Hey you! You look different.. have you had a hair cut? No? Well, whatever it is, you smell funny.
So on Tuesday, myself and the bossman decided to ride up to the Hunter Valley (wine country NSW) on our respective beasts. This is the route map.. not embeded to make it easier for you to zoom about and follow along at home. Got that going? Good, cos I’m going to point out a few things. Firstly we head north, and it’s all mostly boring until we get to where it splits.. except you get imagine me crouched over the handle bars, chin on the speedo, providing amusment at 80kph for anyone coming the other way. If I sit up, all I get is 75kph, see. Well, I could open it right up, but riding for hours at wide open throttle (that’s WOT to those of us in the know) isn’t a good idea. So 80% WOT it is. So anyway, it splits at Wiseman’s ferry, and on the way up we took the route to the west. The plan was to have lunch in St Albans, and that all went well. The route from the ferry (yes, there really is a ferry at Wiseman’s Ferry.. two even!) was rather fun, nice and twisty so I could lean off the bike ans scythe through the bends. At least, that’s what I was imagine myself doing. I’m sure it all ended up rather comical really. Still, after lunch is where things got a little.. rough. See, it looks like a main road on the map doesn’t it.. now a main road in country Australia doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s wide… or well travelled.. or asphalt. It does usually mean that there’s some sort of maintenace routine for it though. From looking at the google maps street view and having ridden up it, it seems that the maintenance involved REMOVING the asphalt some time ago, then letting the rain wash away most of the surface. Not the most condusive surface for a leisurely bike ride, but not really a problem at all on a postie bike.. they were designed for trails after all. The bossman’s 125 scooter with 14″ wheels with smooth road tyres on the other hand… pretty damn awful. Unfortunately the first half of it was not so bad.. it wasn’t until the second half when we were going up hill that it got unbearable. Still, he soldiered on and we got out.. mostly unscathed. From then it was pretty uneventual.. then boring through Cessnock. That night, a few well deserved beers were consumed at the local irish pub.
Wednesday was wine tasting day. We hopped on a bus (ok, 10 seater van) and pootled out to a few different vineyards with mostly disappointing or uninspiring selections of wines. Except for Vinden Estate wines, with whom I signed up for a half dozen bottles to be sent every six months. Yum. All in all, it seems as a general rule I prefer South Australian reds to anything else. The rest of that afternoon was spent doing some work so we could claim this all as a work retreat. We were nearly productive!
The ride home was a little more considered than the ride up.. we considered going further west down Putty Rd, a well known route for motorbiklists out for a day’s ride, but the last/only fuel stop between us and there (in Broke) had no power, so we couldn’t fill up.. and we wouldn’t have made it to the next stop. Even with fill tanks we’d have been pushing it, so we decided to turn south towards Wollombi and head back down that way. On the road between Broke and Wollombi we saw the results of an accident, there were a couple of cars on the side of the road and some people in the grass off the other side giving CPR to a guy. His bike lay nearby. We stopped, as you do, but they said they had the situation under control.. as much as could be anyway. So, with nothing we could add, we headed on. This time we decided against going through St Albans for obvious reasons, instead going through Central Mangrove back to Wiseman’s Ferry. This ended being a good idea, as the road between those two is a nice peaceful jaunt along the river, very pleasent. From there it was home again home again, jiggady jig.
The beastie stood up to the rough treatment rather well, though I think it’s a little low on oil now. Not surprising really, given the workout it had. I think I’ll change it again anyway.. ’tis about time.