Saturday, March 23, 2019

Riding the QLD Hinterland Part 3

After the late night beers, we still managed a reasonable start to the day, leaving by 9am. Flyboy had us riding down through some back roads down through Bonalbo on the Clarence way. It was remote backcountry over hills and sweeping bends and forests, with rough, rough roads.

The scenery was pretty spectacular and the road soon entered an old growth rainforest. We decided to stop to take a few pics of these magnificent tall tree's.

We continued on along the road with varying degrees of surface quality, I was slowing down to 80 km h because I couldn't see properly, my vision was bouncing up and down over the bumps making it difficult to see the road ahead. My new R1 does this so if I was copping this on this old R1 with its more compliant suspension I would have really got a hammering on my new R1 along here. I would never ride this road on a 2015+ R1. It's not made for these roads.

We came out of the forest to be in farmland as far as the eye could see. Off to my right was the forest we emerged from with views out over the land ahead. Beautiful spot.

This road dropped us out on the Bruxner Highway just to the east of Tabulam. Dave was waiting for me at the T intersection. I'd dropped back a bit due to the bumpy road. The bmw's lounge like suspension allowed Flyboy to glide over those bumps which I would find out a little later.

The bridge at Tabulam is being replaced with a huge new concrete structure, we had to wait a little for lights to cycle before we could go.

We continued along into Drake and out the other side where the true twisty goodness begins. In typical fashion on this trip just as we got to the 25kms of twisties the road turned out to be wet, by a passing shower not long before we came up the pass. Damn. Oh well it was still fun and better than being at work

Much of the hills through this bit of road had burnt out tree's from a recent bush fire for many kilometres. We got stopped by a council stop/go man at some road works. He told us that 11 people lost their houses due to the bushfires. I didn't get any snaps of it but Flyboy had his Go-whore rolling and got some snaps. It looked pretty devastating. We stopped in Tenterfield for fuel and then some mid morning breakfast.
Plagiarism from Flyboy

We decided on heading back down the Bruxner in the hope that it would be dry by the time we got back there. We both spoke about taking it easy on the way back down. It was indeed dry on the return trip and then for some inexplicable reason 5 minutes in it was like motogp time.....I really did miss the quick shifter from my new R1 riding this old R1.

Turning left in Tabulam we head back towards Urbenville. This was a narrow bumpy bit of road as well with some of it being unfenced with cows wandering across the road between fields. It was along here that I hit the biggest bump(unseen) I have ever hit and had the biggest tank slapper in my life. F$CK ME, NSW roads are f*cking shit.
I stopped a few minutes up the road and told Flyboy we are swapping bikes. After 2.5 days on the R1 and riding this dodgy, bumpy goat track I was a bit over it. Give me some decent roads please.

Hopping on the Beemer was like whoa - a real Bill & Ted moment, it's so high, such a weird feeling, arms up in the air sitting bolt upright. It felt awkward and unnatural. So off we went, with me wobbling along not used to this riding position. I watched Flyboy on the R1 ahead of me, bouncing off bumps like crazy. I didn't feel any bumps at all, only the biggest of bumps would upset this bike which just felt kind of minor. It just seems to glide across them effortlessly not upset at all. I thought how good is this, no matter how awkward this is. At least I wasn't getting pounded by the bikes suspension.

Flyboy said we will swap bikes back when we get to Urbenville, but I selfishly decided he wasn't getting his comfy bike back so soon as I was certain that the road coming up was also going to be another special NSW goat track, and I was right.

The Toolom road was tight narrow, twisty and bumpy in equal proportions. I was starting to get used to this riding position and how the bike was so comfortable after about an hour or so. This road had some great mountain views through the trees, but not so good that you could get a photo of anything.

Soon we came down out of the mountains and cross the NSW-QLD border and on into Killarney.

We stopped at the Killarney Hotel for some mid afternoon lunch and a quick ale. Killarney is a quiet little country town, quite pretty but it was very dry here, it looks like they badly need rain in this area.

Dumb and Dumber

With a light lunch dispatched we headed out of Killarney. It was here we swapped bikes back again. When I got on the R1 I was so surprised at the position I was sitting in compared with the Beemer. It felt like I was sitting crouched on the floor on my hands with my knees tucked under my legs, so unnatural a feeling, but this was what I have been accustomed to over the last 25 years, now felt so wrong. WTF?

We went around via the Condamine gorge and then turned back and headed up the Head Rd which wound its way through the mountains.  We stopped in at Carr's Lookout which overlooked the valley below. It was so green here it was hurting my eyes, so it must rain a lot.

The ride down from the lookout was a hoot, through the forest, with tree's overhanging the road providing a canopy overhead. Some spots were quite dark. I wonder does the road get moss on it in winter up here. Eventually the road came out to the bottom and there were open fields with cows wandering across the road.

From here we had to make our way back out to Rathdowney, it felt like deja vu, we were only here yesterday afternoon about a similar time. We stopped again for fuel before making our way back down the Mt Lindsey Hwy. Our destination for tonight was Kyogle on the Summerland Way.

We stopped on the Mt Lindsey Hwy as a slow moving car was blocking our fun, so we turned around and went back so we could have a clear run riding through. It turned out to be a blast. After the photo below we didn't stop again until we got to the Commercial Hotel in Kyogle.

I must say the Commercial hotel was an excellent choice. A double room was $120(60 each) and we had brand new rooms and brand new bathroom. Excellent value for money. Best pub room I've stayed in yet and better than most motels I've stayed in.

Again we had takeaways up stairs for our last night on the tour before we had to head home tomorrow.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Riding the QLD Hinterland Part 2

Pomona was a bit of a dive so we decided on getting an earlyish start and finding breakfast elsewhere. We took the Pomona - Kin Kin road. I knew we were heading out on a bikers road when we went to turn onto the road and a group of 10+ bikes roared past in front of us down the same road.

The road was damp as it rained overnight, we came into quite a few twisty bits with a series of 40kmh curves which we took at a ginger pace due to being damp but were pushing the other riders to go faster.

We were soon in Kin Kin by 8:20am and found a place for breakfast. There must have been a couple hundred bikes pass through here whilst we were stuffing our faces with some poached eggs and avocado. Fantastic breakfast stop, unfortunately a few more showers passed by wetting the roads again.

After breakfast we headed back down to Cooran and through some back roads just out of Kenilworth where we turned onto the Obi One Kenobi Road as I called it. Its real name is the Obi Obi road. I quite enjoyed this road as it was another flowing road with sweeping corners up over hills with views over valleys and mountains in the background. This road is better going up as the road splits into 2 one way sections going up the mountain, the one going up was tar which was the direction we were going. The other way going back down is dirt, not so much fun when wet and on an R1 and steep.

We stopped in Mapleton for fuel where Flyboy had a message from one of his mates, who were were meeting in Maleny. No time to waste, as we would be having coffee there in 20 Min's. Riding the road down the ridge line was interesting views out over the coast, there wasn't a great deal of traffic this morning probably due to the inclement weather but it had that touristy feel that any sunny Sunday and the place would have been jam packed.

Stopping at one lookout along the ridge we decided that someones driveway was a better lookout than the real one. We took a couple of snaps but quickly departed as a fast moving shower was coming straight across the range so we wanted to stay ahead of it.

We arrived in Maleny and Matt was waiting for us. We stopped for coffee and a chat, whilst several rain showers passed by. After about an hour we said our goodbyes and headed out the Maleny Stanley river road where we saw a speed camera trap and a Highway patrol working the road. Lucky it was damp and we were actually going 5kmh under the limit lol. Bikes 1, Hwy Patrol 0.

We stopped along here as you could see through the haze and cloud in the distance to the back of the glasshouse mountains. It would be a pretty sight on a clear day with blue skies.

Glasshouse Mountains
We continued on our way to Kilcoy were I got fuel and we waited again at the BP for another one of Flyboys school mates who was going to join us for the rest of today's ride. Hodgo turned up and I hadn't seen him since high school, either had my brother.

We got underway as we had a bit of riding to do before our destination for tonight. We headed out the road around the back of Lake Wivenhoe and past Sommerset Dam. We came upon the back of about a dozen bikes. I really enjoyed riding along this section of road, with views of the lake to the left, hills to the right and twisty bits in between. It was so much fun we didn't bother to stop to take any photos, I regret that now writing the blog but not at the time. There further south we rode the dryer the landscape became. The lush green countryside was replaced with harsh brown barren looking grassland. Reminds me of home in Central NSW in summer. We came down past Amberly air force base then down to Mt Alford where we stopped at the Scenic Rim Brewery for a refreshing Pale Ale and Hodgo grabbed something to eat.

Brewery Goodness

After a short 20min break at one of gods gift to mankind we pressed on as it was getting late in the afternoon. We rode down the Mt Lindsey highway. This bit of road is both good and bad. There's no doubt its a great bit of twisties, but man the surface here can be quite shite in places. Then you get to the NSW side and the surface becomes a smooth hotmix section which is a lot of fun.

We stopped for the obligatory photo in front of Mt Lindsey with the bikes. Hodgo doesn't know to look and smile when his photo is being taken.

From here it was a quick blast down to Woodenbong and then on into Urbenville and to the Crown Hotel for the night. With a motorcycle parked on the roof this has to be a motorcycle friendly establishment doesn't it.

I wasn't wrong about thinking that. The people running the place couldn't have been more accommodating, unlike the Pomona hotel the previous night. Park our bikes around the back under cover. Dumping our gear in the room I saw the beds hadn't been made yet. We mentioned it to the barmaid, she apologized profusely, gave us new rooms and a free beer for the inconvenience. Then they brought us out a rack of freshly cooked beef ribs to try out that had been slow cooked. The meat was so tender and just fell off the bone and melted in your mouth. We ordered more beers and 2 pizzas between the three of us. Hodgo had to leave just after 8pm for the ride back into Brisbane. It was excellent chatting with him and learning of his tour around the US, Canada and Yukon by bike.

I can highly recommend the Crown Hotel as a good biker friendly place to stay. Typical pub rooms, nothing flash there, but they have been doing up the bathrooms, one was brand new.

We retired to the balcony after closing with some roadies. It sure was quiet out there on a Sunday night, you could almost hear the crickets over the banjos playing....

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Riding the QLD Hinterland Part 1

For the last 10 years or more my older brother has been harassing me to ride up to his place in Brisvegas so we could ride some of South Eastern Queensland finest biking roads. The thought of spending 2 days on the R1 just getting there, then 2 days return plus 4 days there just wasn't that appealing to be honest.

Flyboy to the rescue it was. His plan was simple. Fly me up Friday night on el cheapo staff travel and then I ride his R1 whilst he rides his newly acquired beemer. Problem solved. So it was, and there was beers and everyone was content.

I was sent some route plans through via email to look at, which I really didn't pay any attention to. Why would I? I have a local tour guide and I don't know the area anyway.

We set off late around 10.30am and headed for Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious. Brisbane's equivalent to Sydney's Old Road aware of the fact it will probably be highly policed. Showers were predicted for today 90% chance. Literally two minutes down the road the heavens opened up and dumped on us, then strangely stopped as quickly as it started. At least it wasn't cold here in the subtropics like it is back home, the water just streamed through my mesh jacket. That was to be the theme for the next 2 days, with both dry and damp roads.

My tour guide made a navigation error on the way and robbed me of the chance of losing my license on Mt Nebo and instead brought us straight up Mt Glorious. The road itself was good, a little bumpy in places and a few off camber corners over hills but fun nonetheless.

Oh it was Glorious

I was surprised that we got a parking spot right out the front of the Mt Glorious cafe and there were no other bikes parked there. We had fish and chips and coffee for lunch, the fish and chips were fantastic.  A few more bikes turned up after we ordered. Maybe the weather had kept them away. It's a nice little cafe better than the one's on the Old Road.

After lunch we rode back down towards Brisbane but then turned northwards to head up the Mt Mee road. The roads in this area a quite flowing, as Barry Sheene used to say 'Uphill down Dale'.

Mt Mee road was a fun bit of road with some twisty bits and spectacular scenery. It's pretty obvious why it's so green here, it must rain quite a lot.

Onwards we went and I was quite enjoying the fact of not knowing where I was or where I was going. Seemed unimportant to me actually and I didn't really care, as long as the roads stay hilly and twisty I didn't mind at all and I had a tour guide to the stars of course.

We came upon another lookout which we stopped to take in the views which weren't so spectacular today due to haze and low cloud. The glasshouse mountains where out there in the distance somewhere.

Setting off we continued along the road. My tour guide pulled over in the shade of a tree. 'Whats up' says I. 'Dont know where I'm going next' says my expert tour guide whilst he fumbled with his smart phone. Mmmmmm

Near Kilcoy

It gave me a chance for a break and take some snaps for the next few minutes whilst the err gps re-acquired his satellites.....

We rode up and down one particular section a couple of times and I'm sure we went around in circles at least once. Not sure if this was deliberate or he was lost, I can't tell. Flyboy turned down a road known as the 'postmans track'. It was a very narrow, bumpy, steep and twisty bit of road in the middle of nowhere. Not sure a postie bike would make it up that steep hill.

Postman Pat on Postmans Track

With all the little stops for pics along the way it was getting late in the arvo. We stopped in another little town to reacquire satellites when it started to rain on us. Lucky it was only 10 minutes to our stop for the night, the Pomona hotel. By the time we got there we got a hosing though and I was soaked through my mesh jacket and my jeans. Then it stopped raining just after we stopped out the back of pub. Fantastic.

A quick refresh and we were at the bar for drinks. The Pomona hotel staff need a little education in customer service because it was non existent. Told us we had to order food by 6:30 or it will be closed, it was 6:15. The beers on tap tasted funny like they hadn't cleaned their lines. The bar was closed at 8pm all on a Saturday night and kicked us out, sold us some takeaways then told us we couldn't drink them on the premise . Which we promptly ignored, where else were we going to drink them, on the street. Their attitude towards customer service was poor. We will stay elsewhere next time, is it any wonder they had bugger all customers.


A good days riding despite the roads being wet in places. Most of the ride was all twisty roads with not much in the way of straight road riding. Looking forward to tomorrow now.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

2019 International Festival of Speed

Today I went out to the International Festival of Speed at Sydney Motorsport Park(SMSP). The weather had been drizzling all morning and wasn't looking that great. I checked the live timing and to my surprise it showed Stew was circulating. Well I'd better get out there and take some pics of him skating along the road or rowing his boat, one of the two.

Bt the time I'd made it to the track and was lining up for a coffee I got a call from Stew who had packed up and was on his way home. He'd had enough of the rain after 1 lap.

So I didn't get to see him racing or many other bikes for that matter as there was only a handful of bikes circulating at any time. So I wandered around the pits and took a few snaps.

I found this strange looking Kawasaki I've never seen before.

These things were getting a work out in today's down pour

This bike was all the way from Tassie. I spoke with its owner briefly before his race. What a great friendly guy.

Jeremy McWilliams

Slomax's Garage

The rain continued to pour down.....

And it continued coming down some more...

Not all the bikes came back into the pits under their own steam

I can't believe they were still racing in these conditions.

After this race was done they called off the event. To dangerous with standing water on the track and poor visibility. So it was a short day and I didn't take many photos or see Stu race, but a good day out anyway.