Friday 19 May, not only my birthday but the beginning of a three-week riding adventure, starting with the Ulysses Club AGM in Wauchope, NSW. It was about 8am that Lee and I set out. I had stayed overnight at his house in Callington, ready for an early start.
It was both cold and wet; travelling speed was between 90-100 in the 110kph zone. It was like this ‘til our first fuel stop at Pinnaroo, where we decided to get a coffee and defrost a little. I was able to catch up with five friends from the Lower Murray branch for a minute, arriving just in time to catch them as they were preparing to leave. Like magic, by the time we had finished our coffee, the rain had stopped and for the rest of the day we managed to miss it. We occasionally came across wet roads, and the skies constantly threated us. Arriving at Hay (605Kms) in the late afternoon, we first settled in to our Motel and then had a walk around the town and found a hotel for tea. Hay was a lot more interesting than I had expected it to be.
Saturday started out with very heavy fog for about 100Kms, which didn’t clear ‘til about 9am. It was very slow going to start with. But the day improved as time went on. We stayed in Dubbo (520Kms) for the night, and it is such a big town! I wasn’t expecting this size. We had tea at the local RSL club, a 5min walk from the motel.
Wauchope proved to be a beautiful area, and we were blessed with great weather up ‘til Sunday. There was lots to see and do, and I was able to do a lot of it. Every AGM is different, and that to me is important.
Sunday was our best day for travelling and was un-eventful. We travelled on some great roads in beautiful countryside in beautiful weather arriving at Wauchope (570Kms), our destination, at about 4pm. We quickly made friends with people gathered outside at the hotel chatting, and we were invited out to tea up the road with them. They were from WA, Vic and NSW.
Monday morning, Lee and I walked to the AGM grounds to check-in. We arrived early, which proved a blessing. Checking-in was just a scan of your Ulysses Club ID card; quick and painless. For whatever reason, the traders weren’t open ‘til Tuesday, so we were left with nothing to do. Fortunately, we were able to register for rides, and we also managed to catch up with lots of people from SA already there. As we were leaving the AGM about 11am, we could see the people lining up way down the road. Many were from SA, so we stopped to chat for a few minutes.
On the organised rides that I went on I got to see ‘The pub with no beer’, ‘The Slim Dusty ‘museum’ and the ‘Australian Motorcycle Museum’ as well as great countryside and towns.
Wauchope proved to be a beautiful area, and we were blessed with great weather up ‘til Sunday. There was lots to see and do, and I was able to do a lot of it. Every AGM is different, and that to me is important. This one also turned out to be a great AGM. Lee was a bit disappointed at the lack of traders(the numbers appeared to be down from other years) but we had a good selection.
On Sunday, the mid-morning showers cleared quickly and about 1:30pm, after the volunteers’ lunch, I headed north to Brisbane (550Kms), where I was staying with my daughter Kirsty and her housemates for four days. The travelling was hindered by road works the whole way. This highway is going to be magnificent when completed by the year 2020. Often my GPS was saying that I was riding in paddocks as I travelled on the new sections.
My time with Kirsty went quickly as the days flew by. I had carried her helmet from Adelaide and we were able to tour on the bike. We went out every day sightseeing in the countryside and the city. The first thing I noticed was just how hilly Brisbane was. At almost every traffic light you had a hill start - not used to that.
On Friday, I left Brisbane and headed to Castle Hill (920Kms) in Sydney. Other than the roadworks, it was a good trip down. Martin, Emily and their eight-year-old son, Andy were very excited to see me. I was staying with them ‘til Thursday.
Saturday, we went to and spent the day at Taronga Park Zoo. Unfortunately, late afternoon the rains came. After the zoo, we were going to see the ‘Festival of Light’ by ferry, but now it was too wet and cold. We decided to drive to the city to see it but due to a motor vehicle accident somewhere, we couldn’t get into Sydney. The next few days went quickly. It was a normal working and school week for the family, so we didn’t do much. I did spend a day riding the Blue Mountains, but it was nice to spend time with them all, and Emily was around most of the time to keep me company.
Wednesday the rains returned and threatened my departure to Bendigo on Thursday, but the weather forecast showed Friday was going to be worse. Thursday morning, again in heavy rain, I departed about 8am for Bendigo in Victoria. Traffic was heavy and slow-going to start with, and heading south, I had to switch freeways but due to heavy fog took the wrong exit and headed back towards Sydney. It took 20 minutes or more for me to get back to the correct freeway. About 300Kms from Sydney the rains had cleared and the rest of the journey was incident free.
I arrived at Bendigo (850Kms) about 6pm and settled in for a few minutes at my stepmother’s, where I was staying for the night. My stepmother and I were invited to Lola’s, my stepsister’s, for tea. Pizza was on the menu, and we probably had –eight to ten family and friends turn up. That was a great night, catching up with everyone. Some I haven’t seen in 15 years.
Friday, I was heading for home (750Kms). My middle daughter, Jacqualine’s, 28th birthday was Saturday, and I was heading home for it. The day was my last long day of travel and went well, right to the end.
Guy Malpass #10680