The image below shows the rain as it was falling at 4:50am this morning. Plenty of rain. Raining Cats and Dogs all day in fact. No shine and thankfully no hail. The rain started yesterday and it hasn’t stopped. Well it has now as I write this.
I asked a friend of mine, Kim to come along for the ride too. She had in the last month or so upgraded from a Suzuki 250 Across to a Kawasaki ZZR600. Kim has only been riding for about 12 months. This would be a good run for her to get some open road experience and as it turned out wet weather riding too.
Kim and I meet at about 6:45am at MacDonalds at McGraths Hill. It was grey, dark and wet. The rain was not going to dampen our spirits as we headed out onto the road.
I had suggested during the week that we would have a few stops on the way. That way we could take photos of the great scenery etc. HA HA HA! As we rode up through Kurrajong Heights we hit fog. Right in the hair pins. Not that we could go fast through the corners as it was pelting down. Water was flowing across the road in lovely wide rivers. Plus it was windy. Very windy. Driving the rain at us.
I wear 100% water proof boots. HA HA HA! Oh no they are not. Every lake of water on the road found its way into my boots. Why did I not wear my heavy duty gumboots? I wear throw away plastic gloves under my leather ones. There was no stopping this rain. It found its way in between the plastic gloves and my hand. So now I could have goldfish in both my boots and my gloves.
We needed a break. Lithgow gave us this. We pulled in under the awning of a car repair place and had late breakfast/morning tea. Thank you Kim for the yummy chocolate cake too.
All too soon it was back into the rain. Of course we had not had a chance to dry off. I must say though that my wet weather pants did a sterling job. So to my vented jacket with the rain liner in. Oh and the newspaper down my shirt to keep me warm. I find that if the middle of my body is warm and stays warm I have not problems with my hands and feet being drenched and cold.
Our next stop would be Ilford. We turned off onto route 86, the road that takes you up to Mudgee. This goes through coal mining territory. The collieries must put money into the roads around here as they are good. In places concrete. Very few potholes too. On the whole trip I only had one butt hole clenching moment. Was hoofing along through an up hill left hander when I felt both wheels let go. I was aquaplaning. Must have been one of those road rivers that I didn’t see. Within the blink of an eye I had control again and didn’t end up head on into the 3 cars coming the other way.
We made very good time to Ilford. We got there an hour early. I wish the weather had been better as there were some very old derelict houses along the side of this road that I would have loved to have photographed. I just didn’t want to ruin my camera. Hence the very few photos you see in this write up.
By the time we got to Ilford my Japanese bladder was demanding attention. Ilford only has a café and that’s about it. Squelching into the café leaving a lovely water trail I asked if I could use the loo….”Are you buying something?” Was the reply. “Well yes if it means I can use the loo.” “We are not supposed to let ay use it as we are only a takeway place. But you can use it this time.” You know if I had of stood on their small porch and pee’d there, they would not have known what with all the rain. Kim asked the same question and was told it was due to the fact that they don’t have ramp access for wheel chairs to the loo that they are not supposed to give the public access as they are not a restaurant. That’s for sure. But they did have eat-in tables and chairs. As had to order something to use the loos we both had hot chips and waited for Michael to arrive.
Within half an hour a silver/blue MuZ arrived. He had made it. Drenched and frozen Michael greeted us. It was good to meet him in person at last. We had spoken on the phone and of course I had read his ride reports. He had brought along something’s from his Finland trip. One, being a belt with MZ buckle that was a rally trophy. What a great way to remember a rally by. I asked him if he took out other trophies and he said he took just about all of them. Of course longest distance he won hands down.
Michael's MuZ Traveller.
One of the purposes of this trip was for us to ride together as well. Michael wanted to drop in on an old friend of his in Peel. To get there we took the road that takes you down through Sofala and Wattle Flat. Wattle Flat ain’t flat. It’s very hilly. This would be a great road to do in the dry. The road winds its way around the hills in this area and is in very good condition too. In the dry you could get along at a very good speed and enjoy the corners.
Once at Peel, Bruce, Michael’s mate opened his home up to us. Even though we were all wet as anything he welcomed us warmly. We dripped all over his kitchen floor yet he still made us a great cuppa tea. Michael and Bruce had not seen each other for a very long time. It was good to hear them talking about how they meet. What they are both doing now days. Bruce is a very good screen play writer. He also writes for Metro magazine reviewing movies and interviewing people in the film industry. Thank you Bruce for your hospitality. I hope we meet again one day. I would love some writing tips from you. I just wish Kim and I could have stayed longer but all too soon we had to head back out into the rain. Michael stayed on at Bruce’s place so we said our good buys.
Peel is 15kms from Bathurst. I so wanted to try to get up onto Mount Panorama circuit. But it was just too wet to do the place justice and we needed to be back in Sydney for a birthday cake for Kim. We ate a quick lunch at the Kelos BP servo. We had parked the bikes at the diesel pumps and were standing around eating when a four wheel drive pulls up. He asked us if we had finished with the diesel pump. WHAT! We are not on Enfield diesel bikes.
If we had of had time I also wanted to do Oberon to Jenolan Caves then through to the Blue Mountains. I didn’t think that Kim was up to the roads through there in the rain. So we headed straight for Lithgow. Just before Lithgow the road has been not only chewed up by the rain but also by the semis. There were some huge pot holes. So big that a Land Rover would have been lost in some of them. The rain they are getting out Bathurst/Lithgow way is drought breaking. It is heavy and it is not just a brief shower. But at the same time the roads quickly break-up and become very dangerous.
People in cars have no idea. Going down the hairpins at Hartley a small blue car was right up my arse. Come on. It’s raining, there is water flowing across the road and you want me to fly though the hair pins? FOOL! I pulled over onto the shoulder and let the car go by.
As usual the Great Western Hwy through the Blue Mountains is so boring I won’t comment on it.
We got back into Sydney ok. Kim got her birthday cake. Have a great one on Tuesday Kim. Thank you for coming with me today. You did really well for someone who has not been riding all that long. Anytime you want to do another day ride let me know.
I arrived home soaked. The water got through the plastic bags I had on my feet inside my boots. At least my jacket didn’t leak that much. Just at the zip at the front. The wet weather pants keep me dry. I hate having a wet crouch.
The bike went ok today. The head winds knocked off some of the speed. The panniers didn’t leak at all. The speedo was very hard to read as it got water inside the glass. All up I did 476kms. Kim did 500 and Michael did 441.
Notice how the speedo is hard to read. Cheap East German junk. The Jap tacho is fine.
Now for a nice sunny day and another ride.
Map of the route we took.
View Larger Map
Photo credits: Michael Barnes, Bruce Andrews and myself.
Kim, myself and Michael.
Kim and me getting ready to leave Bruce's place at Peel.
This is how wet it was. Me leading Kim out of Peel.
Michael about to leave Bruce's place.