I had planned a four day circuitous ride which involved visiting friends in Wodonga, Sydney and Nowendoc before arriving at Wauchope around noon on Monday, 22 May. Put plainly, the weather forecasts for the Friday and Saturday were simply ghastly, so I simplified my plan. I left Montrose mid afternoon on the Friday and got some light drizzle as I rode the Black Spur
between Healesville and Buxton. As it turned out, that was the only rain I encountered for the entire trip up. I then crossed the Merton Gap, joined the Hume at Euroa and then did the freeway to my overnight stop at Wodonga which I reached just after dark. It rained heavily overnight while l enjoyed the hospitality of my friends. I delayed my departure due to the weather until late morning. I then fuelled up and simply hit the highway straight through to Sydney. For the first part of the ride I saw very heavy dark clouds to my right over the “Divide” and was quite happy I had chosen not to ride through those conditions. During a rest break at Gundagai I contemplated detouring off the highway but decided that delays would mean riding hills in the dark so I kept it simple and made it to Liverpool before filling the tank and then calling in to visit friends again for the night.
On Sunday I got back on plan and rode some more interesting routes. I made my way to Windsor and then rode the Putty Road (which was fairly busy with the usual Sunday riders plus some Ulysseans heading north) and took a break at the Grey Gum Café
at Putty where I chatted with other motorcyclists. Then it was on via Singleton
and Dungog (where I met yet another Ulyssean on his way to the AGM)
to Gloucester. The scenery and route through here were simply fantastic even though the road was very bumpy
due to poor maintenance. Then it was the lovely climb up Thunderbolts Way
to my overnight stay at Nowendoc with yet more friends. I must admit that spending 3 nights socialising with friends was hardly “hard”. Monday morning it was north again towards Walcha and into a thick fog at high elevation, where I encountered a rather crazy semi trailer driver trying to reverse in almost zero visibility in a 100 zone – aagh! Having survived that, I followed the Oxley down toGingers Creek
for a break and a chat with some Ulysseans from WA. Then it was down into Wauchope and joining the queue for check in
after a bit over 1500 km of mainly quite interesting roads.
The check in queue was quite long when I arrived and it was great to see the innovation and hospitality of volunteers bringing bottled water around to those waiting. Check in went smoothly and I then rode down into the camping area known as “Siberia”
and set up my tent
next to fellow Melbourne Branch members Bill and Jim.
During the course of the week I got to chat with many members and it seemed that a 5 minute walk (to the amenities block) often turned into a two hour session of camaraderie. A group of members (who had originally met via the discussion forum on the club website) had several sites booked under the name of “party central” and I enjoyed chatting with these members (plus others) from far and wide.
Tuesday disappeared in a blur of visiting all the on site displays and exchanging greetings before enjoying the Tuesday night dinner. On Wednesday I enjoyed a ride of the beaches and countryside to the south of Port Macquarie
and on Thursday Bill, Jim and I rode north
and enjoyed fish and chips at South West Rocks
plus the local scenery and roads. On Thursday night I enjoyed a pre arranged dinner with a diverse group of Ulysses members associated with “party central”. Friday disappeared in a blur of attending a club meeting, visiting a street party (show and shine)
in Wauchope and general camaraderie. Saturday meant an early start and ride to Port Macquarie for the Grand Parade
(above photo courtesy of Jim)
and then general meeting and chatting before attending the actual AGM meeting. Then it was back to Wauchope and filled the bike before heading off to the formal dinner.
Apart from a bit of drizzle on the Monday night (arrival) the weather had been fine all week (even if a bit cold in the tent at night) so of course it was damp when I packed the tent on Sunday morning. I left shortly before 9.00 am and got to Gloucester via Taree for a late breakfast. Then it was on to Singleton and I found my way to Bylong
and on through Bathurst to Blayney where I found a pub bed for the night and as an added bonus they were selling pints of beer for $5. I had enjoyed some great roads and country side with very little traffic during that ride of about 700km. It was 3 degrees when I left on Monday morning and after a shortish run I stopped at Cowra for breakfast. I then continued down the Olympic to Cootamundra before crossing over to the Hume near Gundagai, continued into Victoria and stopped for lunch at Chiltern.
I made good time to Euroa so decided to have one more sample of interesting roads on the way home. I headed off into the hills via Creightons Creek towards Ruffy but unfortunately struck some rather mushy road works which provided both a delay and a challenge. The roads past Terip Terip were often covered with loose stones over bitumen which were difficult to see in the dappled light through the trees and that again proved a challenge towards the end of two long days in the saddle. I made it through to Yea and then home via Break O Day (to avoid some of the Melba Hwy) with several hours of daylight to spare – but not much fuel as I had last filled up at Gundagai.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the 2017 AGM and Event. My compliments to the organisers and thanks to the many volunteers who made it all happen so well. My thanks also go to the many members who made me welcome and with whom I enjoyed so much camaraderie.