Deb has heard me complaining about my old self inflating mattress I take on the bike with me and given that I have had a few misadventures on the bike I need something comfortable to sleep on when I away on the bike. So she went way over the top and suprised me with a Helinox camp stretcher. A great size, light and very comfortable. So it only seemed right and proper that I should take it out on the road to try it out. And a good way to give the bike a good run as a getting to know you ride.
So with very minimal preparation or planning I stuffed gear onto my bike and headed north. I remember looking up the weather reports a few days before and it said we’d get rain so with that in mind I wore my Gore-tex gear. That proved a very hot decision!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love travelling by bike. In Bathurst I ran into a guy filling up his K1600 and it turned out we were heading in a similar direction and ended up sitting on the veranda of a takeaway shop in Sofala having a cool drink and a chat. That doesn’t happen in a car.
From here the temperature started to climb to close to 39 degrees C (102F) and my choice of riding gear was becoming a problem so I changed into a pair of jeans that I threw in and wet down my tee shirt in an effort to keep cool. But overall the riding was sensational, the new bike is a joy to ride on the open road and covers the miles effortless and with less fuel than the old bike. Other than that just being out on the open road was good for the soul.
I was so caught up with the colours of the changing landscape with the sun dissappearing over the horizon that I nearly forgot about where to set up camp. I normally like to be a more secluded than this when camping.
The order for the next day was a couple of drop ins to friends, stay cool, and head home.
Once I dropped down the range to the coast I called into a friends place for breakfast in Coffs Harbour and then down to Port Macquarie to see another friend holidaying there and a quick refreshing dip in the ocean before pointing the bike home.
To many this is a photo of a tourist location harking back to yesteryear devoted to all things timber. To Australian motorcyclists this is not Timbertown … this is the start of the Oxley highway – one of Australia’s best mototcycling roads. Over 60km of winding sinuous tarmac from the coast heading up the Great Dividing Range to the small town of Walcha.
The Oxley has 3 distinct thirds – the long sweeping foothills, tight 25 – 45km (advisory) corners, and then the top third consisting of 45 – 65km corners. About half way up is Gingers Creek a servo/cafe where you can sit enjoy a cool drink and hear the reverbations around the mountains of bikes. Gingers Creek was a welcome relief as the temperature since leaving Port was in the low 40’s and the bike was running at around 95 degrees. It was nice to just sit in the shade and enjoy a nice cool drink.
The heat was really taking its toll so finding shade and hydrating was the order of the day. Another tree another town.
From Walcha it was down Thunderbolts Ways to the Pacific highway and then durging it on the freeway the remaining 450km to home.
Over the couple of days I did just over 2,000km and the bike averaged 5.4ltrs/100km – that’s over 10% better fuel consumption than the old Zed with similar riding.