June Road Trip
Yes I know its now July, but finally here is the report of a ride I did almost a month ago…..
Bike rides for me are generally composed of commutes to the office, weekend rides for a few hours with some mates or trip up to the Gold Coast to see my boys.
It has been over a year since I started riding the V-Strom and since then the longest trips I have ridden have been about 400km….and these have generally involved highway riding with the occasional detour over the QLD/NSW border from Currumbin Valley to Tomewin Road or a blast over the Burringbar Range….or both!
Recently I did a trip that was close to double the longest I had previously done.
Since doing this trip I have revisted the Long Way Round and Long Way Down series of DVDs…..and although my trip was nothing like the ones undertaken by Ewan & Charley, it gave me a bit more of an insight into what it must be like to do hundreds of kilometres in a day on a motorcycle.
If you get the chance, you should also check out Billy Musik’s “By Way Of Motorcycle” vlog series on YouTube. Billy and his friend Tracy McKinley set out to cover all 50 states of the USA via motorcycle…..the videos are really entertaining and worth a look. I also love the quote on the splash page of the BWOM web site…..“I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather…..not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car!”
I didn’t get a chance to film any of the trip. The route was estimated at about 13 hours (over 2 days) and I’m still using mini DV tape-based technology and although I had enough tapes to capture a large portion of the ride, I only have one battery, which limits me to about an hour of recording time between recharges, so instead I decided to take as many photos as I could.
I had been to most of the places that I passed through – but I had seen a lot of them from the back seat of a car when I was younger. As an adult bike rider, a lot of them would be all new.
And so the plan was to travel west of home, and turn north and head to QLD via the Summerland Way. After crossing the border I would turn towards Brisbane, then go west of the city and do a loop around to my brother’s place at Griffin. The next day I thought that I would head out to Redland Bay, then back south-west to Tamborine and then head down the mountain via Canungra to the Gold Coast….after that I would have the option to head down the highway for the remaining 200km or take some diversions along the way.
At about 8:20am, I turned out of the driveway and headed off.
The first part of the route involved a familiar ride to Lawrence via the Ferry; I would travel that way virtually each week on the way to the office at Grafton.
Once at Lawrence, I turned right and travelled another 30 km to Whiporie.
I’ve been to Whiporie previously on a few weekend rides, but I had never gone past the welcome sign on the outskirts of town. There isn’t much to see at Whiporie, but I can now say that I’ve been past it. There was road works happening on the outskirts of town and as a result of that I missed anything that was worth looking at…..
So I was now about 63km into the trip, and the weather was perfect.
After Whiporie, the next location was about 50km away; the town of Casino – The Beef Capital of NSW! The last time I was at Casino I was there for a few days for work and it was about 40 degrees most of the week. This time it was a lot cooler.
After Casino I had about 30 km to get to Kyogle, which is another one of those towns that I’m sure I had been to as a child, but have never ridden there. By now I was about 144km from home, and as I had already used part of a tank of fuel earlier in the week, I thought I would get some fuel. Studying the GPS would have revealed some fuel stops along the way, but it was easier to fill up and then move on without worrying about how far I would go.
Due to recent rain, the road from Casino to Kyogle wasn’t the greatest, but it was something different to the highway.
And so after Kyogle it was back on the road, heading north once again to the next location. This leg of the trip was the longest at just under 100km and it would also contain the point where I crossed the border between NSW and QLD.
This part of the trip was a bit of a challenge as I took the diversion onto Lion’s Road – which has lots of turns and great scenery, but (particularly on the NSW side) the road is full of potholes. Some parts of the road were so bad I was down to first gear with my feet down negotiating the best route around the holes……
There was a noticeable difference in the road conditions when I crossed the border – the QLD side was beautiful. And so at the end of this leg I reached the town of Beaudesert and it was there that I stopped for lunch.
The next part of the ride soon took on a more urban vibe as I headed towards Brisbane. I went to meet up with my brother at his office at Newstead.
I arrived a bit later than I thought I would, so I decided to change the next part of the route and ditch the route via Ashgrove, Samford Village, Mt Samson and Dayboro, and instead headed along Nudgee Road then onto the Gateway motorway.
And so at about 4:30 I reached my brother’s house at Griffin, and this was the end of the line for Day 1, and I had travelled about 380km so far.
After breakfast and some good coffee (thanks Gavin) I was ready to start Day 2.
This part of the trip involved going out to the Moreton Bay area via Capalaba, Cleveland (..or “Cleverland” as Zachary calls it…) and then Redland Bay.
The GPS took me from Griffin down through Redcliffe, then down into the city, over the Storey Bridge, before heading down through to the Bay suburbs,
After Redland Bay I was then heading west once more up into the hills of the northern Gold Coast to Tamborine.
After Tamborine I headed down the mountain to Canungra. The road down there has some incredibly tight corners with recommended speeds of 20kmh – these hairpin bends are not only very low speed and tight, but some of them have big elevation changes as well. There are traffic lights on the way down at some points as the road is so narrow – with a rock face on one side and a massive drop off on the other.
Despite the slow speeds at times, this is a road meant for bikes, and there were plenty of them up there. When leaving Canungra I saw two guys ready to head up the hill on Ducati’s, both with GoPro HD cameras on their helmets.
After getting down the bottom of the hill, I had the choice to go left to Nerang or head the 60-odd Km to Murwillumbah – and even though the weather was starting to look a bit ugly, I chose option (b) and headed over the hill to NSW
After reaching Murwillumbah I then headed to the highway for the remainder of the trip. Sadly it started raining extremely heavily at Byron Bay, and this continued till after Ballina, but then the rain stopped and it was “dry” for the rest of the trip home.
I reached home after about 10 hours – yes, it’s a long time for a trip of only about 400km, but I stopped several times along the way and just enjoyed the ride.
So that’s Anthony’s big two day ride….it was great fun and I look forward to doing it again some day.
Have a great week,