Sunday, 3 June 2012

Riding to Queensland Part 1

We did it!! Our first trip together on the bikes, my first ride that was longer than a day trip and Terry's too I think. We were so excited, nervous too, and worried that we'd forget something or do something stupid like lose the whole lot of our luggage 5 meters down the road. It all went off without a hitch though, even if it did take us a bit longer than we'd originally thought it would.

Day 1 dawned bright, the birds were singing and I was snoring. I figured I had time as Terry had some work to finish up before we could go anywhere so I could make sure I got enough sleep to get me through our first big day.

Terry snapped this pic of the White Shadow getting her beauty sleep while I was busy getting mine.
Finally at about lunch time we got to start getting ready to leave, was I impatient? I didn't think so but I think I was getting restless. I wanted to go!! It took us a while to organise the luggage, I'd had a chance to work out how I was going to pack various bags on the bike, I was even all packed ready to go for a few days before, but Terry hadn't had the chance to look at anything because his rack was only put onto the Black Shadow the night before. So a bit of trial and error and working out went on before we got to this stage ...

Terry hadn't been able to join his two Ventura bags together the way we thought they would be, I'd packed the bags for him and I probably over packed, I do tend to do that. So we had one strapped on and the other was just over the bar on the back seat, he wasn't really happy with that, yep had to agree I had visions of thermals and undies strewn up the road, I was following him and the last thing I wanted was to be trying to catch stuff as it flew off his bike. We carefully planned the first stop of our journey ...

Yes Bunnings for more straps! Terry left me with the bikes while he nipped in to buy the goods, I had nothing to do so I thought I'd practise my photography. It was important stuff ya know. It was warm so I'd taken off my jacket and threw it over the seat for a bit while I got the camera out of the back bag. I didn't realise it yet but I'd melted the sleeve of my jacket onto the hot exhaust.

We left Dubbo at about 3pm, and made our way towards the first planned stop of the day. Mendooran is about 70km's from Dubbo and one of the few roads we would take that wasn't highway on the trip. It's a nice road and the bonus is no trucks. I was feeling good about it all, if I could handle this back road then the highway to Queensland was going to be a cinch. We stopped at Mendooran and Terry went off to drop off some things to a client in town while I waited with bike and camera.

It's a tiny country town, we never even found coffee there. So I found my book in my bags and sat down to read while I waited. We left Mendooran at about 4:30ish I think. It was starting to feel late in the day and we had another 70km's or so to go til we got to Coonabarabran where we were staying for that night. We figured we'd make it no problems and we did .. kinda.

I reckon it started getting dark at about 5pm or earlier that day. We had the tinted visors on and hadn't taken the clear ones (I doubt we'd have stopped to swap them even if we'd had them, mine's easy enough to change but Terry's had been painful and taken about half an hour) so as it got too dark to see if kangaroos were at the side of the road waiting to ambush us, we put the visors up. We are riding towards a mountain range called the Warrambungles, through bush, at sunset in winter ... yep it was freezing. I made my first resolution of the trip at that moment, no more riding at night!

We made it to Coonabarabran at about 6ish I think, I'm not sure as my only thought when we got there was to get warm. Normally as soon as I pull up somewhere and get off the bike the first thing I think of is a smoke, not that night, for the first time ever I got off the bike and headed into the reception with Terry in the hope it would be warm in there. It was :) We got our key and I had to ride the bike around a sharp left turn, up a bit of a rise on gravel then sharply into the parking spot at the room, normally this would have given me a bit of a panic attack and I might have even tried to talk Terry into doing the tricky bits for me. I was cold enough that I just did it, with the promise of a hot shower and a cuppa ahead of me it was all too easy.

The next day we got up bright and early after a bit of a sleep in. We were on holidays after all and we had the trip all planned out, we had plenty of time. While I was taking the covers off the bikes first thing in the morning I was being watched carefully by the resident ginger cat. He watched me uncover the White Shadow then he must have decided on his plan. I turned to take the Black Shadow's cover off and found that someone had other ideas.

Apparently he has a taste for adventure, only a couple of weeks before he had jammed himself under the roof racks of a guest's 4WD and got all the way to the edge of town before the drivers realised he was there. We gently told him it would be too windy for him on the back of the bike but he did insist he was staying put, he had to be bodily removed by one of the cleaners.

Terry had to drop some more plans off to another client in Coona so I packed the bags and got my bike all loaded up while he was gone. I'd zippered Terry's bag together before packing them this time and it worked, half of those extra straps we'd bought weren't needed for the rest of the trip. Ah well this was all going to be a learning experience and one of those lessons was going to be packing the bikes. Even on day 2 the packing and loading was getting quicker.

It was a long trip and I don't think I could sit down and write about it all in one day even if I wanted to. Therefore I will make this the end of part 1, parts 2, 3, 4 and so will soon follow :)


  1. It sounds like you were off to a good start, well except for the melted jacket.

    I am with you on not riding at night. It gets cold when the sun goes down and is too hard to see especially with a tinted visor.

    That kitty really didn't want you to leave. He must have been lonely looking for attention.

    Looking forward to part 2.

    1. I dunno about a good start .. we were 3 hours late leaving :) All good we were on holidays so didnt care.

      That was one of the most freindly cats I've ever seen, he was perfect as a motel cat but i reckon he's just gonna dissapear one day, probably in the back of someone's car .. he has itchy feet :D

  2. Great post and photos Brenda! I get that restless, stomach-churning too before a new adventure.

    I've got Ventura bags too and always zip them together before shoving too much stuff into them for the reasons you describe. Had mine for about 8 years now and they've stood up well. The only leak I've ever had is in torrential rain where a drop of water can get blown under the flap and through the zip. Because of this, I use those big polyethylene garden rubbish bags inside as liners!

    Looking forward to the next episodes!

    1. I dont have two bags, i went with a kyacking bag for my seat and the ventura for the rack, Terry did two zipped together, and once we worked that out they worked fantastic. We didnt get much rain on the whole trip, so they held up perfectly.

  3. Great Read brenda, that first big bike trip is always one to remember, you will be fanging all arond the country before you know it, i too look forward to the next installment.

    1. Heh yeah Roger, we were already planning our next trip on the way home from this one!!

  4. Bummer about the jacket. Those hot pipes also like eating through boots to.
    Looks like you had a good ride except the riding at night in the cold. But hey you have to do it at least once so that it reminds you to not do it again. Dark visors at night and lots of skippys is not my idea of fun motorcycling.

    1. I'm not that concerned about the jacket to tell the truth, I want a new one anyway :) I was more worried about how I was going to get the melted jacket off my chrome but I've been told how to do that too now so all good.

      Dont think I have to worry too much about my boots, I have yet to find a pair of jeans that I dont walk on, something has to be good bout being so short :D

      And you're right chiller, there's nothing like learning a lesson the hard way to make sure you remember it.