Friday, 10 May 2013

Bubble Gum and Cheese .. and all things in between

We finally got to Mudgee to visit the Cheese Factory. It's not called the cheese factory as I always thought though, it's the High Valley Wine & Cheese Co. but it came up with a search for cheese factory so you can understand my confusion. It's not completely my fault that Terry went straight past the place.

But I guess I should start at the start .. two weekends ago (yeah I've been a bit busy lately and it's taken this long to write about it) we decided that we should go for a ride. I was told about a beautiful garden that was open in Oberon and only open for a couple of weeks in spring and autumn. It's something special I've been told and that was the last weekend that they were going to be open. So we got up Saturday morning and kinda talked about going to see Mayfield Garden the next day, then we thought a bit more .. then we had a coffee and sat out the back thinking about it some more. Then we both decided that it was just a bit too far for a leisurely Sunday ride and chose to go to Mudgee instead which is only about an hour and a half away.

Sunday morning and I thought I should check the pressure in my tyres before we headed off. I haven't done it in a while since we haven't been riding a lot lately and I got a shock when I checked them, they were way down. So the priority was to get air first. We stopped at our usual petrol station and I found the air. Pulled up to it and took the hose to the front tire, removed the cap and tried to put the air nozzle onto the valve .. nope. It wouldn't go in there, there were spokes and suspension and brakes in the way. The rear was alright, the valve on that one is bent so that you can get the air hose on there, but the front is straight and pointed towards the centre of the wheel, combine that with an air nozzle that is about 20cm long and straight, it just wasn't going to happen.

We spent about 10 minutes rolling the bike back and forth trying to find a position that would let us get a square peg into a round wheel to no avail, then I remembered a service station that has a simpler nozzle without the long handle to get in the way. We headed across town to that one and met with success.

I learnt a few things that day, the first one being that I need to make sure I check my tyre pressure every time I go out on the bike, the second one is that I need to go find some 90ยบ valves for my tyres. The next thing I learnt as I put away the air hose, flushed with a feeling of achievement from my victory .. and noticed the bubblegum stuck to the knee of my jeans .. eeew.

Then we were on our way!! I was on the new seat and kinda excited to be trying it out on a longer run. I noticed straight away the difference in the handling last time I rode but I also noticed the difference the right pressure in my tyres made today, I think half of the differences I'd felt last time were from the tyres not the seat, and I'd just put it down to the seat as that was the thing I was thinking about at the time. This time it didn't feel as weird to me and the handling was much more to my liking.

I'd remounted the GoPro for this trip, onto my handlebars, and now it was within reach for me to turn on and off at will .. now I just needed to remember when I'd last hit the button to work out whether it was on or off. I found out later that there's a little light that flashes on the back of it when it takes a photo and I could have just looked for that to work it out, but for most of the trip I didn't know so I just kept hitting the button and wondering if it was taking pics or not.

Every time we ride along this highway towards Wellington I'm always amazed and stunned by this view that I get hit with as I come over a rise and then back down this long sweeping bend. It's such an open area and you feel like you can see to the ends of the earth. I've only ever noticed it while on the bike, in the car it just doesn't have the same impact, and I've wanted to photograph it to see if I can catch that feeling. The Gopro caught the scene to some extent but I think I'm going to have to stop there one day and see if I can get a panoramic shot of it. Even this shot just doesn't do it justice.

We were soon on the back road to Mudgee.

I got some great shots, I like the mounting on the handlebars, it's not as great as down low on the highway bar but at least it doesn't shake up there. And it's a much better point of view than on the helmet.

It's a pretty cool road, you go through some forest and past some meadows complete with cows to wave to.

Of course those cows are great at avoiding cameras.

Just before we got to a twistie little bit of road that goes through the forest I lost Terry. He was in front of me and I lost him when a car overtook me and sat between us. When I lost sight of Terry I kinda slowed down. It's an interesting road but not a good road. There's a bunch of tar snakes and some pretty awesome grooves that go straight where the road bends.

I was on my own for about 10km's, that's a first for me on this type of ride and I was kinda freaking out a bit, but once I found Terry again I realised what an accomplishment that was for me and was kinda elated ... just kinda :)

It wasn't too much further to go before we were in Mudgee ... all we had to do was find this place. Now remember I actually thought this place was called the Cheese Factory. I had a good idea where it was and gave Terry some pretty good directions from behind him. But when I finally saw the sign that said something I wasn't expecting it to say and then realised that it was the place we were supposed to be in ... ahh well Terry's better at U-Turns than I am.

We headed in for lunch, and it was a very nice lunch.

Mine was a beef and red wine pie .. made with wine from their vineyard.
Terry had this .. ummm it was chicken and corn kinda layered in this flat bread. We cant remember what it was called but it tasted good. I also need to train Terry to leave the chips alone til after I've done the food shot.
As we waited for our food I took a couple of photos. I'm still getting used to this camera and I had taken a half dozen shots before I looked at my exposure settings .. ah well I'll take some more shots.

We could see the bikes from where we were sitting.
The shop and cafe.
Terry relaxing.
The airport isn't far up the road and we watched this little fella flying quite low over us.
After a relaxing lunch we headed into the shop to check out the cheese, I was pretty proud of myself for remembering to bring a little cooler pack with an ice brick in it, and the ice brick was even still frozen when I packed our goodies into it for the trip home.

First we needed to find a petrol station that didn't have cars lining up to the road. Having achieved that we headed down the main street of Mudgee.

I've shown those trees in another post but it was in spring when they were covered in tiny pink flowers .. now they have their autumn colors on and they look just as lovely.

We turned a corner and this view hit us. The street was pretty, we knew it would be as we'd come into town this way .. but what's with the sun?!?!

It was only about 3pm, maybe 3:30pm. It's way too early for the sun to be hitting us in the face like this. Well that's what I thought. Terry had his sunnies in his backpack but he thought he could get up the road a bit before he really needed them. I had my tinted visor on so it wasn't so bad for me, but Terry hasn't got one for this new helmet yet so he just had his clip on sunnies ... they're a bit daggy but so much better for the bike than trying to get prescription sunnies to work properly.

Leaving Mudgee and this was going to be a familiar sight for the trip home. Lots of sun. At least I got some very pretty photos because of it.

It was reflecting off the road into our faces by now, making the road hard to see but it also picked out the tar snakes and made them easier to see.

That is when you could see anything through the tree shadows.

We got to a little village called Goolma before too long and Terry wanted to stop to see if he could find his sunnies. I agreed as I've always wanted to get a pic of the pub here, it's bright blue and I honestly don't remember there being anything else in this village ..

I spent about ten minutes looking in Terry's backpack for sunnies .. then Terry took it off and spent some more time looking while I went across the road to get pics.

It seems I took longer than Terry as the GoPro proves .. Terry waiting patiently...

While the sun got lower on the horizon .. and brighter. And the sunnies were no where to be found.

We jumped back on the bikes with me leading so that Terry could follow my light at least, and we took it slow.

Not far from Wellington you pass this interesting little construction. Terry researched it when we got home and found out that it is a train line bridge that never got finished. The line was supposed to go from the village of Sandy Hollow to the dip in a road called Maryvale. Both very tiny villages with nothing of interest between them. It was started in the 1930's and they stopped contruction halfway in 1951 when they decided that they didn't really need it. Apparently it was going to be used as a main means for transporting all sorts of things that are now transported by road trains. It was all built by hand. It's fascinating and Terry has a hankering to find out if you can follow it from one end to the other. We might do that one day if we can.

The other side has a line of Poplars that are looking pretty stunning in their Autumn colors.

I was planning to stop here for a photo shoot with the bikes but by this time I was just wanting to get this ride over and done with. My back was starting to hurt a bit and the sun was making life very interesting. I could just see us getting stuck riding in the dark and while that probably would have been better for Terry, with the tinted visor it just makes my life harder.

We pressed on. We made Wellington without any problems and then it was just highway all the way home. We stopped again in Guerie for another look for sunnies which met with no success, at least it gave Terry a break from the sun for a bit. When we got back out of Guerie Terry noticed a bike coming up behind us, I expected it to overtake us pretty early on but he just sat behind us all the way to Dubbo. I guess he was having trouble seeing too.

It was a good trip, it was certainly interesting and tested out some new things for both of us. We have decided that in the cooler months we will be travelling west of home, so that we will have the sun behind us on the trips home. I also worked out that the seat isn't quite right as I ended up with back pain the next day and have already taken it back to my seat man to be fixed up, more on that in the next post.

The next day I made us a lovely lunch with the cheese we bought.


  1. Ugh! The sun stings my eyes. I bet it wasn't all pleasant to ride with the low sun in your face. you lunch plate looks very mediterranean, and although I am vegan I admit it looks mouthwatering.

    1. It must be the fruit that makes it look so appetising .. it tasted great!

      It wasn't pleasant riding into that sun at all but at least the tinted visor did it's job, Terry was the one who suffered the most.

  2. Now I am hungry from looking at the food pics. I second the mouthwatering even to a vegan comment of Sonja's.

    I hate riding into the sunshine. Black electricians tape on the top of your visor will help out a bit if the sun is high enough in the sky.

    It looks like a beautiful day for a ride on two wheels.

    1. It tasted as great as it looks :)

      My visor cuts out the glare of the actual sun for me, it was the reflections off the road that caused to most problems, maked visibility nearly zero.

      It was one of the hottest recorded days for this time of the year and just perfect for a ride.

  3. Brenda:

    so many photos of your ride, which was very interesting but when I got to that last photo, I got hungry and kept staring at it.

    My commute to and from work is like looking into your sun. It gets really bad during the winter with the lower sun angle, but then, we don't get that much sun that time of year.

    I use Duct tape across my visor to keep the sun out. I like your empty roads with hardly any traffic

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Yeah I got a lot of photos and had so much trouble deciding which ones I liked the most ... so I posted them all :)

      Aww Bob, go to a deli and make up a cheese platter for yourself, it's a great lunch and so easy to do. Mind you while I'm making stuff like this I normally eat so much that I dont feel hungry by the time it's ready :)

      They aren't really that empty, I just chose the pics without cars in them. The trouble with country roads like these is that everyone decides that it's perfectly safe to drive like a maniac on them even though they really aren't safe roads to drive fast on. I keep out of the way of the cagers as much as I can.

  4. Hi Brenda
    I hate chewing gum too especially when you get it stuck to you. It happened to me once when I stepped on some and then got on the bike. I was wondering why my right foot was sticking to the footpeg making it harder than normal to move around, then I realised why. Yeah it's not fun.

    The foot platter at the end looks fantastic, hang on I'll be right over to have some....

    1. Hey Steve :)

      Yep I've had that happen too, it was stuck to the bottom of my boot for a couple of weeks and every now and then it would get all sticky again, ya cant get it off. I did find this awesome gunk off stuff to get it out of my jeans this time, I also used that stuff to get rid of the marks left on my guard by the little rubber feet on my pillion seat. Great stuff!! Smells like oranges :)

      Umm sorry mate .. the platter is gone, I'm doing slow cooked meals for dinners this weekend, not quite as fresh but yummy in the colder weather ;D