Ride to Queensland – Yarraman Day 1

This morning Clive fitted a nice set of black Givi Crash bars to my Yamaha Super Tenere and painted my switch block black before I started a five day lap in Queensland.  The route was dictated roughly by some locations I needed to visit as part of the FarRiders FarChallenge I’ve been plugging away at since August.

So about 10.15am with the bike ready I fuelled up at Raymond Terrace and took the Pacific Hwy to Coffs Harbour for the first stop. Traffic was relatively heavy and slow moving and by the time I had tackled the roadworks around Woolgoolga I had had quite enough of that road. I turned off at Grafton and took the Summerland Way straight through to Casino where I refueled again and continued north.  A good piece of road the Summerland way, with little traffic while I was on it.

At the end of the Summerland Way I turned right on the Mount Lindsay Highway, WOW! a sensational piece of winding road that was eaten up by the Super Tenere leading me to Beaudesert, QLD.  From there I turned right to Tamborine for a FarChallenge photoand then it was time to head north to Harlin.   I skirted Brisbane on various freeways and soon found myself on the Brisbane Valley Highway with the sun going down.  I was surprised at the ruralness of this area and started thinking that I should have taken some more time to plan this ride.

As I was heading further north it was abundantly clear I was riding into a massive thunderstorm.  The lightning display was spectacular but not really what I wanted to be seeing.  By the time I got to Esk I had decided to stop for the night but sadly two of the motels were full and the other didn’t answer the door despite being within the opening hours for reception.

So I pushed on to Harlin and got the photo I needed in the dark, the locals thought I was mad.  Sadly there was no accommodation at the old pub there either.  With no choice and the weather closing in fast, I pushed on further north and opted to turn left  at the D’Aguilar Highway rather than head towards the Sunshine Coast, another mistake I think. Before I reached the next town, Blackbutt, I saw a roadworks sign that cheerfully mentioned that the road was OPEN on the hour and half hour.  I found myself sitting on the bike in the dark in stifling heat with lightning and thunder all around me for 20 minutes, fortunately not raining at that stage. The day had reached 41degrees and even in the dark here it was 38.

Finally the line of traffic that had developed was allowed to proceed and I had a fleeting moment of relief when I saw Blackbutt however there was still no accommodation there that I could see.  The pub was in darkness and locked up.  The next town I encountered was Yarraman.   It was about 9pm and the smell of rain was getting very strong.  On the way through town I spotted the Yarraman Gardens Motel with all the lights out and decided to take a chance.  The guy in the motel came out shirtless, barefoot in a very trendy pair of shorts and when I asked him if he had a room I was met with a pensive pause, then a “Yes” and I responded in a very relieved tone, “Thank Christ”.  He gave me a key and I got the Super Tenere under cover just before the heavens opened up dropped rain by the bucketful.

Bad timing again for dinner, nothing was open in town and I wasn’t heading out into the wet so I had some sultanas and pineapple from the tank bag and washed them down with a can of coke.  Are there any food groups there?

Anyhow, the Yarraman Gardens Motel was really comfortable and clean and air conditioned. Highly recommended if you are passing through, the room was $90 (+ $10 for breakfast).

Frankly it wasn’t the most fun I’ve had riding in a day with the traffic, hot weather, roadworks and impending storms.    But spending a day on the Super Tenere makes the “inconveniences” irrelevant.  At the end of the day I was happy everything had worked out as it usually does although I would have preferred to have covered more than the 900+ kilometres ridden on day one of this five day trip.