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Renshaw-McGirr Way & Lake Burrendong

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by XJ6N, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. #1 XJ6N, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
    I stopped along a straight section of road lined with overhanging eucalypts. It was almost cold in the southerly breeze and the shade. A corrugated iron shack with louvred windows and a brick fireplace and chimney stood in a paddock to the west of the road. It was hard to tell whether it was abandoned or a weekender for hopeful tree-changers.


    I put my Halvarssons neck tube on to combat the chill at speed. A week ago and it was nearly forty degrees Celsius here. Today, a day or two before the Autumn Solstice, and the temperature hovered in the mid-teens despite the sun. I took a couple of sips of water and set off again between low, cypress-covered hills and stubble fields.

    I've lived within about fifty kilometres of the Renshaw-McGirr Way between the towns of Wellington and Parkes in central New South Wales for nearly thirty years. I'd never been along the portion of the road between the small town of Yeoval and the larger rural centre of Parkes so that was a good enough reason to ride it today.

    renshaw-mcgirr way-molong ride march 2016 022.

    The road runs through the eastern side of Goobang National Park and the road surface is exceptionally good here - like being on Victorian roads for a little while. The air was unusually clear and there was a clarity of colour and contrast through the trees to the sky after rain the day before.


    I arrived at Parkes in the mid-afternoon and rode up Memorial Hill to the obelisk.


    The sunlight with all the immaculate white paint was nearly blinding. I walked around the memorial and then stood beneath a picnic shelter and drank some more water. An elderly couple parked and unsteadily approached the obelisk and appeared to be paying their respects. The views from the hill reach to sixty kilometres in some directions, this to the south-east:


    Down in the town I refueled next to an electric blue Ford Falcon XR8. The retiree owner took several seconds to ever so carefully place the fuel nozzle into the receptacle. The car was quite obviously the pinnacle of his driving career and it was beautiful. I rode down the main Clarinda Street and out of town, east on the Orange Road.

    It had been over fifteen years since I'd travelled along here and could only remember a few parts of it. A few months earlier Greggles and Fr33dm had ridden here and I remembered Greggles saying that the Bumberry Ranges section was short but "fun". And so it was, a few quick, constant-gradient curves up and over the ranges with just enough lean on shiny heat-seeped asphalt to feel like you're finding the edge of some sort of limit. A shiny Moto-Guzzi rider was being crowded behind him with cars going in the opposite direction.

    About forty kilometres from Parkes the view opened to valleys and then the uplands of the central tablelands and Mount Canobolas beyond. Late last year I'd ridden from the tablelands on a warm afternoon and taken a photo from exactly the opposite viewpoint looking north-west:


    Today, looking south-east:


    I made a quick descent, following the railway line to Manildra where there are massive flour mills. You can tell if a freight train has been there recently because the trucks are white with flour. I changed direction and went north-east along Packham Drive. Almost immediately I found myself behind an elderly lady in a hatchback doing a nice consistent eighty kilometres per hour and several kilometres of blind crests and bends. Putting along behind wasn't so bad. The low sun lit up the pale paddocks of stubble golden and everything was serene, the inline four-cylinder ticking over at low revs. It's no bad thing for me to occasionally re-collect my thoughts during a fast-ish back road section. Nevertheless when the road opened, around I went - twenty-one kilometres over the Garra range and past Sandy Creek Road to Molong and beyond towards Euchareena.


    Stopping to look at this beautiful mare and foal near Boomey, I got an overwhelming urge to take a selfie. It has never gone very well for me in the past so I am determined to keep trying to capture the rough-hewn, interesting character I know that's there for others to appreciate. Today was no different however. 'Is it still going..? Oh...'


    Just before Euchareena there's a fast series of mostly blind bends and crests. There's a good chance that a tractor or ute is just on the other side of any of them so I hedge bets and take each bend slow-in, fast-out and it got my heart-rate up by the time I knocked back to fifty kilometres per hour through the village.

    At Stuart Town a mother and her ducklings waddled across the road in golden hazy light. By the time I reached the access road to the Lake Burrendong dam wall it was nearly sunset. The road somewhat precariously follows a steep hillside around to the wall and it doesn't get much traffic so there was gravel washed across the asphalt, bark, leaves and small tree limbs here and there. The curves around the rock cuttings are nice though.



    Years ago public vehicles could drive across the wall to where a huge spillway was or down to the base of the wall to a park where there are many beautiful European specimen trees and the Macquarie River resumes out of the dam. Now, locked gates prevent either. I parked and drank the last of my water while watching the views change as the sun set behind the hills.



    Because I like it, and I like to think you do too, I set up a reasonable bike photo.


    A fellow in a four-wheel drive appeared and sat watching me take the photo. When I stood up and turned towards him he sat up straighter, gave me a look as he put the vehicle in gear and solemnly turned around and left. I don't know; your guess is as good as mine.

    Every few seconds cockatoos and crows flew overhead to roosts in red gums down the river valley.

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  2. Below and a couple of hundred metres away, a mob of kangaroos dined near the lake's edge like grey ghosts in the fading light. I had been standing there twenty minutes and not noticed them until now.


    I put away the camera and added a polar-fleece top to my layers as the light faded. I followed the sunset to the top of the hills towards Wellington and overtook another car that was crawling along at eighty.


    The glare of the petrol station lights at Wellington was jarring and I was glad to be back out of there quickly.

    With the last faint light in the west along Bushranger Creek Road, a barn owl swooped in front of me. I stopped and put my high beam on again to see if I could spot it. The possum it was most likely hunting scampered to the base of a gum tree and climbed to the first fork to look at me, eyes red in the headlight.


    I was nearly at the Macquarie River when a hare stepped out with perfect timing about thirty metres ahead and I nearly did my first stoppie. I could feel the front rubber squirming at the edge of traction but it gave Mr Hare enough time to get out of the way. Across the river and when I got home a few minutes later the cat did exactly the same thing as I came down the steep driveway. I did much the same thing as before and the cat learnt some new words before coming to sniff all the new smells on the bike in the garage. Well, until next time...
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  3. #3 XJ6N, May 15, 2016
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
    Yesterday, in the interests of taking a new motorcycle for a run, I returned after two months to Lake Burrendong to see if the water level had lifted. I rode the bends down to the dam wall to find the water still low. Near sunset, the shadows on the eastern hill sides held an Autumn chill while the sunnier places were still Summer-y warm.


    At sunset and in still air the lake looked like a mirror.


    Not many boats on the water, being late in the warm season. The ripples from their wake made for some creative photography.


    Like last time I was here, I could suddenly feel that I was being watched. When I turned around, a big eastern grey kangaroo stood questioningly about forty metres away. He stood there for some time just looking at me and twitching his ears before hopping up into the bush.


    The light fell and I watched the colours turn to pink, purple and finally silvery black (sounds like a nasty skin complaint, doesn't it) under a half-Moon before riding away.


    It was a good first ride on the new motorcycle, a Kawasaki 1400GTR, for which I plan many more kilometres.
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  4. Brilliant as always XJ6NXJ6N. You really should write for a living. Hope you will start up a blog when you start exploring with your new ride. I know it's going to be my favourite read.
    Was great to see lovely XJ6N, it is gorgeous in a flesh. You brought up some great memories. Hope we will catch up again one day, somehow, somewhere..... You know that bouts of you are most welcome here.
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  5. spectacular pics and great write up!
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  6. Beautiful as always XJ6NXJ6N :)
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  7. Dude..

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  8. #8 XJ6N, May 15, 2016
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
    That was a great day, wasn't it! =D Screams over Skyline on Greg's GSX1250FA at Mount Panorama notwithstanding! :-O I'm sure we will catch up again - my wife, a Victorian - has told me for nearly twenty years that we should visit the Grampians and now knowing you it is even more reason to visit. I'm getting her some riding gear tomorrow, as it happens. If you find yourself planning a journey to this region again, the invitation to is always open here too. :] Thanks Fr33dmFr33dm.

    Thanks chilliman64chilliman64! :] There aren't a lot of winding roads around here (it is Cruiser Country) so I have to take full advantage of them when they appear.

    Thanks Sim! :] Sunset over the lake is usually exceptionally pretty and a beer and some nibbles would have completed the experience. The squashed ham and cheese sandwich and bottle of water had to suffice but that's alright.

    Thanks LLLL! You are always so complimentary. It makes a bit of writing and a few photos very gratifying. :]
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  9. Brilliant pics. Those 1400GTRs always get my attention too. Beautiful bikes.

    Random question though: what's the jacket you're wearing in your selfie? I've been hunting everywhere for just a plain black jacket. That one looks like what I have in mind.
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  10. #10 XJ6N, Jun 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
    G'day fekkinellfekkinell, thanks for reading my ride report. :] I'll have to do another ride soon and write it up.

    I am really enjoying my (new-to-me) 1400GTR. They're big and fast, but deceptively so. I was this close to buying a VFR800Fi just prior to getting the GTR and I still really like the look of the VFR series.

    I was looking around for the same kind of plain black jacket that you're after - aren't they hard to find without a big white Alpinestars logo or somesuch? The leather jacket I wear is an IXON Copper Rock. I am 183 centimetres in height and 100 kilograms weight and bought the EU size 3XL online from Sydney City Motorcycles, on sale for ~$350.

    It has a removable quilted liner, two chest zipper vents, internal and external pockets. I bought it in July 2015 and have worn it in temperatures from -4°C to 40°C, rain - just about everything. The zippers still run smoothly and it is in good condition after nearly one year. I use Mother leather conditioner on it about once every 3-4 months. I'd buy it again.
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  11. Nice new ride XJ6NXJ6N - that's quite a jump in power!

    I've been through the renshaw-mcgirr way a few times in the car on the way through to Adelaide, every time I do I think to myself I really need to do this on the bike.
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  12. Awesome XJ6NXJ6N , I only just stumbled across this thread today. What a great write up and the new beast looks bloody fantastic mate (y)
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  13. Thanks _wheel__wheel_! It is a bit of a big jump isn't it. My Yamaha XJ6NL still had quite a bit to teach me in the curves but the restricted throttle and ECU made my highway commute more stressful than it need be. Overtaking on the GTR is quite effortless, to say the least. :]

    I had to think about the route from Mudgee for a moment. Of course; that would be the way for you heading back and forth in that direction. It's a bit of an obscure albeit pleasant road, named after some now-obscure NSW state politicians - Jack Renshaw and James McGirr, both former Labor Premiers of NSW in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

    Thanks AndrewAndrew! :] I get a lot out of reading other people's reports and writing my own every now and then. The new bike is a bit of a beast! I've got to start doing some longer runs that it's designed for rather than just the daily commute.
  14. XJ6NXJ6N thanks so much for the awesome response. It's definitely a battle finding gear without logos all over it. I'm definitely going to have a closer look at that jacket. My other constant gear battle is trying to find gloves that aren't like ridiculous carbon fibre gauntlets. I have to say that the plain black ladies gloves usually look ideal, but my giant man hands have no hope of fitting into them. Hah!

    The VFR is a great bike. Not the most powerful machine on earth, but still plenty of grunt. It's very comfortable and makes a brilliant noise. I've come from riding a Fireblade, so I'm sticking to the Honda family, but I could easily see myself on a Kwaka like yours if I decide one day that I need more cc's again.

    Definitely keep the ride reports coming. I think they're one of the best aspects of this forum. I should get around to doing one one day.

    Cheers. :D
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