There... And Back - Two SS1600s in Three Days


Well-Known Member
There… A Rollicking Good Time

The recent FarRiders ride-to-eat to Lobethal, South Australia, offered me the opportunity to ride new roads on route to and from the beautiful Adelaide Hills, a place I been to only once before in the 1990s, as well as being just the right distance to include a couple of IBA rides. After having a couple of FarRide DNFs in the past couple of years (Walcha – dodgy hippy ute tried to kill me; and Armidale – electrical system failure) I was feeling that I needed to ‘make up’ for a deficit of kilometres ridden so a ride to Lobethal was the perfect solution.

A 4.30am alarm had me on the road by 5.00am on Friday 13th, which is generally a lucky day for me, and up into the extremely brisk mountains. Ebor and Armidale were 3C, with a ‘feels like 0C’ rating and then add in the wind chill factor. Those sorts of temperatures lead a bloke to wonder if his heated grips are still working because I certainly couldn’t feel any heat. Still at least it was clear. Cold and foggy really sucks. The stretch between Armidale and Tamworth wasn’t as cold, but it was very, very foggy. Oh well.

From there it was onto Dunedoo via the cracking Werris Creek, Premer, Coolah roads which gave me plenty of time to play with my new Garmin Zumo 590LM GPS unit and enjoy the extra features it has over my old Zumo 550, and there are many, but my favourite to date is the massive increase in capacity of music that it can store, and music inputs it can use. The weather was fine, layers were discarded and I was making good time taking a few back roads through to Parkes. A quick stop in the BP for fuel and a docket and I picked up a stray heading the same way, Mike from Tabulum, who was loitering about with his Moto Guzzi Norge so he tagged along and onwards we rode.

A quick stop at West Wyalong for a fuel top-up so that I could get through to Balranald proved fruitless as the well documented Bermuda’s Triangle for petrol that is the Hay Plains meant that my economy rate wasn’t as planned and I had to top up at Hay. A splash and dash was in order as sunset was rapidly approaching because I wanted to get a Hells Gate photo up the road but who do I spy rounding the big roundabout but Kimmy and Rob so I wait have a quick chat and determine that yes, we all wanted that Hells Gate pic!

BOOM! Whaddaya think of this photo? (Photographer: Kimmie using my phone!)

That is without doubt the best photo of me from any of my rides! I have shown it to EVERYONE!

From here the night section of the ride commenced. Kimmie and Mike stopped for the night at Balranald, Rob and Knave (who was waiting at Balranald) rode through to Tooleybuc with me riding shotgun and from then on through to Tailem Bend I was back to being solo. Just me, my lights, a clear night and absolutely no sign of wildlife at all, not even a chunk. It was a great night. I was making good time, I felt great and I was ahead of planned time of arrival which meant I was looking forward to an extra hour or so of sleep! So, fuel at Pinnaroo, IBA end witness at Tailem Bend at 11pm and a comfy bed in the Riverside Hotel on the other side of the highway had me very pleased with my Friday 13th. It had been a great day.

And Back… Jeez It’s Flat Out Here

The return ride from Lobethal was to be a joint affair, with Croc and I doing a SS1600 together, and actually started from Port Augusta where Croc had booked us rooms at the salubrious Gull Truckstop for the Saturday night (14 May) with a late start after 6.30am SA time on Sunday morning because we wanted to get a few Horrocks photos with a sunrise.


Sadly, the cloud cover was too thick so we just ended up tooling around, paid our respects to Davo, took some unimpressive photos and carried on, stopped again at the Cairn for a look back through the pass, and then hit the “Go To Broken Hill” button.


I’ve never been out this was before so I was really enjoying the views and was quite surprised at the number of hills. Found myself having loads of time to think about things, like “There are loads of ‘roo carcasses so why can’t I see any live ones despite having uninterrupted vistas?” OK, it was daylight but still… (Croc did say later on that a big bugger crossed between us a one stage on this section). I did get a chance to give the throttle lock a good workout for the first time since installing it a couple of years ago so that was a bit different. But the thing that really struck home was how colourless and lifeless the towns we passed through were leaving an overwhelming feeling of sadness at the prospects for the residents. It’s a harsh kind of beauty out here.

411 or so kilometres later we rolled into Broken Hill, fuelled up, and I made Croc jealous about how economical the Sprint is compared to his FJR – I think it used 5 litres less than his mobile lounge room - rolled out of town shortly afterwards and immediately noticed that, as per various other ride reports, the wild goats out this way are very well behaved. It was interesting reflecting on how Kwaka has such a limited choice of roads to start his rides with, and how the hell he does it at night is staggering considering the amount of dodge-em he must have to play.

Not even the superior fuel range of the Trumpy was going to get me through to Cobar so we stopped at Emmdale and emptied in 5 litres of 98RON each from the jerrycans that Croc had filled up the night before. Then an apple pie with ice cream beckoned and all was good. Walshy turned up on his GTR while we were there and I was able to admire his good taste in music before we got moving again. Then came another of the photo opportunities that I had been looking forward to – Cobar!



We picked up Mike from Tabulum again here for a brief period that ended in confusion at dusk in Nyngan. I peeled off to layer up as I was starting to feel a bit cool, Croc continued on to Gilgandra where we arranged to regroup, and neither of us informed Mike what was about to happen! All I know is that when I got to Gilgandra and visited every petrol station in town looking for Croc, there was no Moto Guzzi Norge or Mike to be seen. Sorry mate!

The bugs are a bit fierce out that way, my visor and lights were caked in guts which made for significantly reduced visibility until I got to Gilgandra.

All cleaned up we prepared for the blat to Tamworth and hit the road again. I called Lizzie and told her I was nearly home and she laughed! Apparently her definition of “nearly home” and mine are a bit different. Much like the ride down to Lobethal, I was having a great time, felt really good, and was making OK time. I was back in familiar territory and wondering how long it had been since I’d had such a good time in the saddle – the answer was “too long”. Obviously riding for three days is three times better than riding for one day!

Anyway, it was night time, less to see, more to think about. Luckily not so much about wildlife, there was a smallish roo on the road between Gunnedah and Tamworth, and a much larger one after Armidale which made me temper my pace a bit but apart from them and a fox earlier on, nothing much to report, it was just ride, rug up and refuel at Tamworth then go home. My tyres were feeling a bit slippery as the rubber wore down to bald but still predictable, and the Sprint was still sucking much less fuel than Croc’s FJR. Home at 1.45am Monday morning to a welcoming committee of Liz and two concerned cats!


Great report there Rod, well done on the rides. That is a good photograph at Hells Gate, nice camera work Kimmie. You may like to send that one in and we may be able to use it.


Premier Member
IBR Finisher
Nice report there Rod.

I missed the Lobethal FR, but now I feel like I've ridden it so thanks for taking me along.

Hopefully we'll see you in the outback again - Silverton maybe?