Monday, 23 June 2014

Bikes: Secret mens' business 727

So with a bit of planning... 3 of us had a longish weekend away to the mountains.

And on bikes of course.

First off.. the title. Secret men's business because I cannot reveal where we went, except to say in the mountains near Dalby. And 727 is the number of kilometres recorded by Fat Max's odometer for the round trip.

The plan was simple.

Meet at St John's Wood on Friday around lunch time and then head off to Mt Glorious for coffee. From here it was the long and winding road to.. a secret cabin in the woods!

Gregor and I left Clayfield and headed off to St John's Wood under directions of my GPS (Violet the pilot) and as I rode along the Inner City Bypass, I realised I had no idea where my house keys were. To make matters worse, they had on the same ring the key to the Cruze Diesel and SWMBO's BMW. A quick call to the boutique and Christina ran up the road and found them on our front lawn. Thank goodness for that.

We arrived at Geoff's place to find him pumping up his bike's tyres. Gregor decided to check his as well and another session of pumping began. No electric pumps for these tough guys. They used that Spanish Tennis player Manual Labour to do the job. A quick fuel up for me at BP Gap and then we headed up into the hills through light rain and mist.

(Note to Gregor.. Mate I LOVE my heated grips!)

Eventually we arrive at an almost deserted cafe for coffee and cake.

Gregor , Geoff and Fat Max on the mountain.

After a fabulous coffee and a "Mount Glorious Bush Walking" Biscuit.. we headed off down the other side to be greeted by wonderful sunshine and blue skies. Magic riding weather.

1/2 strength Cappuccino.. magic!

Eventually right on dusk, we arrive at this locked gate. Geoff produced a key (he is close friends with the owner) and we headed in about 1 kilometre along the slipperiest wet grass and mud one could imagine. A couple of times Max lost his footing but the magic of Traction Control saved the day.

The Slippery Track in. (From the Go Pro video)

If you want to see the video, click here!

The weekender/cabin in the woods sits on the edge of the hill with views back to the Darling Downs. Fabulous kitchen, wood fired heating and what a place to crash for the night.

Our digs for the weekend.

Even has a skid lid shelf!

Now I had volunteered to cook the first night; so while I whipped up the Spag Bol using the Chewing Gum Lady's Executive Chef's famous recipe, Gregor and Geoff did.. other things...

Work Place Health & Safety. In case you fall drinking wine.

Actually.. they were trying to pair their blue tooth headsets. The fact that Gregor is speaking like an Italian might indicate the state of success!

Saturday dawns fine and bright after heavy rain the night before... bloody hell; the track out! But first it is breakfast. Gregor and Geoff have cereal/porridge.. I enjoy a cup of tea and wait for the local cafe to open. Soon after negotiating the slippery track once more and avoiding the wallabies on it, I am tucking into Eggs Benedict with salmon to boot and enjoying a hot coffee. The guys look at my breakfast and they order too!

We'll just have coffee. Yeah.. right!

With the three musketeers fuelled up we head off for a ride. Eventually we arrive at Cumbia where a local bicycle race is on. The main street is reduced to 40 km/h and we spy 3 or 4 bikes acting as marshals on the route. From here we are off to explore the roads less travelled. But first some fuel for the bikes.

Geoff's BMW 650 is amazingly frugal on fuel.

Maximus Obesus drinks about 10% more fuel than Gregor's DR

There is some beautiful country out between Dalby and Kingaroy; we go in search of it....

A rest stop along the way. A magic day!

From  this point in the middle of nowhere we decide to go to Kingaroy.... don't you worry about that! Gregor has a mate in Kingaroy so he rings him up on his mobile. He answers.. but he is several thousand feet in the air in a glider some many miles away. Never mind.. we will go and have coffee with his good wife. We meet up at Gloria Jeans at Kingaroy and decide a chocolate milkshake would be a better choice than coffee. A small snack might be the order of the day. Geoff chooses a pie but I go for this.

Yummo.. notice the finger print on the foam plate :-(

Time seems to  fly while we chat and hear of Nerida's plans to fly to Paris next year. You'll have a ball girl! Time to go says Gregor... little did I know what lay in front of me before I finished riding.

Geoff finds a "different' way back to our digs that involves some minor roads. How about some mini minor roads? At one stage the road narrows and we appear to ride into a farm house; but no, it continues on. The farmer's dog runs to bark at us. But we ride on.

I know now that he was trying to warn us of the road conditions ahead. Sadly we have no pictures or video of this but it did test our abilities. We found ourselves on a wet black soil road that was muddy (very) and rutted.

It was a road condition that would test you on a 250 cc trail bike. The guys had 650s and I had 265 KG of 1200cc Fat Max. Should we go back? Well according to the GPS we were less than 3km from a main road. The mud gets wetter and  thicker. Feet out the sides like outriggers we carried on. Geoff had a whoopsie and nearly came off. Then the road went down into a dip and crossed a muddy creek/bog hole.

I whispered to Max (and myself) .. "Come on mate.. you can do it!" You see I had no idea how I could pick him up if we fell there because it was so slippery.

As I crossed out of the bog, I stood up and gave Max the beans. Leaning to one side and then the other to counter balance the bike we started to climb up the incline.. and then the back started to come around to meet the front.

Never a good sign!

But.. Max's traction control cut in, the bike straightened and upwards we went. Again the bike started to pivot around the front wheel and again the traction control cut in. It was an exhilarating moment to be able to wrestle a 1200 like a 250. Only possible because of modern on board electronics.

To any ADV riders who think that Super Teneres belong on bitumen roads only; well I have news for you. They are very capable bikes when the chips are down.

The three of us arrived at the junction of a major dirt road in one piece.

But the bikes were just filthy! Mud city.

So.. back to digs as Geoff is cooking a stew tonight.. and I need some Bourbon after that.

Gregor cleaning a very dirty DR!

Geoff cleaning his BMW while Gregor gives instructions

Seeing as I am supposed to be a Pro Photographer (that is what it says on my business card) I go looking for some pix. The camera I have taken is bloody useless. Some Nikon pocket thing with a zillion to one zoom that has a hard time focusing on anything. It can stay behind next trip. But still I manage to get a couple of gate shots. Just love gates.. I think it must be a case of.. "Where can I go once I am through that gate" or something like that.

The gate into the house yard.

Another gate.. lovely time of day.

So.. night falls.. Geoff decides he will stay Sunday night and Gregor and I decide to head home Sunday morning. After another great breakfast first. Geoff accompanies us along the way for some of the trip and then circuits back to the cabin in the woods.

A great weekend behind bars. A great stress buster; many thanks to my riding companions and especially to Geoff who organised the cabin in the woods.

Fat Max came home filthy.. I guess like a nuclear powered trail bike should. After a couple of hours work this morning he looks like  a new pin.

Until next time.. continue to enjoy... many good things!

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