In the very wee hours of this morning I heard Tony K rattling around and getting ready to leave the Wilmington Hotel in South Australia. There was a chance I was going to get up and leave with him, we were heading in roughly the same direction for the first 1000k’s or so of today’s ride, but my head was telling me it wasn’t time to inflict the focus of riding at dark o’clock on it. So a couple of panadol and a bit more sleep, I was up up at 4.15am local time.
Everything was ready to throw on the body and throw on my Super Tenere and with the use of the little light that Tony had given me last night I managed to get the bike packed quickly and was away by 4.45am. First stop was 100m down the road, I’d forgotten to put my earplugs in and turn the SPOT on, insert self insulting profanities here.
Once again I did the trip from Wilmington to Peterborough in the dark and am still wondering what was outside the headlight (btw I really need some auxilliary lighting on the Super Tenere, I was riding uncomfortably blind). From there I headed to the 24 hour BP at Yunta where I stopped for breakfast, fuel and to warm up, it was a bit chilly outside. I was away from there without too much delay and into the sunrise heading for Broken Hill. The sunrise not as spectacular as many but the sunshine was very welcome, it made the kangaroos easier to see.
After a quick stop at the border for a snap I rode the short distance to Broken Hill. Luckily most of the wildlife I saw on that stretch had already been nudged.
A quick fuel stop at Broken Hill and I was soon out into the goats, sheep and emus that were in abundance on the next leg of the trip. At one point I had to stop completely to allow a gaggle of goats to run across the road in front of me.
For the first time ever I also stopped at Wilcannia for fuel, very odd feel that place. I wasn’t in a particular hurry today, the Tomtom told me I’d be home at 10pm and I was happy with that, so at Cobar I did something I wouldn’t usually do on a long ride, I had lunch!
I also put fuel in the jerry can for the first time in the trip at Cobar. I wasn’t sure about the availability of it between Gilgandra and Greta so I wanted to be certain I had enough on board to make it if there wasn’t any. I was hoping to reach Gilgandra before dark but filled the jerry while I was sure I had light.
I actually got to Gilgandra just before sunset, frankly not looking forward to the section of road between there and Mendooran at that time of day and I wasn’t disappointed, way to much wildlife for my liking. At Dunedoo the BP was open so I topped up the tank and knowing that I only had 297k’s to go. I was happy with that, I wouldn’t need the jerry or a fuel stop and usually when I’ve ridden this route nothing has been open, although it’s usually been much later at night or very early in the morning.
Between there and Merriwa I latched on to a very nice C Class Mercedes who was happy to lead the way and not frightened to spend $1.50 on the way past anyone who might take adverse notice. A bit of time made up there but I stopped at Merriwa to change the batteries on the SPOT Connect. For once the it was working OK but it had gone flat. I knew the family had been keeping an eye on it during the trip and I wanted to keep them at ease. They like to know where I am and I prefer not to chat on the phone when I ride, particularly at night with animals about.
So with the Merc gone I was on my own again through Denman. Kangaroo Alley through the army base at Singleton is a frightening place to be after dark. This evening’s carcasses were already on the road and the smell of blood strong. At one point the road looked like a bloody Pro Hart but thankfully I made it through without indicent.
Then came the road I hate, the New England Highway, but I was sort of happy to be on it tonight, I was close to home. I was very pleased to arrive home bang on 10pm, the Tomtom was right again. Without the added pressure of ride logs, documentation, receipts etc I took the opportunity to take more time today, just over 1500k’s ridden and close to 15 hours for the trip. Not a long one but long enough to clear the head and relax the mind.
So for the three days the trip was about 3600k’s and the Super Tenere went really well. There are some setup things I’ll need to do before the next Iron Butt ride including auxilliary lighting, slightly larger grips, getting the dealer to work out why the right heated grip is hotter than the left and looking at improving on the Touring Screen. Super Tenere’s a month old tomorrow and now has over 5600k’s on the clock, a pretty good introduction to it’s new life.