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Old 01-16-2008, 02:02 PM   #1
fezzick
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Ride report from Australia!

Well, in two long and frenetic days, Hornet (my twin brother) and I managed to squeeze in a fair proportion of the "Road That You'd Like To Ride Again" roads. It sorta went like this.

On Monday night I had a call from Paul telling me that a good friend who is in the process of writing a book about the Castrol Six Hour production race had emailed him asking him if he had any photos from the 1977 race. Paul had looked but couldn't find the ones that he wanted so he asked me if I could put my hands on my (quite large) collection of pictures from that year.

I should add that Paul and I used to photograph the road races back then.

I quickly checked my collection and found the ones I wanted. "Well," he said, "Jim needs them urgently, so what do you reckon we go up to his place and deliver them personally?"

"Where does he live?" I asked.

"Oberon." was the reply.

Alllll righty then. A cruise up to Oberon and back, I can handle that.

So, Tuesday morning we headed off. Road #1: The Old Princes Highway. Infinitely preferable to the F6 and TWISTY.

Lunch at Pie in the Sky. Road #2: The Old Pacific Highway. For all its problems and the 60km/h speed limit, still a "must ride" road. Sobering it was, however, to see the site of Alan Hales's recent fatal accident. Police yellow lines still painted on the surface. Poor Alan's body went under the armco on the outside of the corner.

Across to Arcadia Vale via the old road to visit an old school friend and have a cuppa and then to Cessnock, via the Lake Road from Toronto. Lovely, open, sweeping corners winding up into the Hunter Valley. Gas up at Cessnock and across the link road to Broke and the out onto the Putty at Bulga.

Road #3. The Putty. Yes, it's a long way to go to get there and there are lots of straights, but the corners more than make up for it. Add to that a PERFECT run though the 10 Mile for us and you've got a recipe for motorcycling delight.

Just after Colo Heights we turned right and joined up with Road #4, the Bells Line of Road. Again, an excellent traffic-free run and we discovered the EXACT distance that the Hornet can go on a full tank. 253kms. It ran bone dry in the main street of Lithgow just on the other side of the hill from the first servo in town. :lol: A word of warning then for those planning to ride this road. There are NO servos open after 6pm between Kermond at the eastern end of the BLOR and Lithgow on the western end.

Dinner and on into the closing gloom on the Great Western Highway. This road is NOT on the list. It's dull, boring and potholed. Avoid it if you can. We were getting pushed for time so we took it.

It was almost dark by the time we turned south off the GWH at Kelso (on the outskirts of Bathurst) and started looking for a place to stay. Jim lives just out of O'Connell, a tiny town (really just a pub) halfway between Bathurst and Oberon. But, by the time we got there, through the biggest plague of flying ants I've ever experienced, the pub was closed.

So we pushed on to Oberon and got a room at the Tourist Hotel. $40! You just can't beat country pubs. When we asked if we could lock the bikes up around the back, the publican said we could but he said, "Mate, you'd be better to leave them right where they are."

He pointed to a CCTV camera on the pole across the road and aimed straight at the pub's front door.

"It's on 24/7," he said, "Anyone who wants to mess with your bikes would have to be an idiot,"

Needless to say that, when we awoke in the morning, the bikes were unmolested!! Breakfast at the cafe across the street and back to O'Connell to see Jim.

Oh, by the way. 683kms covered on Tuesday.

After finding Jim's place we spent a very pleasant hour or two examining photos, admiring Jim's delightful home on 73 acres overlooking the valley below and generally reminiscing about the "good old days".



Jim has a very interesting family room.



As well as a to-die-for view.



Still, the road was calling so it was back to Bathurst for a check-out of Road#5. The Mount Panorama circuit. Yes, I know you can only do 60, but it's still a buzz to fling the bike down the Dipper and imagine that you're Graeme Crosby. The commitment required to drive/ride that road at racing speed is something that I can't even begin to imagine.



It was now almost midday so the decision had to be made. Which way are we going to go home? Since I have an aversion to riding the same piece of road twice in one tour (unless it's absolutely necessary), we decided to check out Road#6, The Abercrombie Way. For those who don't know it, it's the road that links Oberon to Goulburn by way of Taralga.

Last time I rode this road was with DZ, Big Ted and Kane (who was on his GPX so that shows you how long ago it was). Back then there was a vile section of ungraded gravel about 20kms long and it was pretty rugged. MUCH tar sealing has happened since and there is now only 5kms and they were working on sealing that when we rode through today. This road is filled with sweeping bends and rise and fall as well as a very "Mickey Mouse" mountain pass of about 2kms of tight, badly surfaced and cambered hairpins. Fun.

I should also add that we rode through a shrieking thunderstorm as well that lasted for about 5 kms and then the road dried up again. A portent of things to come.

From Goulburn we had the choice of the Hume (THAT was never going to happen) or the Wakefield Park back road. Road#7. The road that links Goulburn to Braidwood through Tarago and Lake Bathurst. Again, grand touring territory.

NOTE: for the track day junkies. Wakefield Park re-sealing IS complete and the track was being used by a sports car club today, it's second use since the resurfacing was completed. It looked sensational and even the pit lane and dummy grid area has been hot-mixed.

Just after stopping briefly at Wakefield, we noticed this.



Along with the approaching storm we ran into ferocious crosswinds that had us fighting the bikes to avoid being blown straight off the road. Even though it had started spitting, the winds were whipping up a huge dust storm that reduced visibility to almost nil before we broke away from it and hit Lake Bathurst. It was starting to look VERY ugly but we decided to try to get to Tarago at least. And we did, JUST.

As we pulled into the servo, the storm broke. Carl, the manager there, saw us on the forecourt and bustled us and the bikes into the huge workshop there and we hunkered down to ride out the storm. A minute later the storm turned into a hail storm and Carl and his wife both rushed to get their cars into shelter as well.

Carl is a Moto Guzzi nut, by the way, and his son's V65 Lario was in the workshop waiting for some parts (since last February) :shock:

I don't know how much rain fell in the next 90 minutes but it was HUGE.





After checking the BOM site and determining that the front was past and that there was another one on the way, we scuttled, hoping to hit the coast in between them.

Fat chance!

At Braidwood we stopped again, this time for about an hour, waiting for the 2nd storm to pass over. Then it was on the road again. On reflection, we should have waited longer! :?

Road #8: The Kings Highway between Braidwood and Batemans Bay. I have to say that I've ridden it under better conditions but that doesn't alter what a fabulous road it is. Twisty, elevation changes and a challenge around every corner.

For Paul and I the challenge was simply to survive it. Moments after leaving Braidwood we were engulfed in rain. And, when we hit the top of the Clyde, we ran into the Mother of all Fogs. It was so thick that I was thinking of pulling over to the side. Between the rain and the fog, the visibility was just NIL. The only reason I elected to plough on was that I was terrified that, if I DID stop, some clown would clean me up from behind.

Fortunately about halfway down the mountain we caught up with some cars going BULK slow so at least we had some sort of guidance as to how the corners were going. We gradually picked them off, and soon fell out of the cloud cover and started heading down towards Nelligen.

By the time we reached the Bay, the rain had all but stopped and the rest of the trip home, up the Princes, showed evidence that there had been rain but we got home without having to ride through any more.

Distance covered today: 627kms, making a total of 1310 for the two days, over some of the best roads you'd ever want to ride.

Touring? There's NOTHING like it. :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

Oh, and I think I can safely say that the VFR and I have bonded.

And thanks to Paul for taking the photos.

:thumb:


This a verbatim copying from my local forum, so some of the details and localities will be unknown, of course. but I am submitting it because it does show what can be done at short notice if you try. Anyhow, I hope you find it entertaining.
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Old 01-16-2008, 02:53 PM   #2
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Nice! Enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:09 PM   #3
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Old 01-16-2008, 05:50 PM   #4
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Now, for the benefit of 99.9% of you who haven't got a clue where ANY of those locations are, here's a map that shows the area, and most of the roads.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...08643&z=8&om=0

Beginning and end point of the journey was Wollongong, about 80kms south of Sydney.

We followed the old roads heading north, closest to the coast rather than the Freeways noted on the map. We turned West just south of Newcastle and visited my old school friend near Toronto.

From Toronto we went West again, to Cessnock, the centre of NSW's wine growing region.

From Cessnock we went West along a small road that doesn't show on this map (although it does show up if you zoom in on the map) out to Road #69, the Putty Road, joining it at Bulga.

South on the Putty for over 100kms until we got to Ward Park, (right under a #69 label) where we headed West again through Kurrajong Hills and Bilpin (where great apples are grown) on the Bells Line of Road. Scroll Westwards and you'll see that we came out at Lithgow.

West from Lithgow on the GWH (Road #32) until we got nearly to Bathurst. South off the GWH and SE to Oberon along the O'Connell Road.

That was Day 1.

Day 2 was back along the same road, Northwards to about halfway between Oberon and Bathurst to O'Connnell. Again, it shows up if you zoom in on the map. We continued North to Bathurst for a couple of laps of the legendary Mount Panorama motor racing circuit and then retraced the same route to Oberon and then headed due South along the Abercrombie Road to Goulburn.

From Goulburn it was due South again along the Braidwood Road to Braidwood joining the Kings Highway (Road #52) and heading East to the coast at Batemans Bay.

From there it was North along the Princes Highway (Road #1 and back to Wollongong.

I hope that this has put the trip into a slightly better context. The area around Bathurst is a lot higher than the coast (around 1000 metres up) so it gets very cold in the winter time, but the weather was superb for us. Most of the country we travelled through is open grasslands and plains and, since we have had some good rain lately, it looked very pleasant.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:06 PM   #5
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Awesome!! Love the bike in the guys living room!
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing..

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