make the left-hand turn - an omen of things to come (not that we knew it yet). The road surface roughens up significantly for the next 30 or 40km, then smooths back out. As the sun begins to set and the light start to fade, we pull over at the railway station at Henty to change visors and empty the reserve tanks.

    As we continue north the sun sets and I notice (belatedly) that the Hyo has a blown tail light. Crap. By now its dark and the next town is Wagga (The Rock must have been just that, a rock, because I didn't see anything more than just the sign). I pull us over - I had packed my yellow vest, so Duncan pops it on over his jacket until we get to Wagga. The brake light works just fine, its only a blown globe - we'll fix it in the morning.

    We stop at a park in Wagga and attempt to read the tourist info sign and associated map to figure out where we have to go to the guest house we're staying at. A local pulls up in his ute - he's a biker too, and offers to lead us to where we have to go. Lucky really, there are roadworks between here and there, and we'd have ended up on the wrong street without realizing. We thank the friendly local, check in and unload the bikes before heading off to a local pub for a parma before crashing out for the night.

    Route: Around the Western Ring Road to the Hume Highway, north along to Albury, then take the Newell Highway to Wagga Wagga.
    Weather: Fine and clear
    Daily Distance: 484.1 km
    Total Distance: 484.1 km
  17. ohhhhhhhhhh * stamps feet*
    I've been waiting for this report ever since you got home, I've made a cuppa and got comfy to settle in and read for a while, and all I get is 1 day :LOL:

    I love reading these road trip reports...... bring on the rest :)
  18. with 15 days to write, and half a dozen pictures to add, its going to take me a while, plus work will get upset if they catch me at it too often :p

    I'm getting there, I'll try to do a couple of days worth tomorrow, OK? I'm sure Garou will throw a few words in there as well.
  19. Have not done the trip up the Newell for donkey's years. Used to go to Bathurst that way. Enjoy, it gets better.
  20. May 13th, 2008
    Day 2
    Wagga Wagga - Parkes

    Voyager says:

    We arise to the news (www.bom.gov.au on Duncs 3G phone) that storms are expected around Parkes that afternoon. Joy. We pack the bikes, taking care to put the storm covers over as many bags as possible. The motel we stayed in provided a basic breakfast (if you're in Wagga, Millies Guest House is a good choice, and pretty bike friendly), so after that it was back to the open road...

    Actually it was back into town through some more roadworks to the Supercheap Auto store for a tail light globe for Garou. We put the tail light back together and NOW we're back on the road...

    Err, not quite. Fuel. Yeah, we might need that. As my Roadstar is tuned for 95 octane fuel, we go to look for some. Everywhere in town seems to have 91 or 98. This isn't looking good, and I have some concerns that it will plague the trip (more on that later). Finally, 8km out on the wrong side of town, the Caltex roadhouse has it. We fill up the tanks, grab a drink and chat about the route we're taking. We confirm our stops will be Cootamundra, Young, Grenfell & Forbes, so with that we fire up the twins and head back onto the highway.

    The road out of Wagga is relatively uninspiring to Junee - its open highway and there is little to do but dodge the multitude of small potholes on the road. A few skippys on the side of the road reminds us to keep our eyes open and try not to ride too much after dusk. Junee itself is a surprise - its kinda in the middle of nowhere and its a town that has really taken some pride in itself. The main street is set with an old belltower and row upon row of rosebeds, most of which were in bloom. But don't take my word for it - in true Pate Biscuit style, here's a picture:

    Main street of Junee. Thats Garou off to the left.

    We don't stop long - Cootamundra looms, and we weren't to be disappointed. The road turns rapidly into a series of low hills and gentle sweepers, so we're soon settled into a nice rhythum. The gentle morning sun countered the windchill factor of the bikes - we couldn't have been more comfortable. Indeed, it could be seen as near perfect until we were jolted back to reality when we had the first of our run-ins with that nasty beast that lurks on NSW roadways... the Railway Crossing.

    Railway crossings of inland NSW are unusual to say the least. They don't have boomgates, but they have the jangly red signs. They also exist in the middle of a switching dog-leg in the road. So you're bombing along at 100kph. You see the yellow sign - rail crossing. You look ahead and can see your highway heading off into the distance, you can see the crossing and you think "oh yeah, its just a slight bend to the right. You get closer and realise its a 90 degree bend to the right, then cross the rail, then a 90 degree bend to the left, both covered in small gravel chips kicked up by the trucks who don't want to slow down to the recommended 30kph and cut the corners. Yeah, those were fun. After the first one caught us by surprize, we were extremely cautious about our approach to them for the rest of the trip.

    We pull into Cootamundra around 11am (we haven't been hurrying at any point), and select the train station as a place to stop. It contains the tourist bureau as we discover, and some fairly strange looking people in the park. We also discover that this place has something to do with Sir Donald Bradman (he was born in the area), and there is a park full of statues of Australian cricket captains. On our way out of town, we find that all roads seem to lead you to that park, as if the town is strangely centred around it. Its not in the middle of the town either.

    Back onto the road we go, pushing our way to Young. This takes up through some apple and cherry growing country, with its associated hills and vales. Nice place to ride even if it is deemed a highway. Traffic is very light, and we're grateful that NSW overtaking lanes are generally uphill - if we can pass you up a hill, then we can stay ahead of you. It also means people can pass us with ease if they wish. We pull into Young and locate ourselves a nice place to kick back at watch the world go by. Young, despite its name, is quite definately a grey town, that is, there is a lot of retirees. We tuck into a pie and laugh ourselves silly at a squid on a CBR250 doing laps of the main street. Admittedly there wasn't much else to do.

    The main street of Young

    Here we wave goodbye to the highway we've been following, and turn onto Henry Lawson Way. As we climb the hill out of Young, I start to question the logic of this road - its bumpy, 80kph and extremely uninteresting. Thankfully that stops after about 10km, and we come down the hillside across vast farmland. The road passes through light native woodland, winding its way through the hinterlands to Grenfell.

    Grenfell is much smaller than Forbes, but the owner of the biggest hotel (pub) there is obviously either a Ulysses member or at the very least knows which side of his bread is buttered - there's a great big sign on the outside wall. A chap we met later on in the trip mentioned that was a meeting place for the local chapter. We didn't have a lot of time to stop though - long enough to fuel up and find out that Henry Lawson had something to do with this place. What, however, we weren't sure. Google told us afterwards that he was born there, in a tent in the goldfields during the goldrush. Either way, in the afternoon light, it was a nice place to cool our heels for a few minutes.

    Grenfell, looking down the main street

    After fuelling back up we pressed forwards through much more of the same countryside we'd come through. The light woods gave way to a huge, and I mean HUGE field on either side of the road. As we roared through it, the sun slowly began to set, the early evening light painting everything a glorious shade of orange. It was like being on another planet, and something I'll remember for a long time (no photo, I was too busy enjoying the ride).

    We arrived in Forbes at about 4:45pm (sun sets early out here!), and we begin changing visors and emptying reserve tanks. We're about 40km from Parkes here, but we know we'll be riding in the dark, so this is the last stop before we get there. As we're switching gear, some local wanders over to inspect the bikes, talking partially to himself about reporting something to the cops. To this day, we're not sure, but with think he meant us! What for is anybody's guess - I'm personally going with that he wished he was as cool as us, but he's not, so he's going to have an alcohol-induced cry about it to the only people he doesn't have to pay to to listen.

    We rejoin the highway at Forbes, and the 40km into Parkes passes without incident. The place we're staying at is on the northern side of town - its small but has everything we need. We ride back into town for a meal - one of the pubs has decent fare. Once fed and watered, we head back to the motel, stopping only briefly to acquire some more Pepsi Max. We crash out about 10:30pm. Tomorrow we head to the Space Ear.

    Route: Up the Olympic Highway through Junee & Cootamundra to Young, then Henry Lawson Way through Grenfell to Forbes, rejoining the Newell Highway to Parkes.
    Weather: Fine and clear
    Daily Distance: 334.5 km
    Total Distance: 818.6 km