The BOM

Vlad

Premier Member
#1
This run was the brainchild of my mate and fellow Iron Butt rider, Sid.

There are several Bureau of Meteorology radar sites within a 600 odd k radius of Sydney, the BOM sites. These stations are Doppler radar installations and are responsible for the info for weather forecasting across much of NSW. The closest one is at Terry Hills in northern Sydney and from there the network we are looking at is a large rectangle stretching south to Captains Flat, west to Wagga then north as far as Moree and back across to the coast at Grafton. There are a couple of others in between.

All up its about 2700 k to do the loop. Some are easy to find others not so much. I couldn’t find any street address info, so I was going off GPS coordinates which are available although as it turned out not particularly accurate. One thing I didn't do, which would have made life much easier, was scout the sites on google earth before I went, it would have saved a lot of time. Of course, I did it when I got back.

So, this was a reccy run, get a look at as many as I could with a view to putting a ride plan together for a future date with all the location info solid. I'm familiar with the Terry Hills location about 30 mins from my house and preferring a clean exit from the city decided to head south around 0530 on Saturday. Across Sydney in the early hrs. and took the Wollongong freeway to the turnoff for Appin. Nice day for a ride. Followed the gps to the access road and found it quickly, it was however, closed. Lorretta said I was within 2 k so I spent 20 mins trying to find an alternative and decided that it may be possible thru the main entrance to Cataract dam recreation area, which was closed as well at 7 am. Later research proved that not to be the case and the only access to be via fire trail F7. So, a pic of the gate will have to do for this one.



Next on the list is Captains Flat and I was looking forward to this one not least because it’s a great ride to get there but also it was one of only two sites of which I had seen a picture. Down through the gorge south of Appin and across the Cataract river on the old stone bridge and took the freeway to the Bungonia exit.



Its 30 odd k into the little village and just out of town you make a right and take a well made dirt road to Tarago. Then to Braidwood and south of town onto the old Cooma rd for about 30 k again to the turnoff for Captains Flat. This is again a well made dirt rd and a lovely ride on a sunny day, stopped at the top for some pics.




About 20 mins further on Lorretta indicated a left and when I arrived it proved to be an entrance to Tallaganda National Park. The fire trail was clearly indicated and what I was looking for, about 3 k in. This is a rough little rd, quite steep with a bit of everything, washouts, bog holes, downed trees, it was hard work on a fully loaded adventure bike but fun none the less. Next time I'll be much lighter and have the big wheel on the front. There is a fork in the road at about the 2.5 k mark and the GPS had me take the right, which in retrospect should have rang some alarm bells because these things are located at the highest point around, I would imagine. Arrived at the spot to find nothing which was frustrating, so knowing I was close spent half an hr looking for it to no avail. Somewhat dejected I headed back to the junction and took a pic of the closest man made structure and headed into the town at Captains Flat.



This place has seen better days, nothing open at 10 am on Saturday. I wanted some more info so paid a visit to the local copper. Nice bloke and very helpful, confirmed that I had been in the right place and described the location to me which I was subsequently able to find on google earth. The copper said it was off the road and difficult see and he wasn’t wrong, I was less than 200 meters from it.

Into the ACT from here and spent a tragically long time crossing Canberra and never was I so happy to see the Hume Highway. Hot now, 38 degrees. Gundagai for fuel and an opportunity to soak my base layers and then headed for Wagga. Followed Lorretta into East Wagga and took the left up the dirt around to the back of the airport where she promptly told me to "leave the road now" .That’s a first for me , there was obviously nowhere to go but fortunately I was able to see my objective in the distance about a kilometer away and made for it. Turned out to be right at the entrance to the Airport, success finally.



The Next one is at Gunnedah about 700 k away and, it was hot, temp topped out at 41.5 and didn’t drop below 38 till after dark. Had bit of a rest along here and stopped several times to soak base layers again. I was going from soaking wet to bone dry in less than 90 mins. I’m going to purchase a cool vest and see if that is more effective. Since I was taking pics of radar, I made a small detour to get a pic of the big one.



Dubbo for gas and a meal about 1900 and back into the heat. Made Coona just on full dark. It was a huge relief to escape the big heater in the sky. I had a decent headache by now and figured I was dehydrated even though plenty of water had been drunk. I stopped on the northern outskirts of town for a short break. The Gunnedah site is at Black Jack Mountain and I found the turn off with no problem and followed the GPS until I got the " leave the road now" message for the second time. Had a bit of a laugh to myself and decided that looking for sticks in the forest in the dark was probably going to be a fruit less exercise so decided to call it a day on BOM hunting. Took a pic at the turnoff and headed in to Gunnedah for a docket.



A pleasant 32 degrees now and with docket in hand took the Kamillaroy hwy for Willow Tree, love this road at night. Last fuel at the little 24 servo on the corner, demolished a pie and was soon on the road again. Very relaxing run down the New England after midnight, just me, barely another vehicle. Had a rest in the last road stop before the M1 and pulled into my local servo just on 0430. 1770 k for the day.

A fun day out, if a bit hot. I will do another run to check out the northern sites shortly. I was surprised to feel the effects of dehydration considering I had consumed what I thought was sufficient water. I think I'll include electrolyte supplements in future, force myself to drink more regularly and acquire the a fore mentioned cool vest. It doesn’t pay to underestimate the conditions or be ill prepared.

Cheers