Note: Thanks to OX-34 who wrote this original ride report. I’ve slightly modified it for this post.
After putting our ride plan together unfortunately TigerBill had to pull out of this FarRide due to family commitments. So at the Wallsend servo at 0300 it was just OX-34, me and Wayne. Wayne’s the servo guy at that time of the morning. When OX-34 and I walked in Wayne knew why we were there. No need to ask for a docket, he knows we both need one. Ready with his pen for the IBA paperwork, signature done and with a wave we’re off again into the night. Mad, he thinks. But he’s used to us now.
Its an odd ride. A FarRide as usual, with a trip to somewhere far flung to meet and greet old friends and new, but the ride itself is different. OX and I have ridden lots of big rides before and been involved pre and post, but this is the first time we have set out on a long ride together without one or both of us being perched on something completely and utterly ridiculous.
My ‘new’ ST1300 – plated MYST – was being blooded today. It’s been in the shed for a while and it is a sweet ride. But today was an opportunity to let the bike do what it is meant to do: ride long and hard and do it easily. We had a big, wide loop planned. A bit of freeway to get the momentum and dark hours done, some good Aussie farmland for the morning and after lunch a swing into outback mode and 110 running before twisting back home through our backyard playground the Golden Highway in the dark.
First gear snicked and the link road to the ‘new’ M1. OX took the lead for his lights as the ST’s are still stock. They’re good for a bike, but, well, we all want more. Effortless run down the freeway through and past Sydney. Not much more than a commute, but it sets up the rest of the day. Fuel at Marulan (05:51am, 306km), but neither of us really needed to stop. The ST can go maybe 200km more and OX’s super tanker Tenere close to 400km more. But what a glorious night to be out riding. Clear skies, cool, little traffic and humming along. Rolled down on past Yass and then off the freeway to head west. Harden, Stockingbingal sunup and Maccas at Temora (08:23am 563km).
OX had never been to Temora. Any trip down the Hume makes it seem a big deal. There’s like a half-a-dozen signs to Temora. Nice little town and a good time to stop for breakfast. The trickle of bikes meandering toward the Lake started here, so after a coffee and a bite to eat we mounted up and continued on.
Topped up the tanks at West Wyalong (09:23am 627km) and even more bikes on the road – a few nods and waves here and there. Rolling through town we passed Frans on his Tenere, about to pull out into the traffic and soon enough had him join us – 3 not right riders on huge ‘proper’ bikes for once. A quick stop and Ungarie for a pic – one of my classmates lives there so I thought I’d get a pic to share at show and tell on Monday morning.
Not far from there to the Lake. Like lots of riders, we kept going past the meet point and in to town to the BP (10:43am 748km). More for a docket than fuel – we were on the clock and needed to log the stop. Fuel for the ST1300, a drink for OX, then down to the lake edge for a nice scenic pic.
By the time we rode back to the club the carpark was filling with bikes. Well, forming a big ring of bikes really. At a glance it seemed a little tribal. There was Blackbird corner, ‘wings against the north wall, clumps of STs in 3s and 4s and probably 14 14s. Though I loved how 4 guys rode in together: a Caponord, a GSXF, GSA and BKing – what a mix of mate’s bikes. I can never get enough of checking out the bikes in the carpark. Great to catch up with old and new friends, hear of adventurous rides through the night and admire the work Chris put into that auxiliary tank on his Honda ST1300. I now have one of those tanks :-).
A group pic, welcoming words inside and then time to disperse.
Unlike TigerBill’s original plan, OX and I headed north on a wider loop. Grabbing a docket on the way out of town to log the stop (13:04pm 753km), we zig-zagged a bit before reaching the Kidman Way. Only a hundred or so kays on the Kidman and we cut the corner toward Nyngan. Google maps showed it was dodgy, and the Priory Tank road soon turned to dirt. A few kays in OX, who was in his element on the Super Tenere noticed I was no longer sitting 100m behind out of the dust. He turned around and found I had dropped a mirror on a bump. Clicked back in place and we were on our way, OX trailing this time. Only one roo to contend with and steady running despite the dirt and soon we emerged on to a lovely undulating bit of tar that T’d the Barrier Highway at Hermidale.
Filled up in Nyngan (16:24pm 1100km) for the straight bit of the Mitchell down to Nevertire. Left up the Oxley Hwy for an uneventful leg into the dark and a longer stop at Gilgandra (18:00pm 1265km). I likes my protein on a ride and a plain hamburger at the Shell Truckstop was in the rideplan. OX was very patient. That, a coffee and a chat and preparing for the final run home.
The back road through Mendooran is always interesting. A nice mix of good and ok blacktop, elevation changes and tree-lined bends, you never know what you’ll get. Sometimes traffic like a game of footy has just finished somewhere. Other times nada. Tonight was in between. Sometimes Hunter Valley numbers of kangaroos, but tonight none. With OX in the front with the lights ablaze and the two of us hustling along at a happy pace then rejoining the main road system at Dunedoo on the Golden Highway. A nod to the Black Stump Way sign on the way through and another great night to be riding.
A brief stop at Merriwa to put on layers – unnecessary as it seemed just right then, but the heated vests and Beemer winter gloves were very welcome soon enough. The last couple of hundred just a cruisy commute, on to the new Hunter Expressway (a welcome addition to ease the exit from Newcastle on a 50CC if anyone is planning one), down the hill into civilisation and rolled in to the local servo at Lambton (22:19pm 1640km).
A great day for a FarRide and a very enjoyable time riding with one of the Big Dogs.
Woof. Here’s OX’s awesome Super Tenere and lighting.