As an introvert in a busy office with people constantly seeking my time and in a seemingly endless stream of meetings, I am often needing time to escape and just have some down time to decompress and rejuvenate. For me there is noting better than helmet time – just getting away on the bike with no distractions, no interruptions, and plenty of time to spend in your own head space contemplating what’s going on.
And after a three day workshop I was well and truly ready to escape … like a kid at school ready to spring from their chair as the clock hits that magic number. Well that was the plan. I’m sure they have a guy just waiting for you to leave and is signalled to walk around the corner!
Within about 30 minutes of getting home I was out of the business attire and into bike gear, panniers clipped onto the bike and camping gear strapped on. And just 10 minutes later Canberra was in my rear vision mirrors. Work was in the rear vision mirror. In front of me five days of road therapy.
Deb and the girls had already flown to Brisbane for a Stampin’ Up conference and there was a loose idea of surprising dad for an impromptu 75th birthday party at my sister’s place in Brisbane. With the girls out-of-town I was already planning escaping for some camping over the weekend. So it didn’t take much convincing for me to head north and join the party and make it a real surprise.
The Plan – brunch on Sunday in Brisbane. That’s it. So I have a bit over a day to get there and three to get home. I was sure I could make that work.
With a rumour of a newly (ish) sealed road between Crookwell and Bathurst I pointed the bike towards Crookwell and I was not disappointed. What a great piece of road including a great little mountain range with bugger all traffic to ruin it. It is likely to become my route of choice heading north. By 7:30pm I was quickly running out of light. It’s always great to be on the road for that last hurrah of light as the sun disappears over the horizon.
I spent the next three and a half hours riding through the night dodging a wide variety of animals on the back roads until I hit the New England highway and then getting to my campsite at Wallabadah for the night at 11:30pm.
The next day was a pretty casual morning riding to Mt Tamborine behind the Gold Coast to visit my Uncle and check out his bikes and importantly give him a ride of the modern-day equivalent of the bikes he loves. So we swapped bikes for a while with me riding his ‘modern’ bike the 90’s Zepher 1100 and Kevin riding the 14.
Kevin’s comment – I knew when the angry face appeared on the dash this was going to be an experience not to forget. Yep it was.
For more photos of the KZX1300 (modified Z1300) see my previous post.
Later we got the chance to sit and chat about our respective trips overseas and check out his photos visiting Zed No.1 in Japan, the first Z900 and my ZX14R’s great great grand daddy, and Zed No.4 which lives in the US. He also showed me an amazing bike museum in Alabama that I have to get to at some stage called the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.
And if you are in the Gold Coast region keep an eye out for the Ray Owen Classic in the Tamborine mountains at the Canungra Showgrounds each May. The Ray Owen Classic is a motorcycle show featuring bikes of all marquees that are 30 years old and older with bikes going back to 1900. It is said to be one of the best shows around with 130 bikes on display and 3,000 people in attendance, two thirds coming on motorcycles.
photos courtesy of California Custom
The date for next year’s Classic is 19 May 2019. I may just have to make sure I’m in the neighbourhood for that weekend.
Over the next couple of days I got the chance to hang out with family and the surprise party was a hit with me turning up on the bike just as they arrived. Perfect timing. After spending a night at my parent’s place on the Sunshine coast I start to make my way home on Tuesday. Dad suggested a ‘nice scenic’ option on the way home that included a ferry ride – okay nothing more needs to be said as I love ferry rides – that route was plugged into to the GPS.
The first ferry crossing over the Clarence river is to Lawrence and I was way too polite and ended up in the middle of the ferry as we made our way across the river. Further down I wasn’t so polite and snuck down to the front of the line to get on the ferry first to cross back over the Clarence river to Ulmarra. And all I could think about was the 1980’s Chris De burgh’s song “Don’t pay the ferryman”.
And lucky for us we don’t need to pay the ferryman for getting us to the other side for any of these trips as they are part of the road general infrastructure and paid for by the Government.
After catching up with a cousin in Armidale for a cuppa and chat it was time to push on. But I had no idea which way I was going to head as I had a number of equally good options – home via Gloucester; Gunnedah; Werris Creek; Sofala; the Putty; or, just burn straight down the highway. In the end I chose to ride the Putty as this is mid-week and all the Sydney riders who are usually out here will be at work, so it should be relatively quite.
By the time the light starts to fade at the end of day one of my return ride I find a spot to camp and set up camp and cook dinner. And then take the opportunity of an early night.
Wednesday the last day. It is too easy on the last day to just put your head down and make for home and ignore what’s around you. I remember a conversation I had with Deb a couple of days earlier where i said that I was disappointed that I didn’t stop more on the way up and that it is just too easy to not stop. How often do we look at something as we fly past and go ‘cool I should stop at that’ and don’t. Today I made the time to stop and have that coffee and chat to those around or stopping and turning around and go back just to check stuff out.
Like stopping at the Grey Gums cafe on the Putty for a coffee and a chat to other riders.
Or checking out odd things on the side of the road like the Colo Bra tree at Colo Heights
By the time I rolled into the driveway on Wednesday afternoon I had travelled just under 3,200km. Below is the map of my overall route.
And before I can take another therapy session I need a new back tyre and my chain finally cried enough but I’m not complaining as it has close to 61,000km on it! I also need to do some work on my driving light brackets as the heavier lights have taken a toll on my brackets so I am going to have to make some stronger brackets.