Steve quickly redeemed himself by finding some back roads and took us on a wonderful ride all the way to Goulburn. A wrong turn somewhere on the approach to town and we found ourselves at the Goulburn bakery, eating custard tarts and asking “how do we get out of here?” In between making cups of coffee, the manager drew us a mud map on a paper pie bag and our passage was made easy.
As we approached Oberon we came across a nasty piece of road works. They had just laid thick gravel all over the road and then proceeded to escort us to the other side before the dirt had been compacted. I tried to ride in the thin tyre track made by the escort ute. I felt myself tensing up every time Devil crept into some of the thick stuff. I managed to keep going but the escort vehicle was going too slow for Dwarfie (R1200GS) and he had to stop, ankle deep in mud. I haven’t been so pleased to make it through a stretch of road words for a long time.
The towns high up in the mountains are beautiful and Oberon was no exception. We made tea, and watched the world go by while we sat on a park bench right in the middle of town. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop for long as we were heading to Katoomba and there was still some riding to do.
As we rode on, the views of the Blue Mountains in the east were simply stunning. I kept saying “wow,” and when I considered how close we were to Sydney I said “wow” again.
|Katoomba, misty one day, raining the next.|
Lithgow was soon just a dot in our rear view mirrors and we were on the road to Mudgee. We turned off towards Rylstone and the quiet back road was a delight to cruise along. At one stage we came across a horseman mustering a herd of cattle. Devil slowed to a crawl and I felt a swell of importance when the cows seemed to think I was part of the muster team and they moved obligingly to the side of the road. The run through the Goulburn River National Park was slow but rewarding and it was 3pm before we arrived in Muswellbrook. A quick pit stop and we were back on the road again for the nonstop ride to Tamworth. Half an hour before sunset the tent was up, the weather was dry and we were happy.
|The mandatory stop at the Golden Guitar.|
While we were looking for things to do in the Tamworth Visitors Centre, Steve spotted a poster for our favourite comedian. Ross Noble was performing at the Town Hall on Sunday night. We bought tickets ten rows from the front; amazing. Why Ross plays in such small venues could be something to do with the DVD market. I’m sure the Tamworth Show will be available in store soon.
|The Tenterfield Saddler.|
By now daylight saving seemed to be a distant memory and we missed the longer evenings immensely. Living in a tent we prefer to have the daylight at the end of the day rather than the beginning. The beauty of the high country had brought with it bouts of mist and showers and the summer weather we had enjoyed so much seemed to be gone forever.
We like to avoid rain on ride days and we left Tenterfield with a smile on our faces and a clear forecast up our sleeve. All the Australian states seem to have quite distinctive architectural styles and nothing is quite as striking as the beautiful Queenslander houses. As I ride on by I like to dream about a romantic life on the land.
|Bald Rock National Park.|
When the clouds gathered and a few spots of rain appeared on our visors, Steve pulled over and said “what do you reckon?” We chose not to put on our wet weather gear and five minutes later a short, tropical shower made us realise we had made an error of judgement. Steve stopped again and we both agreed that our gear would blow dry in no time at 100km hour. The only trouble was we kept riding in and out of the same rain cloud as the road twisted and turned. By the time we reached the day’s final set of road works we were soaked through. Once again the tent was full of wet clothes trying to dry out; next time we’ll be wearing the wet weather gear.
On Monday 15th April we will leave Kingaroy, the peanut capital of Australia, and ride to Maryborough for the Ulysses AGM; motorbikes and friendship – we are looking forward to that.