In April 2013 my then 13yo daughter and I did a 2
up trip from Adelaide to Moranbah
in Qld, 16 days away, 10 of them on the bike
for about 6500 km.
Day 1, Adelaide (SA) to Hay (NSW) via South Eastern Freeway, Mallee Highway and Sturt Hwy.
Easter Sunday, we had had a lot of nice weather for weeks but it was freezing when we hit the road at 6:30am, and it looked like it was threatening to rain.
I had fitted Scala head sets for the trip, they were great, could chat to each other, answer the phone, listen to radio or ipod. We hit the South Eastern Freeway out of Adelaide, as soon as we got through the tunnels the drizzle started, thought it was going to be a long wet ride but it stopped in a matter of minutes.
1st stop was earlier than intended, a toilet stop at Tailem Bend, then it was back on the bike 'till Pinnaroo where we stopped for fuel.
Back on the road and a quick pull over to show we had left SA and it was on to Ouyen for fuel for us and the bike, after crossing into NSW, (our 3rd state for the day) at Tooleybuc we kept going and had our last stretch of the legs and fuel stop at Balranald
Then the exciting bit (not) the Hay plains, this was just after the floods and there was still water laying everywhere, I'd never seen this part of the world so green. Arrived in Hay, I had pre booked a night at the Riverina Hotel, $35 a night for a double and they had they bike locked up in a carport for me, awesome value!
Day 2, Hay (NSW) - Coonamble (NSW)
We left Hay about 1/2 hour after Sunrise, it was bloody cold so we had put all our wet weather gear on again to help keep the chill out, a good thing we did, had to ride through flowing flood water for about 200m, around 30km before Goolgowi.
We had been told being Easter Monday we would struggle to get fuel between Goolgowi and West Wyalong, I was still sussing out how far I could stretch a tank full of fuel so I wasn't keen on taking a chance, arrived in Goolgowi and the servo wasn't open 'till 9am public holidays, so waited to 55 minutes for the pumps to be turned on.
We finally hit the road again to find Rankine Springs would have been open for fuel
I had originally planned to go through Dubbo, a local suggested I turn off at Tomingley and go through Narromine, a couple of km longer but didn't have to spend all that time going through Dubbo
We arrived at Coonamble ready for a shower and feed, we were booked into the Commercial Hotel ($60 a twin, up stairs with the bike behind locked gates and security cameras)
Day 3, Coonamble (NSW) to Injune (QLD)
Again we left just after sunrise, it was a fresh morning, Kaylah put her liner back in her jacket for the start, I thought I would tough it out for the 1st hour or so, 1st fuel stop was Walgett, then it was back on the road towards QLD.
On this stretch we slowed for a bull coming down the hill and crossing the road, suddenly it stopped on the centre line and eyeballed us, a few toots of the horn and it was gone.
2nd fuel stop for the day was at Hebel, just over the border from NSW, the only fuel available was Diesel and Standard ULP @ $189.9 l, $15 was enough to get us to St George for some 95.
We were booked into the Injune Hotel for the night, our most expensive night in a pub room ($90) but it ended up being great value, we had 2 adjoining rooms and the room next door was a stocked kitchen where we could prepare our own toast or cereal etc for breakfast.
Day 4, Injune (QLD) to Moranbah (QLD)
After a great night's sleep and a good feed before we left it was back on the road for the last leg of our trips to stay with my mate in Moranbah, the shortest day by a couple hundred km. By now the weather was cool mornings and very warm in the afternoon. We had a lot of stops at roadworks where they were rebuilding after the floods. 1st stop was Rolleston, then on to Springsure. We saw a lot more wild life that morning, encountering every thing from Roos, wallabies, Cattle, Eagles etc. That stretch of road was awesome, great scenery with gentle winding roads.
We stopped for lunch in Emerald, then it was onto Capella, a quick fuel stop in Clermont before the final stretch to Moranbah. We rang my mate from Clermont to find out he had forgotten to leave the key out, and wouldn't get off work early like he'd hoped to.
About 30 minutes from Clermont we were stuck at roadworks for about 20 minutes, got talking to the lolly pop man, he said they were up there from Adelaide, earning 3x what he'd get home working on flood repair sites.
About 2500 km in 4 days, and an hour and a half wait for my mate to get home from work, we were ready for something more comfy than a concrete driveway to sit and wait for him.
With about 4500 on the clock and over 1000km 'till I got to Brisbane where the bike was booked in for it's 6000km service I wasn't sure if the original Dunlop rear tyre would get me there so we decided to put the bike in the shed for the next 6 days and do all the touring in Matt's twin cab.
We arrived in Moranbah on the Wednesday after Easter
Thursday was a veg/relax day, went for a bit of a drive in Matt's ute while he was at work, cleaned the bike etc
Friday we went bush touring with matt, he took us North of Moranbah on some roads that were no more than a dirt track, then across to Nebo, down to his work at Peak Downs mine and home
Saturday we went for a drive into MacKay where Matt was living last time the whole family went up in Oct 2002
Sunday and Monday were just catching up with washing etc before the ride home began
Day 10 Moranbah (QLD) to Gayndah (QLD)
Moranbah to Gayndah was just a long hot days ride, with heaps of roadworks it took a couple of hours longer than we expected, it was nice to get into a cabin at the caravan park in Gayndah and relax. There had been heavy rain from the Sunshine Coast down to Brisbane for days, they were expecting more of the same tomorrow.
Day 11 Gayndah (QLD)to Gold Coast (QLD) and back up to Brisbane's Northern Suburbs
The weather was awesome when we left Gayndah but by the time we hit Kilkivan, down it came, we were lucky to be able to pull over, get under cover and get all the wet weather gear on staying dry............10 minutes down the road it stopped and by the time we got into Gympie we were cooking and couldn't wait to get it all off again. Morning tea break @ Macca's and it was back on the road
Although we were staying with a mate from school in Brisbane's Northern suburbs we had decided to go straight down to DJR's museum, somewhere I've wanted to go for a long time, then down to Shark Leathers for a look before heading up to Eatons Hill to stay with a mate from school and his dog, we hadn't seen each other for 29 years, plenty of Jacks and a whole lot of reminiscing that night!
Day 12 Brisbane (QLD)
I had the bike booked in at 7:00am for it's 6000km service (10 weeks after I picked it up) and a new back tyre, went the Michelin PR3, looking for a bit more than 5500km from the next one.
Brisbane Motorcycles looked after us really well, gave us a loan bike to get around on, I felt sorry for the little GS500 on some of those Brisbane hill starts with 2 of us
fter we dropped the bike off we went back to Chris's and got a heap of washing done, we also worked out how many of our clothes we didn't need for the return trip, instead of washing them we packaged them up and posted them home, much to the amusement of the post office staff!!
We picked the bike up, nice and clean, new rubber on the rear (the Dunlop had a bald strip in the middle after 5600km) and headed into the city for lunch with my auntie, then we just cruised around and did a bit o sight seeing before heading back to Chris's for the evening/night.
Day 13, Brisbane (QLD) to Scone (NSW)
The day was going to be a long one, it was planned that way so we would have plenty of time to soak up the Bylong Valley way and Bathurst the next day. We left Brisbane earlier than most of our starts, we rode out of Chris's driveway knowing we had a good 1 + hours of city riding, so we weren't so concerned with the wildlife.
It was already 26 deg and very humid when we left, following the GPS it was a relatively easy trip from Eatons Hill to Ipswich then on to the NSW border at Tenterfield.
We went from warm and very sticky to bloody cold as we climbed Cunningham's Gap, at Warwick we had a late breakfast stop and put the liners back in our jackets, a quick fuel stop at Tenterfield and it was good bye to QLD as we crossed into NSW
At Armidale we topped up to give us enough fuel to get to Scone, a quick stretch at Tamworth and we were back on the road for the final stretch for the day
Just out of Murrurundi we came across more road works, after 20 minutes of waiting 4 or 5 cars back I snuck up the side and asked the lolly pop man what the hold up was, one of the road plant had broken down while closing up for the day blocking the only open lane, just what we needed with just 35km to go in a 720km day
After a 45 minute wait we finally got going again, arrived at the Royal Hotel and settled in for the night.
Day 14, Scone (NSW) to Young (NSW) via The Bylong Valley Way & Bathurst
We waited for the fog to settle for a while but it just got heavier and heavier, we intended to cut straight across to the Bylong Valley Way from Scone but in the fog we missed the turn off and ended up in Muswellbrook, there I dug the GPS out which took me on a wild goose chase the first time, did a big circle in pea soup fog, once we were back where we had already been it seemed to sort itself out and took us the right way. We hit the Bylong Valley way about an hour later than intended, it was foggy right up to when we turned onto the way, then in the next 5 minutes to our relief the fog lifted, the ride from there to Kandos was one of the most enjoyable I have ever done, it had every thing, scenery, long high speed sweepers, real tight stuff and some good old normal windy roads
After a stretch of the legs and some fuel at Rylestone it was onto Bathurst for lunch and a look around Mt Panorama and the motor racing museum
After a few hours soaking up Mt Panorama and the museum it was back on the road for the final 180km to Young, walked into the front bar of the Great Eastern Hotel to see the Mighty Bombers knock off Carlton, then a quick look on the net to find my 1st love in footy, the North Adelaide Roosters (SANFL) had knocked off the reigning premiers, Woodville - West Torrens by plenty. The weather was starting to cool down as we went South, the next day was forecasting showers most of the way, not bad considering we had only had a little bit the whole time we had been away.
Day 15, Young (NSW) to Logan (Vic)
The 2nd to last day of our trip, a quick breakfast at Macca's (only the 2nd while we were away) we hit the road just after day break. The weather was threatening so it was on with all the wet weather gear, between Young and Temora we had a few spots, then before Narrandera we had a couple of heavier showers, they didn't last long and by the time we reached Narrandera it was warming up and the sky was clear. A fuel stop and stretch of the legs it was back on the bike, the roads were becoming flatter, straighter and much more boring, we had a stop at Jerilderie where we came across an old fella on a Royal Enfield on his way home to Deniliquin from a Rally in Gilgandra, it was a late model copy but still a fair effort on something like that
Heading towards Bendigo in awesome sunshine and all of a sudden we could see a massive storm front approaching, we made it in to Rochester pulled over quickly and put our wet weather gear on, by the time we got back on the bike it was bucketing down and blowing a gale, the weather lasted until about 1/2 way between Elmore and Bendigo, when we got to Bendigo we stopped for a bit of a breather before the last stint to the Logan Pub, I found this place on the internet looking for Pub style accommodation, their accommodation is actually basic cabins with caravan park style showers and toilets. It is located abut 23km the Bendigo side of St Arnaud
When I booked I was told $55 a double including hot cooked breakfast, can't beat that for value. We arrived and wandered into the front bar of the only building in "town" to find a bar full of locals enjoying the footy and a cold frothy one, we booked in, got comfy in our cabin (large room, 2 beds with electric blankets), we went back into the pub for a couple of drinks and settled the room bill, we were only charged $50, $3-50 beers over the bar were cheap as well.
The local Staffy took a liking to us, Kaylah was missing our Staffy and Pug so she was happy to give her a pat or ten!
Tea that night, me - large seafood platter with a big serve of vegies, $18, Kaylah - massive chicken schnitzel, $12, and the included breakfast the next morning, cereal, bacon, eggs, sausages and spaghetti or baked beans, followed by raison toast I think the bike was overloaded after that feed.
The pub was old and basic, the rooms were very basic, would I stay there again? hell yeh, probably not for more than 1 night at a time, but I would stay there without a problem.
One more day to go.................
Day 16, Logan (VIC) to Adelaide (SA), the last day
We woke early to the sound of heavy rain on the roof, we headed into the pub for the monster breakfast wondering if the supply of fresh cooked food would ever end. The rain was heavy and looked very set and it was cold.............bloody cold, we put on all of our warmest gear and all our wet weather gear, I left the lambs wool seat cover on for the padding but covered it with a garbage bag put a plastic bag over the GPS, and off we headed for home.
25 km into the trip we stopped to fuel up at St Arnaud, it had rained all the way into town. We had originally planned on heading over to Horsham and taking the Western Hwy/Dukes Hwy all the way home, a local suggested that we would be better off heading across to Warracknabeal then heading down to meet the Western Hwy at Dimboola to avoid a lot of road works, the rain eased off for a bit around Donald but by the time we got to Warracknabeal it was bucketing down, by the time we hit the Western Hwy just before Dimboola it was heavier again.
As we were pulling up at the intersection of the Hwy I went to use a bit of back brake as well, the pedal was nice and hard but the bake did nothing to help slow us down, I wasn't stopping in the wet to see what was going on, so I turned on to the Hwy riding on unsealed clay based road works was a bit slippery , we hit the edge of town and the rain just got heavier again so I decide to pull into a servo, get out of the weather for a bit, top up fuel and suss out the back brake.
The back brake was soon fixed, the garbage bag on the seat cover had slipped down and got between the pads and rotor. Kaylah was freezing, her hands were blue, her previously waterproof winter gloves had leaked and were soaked like a sponge, her only other gloves, mesh summer ones.
We had planned on stopping to catch up with Rellies at Nhill, family friends at Bordertown and Rellies at Coonalpyn, as the weather was so shitty we decided to skip Nhill and head for lunch at Bordertown, about Kaniva the rain let up, Kaylah's gloves started to dry out and her hands were feeling warmer, we had a quick stop at the parking bay on the border for a couple of pic's in the rare sunshine the the last 15 or so km into Bordertown.
We had a nice lunch and thaw out in Bordertown, I packed Kaylah's still wet gloves away, duct taped plastic bags over her summer gloves and she had toasty warm hands for the rest of the day. We headed off again, through my old home town keith without stopping, a quick refuel at another town I grew up in, Coonalpyn then it was non stop 'till we got home. The weather had stayed ok from the border to Coomandook, soon after Coomy the wind got stronger and the rain fell more regularly.
On the South Eastern Freeway, coming up out of the Valley from Callington, we came out of a cutting without realising how strong the wind had gotten, we were blown across the road from the LH fog line to the RH emergency stopping lane, luckily there were no other vehicles near us, I slowed down to about 80 for the rest of the trip, as we headed further into the Adelaide Hills the wind died down a bit (to just gale force) but by Mt Barker the rain was teaming down, it stayed like that until we entered the Hysen Tunnels and as it often does, when we exited the tunnels there was sunshine and no rain, just lots of wind.
About 35 minutes after coming through the tunnels we were home, after 16 days (15 of them awesome, the last a right bastard of a day) our journey was over, all 6500km of it on the bike + another 1500 in my mates ute,
It was a great experience, and we've both promised each other it won't be the last, either April 2013 or 2014 we plan to do Adelaide to Perth to Darwin to Alice Springs to Uluru to Adelaide, hopefully we'll have at least one more bike with us for that trip, once again we'll be doing it on a budget staying in what ever cheap accommodation we can find.
After a nice hot shower some clean warm clothes the one bad day seemed to fade into just a distant memory, and the previous 15 more than out weighed the last day, this was the end of the best school holidays I have spent with either of my kids.