Monday, March 20, 2023

Barrington Tops Ride

So last weekend our Fearless tour captain organised a overnight ride up over Barrington Tops staying in Gloucester for the night. After all the problems I've had with Dad in Hospital the last 4 weeks I desperately needed a ride. I also was very keen to ride the Barrington Tops road as we always steered clear whilst owning road only bikes. Now with these adventure bikes there are so many more roads and pubs now open to us to explore.

Unfortunately for me my daughters softball grand final match's lined up on the same day. Damn why does this always happen? So plan devised to watch her first game and then get going, the wife could watch the next ones. Sorry little darling but motorbikes......

So I was running late by about 45min, I'd told the others not to wait and we would catch up. We got snapped by John Keogh from Keoghsvision on the colo hairpin along the way. I finally met up with Flyboy at Colo River where he had been waiting for me. 

From here we quickly continued on to see if we could catch up with the other boys. I lead Flyboy through the 10 mile twisties on the Putty Rd so he could use me as a reference and we could both motor along a bit quicker. Except there were 3 road works sections with traffic lights that we had to stop at, D'oh. But otherwise a fun run through the twisties. A guy caught up to us at the lights on a little 400 sports bike, we kept dropping him off and he would catch up again at the next set of lights.

A quick stop at the end of the 10 mile and a message came through from our tour captain, saying that the route plan had changed from the previous day back to the original route plan and we'd meet for lunch in Scone. I was good with that so we kept going to Jerrys Plains for fuel via the back roads.

I got to ride the Desert X along for about 50kms. It was a nice ride, plenty of overtaking power in top gear, narrow and easy to grip onto the tank and it carried its weight down lower than the AT. A horrible first gear feels like your going to stall and needs some clutch slipping/revs to keep it going, the AT is all torque straight off the bottom end. I wasn't a fan of the first gear faffing but the rest of the bike seemed quite good. The screen is also too tall and creates wind buffeting around your helmet visor area, especially annoying when your visor is cracked open it just vibrates madly.

Fuel in Jerrys Plains, then we headed for Denman following on to Muswellbrook and then Scone. It was pretty hot out today (38°C) so we made a bee line for woolies and 2 bottles of icey cold powerade before grabbing some lunch with the guys.

Next up was the plan of going via Gundy pub. We didn't end up stopping at the pub as it was crazily crowded with people and it was so hot so we kept going to Moonan Flat Pub where we had a refreshing ale before heading up over the mountains. Nice spot Moonan Flat.

It was 3pm now and time to head off, the temp was still up around 37°C but we were reassured with the knowledge that Barrington Tops is 5500ft and would be much cooler up there.

We climbed up the fairly steep incline for about 15kms or so with magic views over the valleys below. Pity I didn't stop to take more photos but was enjoying the ride. The road was in pretty good condition with a few corrugated corners but otherwise good easy riding. First stop was at the Dingo gate and the photo of Flyboy and his Desert X with stunning views behind.

After the Dingo Gate, which I didn't get any photos of but Flyboy did we stopped in at the Firs, which is literally 50m off the main track in a pine forest that spans both sides of the road in an unusual square pattern. Looks weird from google maps.

Here's a few pictures from within the forest.

From here the road flattened out somewhat with smaller elevation climbs or declines with some big long straight sections. You could get some big speed up on these straight bits of dirt road but had to watch out for errant 4wd's coming the other way.

I decided to stop and get a picture of the National Park sign just for something to do. After this was just undulating long straights and bends that worked its way to the Cobark Lookout where we stopped briefly. The temperature had dropped down to 23°C up here now and it felt like someone had flicked on the Air Conditioning. It was so good after the heat.

The road turned back to tar just down the hill a little bit and it was quite a fun decent down through the valleys. A few loose gravel spots on a few corners. We were soon enough staring down the bar of the Roundabout Inn in Gloucester. Man that first beer tasted soo good. 

The roundabout Inn is biker friendly with lock up parking for bikes which we didn't bother using, rooms are a little small but otherwise comfortable with A/C and fridge $100 for twin share, excellent value. Nice pub will stay here again. 

We awoke to fog the next morning, but that soon burnt off to another 38°C day, Flyboy and I decided we would head home down the freeway and get out of the heat. Another top ride away and some new roads and pubs explored. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

2022 Alpine Ride Part 3

 Day 4

We looked at the BOM weather report eagerly this morning. As our route was to go via Mitta Mitta and up to Khancoban and across dead horse gap to thredbo and end up in Jindabyne for the night. The BOM had thredbo at 2°C all day, feels like -10°C with winds up to 90kmh and snow down to 1000m. Dead horse Gap sits at 1580m and we all agreed to give it a miss. So we decided to head back around to Orbost and head up the Bonang.

I wasn't feeling great due to lack of sleep, thanks Wild Turkey and Cola!!  We headed off down Cassills rd to swifts creek. The road was wet so I was motoring along quite gingerly. As we got further down on the Tambo river section we started to hit some rain, light at first but then hit a fairly heavy shower. I was about to stop to put my wet weather top on but could see a dry spot not to far ahead. Luckily I didn't get too wet and dried quickly. I wasn't really feeling the ride today due to being tired so headed straight to Orbost and avoided the Buchan road, the other guys followed my so not sure if they were just following the leader or couldn't be bothered either. 

As we came into Orbost we could see huge black clouds dumping rain upon the Bonang. A few minutes later 3 guys on bikes came from that way. We asked them if it was wet up there and they nodded and said it was raining fairly heavy. So I decided I'd ride around Cann Valley Way and head to Bombala. The others also agreed. Riding up into NSW the wind really picked up and we were getting blown all over the road. It was predicted 70-90kmh winds and we were riding right into it. The group got split in 2 here during a rain shower, we kept going and 4 of the others stopped to put wets on was the guess.

We stopped in Bombala for a snack to eat and waited for the others. It was here we heard that Margos bike had broken a linkage and the suspension had collapsed. Lucky she kept it upright and didn't come off and also the fact that it happened on Cann Valley Way and not the Bonang as it probably would have ended very badly on that road.

The Imperial Hotel in Bombala has been reopened and its been done up on the inside. Looks like it would be a nice place to stay at again. We haven't stayed here for a few years now. As we were about to leave Stu and Kwoky stopped in for fuel, they had ridden Buchan rd and the Bonang. He said it had mostly dried out by the time they went through. So they looked for some late lunch(2.20pm) as we headed out to Jindabyne. The wind was howling across the high plains and we were getting battered around.

The temperature was dropping the closer we got to Jindabyne as we crested a hill we could see out towards Mt Kosciusko. It was definitely snowing up there. You could see the clouds sitting there dumping. I'm glad we pulled the pin on that route as we would have been riding through snow right now, but we will now be at the Banjo Paterson Inn warming up and having a refreshing beer or two in about 15 minutes.

Karen stealing hubbys bike and not giving it back!

Fueling up the bikes before we hit the hotel was a good idea so we were ready to roll out in the morning. We settled in at the bar and the other boys rolled in about 30 minutes later, they looked cold and hungry and thirsty. So Craig arranged 3 margarita pizzas for them, all washed down with a fine lager or two.

Day 5

We had the free continental breakfast at the hotel this morning before heading off. The late riders yesterday didn't fuel up so we went with them to get gas. As we were waiting a car pulled into the servo and was covered in snow. I looked up to the hills and all I could see was snow on the hills, with a sprinkling falling out of the clouds, and it was freezing cold standing here in the wind watching all this.

Looking out from the gas station to thredbo, snow, snow and more snow

We retraced our steps back across to Bombala via Dalgety on the snowy river way. At least today the wind wasn't as bad as yesterday and wasn't blowing us all over the road and was much more manageable.

Coffee in Bombala then we made our way down to the Mt Imlay road crossing over to the coast. There had been much logging of the forest down here and you could see over the rolling hills in all directions for miles, hills bereft of lucious pine forests, now just a barren desolate landscape.

It wasn't long before we we stopping in for lunch at the Seahorse Inn at Boydtown. They do fantastic meals here and todays was a cracker. Fresh fish & chips for me, the boys ordered quite a few of the seafood chowder. Growing up in the country we weren't brought up much on any seafood so fish and prawns is about as daring as I'll go. But it was excellent local fresh fish.

3 Amigos with their Chowders

After luch it was time for a refuel and head up to Bermagui for the night. An enjoyable ride if not uneventful. As we dismount at our hotel for the night we are greeted by the news that there is no power in the entire township and hasn't been since 10am. Bushpig immediately starts going into a mental breakdown as without electricity there's no cold beer. "This is Horrible, worst thing to ever happen, what are we gonna do, we have to leave, I can't handle this!" were some common comments during the next hour of irrational babbling that we could understand from him.

We had a quick cold one at the powerless pub until someone mentioned that the local Golf club 200m up the road had a generator and cold beer. We've never seen Geoff move faster....


The last day of this tour is always a letdown in my opinion. It's pretty much the reverse of day 1 which is just the commute back up the coast. So we met for breakfast in the morning at the usual spot, the bermagui Beachside cafe. They do a fantastic breakfast.

We changed our route on the way back and decided we would ride up through Kangaroo Valley. Good riding on a weekday but too much traffic on the weekends. And it was a good ride up today, with a few roadworks stops but we filtered to the front to get a good run. We stopped in at pub for our last lunch of the trip. Bowl'o Wedges and a schooner of beer before making our way home.

Kangaroo Valley

All up another good trip and well done to Stu who would have had difficulty this year trying to book in for 17 people in these small country towns. Bikes, beers and a few laughs with good friends along the way with some great scenery to ride through. Some new gravel roads and hopefully more to come. What's not to love about these trips. Gotta do as many as I can before we run out of time.....

Friday, December 9, 2022

2022 Alpine Ride Part 2

 Day 3

Today was going to be shortened a bit by the weather as it was expected to turn nasty after midday with showers and cold gusty winds of 40-50kmh. But first another country bakery needed saving and a pie and coffee was beckoning. Having fueled up the previous day we were out and about in no time.

We took the Omeo Highway out to the Blue Duck Inn, where we all regrouped.

Impressions of an MT

I noticed that they had cut down the willow tree's at the Blue Duck and you could clearly see the river and bank. The sign said they had been removed as the willows were not native and overtaking the native vegetation and were to be replaced with native tree's.

Today was also going to be broken up into two different rides. Whilst the others decided to ride up to Mitta Mitta, I decided I was going to ride up to Falls Creek and back again as we will be doing the Mitta road tomorrow or would we?

It's been a few years since we have been to Falls Creek, I remember the road surface being quite slippery with small rocks. Seems to be much better now. The last 10kms into Falls Creek has had a fresh batch of hot mix tar put down, and was as smooth as a race track. Good fun. We stopped at a lookout, it was pretty cold up here, it was saying 10°C but felt colder.

We decided to head into Falls Creek and grab a coffee. As we arrived we noticed a helicopter taking off. It was lifting some fence railing up to somewhere far away.

And here this blog post sat for overt a week, due to my daughter giving me Covid. I spent 2 days in bed with headaches, aches & pains but the worst thing was that I could no longer smell or taste anything. Everything I eat has no taste, taking any joy out of eating at all. I then went straight into a 5 day training course.

It was time to get going as it was now midday and was starting to get windy, the bike said it was 10°C, the BOM said it was 6.7°C but feels like -3°C and we could see a big storm approaching. The Falls Creek-Mt Beauty road was blocked by landslip on the road so we went back the way we came. We did stop at one of the snow drifts on the way down for a pic. 

On the way back to Omeo I was following Geoff and Scotty when I watched Geoff run over a stick in the middle of the road, half of the stick spun up in the air and started thrashing around and was biting at Scotty and then Me as we went past. It wasn't a stick at all but what looked like a brown snake(couldn't really tell was moving too quick for that) but I lifted my right leg as I went past, he looked pretty pissed off.

Getting back into Omeo early around 2:30 and Geoff went and rounded up the beers he won the night before in the local raffle and Rick round up the meat tray he won and we headed down to the park and had beers n bbq meat whilst watching countless MTBer's riding through the park. There was a huge event on, the cattlemen 100. Looked like a lot of effort to me. 

Retiring to the bar early was not a great idea, and neither was switching to Wild Turkey and cola cans this early in the afternoon. Looking out from the balcony after diner it was absolutely hammering down with rain, which it continued doing all night, I know that because all that caffeine was stopping my brain from engaging sleep mode........