I’ve been looking forward to today’s ride for a while. I’d planned an SS3000K Gold. For non-IBA’ers the ride was to be 3220kms+ in less than 30 hours – Newcastle NSW to Kimba SA to take a photo of the “Halfway across Australia” installation then back to Merriwa NSW with a short transport leg home.
It’s been a while since the Super Tenere was set up for kilometre crunching, I spent most of the day yesterday getting it ready, it was Garmined to death with a Sumo 595LM, Montana 680T and an Etrex 10. The SPOT tracker, Airhawk and top box were added and 2 x 10l jerry cans for the long hauls between fuel.
I was up at 3am and out the door for a start docket just before 4am at the local servo. I was feeling great and very happy to be on my way. The early morning was mild with minimal fog. There was the usual procession of cars heading to the mines, the ever present smell of fresh roadkill on the start of the Golden Highway (Mitchell Line of Road) and a few live ones close to but thankfully not on the road heading towards Jerry’s Plains.
I got caught at a red roadworks light on the Golden Hwy (as usual), it’s tempting to ignore them in such remote areas but two big trucks and a car rumbled on through as I waited patiently, they’d have been very hard to dodge.
The sunrise was bright red over my right shoulder but I was taking no scenic photos this early, the timeframe to get this ride done was tight. Dunedoo was quiet, although there’s a new Shell servo at the end of town, I’ll need to find out the opening hours for future reference. The bike dropped into reserve fuel with 57ms to go until Gilgandra, no problems, it’s good for at least 90kms in reserve at cruising speed.
As I approached Gilgandra the wind started to whip up and there was a haze about, I didn’t think too much of it at the time. In the ride prep the weatherman said there’d be a northerly wind with gusts up to 60kph or so…should be fine. I fuelled up at Gilgandra, I was only carrying 5 litres in one of the jerry’s just in case. I’d fill them for the long haul to Broken Hill later. No point lugging fuel about that you don’t need.
The main street in Gilgandra was hazy and as I got further out of town into the flatter, more exposed, plains it got very nasty very quickly. The drought ravaged plains were giving up their soil to the strong winds peppering me from my right. Visibility in places was down to zero and it makes sense that the harder the gusts the more dirt it contained and the less I could see. The gusts seemed to be stronger than 60kph, the wind was having no problems launching the 400 or so kilograms my bike, gear and I represented dangerously close to the edge of the road. Worth a pic
There were a few cars and trucks about driving slowly with hazard lights on. Plumes of dust were thrown up off the road by oncoming/passing traffic adding to the fury of the red-brown blizzard. I pushed on for a while, passing Collie and as the kilometres counted down towards Warren the situation kept getting worse. By now my eyes were stinging and watering, my throat was dry and the visor on my brand new Shoei XCR was barely transparent.
Thinking about the route ahead, wide open plains for hundreds of kilometres it became clear that it was not the right day to do this ride. So I now had time to take some photos on one of the less dusty sections
And looking into the sun
and to take a moment to grab a quick video when I had to stop for a moment on the way back to Gilgandra when I couldn’t see a thing.
I very rarely pull the pin on a ride, but mother nature won out today. The good news is that the road to Kimba will still be there next time I try the ride, I know the plan is good.
Sometimes it’s just not worth it…..
On the home side of Gilgandra there was grass and less dust. I stopped at the new Shell servo at Dunedoo to clean my helmet and glasses. I also took some time for a non-celebratory pie at the Kakkadoo Cafe which isn’t a proper cafe because they don’t have soy milk (I didn’t get to ask about Chai). It just wasn’t my day. At Merriwa I delayered and had a chat to a keen rider, Mark, who is looking to buy an Africa Twin after a trip on the Canning Stock Route on an XR650. It didn’t take me long to get my “off the clock” head on.
I took a couple of diversions on the way home through Rosemount Road and Burreen Road which are always good for a bit of chicken strip wear and was home by 2pm. 850ks done…. sorry, I just have to say it…… and dusted!