Port Macquarie, one of my favourite places (I think I already said that). Heading out of town in the morning was all anticipation though as I thought of a chance to spend quality time on the Oxley. The only problem was, I was carrying my RJays pack on the rack, and I’d noticed that the extra weight was providing a bit of a “pendulum” effect in the fast corners…what to do? Well, when in doubt, phone a friend…not really, but I did have an idea. Stopping at the excellent “Mud ‘n Tar” Motorcycles in Wauchope, I asked the proprietor, Rod Mulvey if he’d do me a favour. Would he mind my bag and rack while I went and had a play? “No.” was the answer, followed quickly by, “Yes, of course, mate.”
Now Mud ‘n Tar had bailed me out with a problem I had with the CBX550F2 over 10 years ago when I’d been doing an Oxley run. It’s so long ago that I can’t even remember what it was but they were helpful then and it seems they still are. BIG tick for country motorcycle dealers, they are the salt of the earth.
So, I set off for a play with Rod’s words of caution ringing in my ears, “Be careful, we want you back to collect your bag.” Freed of the luggage, BBII handled even better and my passes of the mountain were even more enjoyable because of it. Brunch at Ginger’s, pleasant convo with a Harley rider and his wife who were returning to Newcastle from the music festival in Tamworth, and then on the road east again. Fuel up at Wauchope (man, that tankful went quickly) and south.
If you have to travel north, try and avoid the section of the Pacific between Port Macquarie and Taree. 60 odd kilometres of road works, single lane in each direction, double unbrokens the whole way and a variable speed limit between a max of 80 (rarely) and a min of 40 (often). I know the highway needs upgrading, but I wish they’d get on with it; that section was just like that a year ago when I rode the Pacific last.
As soon as practicable, I baled, SW through Tinonne and Burrell Creek, and onto Bucketts west of Nabiac at Krambach. From there it was south, Gloucester, Dungog, Raymond Terrace and Mayfield where I met up with my brother who’d come to join me for the last leg of the journey.
Unfortunately, Paul had just had a disaster of his own. His sidestand had broken off and the bike had fallen over in the car park while he was waiting for me. So, it was down to Broadmeadow as quickly as possible to the ever-helpful Graeme Morris Motorcycles to arrange a repair. Sadly, Graeme’s workshop did not have a welder that could do the job, but the head wrench pointed us in the direction of a wrecker just a few k’s away who said he had a box full of sidestands and should have one that would fit. Let’s hope so, as it was Thursday afternoon and it was getting uncomfortably close to 5, quitting time. We finally found the place and, at a couple of minutes to 5, the obliging mechanic fitted a new, 2nd hand stand for $25. Phew.
From there it was a cruise across town to Belmont and the Lakeview Motor Inn. Now, for the whole trip I had stayed in country hotels, preferring them for all sorts of good reasons. But, at Heatherbrae, an hour or so before, the temperature gauge at the boat dealer on the highway had said 41 degrees, so the lure of an air-conditioned motel room was too much to ignore. Alan Rhode, the proprietor, rides an ST3 and offered us a generous discount and secure parking as we were on bikes, how good is that? So, after a good feed at the local hotel and a cool room, it was off to noddy land for the final night of my tour.