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Interesting Stuff
Most of you know, or at least know of, Russell. Well I’m his better half – this is your chance to hear
from me.
As I prepared for our road trip with the Dubbo & Western Plains Ulysses guys, I still wondered
whether I should go. You see I’m on my L’s and no one ever wants to go at 80km/h and, having four
kids at home does take a bit of organising. So as my husband does the important cheap canada goose jackets women –checking
tires, lubing something, and looking at maps. I do the non-essentials of checking there’s enough
food in the house, encouraging my son to have more then toasted cheese sandwiches all weekend
and working out who’s going to feed all the animals. These cheap canada goose jackets women to the male kind seem very
insignificant details.
We set of and meet the guys in town (Dubbo) to then decide to go on two separate routes. We (the
tortoise) going the slow and steady way and the other guys (the Hare) are going the fast and fun
way. Of coarse, at the speeds they intended to go would get them in Bendemeer way before us.
I still feel sorry for my dear committed husband who then proceeded to convince me that my speedo
was wrong and I needed to keep up with him. (I think I was speeding the whole trip –which to a
biker seems inconsequential). We had a pretty interesting ride. At one stage when I saw a sign that
read deformed road for 75 km my confidence wasn’t great. But all in all, the first day was pretty
enjoyable. Anyway, we arrived in Tamworth around 2pm had a lovely lunch and proceeded on to
Bendemeer. (By the way the next day Brian tried to convince Russ his Speedo was wrong, too –so
who’s speedo is right??????)
At Bendemeer, I easily convinced my dear husband why my company can be better at times then
his Ulysses mates or even his Ducati. They (The Hare remember) arrived about 2 hours later and
the story unfolded rather amusingly that they had first got a bit weary and decided to stop for
refreshments (Rob had nothing to do with this I’m sure). Then getting back on the road they took
3hrs to achieve the distance of 100kms????????? They had hit a very serious bit of dirt road (by the
way guys – that’s the broken red lines on your maps). I have never claimed to understand men very
well, but I think the tortoise definitely was the winner on the first day of the trip.
The trip home was great. I went solo for a bit on the wide and straight way while the men took the
windy narrow way. Between Scone and Merriwa I did do my best to learn some new tricks and for
the first time enjoyed cornering (please let me tell you they were mostly signed as 75-95 corner’s).
I’m still learning and wish to thank my fellow companions –Rob, Brian, Lindsay and Russ for all
their advise needed or not. I did have a great time and hope more women will go on rides in the
future. Thanks
yours sincerely Sue Hodge (The Tortoise).

The eleventh running of Wild Roads & Cheap Pubs is done and dusted – dusted being appropriate considering the fine weather and over 100 Ks of dirt roads involved. 2150 Ks, five days (four riding, one fishing), no real prangs, it was one of those runs where cheap canada goose jackets women just fell into place. Twelve like-minded guys out for a bit of hard riding on wild and interesting roads. And we must have been like-minded, ‘coz at all stops along the way it was always less than a minute between first and last man in – the exception being 60 Ks to Gundi where the dust spread us out a bit.

After ten years we’d had around forty days of hard riding in the territory twixt Dubbo and SE Queensland. Each year it gets harder and harder to find new roads to explore, simply because we’ve been on them all. So the plan this year was to use much the same route as last year but go the other-way-round.

Day 1 was Dubbo to Tenterfield – 740Ks at a moving average of 109. To set the mood, I like to start out via the Old Mendooran Road – there’s a section of dirt just after the Talbragar River and I find once their bikes are dirty the guys are inclined to loosen up a bit. Council had a truck and a sign at the Talbragar crossing – “Roadworks Ahead”. Despite the early hour they had managed to run a grader over the first few Ks to loosen the surface up for whatever they had in mind. Loosen – it was like riding on marbles! We were still on this stuff when Dave squawks on the radio “Hey, a deer just jumped outta the bushes and almost nailed the bike in front of me!”

`The stretch from Merrygoen via Neilrex to Coolah was as good as always – they’ve even done bits of the road up. We picked up Col and Grant at Mullaley, then turned left onto a little known road that took us up to Bogabri where a welcome cup of coffee was waiting for us. A shortish section of highway then turn onto a rather nice backroad for the last twenty odd Ks into Narrabri and a splash of fuel.

Narrabri-Bingara is everything you could ever want in 110 Ks of bike road. You simply gotta do it yourself to appreciate it. Mountain passes, fast straights, lotsa sweepers, very little traffic and it’s all sealed – with just the odd little surprise along the way to keep you on your mettle.

Lunch at the pub in Bingara then plenty of open running through Warialda, Coolatai and Ashford to meet up with Dunny and Allan up near Bonshaw. We had intended to explore a road via Glenlyon Lake, but the sun was getting low and Dunny had been warned off Glenlyon by a local park ranger, so we stuck to the main road instead. About 20 Ks from Tenterfield there’s a turn to the right onto a nice little backroad that avoids the highway and radar camera to the north of town. We made it to Fawlty Towers just as the sun slipped under the horizon.

Day 2 would take us from Tenterfield to South West Rocks, but first we had to wait for the frost to burn off. Overnight I had been taking the piss outta Redders and Kev; Redders for the number of roos he claims to see on the road – mainly ones heading for Kev who seems to be some sort of roo-magnet. Won’t do that again – as we came out of the 60 zone I had to slow for a little wallaby hopping across the road; then another couple a few seconds later; around the next corner a big buck roo; then more wallabies and roos at irregular intervals. But I’d been really looking forward to this stretch of road. We’d done it last year in the rain and I was looking forward to trying it in the dry. So I figured “Stuff the roos, let them get outta the way and just ride the road for what it’s worth”.

And it really is a nice bit of road – apparently it’s the NSW extension of Queensland’s Mt Lindsay Highway. But a highway it ain’t – there’s a couple of sections of sandy gravel which last year gave surprising traction when wet; but this year in the dry the traction just wasn’t there so we were 20 to 30 Kph slower. Anyway there’s occasions when you just gotta grin and bear the dirty or highway bits ‘coz that’s what joins the good bike roads together.

The guys were all grins as we pulled into Legume, swapping tales about near misses with the roos along the way. Moldy actually rode over the top of one; and some else ran over a tail.

At Legume we turn right and followed some genuine Wild Roads to Urbenville for coffee , Tabulam for fuel, and Grafton for lunch. Then the charge via Nymboida and Clouds Creek to Dorrigo – good sport that! Down the mountain and join the Sunday afternoon tourist traffic for the crawl to Bellingen. But there’s a curious backroad from Bellingen that gets us away from the traffic for the run to Nambucca and the dreaded Pacific Highway.

This section of highway is the only sealed road between Nambucca and Port Macquarie – there is no alternative route; so mums taking the kids to school, bikes, cars, buses and trucks, all have to share the same piece of road with spaced out B-Double pilots trying to keep up their thousand Ks a day quota. Diabolical madness – someone should take those idiots from RTA out and shoot them. It all got too much for JOK who pulled into a layby to put on a jumper only to discover a copper in a camera car sitting in the layby on the other side of the highway. JOK gave him a gobfull and told him to get a real job.

After 50 Ks we peeled off onto a tourist road and followed the Macleay River to SW Rocks where we would have two nights in the “beach house” owned by the skipper of the fishing boat that would keep us amused for Day 3.

Day 4 took us up The Ox and down Port Stephens Cutting to Nundle. Only 400 Ks so we had plenty of time coffee stops and an extended lunch break. A few of the lads went back and doubled up on their favourites parts of the Oxley Highway. Personally I prefer the road from Walcha to Niangala – there’s more variation, less traffic, and it’s the sort of road where they plonked a bitumen seal over the top of whatever happened to be there at the time. There’s no engineering or earthworks to give you a clue which way the road goes over the next crest.

Our digs were at DAG Station, 14 Ks south of Nundle. Interesting and biker friendly spot this; if you can get a mixed group of 20 to 90 folks you could have a lot of fun here. Check it out on Google.

Day 5 would get us from the DAG back to Dubbo, but first we had to negotiate 50Ks of dirt to find the 10 Ks of bitch into Gundi. If you don’t mind a bit of dust on your pride and joy you should do this one day – up and over a mountain range or two then follows the upper reaches of some unknown river for a while. Ed and Paul had big GS chookies along, and Redders had been ringing the neck of his wife’s TDM for the whole trip; they had a ball on this leg. I was contemplating the fact that being bunny in front meant I wasn’t riding in dust when suddenly there was a noise like a chaff-cutter and Ed went flashing past leaving me in a cloud of dust. In no time at all he was miles in front leaving interesting snail-trails in his wake.

Coffee in Gundi, fuel in Scone, then backroads to Sandy Hollow and we were on the Bylong Valley Way for the charge to home – reality beckoned. A few dirt sections and some challenging Wild Roads had reduced our moving average to 92 overall, but it was all good fun. We do it again next year.

The usual activity busied the home and family in showers and breakfast but today was a little different from the norm – Today was “SOUP 2012”. For starters I was in IO Bio tights! It was far too warm to wear all my clothes for breakfast so I covered up in the basics much to the amusement of my daughters and SWMBO suggested I was a wet Egyptian – in denial. Anyway breakfast was cleaned up, I failed to get the question of the day on ABC radio, the weather was said to be showers but the sun was shining. I farewelled the family and set off for fuel for Sheila (BMW R1150GSA) and then to wait in the sun at the Macquarie Inn until my cohorts arrived.

Soup had been planned and discussed by the PiRiders(NSW DPI motorcyclists) and FLTourers(Lazy people who get lost on motorcycles) and the Dubbo and Western Plains Ulysses group(fast Old farts) for a few months and it had almost become a tradition as motorcyclists gathered to the fray to meet the challenge of winter riding somewhere for a bowl of soup and then home again.

John (Yamaha 1300) and Moldy (Triumph Tiger) and Rabbit (Yamaha 1300) arrived for a quick chat prior to starting at 8.35 am. The planned route was explained – Golden Highway to Spring Plains Road, turn right, Layes Creek, Gulgong, Mudgee, Lue, Rylstone for fuel and morning tea, then up the Bylong Valley Way to Denman for some soup, then back through Bylong to Mudgee and home through Goolma. All were happy with the plan and we could adjust it as time and ability waned. The sun was shining but it was cool in the shade of the trees along the Golden Highway, the grass was green and the sheep and cows were out grazing so all was right with the world as I was inside my helmet and not my office. I led the way remembering all that Rabbit had discussed about leading a ride so I kept my pace to what I was comfortable with until we got to Spring Plains road when we could make up a little time. I contemplated recent discussions about the number of foxes along this road and could not see a one, not even a carcase so the baits that the LHPA rangers and I had been distributing to the local farmers must have worked their magic and controlled a large number of them. Then the road was taken up by trucks and graders and bob cats etc… so we slowed and traversed the road works and then back up to speed for all the lovely corners, keeping the eyes peeled for Mr Skippy, he wasn’t up for breakfast or had finished and had gone for a lay down at Layes Creek.

We traversed Gulgong and the bladder was starting to scream from the cups of tea I had at breakfast. I battled on through the fog at Mudgee and enjoyed the Lue road, more road work on the 65km corner to straighten it out, buggar. We pressed on to Roilstun. I arrived in town with the crew behind and rode up to the bakery for morning tea. Peter’s bike was parked in the street but where was the team? I rode back along the street to find them and they were all filling up at the petrol station, so I joined in and then we went and had morning coffee and caught up with Peter (DR650 loaded) Peter was on his way to Wiseman’s Ferry for the start of the APC Rally ~7500 km trip through 4 states with 130 other riders over ~7000 km dirt and on the circuit. Google APC Rally to find out more if you’re into that kind of adventure and have the time and inclination. Peter started off up the Bylong valley way as we finished coffee and then to we rode on up the road.

The Bylong Valley way is great since it was sealed but it is peppered with pot holes from the mining trucks and other traffic so it can be treacherous unless you concentrate and apply all your riding skills to enjoy the myriad corners compiled for your riding pleasure through the Murrumbo crater and along the Goulburn River until it meets the Hunter River near Denman. At Rilston we discussed the Yarrawa Diversion so I turned right just after St James vineyard and collected the ride together for a venture over dale, right at Yarrawa bridge and through dairy farms, grids and culverts with the smell of the country to add spice to our day prior to soup at Denman Hotel.

The Central Coast and Narrabri team had assembled at the table booked by Ian so we said “Gidday!-)” to old friends and enjoyed our soup – Chicken and sweet corn with crusty bread and the company of motorcyclist from around NSW and other guests at the hotel for lunch. The Orange team arrived later so we took more time to catch up with them but time was getting away. We discussed how the day’s ride was a bit like shearing as we had done two hours and then smoko followed by another two hours and lunch, and mused as to how we were going to see the day out? John was concerned about the roos on the way to Dubbo after dark so he chose to take the Golden Highway home instead of another helping of the Bylong Valley way, we said our farewells. Rabbit, Moldy and I chose a second helping of the way through Bylong to home and Rabbit asked if we could stop to see the outline of the Murrumbo Crater as he had heard me talk of it but had only seen the road, pot holes and corners. We headed over the Yarrawa Bridge and along the way, we climbed Cox’s Gap and into the Murrumbo crater once inside I pulled over to outline the rim to Rabbit and Moldy. Many of the Orange crew rushed by, Moldy suggested we should get going before any more craters appeared! I Think the idea of a large meteorite striking the earth to form this huge landscape 10 kms across put the shivers up his spine. We continued over the Murrumbo Creek and up the other side of the crater to Bylong, where we stopped to fuel and I bought a couple of bottles of Two Rivers red for SWMBO to enjoy over dinner later, and we enjoyed a chat over a pipe and a drink – afternoon smoko. We rode on again and a rainbow appeared contrast up against the red escarpment of the Bylong Valley, a few drops of rain on the visor and a little more care in the corners but the new metzler was gripping well after this morning’s running in so homeward we continued enjoying the feel of Sheila through corner after sweeping corner.

Heading for Roilstain we were stopped by Police and rescue services, Moldy said “Hope there wasn’t a bike involved in the road accident.” And I agreed. We waited silently until they had cleared the road of debris and we rode quietly past the wrecked 4wd and blanket covered lump on the side of the road. Someone’s family wouldn’t be home for dinner tonight. Later I found out it was a 66 year old male who had passed away in the accident.

This sobering view made us take a little more care to ensure we arrived home safely so the concentration was paramount and focus was on the road, the weather was looking showery as we turned for Lue. Back on the road again and through the traffic and now mud of the road works, through Lue and onto Mudgee, through town standing up stretching my back and legs, onto Gulgong, but not, turn left for Goolma and the rain started for real. I tried to get into a clear space on the road so the rain could wash the muck off my visor.

I knew that Rabbit and Moldy had oiled their leathers so the rain wouldn’t bother them and my suit could keep out rain so instead of stopping to unpack the wine and put on wet weather clothes we continued to battle the rain, trucks, traffic and the sun going down. This was not an easy battle as the sun shone through the rain, it reflected well of the wet road, the rain pelted down and the road grime kicked up by truck and car tyres mixed to make a deadly mixture preventing sight of the road. I had to do something to improve this so when the opportunity arrived to round up the truck and the cars I took it by twisting Sheilas ear hard. The rain washed the grime from my visor and I used the wiper blade on my glove to scrub the crap of the visor and to occasionally shield my eyes from the two suns shining at me so I could see the road. Eventually the rain abated and the traffic cleared as we reached Ballimore turn onto the Golden Highway.

I pulled onto the Golden Highway in front of a large B Double and was able to get around a couple of cars and into the clear vision without road grime spray as we traversed Ballimore road works. I twisted Sheilas ear once again as a Golf with a P plate came up close behind me to put some gap between us. I had to exercise my glutimus maximus and legs to get some blood flow into the muscles as I had been sitting on them for over two hours and the highway is a pain on a bike. This was the last run of the day and I wa

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