Lunch at the Centre of NSW

Over the last 5+ years my calendar has not lined up with the FarRider’s calendar, so it was good to add the Tottenham ride to my calendar. The general concept with a FarRider’s Ride To Eat is 500km to the lunch location and 500km home. From Canberra, Tottenham is about 430km so it won’t take much of a detour to make up the full 1,000km for the day. And compared to the longer IBA rides I can leave and get home at a very reasonable hour.

Up at 5am I realise I hadn’t really thought enough about the ride, what I was going to take, or even what my route was going to be … the only thing I knew was that Tottenham was about 430km from home so if I left at 6am I’d have time for a detour to add some distance and still get there by opening of check in at 11:30. Oh and I glanced at the BOM site and it was going to be a bit wet.

So while having brekkie I quickly check a couple of routing options, threw a few things in the top box, and hit the road.

My plan – get to Parkes and either head straight to Tottenham along the Bogan Way (140km), or continue north to Narromine and Trangie before heading south to Tottenham via Albert (220km). And my route home … I’ll worry about that later as that will depend a bit on how many kilometres I have to do to make up my 1,000km for the day.

Rolling out of the driveway right on 6am shrouded in fog, fill the bike up (ouch fuel has gone up again), and grab a receipt for my start time and I’m outta here.

The advantage of riding by yourself is that you stop when you want, back track, explore side tracks, and grab photos. When you’re with others that is always a more tricky endeavour, as you don’t want to be that person that everyone is waiting for. And for me I do like to explore a bit and take a few shots of interesting things I come across so I always have that inner voice going on … do I stop and eat into my time or push on. Two examples today – Eugowra I was taking shots of some of their great street art and saw a little coffee van and I was kicking myself for the next 10 minutes as I should’ve grabbed a coffee and it looked like a great little place. Then later I had caught up to another rider and as we passed the Albert’s Rabbit Trap hotel it had a huge rabbit trap on top of the hotel but I kept riding … then I realised I don’t know this rider, I have no ties to them, and I will make the check in time comfortably, so I spun around and went back.

Eugowra Street Art

A big postage stamp

Albert Rabbit Trap Hotel

After riding though some water over the road on the way to Narromine I had a sinking feeling that my plan could quickly unravel if there are any road closures and I have to back track to get to Tottenham. I had a quick look at the NSW roads app and it all seemed okay, either way there really wasn’t much I could do about it now. If there was an issue I’ll deal with it then.

Rolling into Tottenham at 11:20am there was already a lot of bikes gathered around the hotel. Many old faces to catch up with and many I didn’t know. The challenge with these types of events is that you are only here for a short time so by the time you catch up with those you haven’t seen for awhile there isn’t much time to meet those you haven’t met before. It was also nice meet and briefly chat with Wendy Crockett, winner of the 2019 Iron Butt Rally, who has been over here doing some riding in Australia. I look forward to reading about her adventures here in Oz on her blog.

I had thought about about heading out to the cairn marking the geographic centre of NSW, about 40km out of town on dirt roads … but with all this rain, water over roads, and closed roads, this did not seem such a good idea. Chatting to Martin he was going to head to Condobolin, West Wyalong and then home via Temora, I hadn’t thought about that direction and some quick mental calculations said it should be about the right distance so Martin invited me to tag along for an afternoon’s riding.

Okay so which way is Condobolin…? Umm that way.

They say that all roads lead to Rome, well they certainly didn’t to Condolobin. The first hint was a lot of shallow water crossings. Then there was this.

Now I’m always up for a bit of adventure but with about 80kms to Condobolin down that dirt road and as far as we could see there was water crossings or half the road under water… that seemed like a bit too much adventure on a big road bike.

Then a few kilometres down the next road it turned quite muddy and ‘exciting’ at places, I don’t think ST1300s are meant to go sideways.

So we retreated back to Tottenham for an alternative route … on tar.

Coffee in downtown West Wyalong on a Saturday afternoon
Just rolling along

Heading south east to Temora the sun was hanging low over our right shoulders and the light was amazing. It was like we were passing through vivid coloured dioramas, with the power poles framing each new scene… old cottage with a mountain backdrop, sheep grazing in fields, a neat field of crop stubble. I couldn’t help sneaking up beside Martin and include him in one of the frames … you can see him thinking … ‘what’s he doing?’

Then within about 5 minutes the moment had gone.

I mentioned earlier the advantages of riding alone, but riding with others is also good depending on the ride and who you are riding with. With the right riding partner it’s nice to enjoy rolling along, sharing moments at servos, and a chat over lunch or coffee in a country town somewhere in Australia. However having someone with a similar rhythm and riding style is important. A short run is very different to slogging out the big miles. For shorter rides or even just touring there is no real issue with time and fluffing around or just hanging around coffee shops for another 30 minutes or an hour isn’t that much of a big deal. But when you are doing big days on the clock it is much easier riding with someone who is relatively in sync and who has a similar riding rhythm to you. On a big day it is the little things like not having to think about what they are doing, or always waiting for them to get ready at the next stop. That can wear you down over a long day. Previously I had only shared a couple of laps with Martin on the ACT Insanity ride and out here on the open roads it was clear we have a very pace and it was easy to just roll along soaking up the miles.

Before long it was dark, and much darker than normal as someone had blown out half of my low beam candles, and on these dark and damp roads dipping to low beam mid corner for oncoming traffic was a shock. And while I don’t often see the traction control warning lights flash at me on my ZX14R, I realised I missed that level of reassurance on the ST as the rear spun up on a slick bit of wet tar making for more unwanted excitement with a fishtail at the speed limit. Woah … easy off the throttle.!

Then before too long I bid Martin farewell and turned towards home just before 7pm with a good days riding and 1,078km.

3 thoughts on “Lunch at the Centre of NSW

  1. You certainly do some huge trips Glen and it’s great reading about your adventures. The biggest ride I have done was from Wauchope to Coonabarabran and back leaving at 6 am and returning at 6 pm on the wonderful 2012 Speed Triple I previously owned. I have decided to purchase a second bike as I last mentioned to you and it is arriving today. I thought about the 1600 BMW you mentioned but concluded it would be too big and heavy overall so I have decided on a 2013 Kawasaki Vulcan. It is a beautiful bike with good accessories such as a sissy bar, V&H pipes and a really cool greet and flame colour. If you send me your phone number I can forward a few photos.
    Anyway well done on this ride and I look forward to reading about your next ride.

    Liked by 1 person

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