no politics...just ridin'

The Ride To Thredbo and Back...

Yeah, yeah - I know I didn't post as we were riding but I was knackered at the end of everyday and just couldn't be bothered - BUT - the ride was awesome. All up we covered 4070kms in eight riding days and did some of the best bike roads in the country. The VTX ran really well also - averaged 19kms/lt (45mpg) - not bad considering the bike was pretty heavily loaded.

Day 1 - Tuesday November 22

Left Kingscliff at 7am for the start of the epic journey - headed to Murwillumbah then to Kyogle but stupid (me) missed the turn and we ended up in Tyalgum. A 15km stretch on dirt to get back to the main road (first time for me) and we continued. Ebor Falls on the Armidale RoadGot to Kyogle and refueled then headed for Casino along the Summerland Way - this road was excellent - very little traffic and in good nick too. The run from Casino to Grafton was magic - overcast but still warmish making it good riding weather. I think we had to pass a total of about 3 cars. Anyway got to Grafton and had some lunch. From here we took the Armidale Road to where else but Armidale. This road does not get a mention in the 100 best rides in the country but believe me it is a top road - can get a little rough in some spots but otherwise ok - even has a stint of mountain riding where we came face to face with of all things a friggen truck. Why anyone would drive a truck through those curves amazes me. Stopped at Ebor Falls to have a look - not bad. Remounted and continued to Armidale where we re-fueled. Stuck to the New England Hwy for all of 20kms but geez you could tell with all the traffic. Top view from this lookout on Thunderbolts WayTurned off for Walcha at Uralla - the road was great again with very little traffic. Through Walcha and onto Thunderbolts Way - this was the best part of the day - late afternoon and a fantastic bikers road. Stopped on top of the range near Tibboc at the lookout with a view of the range for a good 20 miles into the late afternoon sun - truly magic. From here to Glocester the road was great -
don't think we passed anymore than 2 other vehicles and we coasted into Glocester at about 7pm. Ended up staying at the Roundabout Inn. All up we managed 710kms for the first day and not a drop of rain - not bad.

Day 2 - Wednesday November 23

Up early and re-fueled the bike and us (at the bakery) for the days riding. We headed for Dungong and then Cresford to Bruxner where we re-fueled and crossed the New England Hwy. The riding up till here was mainly back roads so wasn't too fast. From Bruxner we made our way to Cessnock and then onto Wollombi. At the Wollombi Tavern doing what comes naturallyStopped at the tavern in Wollombi for lunch. This is a regular ride for the Sydney siders so the pub was great and had everything we needed. From here we folowed Bucketts Way all the way through the forest and out onto the freeway. This is where it started to rain so the ride was a little slower than normal but still great scenery. Not having enterd Sydney from the north I was blown away when we crossed the Hawkesbury River - the scenery, even in the rain, was awsome. Of course we had plenty of traffic to contend with but we made it safely to Kat's sisters place at Mossman by about 3pm. The ride was much shorter but still demanding - a total of 358kms.

Day 3 - Thursday November 24

On Thursday we did the touristy stuff and caught a ferry into Sydney to check the bridge and Opera House out. I needed to get a new rear tyre for the bike as they were predicting rain for Friday. Took the bike to Matt's workshop where he removed the rear wheel and took it to the dealer for tyre fitment. Also checked over the bike getting all ready for the Thredbo ride.
Kat and the bridge
Mr Happy and the Opera House

Day 4 - Friday November 25

Up early and on the road with Matt by 7.30am. Man I would hate to live in Sydney - took us ages to get to the freeway after negotisting the traffic and a couple of tunnels. Spent a fair bit of the traffic jam chattin to another VTX rider who was riding in the traffic with us - he had only just bought his and was getting ideas about what to do to his.The road into Thredbo Anyway he turned off somewhere and we continued on. The rain was really coming down once we started on the freeway but we kept the pace up.Stoppped at the Paragon Cafe at Goulburn and re-fueled the bikes. From here we took a detour to Tarago and then onto the Kings Hwy to Queanbeyan. That was a good little ride and we started to notice the number of bikes on the road heading to Thredbo. The Monaro Hwy to Cooma was a fast run as we joined the steam of bikes flowing to Thredbo - there were also quite a few candy cars passing us and keeping a lid on the situation. Stopped at Cooma for fuel and lunch and man it was like bike city. Heaps of bikes now as we got closer to Thredbo. The rain had stopped so the ride from Cooma into Thredbo was ok except for the 6 or 7 bunches of cyclists who managed to block the entire lane offat various places - they really are dickheads - they think that they can hold traffic up and cause congestion on a major road - they should be made to pay registration if they want to do that sort of thing. Anyway, finally got to Jindabyne then got onto the Alpine Way for the final 30 odd kms into Thredbo. Managed to avoid a couple of Emus who ran onto the road after Matt had passed - bit scary coz they were quite large and would have easily floored us.
looking dwn the valley to Thredbo
Got to Thredbo and the sun was shining - greatplace with all the bikes arriving - there was even a little bit of snow left on top of the mountains surrounding the village. Pulled up out front of the pub and who should I bump into but Bear and his brother - his brother had just bought Bears old Suzuki and was on his way home to Melbourne so they decided to do the Snowy Ride. Anyway after finishing with them we went and checked in to the River Inn then walked back into the village to book a test ride on one of the Honda demos and then onto the pub. Did 570kms for the day.

Day 5 - Saturday November 26

Well the Snowy Ride day had arrived. Got up early and decided to go for a quick squirt up to Dead Horse Gap to warm the bikes up. After returning to the village we lined up to nominat the bike for the test ride - I was planning to ride a VTR but as they were gone I took a VTX1800 for a ride - not convinced it is worth the extra money in both purchase price and petrol - sure had plenty of power but I did not like the seating position - give me a retro anyday!! Anyway once done we took off for Khancoban on the Alpine Way at about 10.30 - the day itself was almost eerie - overcast with low cloud. Kept getting passed by the sportys and in the end Matt took off and kept with a group of them. Caught up with him at Khancoban and because we had to get our tickets stamped and in the bin back at Thredbo by 3pm Matt decided to take our cards and ride on ahead - little did we know he took a wrong turn and ended up lost for a couple of hours!!
As the sign says...
We just kept to our pace cruising the Alpine Way - the scenery was spectacular riding through forest then above the winter snowline where all the trees looked dormant and then into the clouds then back down again. Passed one guy who hit the deck and a heap of others helping - bit of claret n his face but he looked ok - didn't see his bike.
Riding in the clouds
The run from Kiandra to Jindabyne was fast - open road with lots of sweeping corners and lots of cops!! Passed one guy who has just been pulled over - poor bastard- his mates were waiting a little further down the road for him no doubt ready to give him a bit!! Got back to Thredbo about 4pm and finally found Matt who told us is little lost story - he still managed to get the tickets into the barrell for the $20k worth of Honda bike on time - good man!
Lookout somewhere along the Alpine Way
Got ourselves cleaned up and headed to the village square for the draw of the raffle and the stamped tickets - we didn't win anything.
Got used to the sportys flying up behind and overtaking us - they had some REAL fun
Later in the night the Angels came out and plaed some of there stuff - of course I managed to get up the front and really enjoyed the performance. Did 310kms.

Day 6 - Sunday November 27

Left Thredbo at 10:30 trying to miss the rush out - Matt headed off a half hour earlier to return to Sydney. The temp was 2 degrees when we left and shit it was cold - luckily we bought the thermals. Rode to Cooma and needed to buy a thermal balaklava for Kat and glove inners for both of us. From Cooma we headed down towards Bega on the coast- the road was good and there were a lot of the Sydney guys taking the long ride home. Finally got to Bega and had lunch at the cheese factory after removing the warm gear. Had a look around the cheese factory then back on the bike and out to Tathra on the coast - from here we followed the coast road up to Bermagui where we stopped at Cuttagee Beach and had a beer from the 6 pack we were carrying. The coastline in southern NSW is awesomeThe view riding in to Narooma was magic - bright sun and the bluest water in the bay - didn't get a pic but wish I did. Rolled into Batemans Bay at about 6pm and decided to head to a caravan park for cabin accomodation right on the water - dumped our stuff and went and sat on the grass with fish and chips for tucker. After finishing that we took a bit of a ride around to check the place out - a great way to end the day. This is one place that I would love to return to and spend more time at being so close to the water. Total of 410kms.

Day 7 - Monday November 28

Headed back up the range to Braidwood via the Kings Hwy and then back to Goulburn over the same roads we took from Sydney to Thredbo. Again this ride was good due to there being so little traffic - we were stopped a couple of times by roadworks but managed to make up for lost time on the road from Tarago to Goulburn. We again stopped at the Paragon Cafe for an early lunch in Goulburn - good food and great service - recommended if your heading to Goulburn. Took the road north to Taralga and then decided to do the 14kms of dirt to the Wombeyan Caves. The road to the Wombyean CavesThis road was really good for dirt and worth the ride - spotted a huge boar in the bush off to one side of the road but he took off pretty quick. On getting to our destination we paid the $13 bucks to walk through the caves and really enjoyed it. We must have spent about 2 hours there and then headed back along the dirt to the main road. No pigs this time. Now the road from the cave turn off up to Oberon was supposed to be a well graded ccording to the tourist centre in Goulburn - absolute bullshit!! The 20kms of dirt that we rode was absolute shit - bumpy as hell and loose gravel everywhere. Took us about 40 minutes to cover this crap and once we hit the bitumen again we were relieved. I coudn;t work out why the few cars we passed were looking at us strange - I now knew why. Anyway we stopped at Oberon for fuel and then followed the road through Hampton to Hartley on the Great Western Hwy. This stretch was freezing and we were looking forward to a hot shower and big meal. Got to Katoomba at about 7pm and booked into the 3 Sisters Motel. Had a feed and then walked down to check out the 3 Sisters - really cool at night. Total of 445kms.

Day 8 - Tuesday November 29

Up early and took another walk down to the 3 Sisters - even better in the light. Back to the room and had breaky and packed up - went and had a look at the falls and the cable car and then set off. This was one day I was really looking forward to with some really good roads ahead. Road back out west to Mt Victoria and then got onto Bells Line Rd. The start of Putty Road
This took us on a really nice ride through the Blue Mountains. Got to a lookout at Upper Kurrajong and stopeed for a coffee - you could see the Sydney skyline way off in the distance - but we weren't going back to that. While we were stopped, about 4 council trucks pulled in and parked all around us - turns out its a popular smoko spot for these guys and man they come prepared with seats and eskys full of food. From here the road decended pretty quickly and at the bottom we took a left turn and after riding through heaps of acreage properties we arrived at the start of Putty Road. This was an excellent ride - long straight stretches of well made road eventually turning to tight winding corners. We stoped at the 1/2 way Roadhouse for fuel and lunch - really cool place with lots of car and bike memorabilia and a schitzo cockatoo. Up to Singleton then back onto the New England Hwy - rode through Muswellbrook, Scone and then into Tamworth with all the trucks and other traffic. Got a room at the Central Hotel and a lock up for the bike. Mate I was really knackered at the end of this day - I think all the traffic forced me to concentrate more and took a bit more out of me. Anyway a few beers and a good meal and I slept like a baby. Total of 483kms.

Day 9 - Wednesday November 30

Even though it was pouring with rain for most of the day, this was the best days riding of the trip. Started from Tamworth - after visiting the Golden Guitar and having a feed at Maccas we headed north along the New England Hwy to the start of the Oxley Hwy. Turned right and headed to Walcha - it was then that the rain started and man, it came down hard. Got to Walcha and re-fueled - the rain had stopped so I took all my wet gear off only to put it back on 20kms down the road. From Walcha onwards the road surface was in beautiful condition and the long sweeping corners were a dream - no traffic at all and more importantly no piggys. Hit the twisties and slowed right up - water was flowing accross the road in some parts and with the bike being top heavy I took it easy. Even so it was still good fun. Got to Gingers Creek and stopped for lunch - we were the only people there so got talking to the owner. A wet lunch at Gingers CreekThe accomodation is nearly always booked out as it is a good weekend ride for the Sydney riders. Kept going and the weather got even worse with storms. Passed a couple of trucks as we went down the twisties towards Wauchope - can't believe they take this road!! Anyway finally got to Wauchope and then cruised into Port Macquarie. Got accomodation at a cool pub right in the middle of the place and went for a beer and a feed. Didn't take me long to get to sleep that night. Would love to go back and do the road in the dry. Total of 298kms.

Day 10 - Thursday December 1

This was to be our last day on the road. Got up early and headed off to the Pacific Hwy by 7:30. Through Kempsey and onto Nambucca Heads where we pulled off the road and got some breakfast. Really nice little place - another one to the list of "must see again". Pushed on to Coffs Harbour then through Grafton and Ballina. Decided to stop at Ulmarra for a drink and a butt break - went to the Commercial Hotel and man, what a place. A great beer garden out the back right on the banks of the Clarence River - had a couple here then re-mounted for the last stretch to Kingscliff. Top beer garden hereThe traffic was pretty thick and man some of the trucks were hammering. The stretch from down the hill at Byron to the start of the freeway was pretty hard - not used to all the traffic. Anyway we got to Kat's place around 3pm and it was over. Just went way too quick. Total of 487kms.

If I was to do something like this again I reckon I would break it up a bit more - shorter riding days maybe. The best day I thought was the ride down the Oxley Hwy - now even though it was raining it was still excellent because you got everything - long sweepers and tight twisties all within less than 300kms. This made for a shorter but much more entertaining ride - I highly recommend riding the full length of the Oxley and dropping in to Gingers Creek. May be a good long weekend trip in the near future!!