Day Six of my tour started much better. The morning was cooler a change having blown in during the night. I was grateful as another 40 degree day in the saddle would not have been a nice finish to my trip. So we headed south to Toronto, around the gorgeous Lake Macquarie and then west towards Cessnock. Through the picturesque winefields we wended until we reached Pokolbin where we stopped for a gourmet breakfast at the Winehouse Bar and Restaurant. Great food and great service, with a view of the stage for the Tom Jones concert being set up in the paddock across the road. Broke (no, not out of money, the TOWN, Broke) and east towards Wollombi. The road is still intriguing though now a little crowded with 4WD’s using my side of the road instead of theirs.
Coffee at the roadhouse at Kulnurra and a good giggle as a bunch of sportsbike riders blasted west heading towards Wollombi.
Gas up at Peats Ridge (the Hornet’s tankage means you have to do that more often) and a decision to boycott the intended route, the Old Road, in deference to the DD weekend that started at midnight on Thursday. So, backtrack to Central Mangrove and down the Wisemans Ferry road instead.
Now I have been critical of this road in years gone by, the surface has deteriorated rapidly and not much maintenance was being done, making for a bone-jarring journey. But there has been a heap of re-sealing done and the road is much improved. Winding around the riverfront is delightful, although the closeness of the cliffs and the confines do increase the heat factor. We passed a group of Harley riders who, it turns out, were heading for a Rally at Richmond. Somehow the thought of spending a couple of 30+ degree nights in tents at Richmond didn’t appeal so we didn’t join them.
Crossing the river on the ferry is always enjoyable, the cooling breeze off the water adding to the charm. From there it was down to Pitt Town, Windsor, Penrith, and along my favourite route, Glenmore Park, Mulgoa (lunch at the fabulous “Peppercorns”), Wallacia, The Oaks, Picton, Mt Keira and home about 1600.
3412 kms in 6 days, averaging 568 kms per day.
Now, the purpose of the trip, apart from the obvious one of getting away and spending some quality time in the saddle, was to see if I could physically handle long days on the bike for consecutive days. If I want to do the Big One, then I’m going to have to be able to do that. I’m delighted to say that I found the trip remarkably easy and that 500+ km days of around 7-9 hours in the saddle each day was more than achievable without tiredness and fatigue starting to blunt my concentration on the next day. I should have taken my sheepskin seat cover, and next time I will, but, apart from that, I got off the bike each night feeling remarkably fresh, slept well each evening and started each new day refreshed and full of concentration. All very encouraging.