Visit the SpottedQuoll....& what 'LT' means....

As motorcyclists we don’t need a reason to go for a ride. Sometimes though it is really good to have a reason. On Saturday the 17th May, a few of us from the BikeMe forums rode up to Moonan Flats Pub to meet SpottedQuoll. Quoll had helped me a lot on the forums with my BMW. So I owed him at least a beer.

The meeting place was set for Ettamogah Pub at Rouse Hill to leave at 6am. As I rode out my drive way at 5:15am I was so thankful for the barn door fairing on the BM. It was freezing. Who was the idiot that arranged this ride? Oh yeah me.

As I was waiting for others to turn up in the distance the rumble of an approaching war could be heard. Loud booming and very deep rumbles crack through the still predawn air. This is the sound coming from the bike that Boris was mounted on. Only the day before he had been given Aprilia’s 2008 RSV 1000 R fitted with Akrapovic pipes to test ride. What an amazing machine. What an amazing sound.

Eve and Steve soon arrived. Eve on her VFR800 and Steve on his Blackbird. Last to arrive was Rockster on his BMW R1150R.

Much arm flapping and leg stomping was done to try to warm up but of course we BM riders pulled out our thermos’s from our panniers and have hot drinks. I mentioned that I had Tibetan Tea in mine and poor Boris, in shear flabbergasted at the thought of such a drink, turned to the heavens and invoked his Road Gods. During the course of the ride maybe their hand had a part to play in what was going to unfold on a dirt road.

Come 6am sharp and we are mounted up and we headed up to Bells line Rd for our first stop at Lithgow. Going though Windsor the first rays of the sun had just started to peak over the horizon promising us a very clear day ahead. I love this time of the day. It is still and quite and not many vehicles on the road.

Besides a bus going up Bells nothing much impedes our progress to Lithgow. The views of the valleys were simply stunning as the sun lit up the shear wall faces. No black ice or wildlife was encountered on the run up through the mountains. I think the sonic boom coming from the pipes on the Aprilia was clearing all in its path.

Eve's VFR 800.


Steve's BlackBird.


My R100LT.


Rockster.."Yeah mate my bike is a sports bike.."



Rocksters R1150 Rockster.


Boris's war machine.


Boris..."AARRRGGGHH Don't say Bing again"


Lithgow Caltex Servo.



Lithgow reached and we regrouped and fuelled up for the first time. Rockster made sure that the Caltex Servo would never smell the same again. Next stop would be the turn off to Kandos. Boris soon peels off to the side of the road for a nature call. Then what seemed like seconds later he booms past me. Every time he did this I just marvelled at the sound coming from this bike. Last time I rode this road was with Kim when we went to meet Michael Barnes at Ilford and it poured with rain. Not today. In the dry Castlereagh Highway is so much better, Oh yeah is it ever. Ride it for yourself and you will see what I mean. We regrouped again at the Kandos turn off and discussed the next fill up stop. Here I stuffed it up. Boris and Rockster said Kandos. I am sure we said Rylstone.

Turn off to Kandos.






At Kandos I could not see the servo. I waited for Eve and Steve to catch up and I headed to Rylstone. Little did I know there was a servo there and I was heard riding off into the distance. Ok I am on heading the way we are supposed to go so maybe Boris and Rockster are ahead of me. So off I went. What a stunning road. Goes through to Byalong. Hence the name Byalong Valley Way. Not knowing I was in front or behind the others I took the chance and stopped to take some photos. Then coming towards me I spy two bikes. Eve and Steve.

Byalong Valley Way.






I soon catch them up and try to pass Eve on the VFR. She kicks in the VTEC and no way can I pass her. The poor ol BM maybe fast but not against very modern engine like that in the VFR.

Ahead is 15kms of dirt road waiting for us. Up ahead is a bank of fog hugging the valley floor. I fear riding in fog like some people fear spiders. Thankfully it is not too thick. Steve is ahead of me and the sun shines through the fog in a way that makes it look like Steve is riding into the giant door of an alien spacecraft. He is silhouetted by the sun light bouncing off the fog. Fantastic sight to behold.

Then we hit the dirt road. The MuZ was really bad in the dirt with its big fat front tyre. It would snake all over the place. Not the BMW with its skinny tyres. Up on the pegs and standing up right I go. Well that’s how all ADV riders do it. I have seen the photos and videos to prove it. I am travelling at a good speed. The pot holes though are very big and I can’t miss them all. I travel faster to try to iron out the corrugations. Yes this is on the LT. I am in front of Eve and Steve. How far behind they are I don’t know so decide to pull over.

The start of my nemesis.



As I pull over this black thing flies up at me from the fairing. One of the fairing pocket lids has come off. Ok I can go back and get that. Once at a stand still I notice I have no right hand mirror. Ok I knew I had done a glue job to fix the cracks in it. I turn around to see if anyone is behind me and guess what I don’t see. Me top box. It’s gone. It has my camera and wet weather gear in it. Oh shit. I want my camera just for the photos I have taken so far. So around I go and head back the way I have just come. Then the other fairing pocket lid flies off. Top box is more important. Pressing on I pass two cars coming the other way. I hope they didn’t run my top box over. Boris is this the hand of your Road Gods?!.

Up ahead Eve and Steve are stopped and they are strapping something black to the back of Steve’s bike. It’s me top box. I could kiss Steve as he found it. But he has his helmet on. The two front mounts have broken off due to the jarring from the road, oh and the speed I was travelling at. So no it’s not the Road Gods frowning on my Tibet tea drinking. It is me riding way too fast on such a pot holed road. As we strapping the top box to the rack with the big roll of sliver tape I have I notice my right hand side cover is missing too. The bike is falling to bits. I only have myself to blame.

So now I really know what LT means. ‘Lots of Tape’.




From behind us two bikes appear. Its Boris and Rockster. They had been behind me the whole time. I did stuff up the fuel stop at Kandos. Boris is amazed that he has not dropped the now Aprilia RSV ADV bike. Nothing has fallen off it either. Then Steve notices that Rockster has lost his number plate. What is it with the BMWs on this ride? Of all bikes this should not be happening to them. Rockster wants to go back and get try to find his number plate. No sooner has he gone that SpottedQuoll arrives on the scene.

Quoll telling how much more dirt there is to go.



Oil is pissing down all over his rear wheel. The overflow on top of the diff is letting oil out due to how rough the road is. He is not worried about this at all. We decide to push on to Moonan Flat and let Rockster catch up to us.

Travelling along at a slower pace trying to spy the parts that have abandoned ship on me, Boris rockets past on the Aprilia. So cruel. Here he is on a near road race bike and he is motoring on the dirt.

I gather up my parts one by one. The only one missing is the side cover. Where I first stopped and found I had no top box was only a few 100 meters from the end of the dirt. At least nothing else will fling itself off my bike now.

Top of a nice hill after some very good twisties the crew are awaiting my and Rocksters arrival. He rolls in after me and has found both his number plate and my side cover. Well done mate. A big thank you for finding this for me mate.

Eve into it.


The War Machine making pure music.


Me flying by.



Next stop is Sandy Hollow to meet the Hunter Region BikeMe guys. Not far from there we meet up with Al and Bly (also from BikeMe) heading the way we have just come. Al is mounted in a lovely white 1980s XJ900 and Bly is on his super sexy looking Ducati. Nothing fell off their bikes when they rode the dirt we had just come off.

Hellos and goodbyes and we are off to Sandy Hollow again. I fuel up and buy some rope to try to make sure the top box will not come off again. It takes me sometime to tie it down and most of the guys have headed off to do the last 50kms to Moonan Flats Pub. We set off to try to catch them up and who should fly back past us but Quoll on his BMW. We will see him again all too soon.

Steve rides up beside me and motions to the back of my bike. Oh shit what now. I pull over and the rope has slipped off and is hanging down between the rear wheel and back mud flap. It could have easily tangled up in the wheel throwing myself and the bike down the road. As we are sorting this out a blue 4wd drive pulls in behind us. It’s Quoll. His BMW was playing up so he took it home. He lives in the area. He offers to take my top box for me. As I am cutting the tape off the box I slip with my knife and cut into my little finger. Blood is everywhere. No wonder this ride is turning out to be one I will never forget. Having nothing to stop the flow of blood besides my glove on it goes and off we set for Moonan Flats.

At last I arrive at Moonan Flats. Last one there. Quoll gets his beer that I owe him. All is good. Lunch is good. The laughs are good. This is what it is all about. The ride and new mates.

Moonan Flats Pub.




The BikeMe gang.



Before we start to leave Quoll tunes my carbs by ear. It’s like he uses the Force. Rockster had done them with me a few weeks back and got them almost perfect. Quoll got them spot on. Again mate thank you.

"Brrrm..Brmmm... What else will fall off???"




It is time to start heading for home. Boris leaves first. We hear the Aprilia travelling through the hills for miles. Did I tell you that bike has an amazing sound. Rockster and I travel back together. We decide not to do the Putty but go back via Broke and then through to Central Mangrove and down the Old Pac if there is enough light.

While filling up in Scone I need to get into one of the panniers. I find that one of the hinges has gone. I bet it was that rotten dirt road again.

Quoll gave us a tip for a short cut to get us to Broke. Glad he did. It was a superb bit of road. Not used by many vehicles and had been resurfaced as we came across a small section of dirt waiting for the new surface to go down on. From Broke through to Bucketty is pure motorcycle heaven. By now I was really clicking with my BM and was able to keep up with Rockster on his 1150 Oilhead. The run down through here was the highlight of the whole trip for me. Tight twisty 2nd and 3rd gear stuff. Some nice 5th gear sweepers thrown in. I think I learnt how to really ride the BMW on this road.

We reach Central Mangrove and Rockster only has a dark visor on and it is night time. He asks me to lead. Oh shit. I am blind at night when leading. The head lamp is good on high beam but not so good for me on low. But I know he is having trouble seeing.

Passing through Peats Ridge you can see out to sea. There are huge thunder clouds out there. I can see them as lighting is dancing through the tops of the clouds and illuminating them. Stunning sight. It is forecast for thunderstorms in Sydney.

It is so dark through Peats Ridge that I am really struggling to see the raod on low beam. I over cook it into one corner and drift into the on coming lane. Nothing coming my way. Shake my head in disgust at myself and get back in my lane.

It is way too dark for the Old Pac so we take the boring freeway. At least Rockster can see the road with all the traffic lighting up the cats eyes on the raod and their tail lights. Just near Hornsby it starts to rain. I told Rockster this is where it would rain.

Thornley we pull up next to each other and shake hands good bye. It has been one of the best rides I have had. So much happened. Meet some great people. Rode some fantastic roads. When’s the next ride guys????

Sum of parts that departed my bike on this ride:

Both fairing pocket lids.
Right hand mirror
Right Hand Side cover
Top Box (On its way back from up north via Australia Post)
One pannier hinge lost and 2 broken.

Today a new mirror and four new pannier hinges arrived from Munich Motorcycles. Again outstanding service from them.

Photo credits: Paul (SpottedQuoll)
Eve
Me.

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