With the Adventure Riding Course over and a decent night’s sleep I was up at 3.43am Queensland time and on the road not too much later without a clear plan of the route I was going to take home. I had decided to leave off the GPS’s and just wing it. I was keen to ride the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road again rather than head out to the highway, this time in darkness. By the time I reached Murwillumbah the sun was up and I turned right towards Kyogle on Kyogle Road.
Not wanting to rerun all of my trip up I took the lefty towards Nimbin, into the fog, thinking that if anything was open I might grab a hash brown for breakfast. Imagine me thinking anything much would be open in Nimbin at 7am. I did however stop for town sign pic.
Out of the fog I took the first opportunity to turn west which turned out to be another road to Kyogle and then a right over Naughtons Gap Road to Casino. That wasn’t a bad bit of tar off the main roads either. At Casino I took Summerland Way which is a reasonable but not exciting stretch to get back to Grafton where I fuelled up. I was keen to ride the Armidale Road up to Ebor it’s usually bags of fun and of course it was today although some unsigned roadworks and a loose stone dump on the surface made one part particularly hairy.
I stopped at Fusspots at Ebor and finally had breakfast and a nice flat white while having a chat to a couple of local riders who’d come up Waterfall Way from Coffs Harbour. It was about then I decided to put my new off-road skills to some use so I asked them what they knew about the Armidale -Kempsey Road. “It’s dirt to Bellbrook, No trucks except logging trucks and no caravans”. “It’s not really on your way home to Newcastle.” None of that mattered and the decision was made. Prior to the Top Rider course I probably wouldn’t have considered riding it alone.
I turned left at the Kempsey sign, noted another sign which told me it was about 140kms to the end, soon hit the gravel and stood up. The road was pretty good at the top of the hills, with some small washouts and corrugations. It got narrow in places as it ran around the side of the mountains but it was all quite easy going. It was also spectacular scenery.
Out of the National Park into cattle country the road wound it’s way along beside the Macleay River. In most places it was too narrow to stop and take a pic often with a rock wall to the left and drop off to the right but I just couldn’t help looking down into the river. Sensational.
All of the river/creek crossings had bridges or decent causeways that were used by the locals
From Bellbrook to Kempsey was yet another well surfaced tight winding road that kept me busy and smiling. Naturally the wheels fell off the fun at the Pacific Highway between there and Port Macquarie because of the eternal roadworks but I was soon enough inserting some fuel into the bike and McCalories into the gut at the donut service centre, Thrumster. I clearly had an opportunity to extend the ride to an east-west run up the Oxley but strangely enough the last four days full of off-road and cornering meccas didn’t see me feel the need to add to it. I know, it’s almost a crime to not use the Oxley when the opportunity arises!
So a trundle back to Newy with the cruise on, kicking back saw me home by 5pm NSW time with some leftover chinese in the fridge waiting for me as an added bonus. During this ride the ODO of the Super Tenere clicked past 80,000kms. It’s still great fun to ride and becoming more fun as I explore it’s capabilities more.