celebrating 40+ years of motorcycling

“The Ride That Shall Not Be Mentioned.” A Touring Diary Pt2

OK, guys and gals, here’s Day 2.

After being spoiled rotten at the Apsley Arms Hotel at Walcha last night, we headed off a little late this morning. The VFR needed a headlamp bulb, so, after much cursing and muttering was fitted and we lit out at around 0830. In light of later events this day, that was a good investment. Unusually, it was warmer this morning than it had been last night, and we made good time to Uralla where Damien noticed that my top box had come undone. Examination proved that I had lost a brand new HJC visor and my winter gloves, so I set off back to Walcha in search of.

Zippo. Someone must have found them on the side of the road and picked them up. C’est la vie, I guess. So, a quick blat south on the NEH to take the obligatory picture of the bikes in front of Thundebolt’s Rock and then north to Armidale.

It was overcast and threatening rain, but, just like yesterday, we always seemed to just scoot around the edge of it. Armidale across to Ebor and then onto the Nymboida Highway for some of the most grand of grand touring. That road absolutely ROCKS!!! Series after series of sweeping corners joined by straights that cross the top of the Great Dividing Range. Gotta ride that one again. It had been raining and some of the corners were damp so our progress was probably more cautious than what we would have liked, but we pulled over at Nymboida and just looked at each other as if to say, “Did we really just do that??”

Then it was on to Grafton for lunch through a few patches of showers, but more dry than wet. We again fulfilled our promised commitment to not have a pie, but the food at the Bakery was very nice.

From Grafton we headed up the Summerland Way towards Casino, a great road. Again, a few patches of showery activity but not enough to spoil the enjoyment. We did a bike swap on this section of around 100kms and Damien got the opportunity to sample the delights of a bike that doesn’t weigh 10 hundredweight!!! ( just kidding) I had the privilege of navigating the land barge, man that thing is BIG!!!

Then it was on to Kyogle for a pit stop and it was while that was happening that Damien got the feeling that his back tyre didn’t feel quite right. A quick check of the pressure and it was 15 pounds, not good. After being referred from Mr Black to Mr Brown to Mr Green and finally Mr White, we found a great guy at the local mower shop who’s a bike nut (you just knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

He fixed the tyre for $12.00 and I bought a new pair of winter gloves for $55.00. How good is that? Damien said that I shouldn’t come into the shop. When I went in (well, I HAD to after that, didn’t I?) there was a beautiful 1995 red ZX9-R on the showroom floor. The mower man (Steve) wanted 6 grand for it which I thought was a bit much, so I didn’t buy it. Besides, it wasn’t set up for touring, I’d have had to send all my luggage home in a box.

By now the afternoon was closing in fast and the rain was threatening also. The road from Kyogle to Murwillumbah winds up and down the mountain and is filled with hundreds of corners. Unfortunately, many of them are teeth-rattlingly rough on the apex and, besides, the rain had begun to set in, so caution became the watchword.

We wound down the mountain and along the flats in the hinterland behind Murwillumbah and negotiated several stretches of road under repair, which, in the rain and the rapidly-fading light, was quite an adventure.

Onto the coast and the light was gone. I only had my iridium visor and I couldn’t ride with that up because of the rain, so it was up the Pacific Highway at the speed of a thousands tadpoles and onto the Gold Coast Motorway and in to Phil and Sue’s place at Nerang just after 1800. The garage was open and the light was on and we rolled straight in. How good is that for service?

All up a total of 620km today though some glorious country and some treacherous roads soaked with rain. I should have added that, from Murwillumbah to Nerang it absolutely howled down rain. Ah, Queensland. Raining one day, raining the next. Gotta love it.

Great to arrive safely, and great to have some super roads into the inventory that we must come back and explore in the Summer. Man, that Nymboida stretch is just amazing.

Our hostess is cooking us pasta for tea, so we’d better close off. Damien is going to upload some photos from the last two days and we’ll include them in a separate post later this evening.

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