Before I start the story I must apologise for not updating my blog recently. We have both been stricken with the dreaded bug and that, combined with numerous other family commitments, has meant that time has been taken up with these things rather than sitting at the computer. As you will see in a moment, riding hasn’t been happening much, either. I might add that the lingering after-effects of COVID has also mean that two of my nursing home gigs have had to be cancelled and this Friday’s isn’t looking great either.
Anyway, that’s my problem. Let’s get down to business. Summer has finally arrived on the east coast of NSW and yesterday’s weather forecast looked ideal. Temp in the high 20’s, a weekday so most of the crazies should be somewhere else and no commitments for the whole day. I didn’t even bother setting the alarm, lately I seem to have developed an internal alarm that wakes me at the appointed time without the need of electronic assistance.
As I noted, temperature was predicted to be in the high 20’s so it seemed prudent to get as much of the ride done in the early morning and avoid the problem that was of my own doing on my last effort.
Cameras on phones don’t really seem to like taking photos at night, but you get the idea.
There was a great sunrise brewing but I’d be heading away from it so I got the early morning cloud formations as best I could.
And, ignore the clock. I can never be bothered with setting it for AEDST so it was an hour later than what it says here.
An early start meant less traffic and also the opportunity to stroke it along a bit rather than be watching the clock towards the end of the day. As it was, the grunt-wheelers on Mount Keira were the usual pain in the backside and I was happy to see the last of them as I reached the top and headed along the short section out to the Picton Road. Summer jacket, Summer gloves and it was already 21° so the right choice for once.
As I accelerated out onto the highway, the F1 light came on. This has been a long-running issue with this bike and it doesn’t actually affect the running of the bike in any way. But it IS annoying and nobody seems to have an answer to the problem. For some time I have simply ignored it by putting a piece of duct tape over the warning light and pressed on regardless. But it hadn’t happened for some time so I took the tape off before the last ride. I had read on the VFR group, however, that it was related somehow to the kill switch. Quite how THAT could be I can’t guess but it was a new one so I thought I’d try. At the Hume Highway intersection, I pulled over, killed the motor with the kill switch, restarted the bike and, hey, presto, the light went out and stayed out for the rest of the day. Who says social media is useless?
As I said, I wasn’t going to hurry the journey so I stopped at the coffee van on the outskirts of Silverdale.
Despite the early hour they were doing a roaring trade and the stop also gave me the opportunity to check out a new project happening next door. For years I have admired the little wooden country church on the site and it looks now as if it has been bought and is being extended and developed into a house. It’s a bit close to the road for my liking but the view from their back yard is going to be pretty spectacular.
An amazingly easy run through the Penrith bypass, gas up at the Shell at Cranebrook and away we go again. Hardly any traffic through Windsor either, wow, it was all falling into place nicely. I had an empty semi for company all the way from Wilberforce and it looked like he was going to spoil my run at the Colo bends, either by tailgating me (which he was already doing) or getting in my way in the twisties. So I pulled over at Colo and let him go by. The Riverside Café wasn’t open (it WAS early) and I further suspected that it wasn’t going to be later either (I was right) but a break and a chance for the semi to get away was well worth it.
A clear run right through to Colo Heights enabled me to do a really good scrub-in on the new rear Michelin; the confidence of a new tyre is always great.
Out the other side and back onto the boring part of the road and still no traffic of any kind, wow. Just before the GGC I finally caught the semi but there wasn’t any point passing him as I was stopping anyway.
GGC is only open on weekends plus Friday and Monday in the mornings now but those of us who know know that, if you stop in there any day, Kimmie will always make you a cuppa and have a chat. So I did and was rewarded with my usual tea, in a teapot, served in a proper china cup and saucer, she knows what I like! William asked me if I’d had breakfast and I said I hadn’t. He said he hadn’t either so he made us some toast and vegemite. What terrific people they are.
I was daring to hope at this stage that I’d get a good run up to and through the Ten Mile and I was right. Apart from the red light stops which are a nuisance, I was able to run my own pace and, with the V4 exhaust sound booming off the cliffs, I completed the scrubbing-in of the rear. I always used to stop at the tree just at the end of the Ten Mile but the council has scalped it to within an inch of its life and it is just depressing so I pressed on. Incidentally, it appears that nobody else is stopping here any more as the place has a very run-down look about it. The other reason for NOT stopping is that the 16km or so between the tree and Milbrodale has some very nice corners so the little township has become my new turn-around point.
Could I get a traffic-free run the OTHER way on the Ten Mile? As it turned out, yes, I could. More Staintune tunes and warmth into the tyre and I headed for home. I didn’t stop at GGC, just boomed on by. Shortly after I encountered a Toyota Hilux commuter bus but that is the only traffic I saw till I slowed to a stop at Colo for a rest, a stretch and to confirm my earlier suspicions that the café wouldn’t be open at all on a Tuesday.
I was up past the 300km mark on the fuel tank so I gassed up at Wilberforce knowing that that would more than get me home.
Last time through Penrith I was suffering from overheating (the rider) and a bad cramp in my left hand that made negotiating the traffic a nightmare. Perhaps because I was earlier or perhaps God decided to give me a break but the traffic was much lighter, the lights pretty much fell in my favour and I emerged onto The Northern Road in pretty good shape. I should add that I had consciously made a point to exercising my hand regularly and using a lighter touch on the controls and I am sure this helped.
My next planned stop was the Bakery at Appin but, wouldn’t you know it, it was shut for the day. An iced coffee from the café across the road and I settled down for the final leg.
Appin Road was a doddle and the run down Mount Ousley was, well, you guessed it, the usual run down Mount Ousley.
Home around 1500, 565kms in a bit over 8 hours. Lots of stops for rests and photographs explain the slow point-to-point, but, as I said at the start, I wasn’t trying to break any records anyway.
Speaking of cafes. My favourite eatery, Peppercorn at Mulgoa has been closed and is now re-opened under a NEW name again. It has, in the last couple of years been called “Black Cat – White Cat” (yes, I know, makes no sense) and lastly “Oasis Terrace” (equally silly). So, in keeping with the tradition, the new owners have renamed it “The Bunker”. On the way up I was way too early and it wasn’t open anyway so it didn’t really matter.
Here’s my digital record of the day.