A mob of sheep being hearded along the road side to confirm you are in rural Austratralia
That you are in the mid west of NSW
I waited till it was clear to skirt around the outside of the mob and the sheep dogs and farmer skilfully hearded the sheep into the selected paddock
You also know you are in mid west NSW when you set up tent in the back of the Premer Hotel and enjoy the hospitality and a few Schooners of Old.
But the purpose of the trip north was not to enjoy the mustering of sheep or the taste of a Tooheys old but to test the Steinbock’s comfort for long touring and to test its ability on some of my favourite riding roads. Also to test it on trails I had been reluctant on which to ride the mighty breva.
The Steinbock handled the beautiful roads of the Coffs Coast area of NSW with aplomb taking the beautiful Waterfall Way and its surrounding roads in its stride. AA full tick of approval indeed
But the real test was the Armidale to Kempsey back road that included 127 km of varying road surfaces through national parks and beautiful farming land. (see map above)
What a ride! I also became very aware of how tiring riding on trails iy is compares to road riding.
In the highlands south west of Kempsey are the beautiful Ellenborough Falls. The longest single drop falls in NSW
From to falls east there is there is the Flying Fox Refuge in Wingham on the Manning River
Not far from the coast and its beautiful beaches
The Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac is emblematic of the biker culture in this part Australia
And a travelling piecemeal adventurer can find like souls – lovers of bikes and boats
The test was complete and the ride back to Melbourne was direct and purposeful
As I write Melbourne and Victoria are in a circuit breaking lockdown.
Hopefully, these actions curtail the current outbreak of Covid 19 and I will soon be on my adventure to Central Australia via the Oodnadatta Track.
Well after a 2020 full of upheaval and Australia acting as a island of refuge and safety in this strange covid 19 world it was time to take a change of direction.
Have no fear readers and followers the mighty Breva has not been cast onto the scrapheap of motorcycle blogisms
With over 180,000 Km on the clock at is time for the mighty Moto Guzzi Breva to get some TLC
So its place is on the work table in the shed at the moment
It is time to explore central Australia and the mighty Breva was not the bike for this trip
It was over 40 years ago that I rode a Norton Commando Interstate around Australia
Highway 1 – the main highway around Australia- in those days included around 2,000 km of dirt road up in the north of Western Australia and near the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Heading south from Darwin the Highway turns east and Tennant Creek heading to the east coast and avoiding Australia’s red centre
In 2014 I took the mighty Breva to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia but the red centre still evades me
Its time to remedy this and the I’ve chosen a BMW F800GSA to do it
The aim is to head off from Melbourne in early March and head up through South Australia to the Flinders Ranges and along the Oodnadatta Track to Alice Springs and Uluru
The next 7 weeks will be about setting the bike up for the trip
And honing up my off road skills.
So stand by friends and followers the next adventure is Australia’s Red Centre
Off the ferry it was a ride through the Mornington Peninsula to Cape Schank and its magnificent view over Bass Strait
There is a lovely ride from Cape Schank to the township of Flinders before heading up to the first set of mountain twisties around the base of Mount Baw Baw.
And through some magnificent old growth forest.
After a run on the back roads of Gippsland camp awaited at Bruthen and the start of the Great Alpine Road.
From Bruthen the Great Alpine Road runs up the Tambo River Valley
Up to the summit of Mount Hotham
The northern side of the mountain is the most steep and a bit of a testing ride at times and then just after it flattens out there is a turn off to Mount Beauty over the Towonga Gap Road; with its beautiful views over the Kiewa Valley and the Mount Beauty Township.
Storms were forecast and a caravan was found beside the Kiewa River
After the storm the next morning was cool and the clouds still hung in the Valley
The Mighty Breva remain under the cover, apart from the occaisional shopping trip.
Week 2 of quarantine and its a time of discoveries and little pleasures.
It’s a time self contemplation.
A beautiful beer with a quirky connection.
To quote: This premium strength beer from Rother Valley Brewing Company commemorates the notorious gang of smugglers know as The Blues, who defied the Revenue through out Kent and Sussex for over 50years until their capture and transportation to Australia.
My great grandfather was a rustler not a smuggler and was transported to Australia during the Irish famine.
It’s seems an appropriate drink to have with a healthy home cooked meal
The little pleasures:
The small hardy plants of the salt marsh slowly bursting into life and the days ever so slowly grow longer and warmer.
A bit of self discovery:
Quarantine is a little bit like the kestral hovering, seemingly suspended in space and time. But there is a focus and a purpose.