Tuesday, May 21, 2024

May Mudgee Muster - Adventure Style

It's that time of year again when our May Mudgee Muster arrives where several mate's all gather for a giant piss up....er motorcycle ride, yeah that's it. Rather than the usual nowhere ride to Mudgee I decided to kick it up a notch and do the mudgee adventure ride and take roads much less travelled.

It pissed down rain here for nearly a week and I got text from Scotty saying he's not keen on doing any dirt roads after this weather. That's fine you do you, we got about 100mm here but you didn't bother to look at central western NSW weather, where they get stuff all rain. Sofala/Hillend had less than 15mm and that was a week ago. So yeah thats not going to be any problem.

We met at maccas McGraths Hill as usual and the usual suspects started arriving. Stu and I got going earlier than the others as we were doing the adventure ride whilst the others were heading out to Oberon then O'Connell for lunch. It was freezing cold this morning with 7°C displaying on the dash across the Blue Mountains. It was so cold I couldn't make it to lithgow before my bladder was going to explode.

Stu creating puddles

Stu and I rode through to Capertee where we fueled up as there won't be another fuel stop until we get to Mudgee. We decided to get an early lunch here so we could pass through Sofala and keep going. Only small towns out here in the central tablelands.

Our route was to take the Turon Gates road through to Sofala. Then from there head down the turondale road and take Box Ridge Road to the bottom of the Bridle Track. We encountered four 4wds at the start but they moved over and let us through which gave us a car free run through. There was hardly any signs of rain out here it was dusty but there was the odd wet patch near the river.

We stopped after the first creek crossing to take off a layer as it we were getting warm now we were going slow. It was a cracking 13°C by now.

It wasn't far before we got to the next water crossing which was a concrete crossing and the water level was pretty low and I ploughed through. I filmed Stuey riding through but no shithouse moments to report.

The next crossing wasn't far we ploughed through no problems it was pretty easy going so far.

We take a right turn just after the crossing towards Sofala and through the farm lands. The road isn't as steep through here as before but still very spectacular scenery.

Sofala was very quiet this morning as we passed through. We take the Hill End road and ride through the superb tar twistys here, much better than I remember and the surface was in fantastic condition. We then take the Turondale Rd for about 10kms then turn onto Box Ridge road. The first 4-5kms is tar on the steep bits then turns to dirt.

I stop to open the first gate on the road and let Stuey through. Beautiful scenery out here.

I quickly catch up to Stuey as he has just opened another gate over the next hill. Then he had to change gloves.

Riding Box ridge road from the farm gates seems like an endless down hill section with sweeping corners and rolling hillsides.

Box Ridge Road

It wasn't long before we get to the bottom of the hill where the road intersects with the Bridle Track. We take a right turn onto Bridle Track and start the final section of our adventure ride.

The track was a bit more rocky and a lot more loose dirt on the hill sections with a lot of loose rocks. Looks like the rain and 4wd are starting to deteriorate the track. It was still fairly easy run along the way. Just had to pay attention on the steep sections on Monaghans Bluff and Hawkins Hill.
Views from Monaghans Bluff

The creek crossing was pretty easy with not too much mud on either side. Not long after starts the climb up out of the valley starting at Hawkins Hill. The first 50m is steep then levels out to a easy graduation. I had to wait for three 4wd's coming down the hill before going up.

I got to this lookout and there were 3 dudes there on their dirt weapons. I had a quick chat with them and they proceeded back down the hill whilst I went up to the pub whilst slowing for another 4 or 5 4wds just before the top.

The road at the top pops right out in Hill End only 2 streets away from the pub where Stuey was waiting for me.

We didn't have to wait long before I heard the sound of bikes coming and the rest of the crew started to roll up, literally 2 minutes after I pulled up. Time for a beer. At $10 a beer and 14 of us here plus a few others the publican was raking it in.

The Mudgee Muster crew was only a couple of minutes behind us, impeccable timing.

Plenty of autumn colours on the road out of Hill end makes for spectacular riding through there.

The ride from Hill End to Mudgee is a great little run that only takes about an hour. Plenty of twisty bits all tar, but there are many shadows on the road this time of the afternoon and need to take it carefully. There's plenty of Roo's around out here and we saw a couple standing on the roadside.

We were staying at the Oriental Hotel again. It's a really good pub with great food, great ambience and a great crowd of people and with a great selection of beers on tap. It was $60 each for a shared room, nice clean rooms beds are a bit soft. Can highly recommend the beef brisket, yum!

Next morning there was a frost so it was a tad cold. Riding out of Mudgee was in 8-9°C temps just after 9am. My phone went flat so no more photos for today's ride. It was a good ride back via Bylong Valley and Putty Road to home. I've posted many photos from those rides before.

Cheers and thanks for reading.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Alpinestar Tech7 Enduro Drystar

It was a wet miserable day here today and there's been a MCAS gift card sitting on my desk for 12 months looking back at me saying spend me, spend me. Thanks Bro for my birthday present. 

I've not been happy with any of my riding gear for a while now. The dririder gear I have is absolute rubbish, it's the cheapest shit on the market and I vow to never buy that crap ever again.

The forma adventure boots I have would have been good except there was something in the right boot digging into my ankle on the inside and I got given the boots for free so no loss by getting rid of them. Last ride out I thought f*ck this, it's time to buy some decent gear so off to MCAS I go.

I did some online research watching multiple youtube reviews, and reading reviews and ended up looking at the Sidi crossfire, Alpinestar Tech7 and Gaerne SG12. These seemed to be the one's at the top of everyone's, best of lists. 

I looked at these boots and all of them looked to tick all the boxes. Looking at prices however and I quickly decided that the Alpinestars Tech7 was the best fit for my tight arse price range. The sidi's and Gaerne's were nudging $900. Bit too much for me. I went with the Black/Gold/Gray. Yeah the white wasn't ideal but it won't be white for long.

The boots seems very stiff, but actually feel comfortable to walk in. I also note that many people say that they become squeaky after some use, like my old alpinestars road boots. Haven't tried them on the bike yet but I'm sure that they will a bit hard to feel the brake/gear levers. Time will soon tell. 

I also picked up a new bike cover. The 2 other covers I have for the R1's are way too small to fit my Africa Twin, so time for an upgrade. It gets covered in dust in just 1 week after washing it so a new cover was in order.


Sunday, April 28, 2024

Gardens of Stone National Park

I struggled to get my lazy ass out of bed today, but the thought of getting out on another ride overcame the comfort of a warm bed. I was thinking of doing some more exploring around the Gardens of Stone conservation area and National Park. I had a quick look at goggle maps before heading out. Note to self if going off road then at least put the route into Gaia maps. Signage out in the boon docks is non existent.

Crossing Bell's Line of road I turn off at Clarence and headed back into the Gardens of Stone conservation area. The dirt was damp as it had rained during the week and hadn't dried out. There was a few slick patches and sandy bits. I had some rain spots on my visor and was thinking maybe I shouldn't be out here today.

I was looking for the Lost City, thought I'd see a sign somewhere. No sign except a road junction sign that said the trail name. Well I didn't pay that much attention to the map. My bad so went straight past and went on for another 20 minutes or more. I decided to pull over and take a look where I was and have a banana for morning tea.

As it turned out I was only a few km's shy of the glow worm tunnel, a long way past the Lost City. I turn around and head back and when I get to that intersection with the sign take a look. Yeah that's where I should have turned. I follow that until the road comes to a fork. If only they had a sign........

Initially I go right but it starts to get very sandy, so I come back and go left until I find a big bog hole. I decide I'm not going to attempt that by myself. I might be stupid but I'm not crazy. Lifting a 250kg bike in a mud hole by myself doesn't fill me with excitement. I'll come back another day when conditions are better now I know where to go. I'm not very adventurous for an adventure rider.

So instead I decide I'd head out into the Gardens of Stone National Park. It's' not far from here and I've never been there before and there's a pub at the end of the road at Kandos. A quick stop in Capertee for fuel & a pie.

The road from Capertee descended down for a long time until reaching the valley floor. The road surface was pot holed and rough in patches but winding and very scenic. 

It's evident to see how this place got the name the Gardens of Stone. The sandstone cliff faces are quite the sight to behold. I also can't believe I've never been out here in the 20+ years living in Sydney and this is right on my doorstep.

I saw this Blue tree as I was riding passed and had to double back to take a photo. A strange sight in this landscape.

I take the right hand fork and ride into Glen Davis. This little town has a population of 115, I find that hard to believe. It used to be an Oil Shale mining town back in the 1940's, but that closed in the early 50's and it's gone backwards ever since.

I stopped on the road for several minutes looking at this landscape. Besides the spectacular scenery the silence out here was deafening.

I ride into Glen Davis and there are a few eerily quiet streets, definitely banjo country. I thought I'd see where the old shale plant was. It's on a private property called the Poplars. They do the occasional tour.

Glen Davis gas station back in the Day? Who knows there's not much left now just a tired old bowser in the middle of nowhere.

From Glen Davis I take the road to Kandos. I'm getting thirsty for a beer now as it's mid afternoon. A quick stop in Kandos, there's not much there and the Railway hotel looks like it closed years ago, there's only 1 pub left now. I ride back down to Capertee.

I stop again at Pearsons lookout over the Capertee Valley as its later in the afternoon. Depending on what time of day your here the sandstone rock faces always look different, more spectacular during golden hour.

Only a quick stop here today as I was here last week, a guy pulls up and starts flying his drone. That would have been some awesome footage.

My last stop for the day was at the Capertee Royal Hotel for a well earned beer. Another fun day out on the bike and it nearly didn't happen due to being lazy. I'm glad I dragged myself out of bed for this, what another sensational ride and all within a day ride from home.