Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bikes: A magic day behind bars in NSW

Bloody hell! This was supposed to be a good day full of good things!

Bad things like this were not on the agenda!

How on earth did I do that?

Sadly I looked at my Lumix Camera as it lay in the gutter. It's once flawless alloy shell, once  cocooned in saturn black lacquer  now scratched and showing signs of obvious wear!

Well.. dropping your camera onto a bitumen road in Chillingham, NSW really is hard on a camera. I pick it up and give it a once over. Lots of scratched bark.. but it appears to work! This is only the second time I have ever dropped a camera in over 45 years of pro photography. Always take a pocket camera and today proves my practice to never take a DSLR with me on my bike.

I need them to make a living!

But apart from the dented camera.. what a magic day with Ian.

We met up in Beaudesert for a coffee at the start of the ride and then headed down to the Lion's road.

Refreshed after some Beaudesert coffee.. we mount up...

You see while the Lion's road was very familiar to us, Mark Hinchliffe from Motorbikewriter website had suggested a return trip via Chillingham and the Numinbah Valley Road. So that was to be our objective for the day!

We leave Beaudesert and cruise along in magic sunny conditions. God I love my bike! And just before Rathdowney is the turn off to the Lions Road. The start of this beautiful ride is past a large horse complex with magic white painted fences.. miles of it.

Here we go.. Lions road.. magic!

Along the way you cross the creek many times.. and today is the day to stop along the way and smell the flowers.. and to take some pictures too!

Recent rains mean the creeks are flowing well and everything is green!

Walking back to the bike.. why not take yet another picture of it?

The road twists and turns over many small bridges and passes by a very popular camping spot, although today I am surprised to see that it is far from full. Eventually you rise up the back of the range and come to the start of the Lions Road "Proper" as I call it.

Just across the top of the hill is a donation box! I give them $20 once a year.

Down the other side we go when I pass Ian coming back towards me! Is NSW closed today I wonder? Actually because I had stopped to take some pictures he wondered where I was and came back for a look! So I pulled in at this little rest area and waited for him.

Should have brought the billy to boil!

Here he comes!

Ian knows this place well. Ask him about his "Dark night of the Suzy" 

Ian's bike is an interesting animal. It is an "old" Kawasaki Tengai. A limited edition of the KLR 650 from many years ago. And this particular bike was actually on Noah's Ark. True. Just have a look at it. But amazingly, it just goes and goes and goes. He and it have been all over the place on it and on many rides with me in the past. And it never lets him down. A great motorcycle indeed!

From here it is on to Ripples at the bottom of the range. We always look forward to a great cooked breakfast here.. and today is no exception.

Yeah.. right!

Ripples.. place of many fine breakfasts. Not today!

So today of all days, some selfish couple want to get married and have their reception at Ripples. How inconsiderate of them. I mean we're both wasting away to a small block of flats and need a good feed. The owner takes pity on us and makes us toasted sandwiches (very nice) with coffee and a Devonshire cream tea for desert.


Now my good friends Greg and Heidi have a farm up the road; so with the magic of SMS on a mobile phone they are both soon with us enjoying coffee and a devonshire tea too! We spend an hour or so in good conversation discussing everything you can think of.

And then it's time for us to saddle up and move on.

But not until we have another picture. Ian, Heidi & Greg!

OK.. Mark had suggested we ride through the border ranges National park to get to Chillingham, but that means back tracking a bit.. and Captain Heidi suggests the Kyogle to Murwillumbah Road as it is an excellent road with lots of curves.

Ah yes.. "A curve; the loveliest distance between two points"

We zoom along and come to this quaint little store along the way where a couple on a BMW GSA arrive from the other direction. The views here are magic.

If you are still living in the 70s, you can get tie dyed clothes here!

The view from the store. There is a cafe here too!

Ian's date for tonight!

From here we hot foot it to Chillingham and park across the road from the General Store and Post Office. A magic little town!

Chillingham Store and Post Office

Good sign. Been here for 92 years!

Fruit and veg department.

It must be lunchtime.. so we order up big!

Meat pie and Ginger Beer for me!

After lunch we take yet another photo of our bikes!

A bit like Japanese tourists. My bike, here, my bike there...

As we motor out of uptown Chillingham towards downtown Chillingham, I am fiddling with my GPS and dislodge my toll thing. (Yes, I know bikes don't need them.. but at the time I found out you can't argue with City Hall) It flies way at speed onto the footpath. Now this is where it all goes south.

I park Max to go looking for it and manage to walk right past it. Ian sees it and points it out to me. At this stage he decides to top up his bike's oil as his gear changes are a bit notchy.

At this point i spy this cute little gallery and decide to grab a shot.

Lucky he's heading south or else we would be 3!

After I grab this shot, I turn to grab a picture of Ian.. and the Lumix goes down for the count onto the concrete gutter!

Good old fumble fingers.. should have taken the gloves off!

Being a mature adult of 6 decades on the planet.. I say.. "Oh bother."

Actually what I said cannot be printed here. But I am really pissed off!

It's not even a good shot! And my camera is dented!

From here we made our way home via Numinbah Valley and Nerang for me.. Ian went via Beaudesert. Along the way we came up behind a grey gonad in a motorhome. I was thankful for 1200CC as I was able to despatch him no trouble. But Ian got stuck behind him for ages. (Yes I know I wrote gonad instead of nomad.. you see you go "nuts" trying to pass them)

The long haul up the M1 was boring as.. well as boring as the road to Beaudesert on the way down.

Burt once you get into those border ranges.. well what magic places they are. The most beautiful scenery and lots of twisty curvy roads that rise and fall with the ranges. Ian and I have decided to go exploring down there again.. soon!

Ian.. thanks for magic day out mate. Heidi and Greg.. lovely to catch up once again.

And to Mark Hinchliffe.. mate thanks so much for the suggested route.

Another day behind bars in NSW.

And.. here is a map from my SPOT SAT Track device.

Joining the dots.. more fun on two wheels.

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