On spec just before lunch yesterday I sent a couple of mates an SMS message mentioning I was thinking of going on a ride today. One had plans Friday so didn’t want to take a ride on, the other sms’d that he was unavailable. Never mind I was going anyway.
A bit later the second sms’d me a suggested route for a nice winter SaddleSore 1600K and shortly thereafter became available. Awesome! So about 6pm the decision was made to leave at 2am this morning. The first guy I messages sent me a copy of an SS1600K route for the ride with a fuel strategy that was not going to work with my Super Tenere. Never mind, we could wing that and I’ll just lug some spare fuel if it doesn’t work out. Nothing like detailed planning and preparation.
I turned up at the local servo and PH was there with his recently purchased, largely unfarkled FJR which looks very new and shiny. Bill, who had done the route, was also there ready to sign the IBA documentation. With a docket of 1:57am it was time for an easy freeway transport leg south to fuel up at the Big Merino Goulburn with the unfortunate rear view of the big ram.
We were blessed with a mild night, it didn’t get below 8 degrees over the Southern Highlands, a big change from sub zero’s last week when I rode through here on another bike. After fueling we rode back through Goulburn town and headed northish to Taralga. It was still dark but we enjoyed some nice twisties up hill and down dale until the sun rose as we worked our way to the top of the range towards Oberon. PH wanted to stop to take a pic of the Big Trout sign. A short time later we rode straight past the Big Trout.
From Oberon we went along Duckmaloi Road to (Jenolan) Caves Road through Hampton and ducked down McKanes Falls Road until we punched out of the Great Western Highway for a fuel stop at South Bowenfells. We then took a very scenic route to Kelso via Tarana and O’Connell. Some lovely little towns and some great winding narrow roads to be ridden in this area. All new to me which is always nice. We encountered a bit of roadwork in one part making some of the bends interesting but the route was certainly much better than the Highway option.
Fuelling up at Kelso we went north through Wattle Flat, past Sofala to Ilford, Kandos, Rylestone and stopped for a short cookie and hot chocolate break at Bylong. Excellent hot chocolate there BTW, made the old fashioned way.
Most of the major roadworks along that part of Bylong Valley Way are sorted now and the loose stones on the winding parts have thankfully been pushed off the main road surface. However, they’ve gone back to throwing a couple of shovels full of loose tar mix into the potholes and moving on. There was also a 55kph corner smack in the middle of some great road surface that would be truly sphincter tightening if you are going into it hot. Fortunately we were taking it very easy.
A fuel top up at Sandy Hollow where I took off a layer, the day started to get warmish. Then out through Merriwa and just before Dunedoo a right on the Black Stump Way for a Bakery Docket at Coolah. I noted along the way that I don’t often the road to Dunedoo in daylight, particularly heading west. Lots of nice farmland and open roads along here but I also noted that the road surface on the Black Stump Way hasn’t improved any since I was last here and was happy to be on the Super Tenere this trip.
then fuel at Gunnedah where the temp gauge on the Tenere reported 28 degrees for a transportish leg on the open part of the Oxley to busy Tamworth. From there we turned north then east to the Royal Cafe at Walcha for a drink and a quick chat. They are apparently very excited about a big group of “hard ass” riders coming their way in November. Here’s a pic of PH looking cool in his sunnies.
Our fuel strategy saw us empty our jerried fuel into the tanks just before we hit the “proper” bends on the Oxley Highway. No point carrying any extra into the fun.
We were soon enough into the bends and the sun started to set behind us. PH took the lead, he knows the road better than I and has ridden it in the dark before. It was also his turn to take the lead.. last time we rode the Oxley he was on his postie, the time before he was on the 150cc Yammie and both of those times I was on my completely unfarkled but much superior KLR650.
The darkness provided two points of interest. Firstly it better allowed me to see the spark generators that are under the FJR that seem to activate particularly on left hand bends. Are they standard equipment on the FJR? The Super Tenere doesn’t have them even when you wear the lips on the outside of the PR3’s down.
Secondly I noted that when relying on the high beam of the bike in front to see ahead and it disappears around a 25-35kph bend the Tenere’s low beam isn’t enough to see where you are going. So up went the wide pointing auxiliary LED’s and the fun factor for both of us. Here are the aux LEDs on the Super Tenere.
There was a little traffic during the run down the hill and most were courteous. The others got to see our tail lights anyway. It’s no secret I love riding at night way out in the boonies, there’s nothing but me and what’s in my lights. It sets my mind free. Riding down the Oxley at night is a completely different experience. Rock walls, trees, posts, reflective signs snaking yellow lines and jumping shadows fill your senses and disappear into blackness behind you (except the shadows, they are already black). Tipping the bike changes the “shape” of how much you can see and you look into the blackness in front for any information about what’s coming next. You don’t get a second to relax. Awesome.
With the heart rate returning to normal and me taking the lead and lighting the way we rode past pretty much the only roo for the day, through Long Flat and Wauchope to the Thrumster Donut for some fuel and Macas. We made calls home prior to finishing the day as we started with some easy freeway riding back to Lambton where Bill was waiting for us to sign off the docos.
The etrex tells us we did 1642kms with an MA of 83.5kph and I was home soon after 10pm. It’s been a little while since the Super Tenere was out of the shed, it was great to be back on it.