Long ago in a state far, far away

Daisy

Premier Member
#1
I took a photograph.
Since I just had this, my first SS1600 certified recently, I thought I should put the report here. This is part of a bigger story, but I'll only tell the bit about the 1600. Starting in Gilgandra, NSW.

I was awake by 3 so rather than just lie there awake I got up and made ready. Rob opened the gate for me - again - and I aimed the bike between the fence and the Pajero. A combination of slippery ground and a slight miscalculation of the new width of the bike saw me nudge the Pajero and tip the bike on its side against the fence. We managed to right it and I straightened the mirror and driving light and started again and I went down the road with my right leg throbbing and the fuel tank still nearly dry to my start point at the Shell roadhouse. Docket time at 3.49am.
First mission, about 100 kays to Coonabarabran and another 120 to fuel at Narrabri. Not much of a challenge? Yeah right! I hadn't counted on the fog had I? And about 25km before Coonabarabran I felt something hit my right knee. A bit of a look around showed everything still in order ... a bit of a closer look showed that the mirror I'd straightened earlier had abandoned ship. Its dark, its foggy and I'm alone - it isn't like I need that mirror right now so we'll ignore that. Then the fog got really dense and very wet and reduced my maximum speed to about 80. Couldn't stop the visor fogging so elected to ride with it open. Not like I'm gonna get insects in my face anyway. The fog was so thick that I had to squeeze the water out of my eyes - then it started to rain. Bloody hell those drops feel sharp! So its down with the visor and hope it looks better when the sun comes up. Fuel in Narrabri at quarter past six and better weather until almost Moree when the fog rolled in again. I started to realise that these towns are in totally the wrong place, they should be out where there is no fog. Stopped at the ATM in Moree for some spending money and then up the road a bit to the clearer skies.
Next mission, a photo of the Wobbly Boot



and fuel at Goondiwindi. Had a good run with little traffic, which is almost all trucks anyway, and got the pic and had a stickybeak at the town of Goondiwindi. Now I make my first miscalculation. I was expecting to find fuel as I was leaving, but its all at the Eastern end, so I had to turn back and follow the truck route around the back. 9am now and make a mental note of where this fuel stop is for when I come back. Retrace the path to West Street and back onto the Barwon Hwy where I see the first Police vehicle of the whole trip. I'd been led to believe that the buggers are everywhere.
Mission 3, fuel at St George. I like this road and make good time, arriving at 11am. The weather is good but there is some really dark stuff on the horizon.
Next stop is for fuel at Roma. I could have gone directly to Mitchell from here but I didn't know what the road was like so stuck to the Carnarvon ... which wasn't the best decision. Most of it was pretty good, but there were several stretches with roadworks and two of these had traffic lights on them. Its really, really annoying to have to sit at a red light in the middle of nowhere when you can see the one at the other end and there isn't another vehicle for miles. A quick stop for a drink and some dried fruit.



and another up the road for a post office.



Now I find some traffic - like half a dozen vehicles, and two of them are police. Oh, I finally saw an emu with its chicks crossing the road ... made the car a few hundred metres in front of me come to a sudden and spectacular halt. Meanwhile I'm watching the black horizon come further over my head and I just know its going to be bad.
I have never been caught in rain like that. You couldn't really even call it rain, its more like just being poured out of a bucket! It stopped just as I turned onto the Warrego and I rolled into Roma at 1.30pm. Still, there are a whole 24 hours allowed for this ride so I'm not worried yet. I overhear the girls in the servo talking about a big storm that's coming and offer my opinion that it slid by and I just came through it. She says, "No its coming from Mitchell way, they're having hailstorms out there."
"Damn" I says, "I'm going that way."
Off I go anyway. I mean, how bad can it get? I take a call from Reg as I'm leaving Roma and tell him that I'm heading into a storm and I'm hoping to reach Mitchell before it does. After the usual "be careful" and a promise that I will, I stop for another pic at Muckadilla,



where I'm passed by a Commodore ute that has been playing tag with me since before St George, then I get more bloody roadworks at Amby! The Commodore turned around and went back the other way, but I'd come this far so I waited for the traffic light. Just after I got through it and before I got to the next set a few kays up the road, that storm arrived. There is so much of the sky falling about me that my biggest concern is the bike getting a gutful of water. Bloody hell! I've never seen anything like it. The good news is that there isn't a lot of hail, the bad news is that what there is feels like rocks. Still, I'm a FarRider and I've come for the Tag, so I'm not going home without it!
There is a slight easing in the storm as I turn into the driveway at the caravan park, so I go and stand under a tree with my plastic document box to have a look at the photo I brought with me. Gotta get the right sign.



I get my pic and go in search of a receipt ...

I don't need fuel and I can't see an ATM at the bank, so the Post Office will do. I drip inside and buy some stamps - and have a discussion with the girl about how mad I must be ... then I go out to the bike and get my log. I need to stand in the phonebox to fill it in and as I'm getting back on the bike all wrapped up in my (alleged) waterproofs a woman in shorts and t shirt - and barefoot - gets into the car parked beside me. I conclude that I'm not crazy at all and head back into the storm on its way to Roma.
At Roma I make a major blunder. I remember the BP where I got fuel and I know it should be on my right. I can't see it and go right through town and out the other side. It looks vaguely like the way I came in and I conclude that I must have missed it and rather than turn back I decided that I would just keep going to St George. I was carrying enough fuel to do it and the missing docket will only cost me 70km. About 20km up the road I start to realise that I have gone the wrong way. I should have been at the intersection of the Carnarvon by now and I'm pretty sure Injune isn't a town on my route. So I stopped and checked the number against the map. I was on the A7 instead of the A2. Stupid, stupid, stupid bloody cow! Back the way I came and found the sign to Surat. Hang a left and there's the BP I was looking for. By the time I got the fuel in the bike and went to pay my chest was thumping so hard that my head was nodding. I was so angry with myself that I was very close to collapsing. Many deep breaths and a chocolate bar later I felt well enough to push the bike off the forecourt and sit for a few minutes to do the log. 4.45pm.
Beating myself up has really sapped my strength and the run to St George was tedious. At least there wasn't a thunderstorm now. Had a dirty great truck behind me through the roadwork sections and I'm sure I saw those same two police vehicles going back to Roma. Got to Surat and started to wish I was already at St George. I was really tired and by the time I arrived at 7pm I was ready to pull the plug and find a motel. Parked the bike at the servo and bought some chips, dim sims and a drink of mango juice. The drink was fantastic but after eating one dim sim I found that I couldn't force myself to put anything else in my mouth so I just sat and checked my maps and numbers for a bit, then went out and dodgied up a plug to charge the phone. Fuelled the bike and got an out receipt for 7.40. I'd decided that I would feel better when I got back on the bike and I could reassess at Goondiwindi. A couple of kays down the road I did indeed feel much better and knew that I could make it back to Gilgandra, the only question being would I make it in time. Along the way I saw the moonlight reflecting off the clouds and started calculating how long it would take to be out in the open. I knew that when that happened the critturs would start a movin' and I wanted to be a long way down the road when they did. Before long I started to have that downhill sensation. I know its an illusion so I rode on. Then a Qantas logo went across in front of me, touching the road just the once. THAT was no illusion. It was getting lighter and I was seeing small animals, rabbits and a cat. Then when the moon was right out in the open I saw the one I'd been fearing. A bloody bounder crossing from my left and heading forward. I swung left and right to go around the back of him and just as he was level he started to turn left. I missed him by a foot and consider it pure luck. What did strike me though was the beautiful sandy colour that it was in the light.
Made it to Goondiwindi without further incident and remembered to follow the truck route. Fuel at 9.50 and back on the road quickly. I'm looking forward to Narrabri now, last fuel before the finish.
There isn't anything to see on the way to Moree except the distance markers and I spend my time counting them down. Quickly through town and settled in for Narrabri. Through Gurley without really noticing and into Bellata where a police divvy van parked on the left jolted me back to attention. Checked my speed and made sure it stayed checked. When I finally got to Narrabri, after more fog and damp, the poh leece came in just as I was getting off the bike. 4 big blue shapes had a long look at my bike and then went back out onto the highway. They obviously don't have much to do on the late shift.
Fuel docket says 12.20am and now I only have one leg to go. I'd had a call earlier from Rob to tell me it was pouring with rain at Gilgandra, still, so I was pleasantly surprised when I didn't find any. Counted off the markers to Coonabarabran and didn't even care that it was foggy again, got out the other side and found that everything was very wet but was not currently precipitating. I only saw one of the planets too. Yet another place I'll have to revisit in the daytime. About 25 kays out I wondered briefly what had become of the lost mirror, but its ok, I have a new set at home. Eventually I found myself back at the roadhouse I'd started from nearly 23 hours earlier. Refilled the tank and got my end receipt at 2.37am. The odometer shows 1972km covered, but this is certainly a bit optimistic. I had a chat with the servo attendant about my travels and then called Rob to ask him to open the gate - again.
Only a couple of kays around to his house and I was so looking forward to a sleep. It was at this point I finally abandoned any idea of continuing the ride for a BB2500. I needed more than a couple of hours sleep and my bed was here. I would deal with the ride back to Melbourne when I was fully functional. Besides, I still had to load the extra panniers and stuff to take home.




... Post mortem; (3 weeks later)

I've done all the sums for this ride now ... and that huge stress at Roma was totally unnecessary.

I got fuel at Roma at 13.24 and its nearly 90 kays to Mitchell. I stopped for a photo at Muckadilla and the one at the caravan park, plus the loooong stops at the roadworks. Receipt at Mitchell 15.02. 1 hour and 38 minutes. Even with the storm, roadworks and missing the turnoff ... I was back at the BP in Roma at 16.44. 1 hour and 42 minutes. A whole six minutes difference. And I beat myself up over that. I think this is the most valuable lesson I got from the trip.
Moving average was 88km/h. Looks like I can stop,or get lost, more often without running over time.
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#2
Wow, Daisy, I started reading and had to get a coffee and a couple of scones and sit back and really enjoyed the read.

Foggy runs with the visor open, um the eyes certainly get a bit of a flogging. Roadworks and hail, what a combination, you really covered some interesting country with those dark clouds looming overhead.

Being geographically embarised occurs occasionally however some interesting places are found when you reach inside for some choice words.

Well done and congratulations on your first SS1600, the first is always special!
 

Tele

Premier Member
#4
What a marvellous ride under such bloody ordinary conditions! You did so well to stick that one out with such enthusiasm! Fascinating read ... thanks for sharing the details.
 

Kimmie

Well-Known Member
#5
A fabulous ride there Daisy under somewhat awful conditions!

Don't worry about being geographically embarrassed...... I like to call them "detours" (I'm the woman known for them..lol)

Hey Skidooo, what happened to the invite for scones and a cuppa......hmmm
 

Daisy

Premier Member
#7
The fun part is when I tell people I got off the boat in Melbourne on Monday night, went to Queensland (via Mildura) just to take a photo and got back on the boat in Melbourne on Friday night. While they're processing that bit of lunacy I go, "Oh, I had Wednesday off while we put some new panniers on the bike ..." :D
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#10
:rolleyes: I still wanna go for a ride with you.
That's nice, you never know where we will end up, it would be an adventure :eek:

Ah, Well that totally explains why you keep riding in all different directions......you can't remember where you've been :D
Absolutely Kimmie, I took the scenic ride home last month, missed Dubbo twice and wore out two sets of tyres trying a third time :oops:
 

Rusjel

Premier Member
#14
Those CBRs have an almost mystical attraction to me. I listed after one the whole time I was at Uni and still felt the pull when Phil bought one for a mate and rode it out to him a couple of years back.

Thankyou for a great report and trip down memory lane, the bike and the roads. One day we'll meet.