This ride was about a few things but mostly just piling things in to confuse me and break my rhythm. So the plan was
- A spelling game
- An IBA ride with documentation
- Aussie HA facebook submission along the way
- A test run for the new 16 litre auxiliary tank on the ST
- Some tough but fun roads
- Forced photos and some in the dark (some rally practice)
Here’s the SPOT LINK for the non locals.
Without auxillary lighting on the ST, I must get around to that soon, the plan needed to steer clear of roo alleys. So I planned to be on the New England in the dark then riding the twisties during daylight. Then back on the Pacific Hwy in the dark on the last leg. Doesn’t always work out :-).
It’s nearly Christmas so an appropriate theme was in order. I decided to spell SANTA CLAUS and leave something special for him to “give me” when I completed that part of the ride.
I kicked off at the local servo riding out at 2.30am into a very mild night and not too long after I was in
Singleton: had a couple of goes of getting this pic, worked out a few things with the camera.
Aberdeen: I had a bit of a disaster trying to take a picture of their lit sign first. This worked much better.
Nundle and a beautiful sunrise while riding into town. There wasn’t anything open here so no docket was available. I have the spot but I also made sure that there were sufficient k’s in the ride to have this loop struck off the tally if the certifiers weren’t happy I went there. Sometimes you have to plan for this eventuation if you want to complicate routes to visit particular locations in a ride.
Tamworth, I made a mistake here. The original plan was to go to Macas and get a docket, I had loose plans to meet up with someone there. That fell through and I made a last minute decision to grab the pic and go. “Follow the plan amateur”. The saving grace for this one was that I did fire the SPOT off at at the location (Point 17) and the certifiers were able to use this and street view to confirm the location, phew!
After Armidale it was up to Guyra to have coffee with ST2UP and Pockey from OzStoc. I was glad of the stop, it had cooled down to 14 degrees and was a very pleasant chat and a rhythm breaker (thanks guys). I don’t usually take the ear plugs out on IBA rides and of course when I was getting ready to leave the helmet went on without them. I stopped at Glen Innes for a docket to ensure the sub 600k IBA requirement. My first planned fuel was at Lismore nearly 800k’s into the ride. As is my habit, whenever this happens I grab a pic if I can, it relieves frustration.
As a small break, and because I was determined to finally get a picture of this, I stopped for a minute at Dwater the Deepwater Dalek for a picture. We are a family of Whovians, I knew the girls would love this pic. The day had started to get decidedly warm and humid from the recent rains by this point.
After Dwater came Tenterfield and the Bruxner Highway. A lovely winding piece of road that one, and the first of some serious fun to be had today. Then guess what. EXTERMINATE!
Casino and back on track now.
I stopped at Lismore for fuel, 783kms on the odo taking 39.09 litres to fill everything to the brim. At my average of 18.2kpl I reckon the STanker has 900ks range, better than I thought! It was stinking hot and humid by now and I needed a break here so I took my time, had some cold water and took a layer off. My OA was suffering but self care always takes precedence on these rides.
Allstonville: I’d seen this place on streetview during the planning stages of the ride, I had to go there!
Between Allstonville and the Pacific Highway I took some fantastic backroads down mountains and through sugar cane fields alongside the river until punching out onto the boring, law infested Pacific Highway at Wooburn.
Ulmara. A beaut little pub this. I felt like going inside and staying but I had other things to do!
Sawtell and the final letter for the day. Woo Hoo!
So I’d found Santa Claus and what did he give me? Two of the best motorcycling roads around on the way home
There were some other “words” to be had on the rest of the route but it was time to concentrate on progress and cornering, I was running behind the plan at that point.
I hadn’t had a docket since Lismore so I stopped at Bellingen to grab a Powerade (I sensed my electrolytes needed a boost) before tackling the mountain up to Dorrigo. The docket here satisfied the IBA’s requirement that you get one within every 600kms.
At the foot of the mountains I was stopped by roadworks again. I didn’t have time to take a snap but I did have time to work my way to the front which gave me a completely unimpeded run up. Woo Hoo! .
Along Waterfall Way it had cooled off and there was mist being blown by a decent breeze. I picked up some time on this leg anyway and at Uralla I needed a corner docket anyway so I put a splash of fuel into the front tank. The lady at the Caltex commented on how nice the bike looked and she knew it was an ST!!!
After Uralla it was straight down to Walcha, no time to stop at the Royal Cafe today, and then towards the cornering mecca that is the Oxley Highway. It wasn’t to be a complete mecca today though. I rode into thick fog/cloud at the top of the mountain and the road was decidedly wet in patches. The plus side was I got a forced opportunity to practice riding techniques and get more familiar with the ST. The Oxley is never bad! Although in one of the lighter fog patches I found this
As I got lower the I rode out of the clouds and I had a clear run through Long Flat and the sun set behind me as I worked my way towards Wauchope and my last stop, Macas at Thrumster. Yes, Thrumster not Port Macquarie, also known as the Donut. A feed fit for a King, or maybe a clown….
I called my wife and was warned about the wicked thunderstorms I was heading in to so I threw everything that could get wet and the Camelback into the Top Box and Panniers and battoned down the hatches.
This was a good move. The lightning show was amazing heading south and at Taree as it fair pizzled down. I was reduced to following the lights on a semi at a respectable distance almost deafened by a sound of big rain drops banging like castanets on my helmet. All I can say about that part of the ride is thanks KLIM and Daytona!
I arrived back in Lambton and got a docket at 23:16pm for the obligatory celebratory Cherry Ripe twin pack exactly the time on the ride plan. Jeffrey, the servo attendant offered me the second twin pack for $1 but today I declined.