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Touring on a large cruiser

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by peter-reebok, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. State of Origin III - Toowoomba 24-26th October 2008-10-29
    Lets go on a quick run says the forum.
    Ok, where to? Toowoomba!. Lets see what touring on a 1800 cc cruiser is like.
    Was looking to be the biggest gathering of Suzuki M109’s so, the choice was made, and a quick look at the “Motorcycle Atlas’ show that a large number of ‘good’ roads can be done on the journey up.
    Start nice and early from Ferntree Gully Mlb, down the Princes (UP?) Highway to Narrabarba - weather pretty average, but only drizzle, no rain. Bit cold though!. Heated grips are a godsend. Didn’t pack anything warmer than a jumper, which was a mistake.
    At Narrabarba, turn onto Mt Imlay road to Rockton, and start enjoying the roads. Down Brown Mountain Road to Bega - and I have seem hardly any cars - yeah yeah!.
    Back on the Princes Highway to Batemans Bay, and Up the Kings Highway to Goulburn.
    The day ends here - just over 1000 klm, and time to rest my not so pretty head, and warm up a bit.
    Day 2, and some of the better roads await.
    Goulburn to Oberon, on a patchy road, that is covered in snow patches and VERY cold. One (small) section had 2-3 inches of snow on the road, with just small tracks left by trucks to ride in - time to slow down a bit. No dramas with the bike, running like a dream.
    Onward, where I made a decision to continue to Bathurst - for a few laps of the circuit - Cos I can. Glad it is them and not me racing on it - too many blind corners.
    After 6 laps and a chat with one of the workers, back to O’Connell, and down Tarana Road on a very patchy, very narrow and poorly maintained road to Lithgow. Small patches of dirt, and many single lane bridges preceded by 25kmh corners. Not too bad, but if you miss the corner, you go over a ledge to the hillside below - no fences.
    Onward down the Bells line of road to Kurrajong, a road that deserves its status - long flowing corners, well maintained roads, very few bumps on the line, and you can easily be a very naughty boy!.
    Left down Putty Road to Singleton, another great road for motorcycles and a heavy throttle.
    New England Highway to Pacific Highway, where Maitland had me scratching my head at the traffic and how it bunched up at a roundabout, instead of flowing. Really crap traffic, and drivers that would faint in Sydney or Melbourne traffic. Rain becomes heavy.
    Buckets Way to Gloucester. Really good road, lots of rain.
    I think Gloucester was closed, nothing was open that was for sure. What sort of Pizza shop SHUTS at 5:30 pm. Although the Buckets way motel could not have been nicer to me, offering no ground floor rooms, but offered to store my bike under cover near the stairs. In return, I pushed the bike away before starting it the next day - 1800cc’s and straight thru pipes does not make for happy neighbours. They were good to me, so I should look after them. About an 800km day
    Day 3 I was to catch up with another 20 riders at Uralla for lunch, so had an easy push up the Thunderbolts Way. Stopped for breakfast on the way, easier said than done. I was looking for a simple country breakfast - ie eggs, sausages, bacon, tomato, toast and coffee. Seems that everything along the way had the word gourmet in front of it, and cost almost $20. Whatever happened to simple food cooked well? Had the same problems with Hamburgers along the way. No wonder Maccas does so well. Although, even they have avocado on a burger!. Next you will be able to buy moisturiser with your burger!.
    The Top Pub at Uralla was an oasis. Good food, cold beer, and discount rates for bikers!.
    Certainly not the newest flashest pub, but felt welcome and wanted, which is a good start.
    The other guys (and gals) arrived from Sydney, having endured some good rainfalls, unexpectedly. The Pub supplied a bus and driver (and a slab of beer) and we visited Scotty’s Choppers for a look at his custom bikes. Not cheap, but almost works of art.
    These guys do not have million dollar workshops, but their care in construction is excellent! Everyone found some features that they would like on their own bikes, from pearl paint for frames, to the custom alloy tanks. My favourite was the 82spoke wheels.
    Scotty sells most of his bikes overseas (USA) and recently had a bike auctioned off at Hugh Hefners Playboy mansion. It reached a telephone number price.
    Somehow, we woke up the next morning, some perhaps rueing those last few drinks.
    Off we went to Toowoomba!.
    Just over the border into Qld, we stopped for lunch and caught up with some of the QLD guys who rode down to join us for the ride in Toowoomba (about 300klm away).
    After one of the best value feeds you could find anywhere, and a couple of hours shooting the breeze, it was mount up - and lets go!.
    Now, one M109 with straight pipes is loud. 30 is LOUD!. We did not spare the horses along the way, having some fun in the traffic on the highway. It was a very spirited ride!.
    Not surprisingly we attracted the attention of some law enforcement. The chatter on the CB was almost hysterical!. First we were mad bikies. Then we were 40-50 mad bikies. Then we were a hundred or so, drunken bikies, terrorising the roads, eating small children etc etc. Not 30 or so grumpy old men and their wives on a ride. We came over a hill, and 2 police cars with lights blazing were headed towards us, blocking the road, and with tyres squealing to a stop - totally out of control. They motioned for everyone to stop, pointing madly at the lead rider - note, with tyres skidding, one side in gravel, one side of the police car on the road, one hand on the wheel and the other out the window. Yep, they are the standard setting safe driving professionals! Most of us kept going, some stayed behind, the lead rider having a distinctive jacket, so no choice. They booked him for doing 115 in a 100kmh zone. Very dubious, as we were sticking to the speed limits as we knew they were there, but he copped it sweet, and avoided a scene after a stern lecture and a fine.
    But, on to Warwick and Toowoomba.
    Get to the Comfort inn where we were received with open arms by the owners, a sentiment echoed by all the local businesses we graced. Even the local Hungry Jacks kept offering us free stuff!.
    Off to the pub, then the Golf club for a feed. Decent grub, half hour queues, and customer service had a different feel to what we were expecting - minus points - even though we were all attired in collared shirts, freshly showered etc. Some even brought their kids along.
    Since we had almost the entire motel booked out, the night was a long one, with mods compared etc etc.
    Saturday morning arrived, and we lined up all the bikes for some pics. 42 109’s, 5 Harleys, one Kawasaki, and a Yamaha. And then more arrived!.
    We had a run up to Esk, with a few stops along the way so we could have a poker run as well. I reckon we stopped the main street of Toowoomba!
    Absolutely glorious 2 hr run around the hills, at some very reasonable speeds, everyone learning a bit more from the better riders.
    On to the Pub at Esk, where we had a stop for a counter lunch, more gossip, talk etc. The constabulary paid us a few more visits. They missed the burnouts and wheelies somehow. Yep, 330kg cruisers can power wheelie!.
    Over to the Motorcycle museum, where we had a soundoff comp with a noise meter, with prizes like a motorcycle alarm, bottles of bundy etc. No big surprises about the winners!.
    Back to the Motel, where after a lubricating watering, we caught more cabs to the Darling Downs Sporting Motorcycle club, where they put on a BBQ (very fine BBQ) dinner and we contributed to the clubs fundraising across the bar. Prizes and awards were given out. Very pleasant, and a hark back to older style motorcycle rallies, where we all ended up around a bonfire somewhere.
    Many thought the night was not over, and were still yakking well into the wee hours.
    Sunday arrived, and people started to drift off homeward. I stayed on, having a rest day before tackling the trip home. Managed to watch Indy and the MotoGP, something I never usually get time to do.
    Monday - time to leave. Lets make it a good ride.
    Back down the New England to Warwick, along the Cunningham Highway to Goondiwindi, Down the Newell for a while. The towns flash by, Moree, Narrabri, Coonabarrabran, Gilgandra, Dubbo, Parkes, Forbes, West Wyalong, Finley, and down to Tocumwal. Light is fine, but I have been seeing quite a few animal carcasses on the road, and memories of hitting a roo last year echo in my head. I make the decision to stop for the night. Almost an Ironbutt ride, but not quite enough. Having spent most of the day at ‘fun’ setting on the bike, I call it quits. Sleep came easy, and the run home in the morning was almost a cruise.
    How does a cruiser suit long distance touring - Better than a sport bike!
    No problems with any aspect of the bikes running, although 4900klm in a week puts me over the next service interval. But I reckon I will need to use industrial cleaner to get rid of the bugs! Fuel economy averaged out at 6L/100klm, although sustained high speeds see higher use. The sheepskin for the seat helps a lot, and you just cant beat a large Ventura bag to swallow a weeks worth of gear.
    I tried some noise cancelling earphones for the ipod, and that helped a lot to soak up the miles.
    So yes Virginia - you can tour on a large cruiser. You can get to meet with many like minded people. Just watch out for the cops!.

  2. Looks like a blast was had by all. Great write up Peter and gives me some ideas for stopping points on my trip up North in a few months time!

    I love the photo of all the bikes in a row!!
  3. Great report, Peter, but we would have expected nothing less of you :).

    So, the BIG question is; how much was that line-up of bikes in the last pic, WORTH??? I'd reckon you could pay off half the national debt with the value of that lot :LOL:.
  4. Good read

    Great bike the 109's :cool:

    Well done on the ride, pics and report