Well, here I am back in Grafton again, but this time Im staying the night, not just passing through. Fabulous day in the saddle again today, with the weather being much milder than it was on both Sunday and Monday where the sun really had some sting.
My clever plan to ride up from Ballina to Byron Bay and watch the sunrise from Cape Byron was somewhat stymied when I went downstairs this morning to find that the gate to the rear of the hotel was not only closed, but firmly padlocked. I was glad of the security, but a bit disppointed I couldn’t get on the road a little earlier while it was still cooler.
Never mind, an 0700 hit-out was still OK and, as it turned out, when I got on the road, it was quite cloudy so I wouldn’t have seen the sunrise anyway.
I did go to the Cape, but passed on the opportunity of walking up the hill to the lighthouse. The sight of dozens of super fit people doing their morning constitutional up and down the steep hill was just too depressing for words.
So, north in search of a different time zone…when you go to Queensland you set your watch back one hour and a hundred years; trust me, I lived there for three years!!
A very pleasant detour to Crabbes Creek just off the old highway, to visit some old friends was a nice break in the journey before attacking the Burringbar Range (taking care to slow down for the Revenue Camera). Then it was on past Murwillumbah and up to Coolangatta.
A stop at Paul Feeney’s old shop at Nerang drew a blank as Paul has moved premises. The salesguy was really helpful, but I didn’t bother trying to follow his instructions about how to find the new warehouse.
Out west heading towards Beaudesert, I climbed Mt Tambourine, dodging the cars with the funny number plates. Then it was on to Canungra for lunch and south along the Natural Arch road through the Springbrook National Park. This road parallels the highway but inland and is a glorious mix of sweeping and tight corners, crossing the border back into NSW before swooping down the mountain onto the plain again. Highly recommended if you like your roads entertaining and free of traffic.
When I last rode the Murwillumbah to Kyogle road it was raining and late in the afternoon and I was in “survival” mode. Today I was fresh and I can safely say that this road is an even more engaging and entertaining one than the Oxley. There, I’ve said it. 67 kms long and there are two short straights in that whole distance. It is a constant switchback of corners and I wrung the VFR’s neck something fierce. If ever I needed to be reminded just what an awesome S/T weapon the 750 is, today was the reminder. I pulled into Kyogle with a grin from ear to ear and I’m sure the lady in the servo thought I was mad.
From Kyogle, I sauntered out to Highway #1 again and tootled on to Grafton, via Lismore.
566 kms today of some of the most thrilling roads I’ve ridden.
Oh, and I must say something else too. I took some “punts” today on what roads could be good and I was tickled that every one of them paid off. Especially a new one… A little road that I can’t even find on my map, and, since I’m using a borrowed computer, I’ll leave it till I have time to “google” it for you. A previously undiscovered gem.
Finally, a word for the Grafton Hotel. VERY motorcycle-friendly.