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slow way around (day trip)

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by RacingTurtles, May 14, 2007.

  1. Last Saturday I did something I hardly ever do: went for a ride out into the country, just for the heck of it. 99% of my riding is commuting around Sydney, but this time I decided to blow off the cobwebs so just after 6am I hit the road heading north, with the vague idea of checking out Gloucester, Bucketts Way and any other interesting roads in the area. Naturally, the plan was to avoid the freeway since the CB250 is not an ideal high speed cruiser; on the other hand I wanted to get out of town as early as I could, so I decided to compromise: I'd follow the freeway part of the way, then get onto the Old Pacific Hwy and rejoin the freeway later. It was a good plan, except I managed to miss the exit... oh well - freeway it was then! Clenching my teeth I went on, miles trickling slowly by, while other traffic buzzed past me at warp speed... at least I didn't have to worry about the cops as I was under the speed limit at all times...

    Let me tell you, I was REALLY glad once I finally got past Newcastle! I managed to find the exit this time, and finally, finally I was on Bucketts Way - great motorcycling road, supposedly. And it would be, I'm sure, if it wasn't for the appalling state of its surface! Parts of it are absolutely dreadful, parts are OK because there is a 'restoration' project on the way. I cannot even imagine what this road was like before they finally got around to fixing it... one day they will finish and it might be a good road again, though by that time the stretches they fixed first will probably deteriorate again. I was also suprised by the relatively high volume of traffic, on what is essentially a road from nowhere to nothing... and what the hell is everyone's hurry? what happened to slow country folk and taking it easy? There were very few motorcycles around, though I did see one Buell Ulysses - it seemed a lot more in its element on this rough road than I did.

    But one way or another I made it to Gloucester... where it started to rain!!! What the heck, I thought it never rains in the country? I was clearly wrong about that, actually these parts of the country look fairly green and lush. Anyway, I had a quick look around the town, admired a couple of speed humps they got themselves on the main street, just like the folks in the city! Pretty hills in the background, but the town itself I thought was completely unremarkable. Fuelled up, considered briefly going up Thunderbolts Way - another recommended ride - but as I already had over 280kms under my belt I decided it was probably prudent to start heading back at this point. At least the rain stopped as soon as I was on the open road again.

    This time I turned off Bucketts into a road to Dungog, marked with large 'Tourist Drive' sign. I thought it would be a nice road but again, it was completely ruined for me by some really, really rough stretches that started immediately after the sign proudly announcing the boundary of Dungog Shire. Don't be too proud, Dungogians - and may I suggest fewer signs and more spending on actual roadworks? At least this road was pretty empty. Finally!

    On I went, occasionally taking a wrong turn, but mostly staying on the right path: Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Cessnock... it was pretty hard to tell where one ends and another begins - it's pretty much one suburban sprawl. Finally I made it to Wollombi, cast a longing glance at the pub and some bikes parked outside, but by then it was starting to get late so I pressed on Wollombi Road... again hitting some horrible, teeth-rattling stretches! Why are our roads so shitty?

    At least this time the exit from Wollombi road took me directly to the beginning of Old Pacific Road, otherwise I'd probably miss it again. I carried on, minding the speed limits, aware of the reputation of this road as a speeding trap but strangely enough, there were no cops in sight. In fact, I did not encounter a single radar trap on the entire trip which really suprised me, especially on a weekend!

    And so, finally, I made it back home just under 12 hours and 620 kms later. Fuel consumption? It worked out to 3.4l/100km. So there we go. 250cc bikes are certainly capable of covering long distances, the limiting factors are the riders, and road conditions - both surfaces and traffic. Both of these really affected my pleasure considerably. The last time I was out on the open roads was about a year ago, in Tasmania. It was so much nicer - the roads were in better condition and oh, so empty! I really think I want to move there...
  2. Glad you finally got out and about, but don't really know what you'd expect from a small old bike with more than likely clapped out suspension.

    So did you take the CB250 to Tassie?

    Not meaning to rain (pardon the pun) on your parade, but I've done those roads quite a few times, and yes they are a bit patched (although Buckets is getting resurfaced in parts), but you're bike is not made for them.

    Motorcycling, to me, is about riding on all road surfaces and sometimes loaded up with camping gear. I couldn't do this on any 250, but with the right equipment the job is done much easier.

    Whislt you love the simplicity of your CB250, have a ride on something like a 650 VStrom - now that is a bike for all roads and relatively cheap for what you get.
  3. Well, in practical terms you are right of course - something like the Ulysses or Vstrom or your Husky would cope with those roads a lot better. On the other hand we consider ourselves a first-world country for some reason, and I think it is not unreasonable to expect that something that is after all graded in the atlas as a major or at least main road should be passable on an average road-going vehicle. We shouldn't have to resort to specialised machines! That just sucks, especially considering the amount of taxes we're paying.

    Well, upgrade is on the cards, eventually - once I don't have to commute this much. But for now, this bike is still the perfect tool for the job I need it to do most of the time.
  4. Considering Sydney to Qld border still a long way from dual carriageway, plus upkeep of New England Hwy, gonna be a long time before they spend any cash on those roads. And those roads keep you honest, focused and the traffic is fairly thin when you've got some pwoer to easily overtake :wink:

    I'll be up riding up there on Tuesday :cool:

    And all the best for the upgrade - if a Strom is on your shortlist, and you don't want to ride fire trails, then you wont get much better.
  5. Be thankful you didn't go up Thunderbolts, it has a dirt section with a billion deep holes, and some patchy tarred sections rough as guts!
  6. Dirt - since when :?: Nowendoc Rd is dirt for about half to Walcha that sort of runs parrallel to Thunderbolts.

    Been a long time since Thunderbolts had dirt :?
  7. There was dirt on Thundebolts 18 months ago, only about 2/3/km if travelling North, just before a bridge. Don't know if this has been fixed though.