Day 21 (our final day) – Bathurst to home

David and I recovered our bikes from the hotel lockup this morning at 7.30am and brought them round to the front of the hotel so we could load up prior to having our hotel provided breakfast ($80 per night for ensuite rooms including breakfast and a great restaurant, we can thoroughly recommend the George Hotel in Bathurst!).

We fuelled up for the day and headed out of Bathurst in a chilly 9c. We had decided to make our last day as interesting as possible so we turned off at Bathurst and took the narrow little back road that followed the railway, crossing it at least 10 time during the 35 Km trip via a succession of wooden bridges, level crossings or narrow underpasses to the village of Tarana. The road was one lane wide for most of the trip and the surface was very poor on the best bits and went down hill from there for the rest.

The early morning rural and hilly countryside was absolutely beautiful and well worth travelling along this the second class road.

We has planned to stop for coffee at Tarana but neither of the only two establishments in town (the Pub and the Coffee Shop) were open so we headed for Lithgow via some more great winding and narrow roads, past Lake Lyell to a great little coffee shop in the centre of Lithgow. We were a bit taken back when David deposited Sue on the footpath then promptly swung his bike across the road driving the onto the footpath into the middle of a pedestrian plaza. The few passing pedestrians were unamused!. I gritted my teeth and followed suit with David offering the explanation “Oh don’t worry, I have done that heaps of times before!”.

We enjoyed our obscenely large morning “snacks” and coffee before we mounted up for the last time to head up the Bells Line of Road to our starting point at the BP Servo at Kurmond arriving there at around 11.30am.

We made it! Back where we started three weeks ago at the Kurmond BP Servo

We made it!
Back where we started three weeks ago at the Kurmond BP Servo

Apart from the countless travel highlights other highlights that made our trip so great were the lunch time catering organised by Sue and David the fantastic planning and organising done by my Darling wife Ros who researched and planned all our overnight stops with military precision benefitting the four of us with first class accommodation and meals at the right place, the right price and the right time every night without fail.

Of course we can’t forget the two wonderful Hondas (equipped with those brilliant Michelin RP4 tyres)  which both performed faultlessly for the entire trip. Thank you Mr Honda!

We travelled exactly 10,010 kilometres over the twenty one days and we all enjoyed every day and every kilometre of the trip.

Believe it or not we are all still the best of friends in spite of our twenty one days of travelling together and close living!

Perth Route

Signing off for the final time (until our next trip)

Dick, Ros, David and Sue

 

Day 20 – Narrandera to Bathurst NSW

We headed out of Narrandera in our now standard 10c clear country morning to do battle again with the rising sun at eye level as we headed east again prior to taking a sharp left turn north at Grong Grong headed through the old tin mining town of Ardlethan to Temora. While refuelling, the girls did a recce to find the ubiquitous town bakery a short walk from the servo. Whilst over-eating (again) and  enjoying our morning coffee we plotted a circuitous back road route to bring us up alongside the Wyangala Dam and Lake. We travelled along the Burley Griffin Highway through some stunning farmland with rolling hills and frequent stands of trees. We travelled through the wonderful little towns of Harden and Boorowa before we took a left on a dodgy little road (sealed but only just!) through some picturesque farmland and hill country until we arrived at the base of the compacted rock and soil dam at Wyangala.

After paying a nominal $5 per bike entry fee we wound down through the park adjacent to the lake to enjoy a very pleasant, upmarket lunch of fresh bread rolls, cold meat, cheese and tomato all courtesy of Sue’s foray to the Narrandera Bakery this morning and the little cooler pack David had installed in his top box.

Our Wyangala feast

Our Wyangala feast

Wyangala lunch stop

Wyangala lunch stop

Wyangala Lake

Wyangala Lake

After finishing our lunch we mounted up again and enjoyed the great scenery as we wound our way back down out of the hills to pick up the Mid Western Highway outside of Blayney taking us into our last night stop at Bathurst. We located our digs in the George Hotel in the centre of town and, after a scrub-up headed for the bar, then the adjoining restaurant for a bottle of champers, a super bottle of red, and some really good food to celebrate our great trip which was almost at its end.

After taking a brief but enjoyable post dinner stroll in the town park across the road we turned in for the night.

455 Kms for the day bringing our cumulative distance up to 9,826Kms for the trip so far.

Bye for one last time

DRD&S

 

Day 19 – Ouyen Victoria to Narrandera NSW

We left Ouyen this morning as planned and headed due east on the Malley Highway for  96Km, through the delightfully named village of Manangatang to cross the Murray River (and the NSW/Vic border) at the NSW border village of Tooleybuc. The morning was clear and cool (10c) and we were riding directly into the rising sun which made visibility difficult at times.

Tooleybuc Main Street

Tooleybuc Main Street

 

The Murray River at Tooleybuc

The Murray River at Tooleybuc

After a short stop at Tooleybuc we headed for our morning coffee stop a further 53 km to the town of Balranald. The countryside was mostly flat, wheat/sheep, country.

After leaving Balranald we headed our across the famed Hay Plains in our 131 km run to Hay. The countryside noticeably changed to the flat limitless horizon you would expect on a plain with the mostly straight road just disappearing off into the horizon.

Across the Hay Plains

Across the Hay Plains

Waiting for the photographers on the Hay Plains

Waiting for the photographers on the Hay Plains

When we reached Hay the temperature had warmed up to the low 20’s as we found a shady spot by the Murrumbidgee River just outside Hay for our, now well established lunch menu of Ryvita biscuits with cheese, veggie and whatever else we had available.

Lunch ay Hay on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River

Lunch at Hay on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River

After enjoying our lunch we set off on the last 172km leg of the day bound for the Western NSW town of Narrandera. We travelled on the Sturt Highway which pretty well follows the Murrumbidgee River all the way. We did not see much of the river but we did see lots of huge irrigated fields of cotton along with some rice and other unidentifiable fruit trees. The changing vista for the day has been dramatic as we passed through the various distinct regions.

We arrived at Narrandera 455 Kms after setting out this morning completing a 20 day and 9,246 Km round trip as we had stayed in Narrandera on the first night of our outward journey.

There was no self help cooking facilities at out Motel so we adjourned to the restaurant in the Pub up the road which turned out to be a great choice.

Bye for now

DRD&S

 

Day 18 – Burra SA to Ouyen Victoria

Well, as predicted in the preamble of yesterday’s post, several red wine induced typos crept in. The region we were heading through today is, indeed the SA Riverland region NOT the Riverina which we all, of course know is in NSW (which we are not!..yet anyway).

Just as a  reminder, here is our trip program which we have stuck too pretty well and are now well on our way back with just three travelling days left. Perth RouteIt is a bit hard to fiddle with the graphics but we are now about 1,000kms from home at the red balloon immediately to the right of Adelaide which is a little burg called Ouyen in Victoria.

This morning we left Burra at a comfortable 8am in a brisk sunny country morning of 10c . The temperature soon climbed up to 15c as we enjoyed the open saltbush country en-route to a small town called Morgan. Along the way we passed the turn-off to a place called World’s End. We must return sometime and check it out. This country is said to generate the famed (and very expensive) Saltbush lamb. The sheep are said to feed on the saltbush imparting a unique flavour to the meat. (Sounds like a bit of smart marketing to me!)

Saltbush Country

Saltbush Country

A little further along the road we came to a sign requiring we deposit any fruit we were carrying as we were entering the restricted Riverland irrigation area. Rather than throw away some perfectly good apples and grapes we elected to eat them on the spot, roadside.

Fruit stop.

Fruit stop.

We stopped briefly at Morgan then headed along the Murray River to cross via a ferry at a little place called Walkerie.

Walkerie ferry

Walkerie ferry

The landscape predictably changed to Riverland irrigated vineyards and assorted fruit orchards. It was quite incongruous to see seemingly barren and unused land interspersed with the lush irrigated areas clearly demonstrating there are the ” haves” and ” have-nots” in water rights ownership.

We reached the prosperous town of Loxton in the middle of the Riverland region where we wheeled in for our now customary coffee break. We were also able to pick up some basic supplies to enable us to self cater tonight using the Motel BBQ facilities.

After leave Loxton we headed for Pinnaroo near the SA/Vic Border for our lunch stop. The countryside very quickly left the lush irrigated river area behind in favour of endless open wheat fields stretching across open undulating country. Boy, we sure do grow a lot of wheat in this country.

After a pleasant roadside lunch we set off for the last 100 k’s or so to our overnight destination of Ouyen crossing the SA/Vic border in the process and relinquishing the final 30 minutes in time we had picked up on the way over. We are now back on EDST, and, hooray, the clock on our bike is again showing the correct time!

We made it into Ouyen under a clear blue sky with the temperature at a comfortable 23c at around 4.30pm local time after our 454km run for the day. Yours truly was elected to do the “beer and wine run” into town to stock up for our customary happy hour and to lubricated our self cooked dinner on the BBQ.

Tomorrow we start to head north through Balranald and Hay crossing back into NSW at a little place called Tooleybuc headed for our overnight stop at Narrandera.

Total distance for the trip so far is now up to 8,904 kms

Bye for now

DRD&S

Day 17 – Wudinna SA to Burra SA

Hi everybody, We are now in a little place in South Australia called Burra.

If anyone would like to know where Burra is here is a Google Maps link to show you : Burra SA

We have just comeback from a very nice dinner at the Burra Hotel where we elected to have one too many bottles of Red (a very nice local Clare Valley Shiraz as it happens!) so don’t be surprised if there are a few typos tonight.

We left Wudinna this morning at 7.30am in a very brisk 11c which had us breaking out some winter layers that had not been previously used on the trip. It was a little cloudy as we set off but the skies cleared through the day although the temperature did not get above 20c all day. We have finally found winter and can justifiably say we have experienced all four seasons during our trip!. The first part of our 490Km trip today saw us cruising across Nullarbor style low scubby country until we past the Iron Knob iron ore mine outside Port Augusta. The run into Port Augusta is through open wind swept and fairly desolate country. We stopped for coffee at Port Augusta after 243Km run from Wudinna passing a little place called Kimba on the way which claims to be the mid-way point between Sydney and Perth.

After leaving Port Augusta we turned left and headed up over the Flinders Ranges through Horrocks Pass which we had come down on our trip West. The consensus was that the trip up the pass was far and away better than the trip down. After coming back down the other side of the pass we stopped for lunch at a quaint little town called Wilmington before heading toward Orroroo and Peterborough where we were treated to some of the most spectacular open country views with wheat fields and rolling hills spreading off into the distance. The views were breathtaking. After passing through Peterborough were headed out into vastly different country with a bare vista bordered by hills off in the distance topped with literally hundreds of huge wind turbines. It was almost like driving into a vast open desert although the area was virtually all wheat fields with nary a tree in sight.

We stopped at a very small town called Halett which had one of the blades of the wind turbines on display. Wow! it was huge. Check out the photo.

We arrived in our overnight stop of Burra at around 3,30pm and were able to walk around this quaint little historic mining town (Burra Copper Mine) and view the well preserved buildings. It’s is a pity though that they have not yet caught on to the notion that tourists (ie customers) do not disappear at midday on Saturday as our little jaunt around town of Saturday afternoon was like viewing a ghost town. We came back to our Motel rooms to enjoy  happy hour outside overlooking the local river. We also phoned a couple of our barbershop buddies who are dealing with medical issues at the moment to wish them well and let them know we were thinking of them (all the best Mal and JJ) before adjourning to the local pub for the dinner previously mentioned. Here are a few pics that might add a bit of authenticity to the above words.

The road coming in to Hallet

The road coming in to Hallet

One of the gigantic wings that make up the wind turbines

One of the gigantic wings that make up the wind turbines

few

A few of the many turbines along the skyline

More wind turbines

More wind turbines

David trying to "drive" a piece of old farm machinery at Willmington

David trying to “drive” a piece of old farm machinery at Willmington

The main street of Wilimington

The main street of Wilimington

Tomorrow we are heading down into the Riverland area through Loxton and Pinaroo to a little town called Ouyen for our next stop on our way home. Stay tuned!.

We are now up to 8,450Kms for the trip so far!

DRD&S

Day 16 – Nullarbor Roadhouse to Wudinna SA

Our trip today took us out of the flat and open Nullarbor landscape through vast wheat farms that disappeared off to the horizon into coastal vistas as we travelled along the coast down the western side of the Eyre Peninsula.

The wild overnight storm forecast failed to eventuate and our day started at a leisurely 7.30am in semi darkness. Dawn was just breaking as we hit the road. It was a very brisk 14c which is the coldest morning we have experienced on the trip so far. We rode into a spectacular biblical-like dawn display with sun rays striking through the dark cloud cover creating a wonderful light display. The morning was so chilly that David and Sue pulled over in the small town of Penong to add a couple more layers.

Penong stop

Penong stop

This is a rather nondescript little town about 60ks before the larger and better known coastal town of Ceduna. The Penong-ites have tried (unsuccessfully I might say) to create an identity for their little town by erecting numerous old worn-out windmills on the outskirts and calling themselves the ” town of windmills”.

Penong - The town of Windmills

Penong – The town of Windmills

The rest of the day remained cool with a maximum of 22c and a very cool sea breeze keeping us company all the way.

After a pleasant brunch stop in Ceduna we took the scenic coastal route down to Streaky Bay.

Some of the coastal vista as we approached Streaky Bay SA

Some of the coastal vista as we approached Streaky Bay SA

After refuelling at Streaky Bay we decided to take a short detour to visit the small coastal resort and fishing village of Venus Bay.

Prawn trawlers at Venus Bay SA

Prawn trawlers at Venus Bay SA

 

Pelicans at Venus Bay SA

Pelicans at Venus Bay SA

After enjoying a late lunch at Venus Bay we mounted up again to travel the last 100km inland to our overnight destination of Wudinna which is a small wheat hub town with the ubiquitous wheat silos and rail siding in the middle of town. There was a bulk wheat train loading as we came into town and they had closed one of the level crossings into town with a few witches hats whilst the train loaded.

We are sharing a very nice new “cabin” at the back of the local pub which is actually a small two bedroom house with all the mod cons enabling us to cook our own dinner tonight (thanks Sue).

Overall, it was a great day of riding, albeit a little cooler than we had experienced on the trip so far with a continuation, at times, of the blustery wind conditions we have experienced over the last couple of days.

7,960 Kms covered to date.

Bye for now

DRD&S

Day 15 – Caiguna Roadhouse WA to Nullarbor roadhouse SA

We left the Caiguna Roadhouse this morning at 6am as planned. The day was cool (19c) and overcast. The day, in fact never warmed up beyond 23c all day with some spitting rain here and there and, in the afternoon, strong gusty winds. We covered 545km for the day and relinquished 2 1/2 hours as we crossed the border into SA. We stopped at several viewing points for the Bunda Cliffs as we travelled along the mostly straight road across the Nullarbor. We only found out today , however, that the actual Nullarbor only starts just outside the Nullarbor Roadhouse and finished about 50Km out of Ceduna.

We found that passing the large and frequent trucks travelling the other way became somewhat challenging today as the strong and turbulent gusts we experience each time we passed a truck caused us to battle to maintain control of the bikes. We can only put this down to the cumulative effect of the strong headwind as we had not previously experience this.

We arrived at the Nullarbor Roadhouse about 5pm and were warned that they were expecting 90km winds tonight so we secured our bikes on the concrete path immediately outside out motel rooms. We are expecting strong winds again tomorrow as we ride in to the coastal town of Ceduna prior to heading for our overnight stop at a little place called Wudinna in SA.

We adjourned to the roadhouse bar then restaurant for drinks and dinner which we all enjoyed immensely.

Another rest stop

Another rest stop

The open road

The open road

Where to next?

Where to next?

One of a number of Osprey we spotted operating along the coast making good use of the strong winds!

One of a number of Osprey we spotted operating along the coast making good use of the strong winds!

The fabulous Bunda Cliffs

The fabulous Bunda Cliffs

One of the many trucks travelling the Nullarbor 24/7

One of the many trucks travelling the Nullarbor 24/7

Strong winds at the Nullarbor helipad.

Strong winds at the Nullarbor helipad.

Bye for now

DRD&S

Day 14 – Esperance to Caiguna Roadhouse WA

We left our motel a 6.30am this morning in a very pleasant 22c and amid a few spits of rain to tackle our first 200 km leg to the old mining town of Norseman. We were sad to leave the beautiful coastal town of Esperance and its pleasant sea breezes to head inland due north to Norseman. We were taken by the damage caused by the recent bushfires with burnt-out scrub for virtually the entire 200Km run to Norseman. There were also numerous salt pans along the way attesting to the salinity problem in the area. We arrived at Norseman via the quaintly named hamlet of Salmon Gums to enjoy the gourmet breakfast delights of the Norseman Roadhouse prior to setting out across the Nullarbor for our return leg. By the time we  reached the Balledonia Roadhouse the day had warmed up to around 35c with shade hard to find.

Shady rest stops are few and far between!

Shady rest stops are few and far between!

Soon after leaving Balledonia Roadhouse we reached the start of the 146km straight remembering to stop for a photo this time!

THE photo

THE photo

We stopped at one of the very few rest stop areas along the straight for our lunch of Ryvita biscuits, cheese, tomato, apple and vegemite before completing the straight to arrive at our destination for the day, the Caiguna Roadhouse around 3.30pm.

After enjoying a refreshing shower and chilling out for an hour or so we shared a left-over bottle of wine from Ros’s pannier bag and the last of our cheese and bickies (looks like a roadhouse pie for lunch tomorrow!) as we sat out the front of our rooms at watched the Nullarbor world go by.

We then adjourned to the roadhouse for a ” classic”  meal of lasagne, rissoles and chicken schnitzel.

Tomorrow we cross the border back into SA and relinquish the 2 1/2 hours we picked up on the way over making it a short day for our 540km run to the Nullarbor Roadhouse. We should pick up some of the viewing spots for the fabulous Bunda Cliffs we missed on the way over. We are planning  a 6am start to offset the time loss a bit.

Bye for now

Dick, Ros, Sue and David

Day 13 – Albany to Esperance WA

We headed out from our motel in Albany this morning with an overcast sky and about 20c temperature. The wind was really gusty as we headed for our first stop at Jerramungup. We were literally blow all over the road and experienced some really challenging riding. The wind continued in various levels of intensity from Gale force upward for the entire 500 Km journey. Stopping places along the way were few and far between so we took the opportunity to pull in to a rather forlorn and lone road house at a tiny place called Boxwood Hill. After getting off the bikes, out the front of the road house to stretch our legs, we were assailed by signs telling us we could not use their loos of sit at their table unless we purchased food from their store. There was no one around but we could feel eyes peering at us from inside. We half expected someone to come out carrying a shot gun and say “yeah, what do you want!” We unanimously voted it as the most unfriendly roadhouse in Australia and promptly climbed back on our bikes and took off.

We stopped for our gourmet lunch of Ryvita biscuits, cheese and vegemite at a little place called Munglinup. Just as we had laid our food out on the table a great big B triple truck pulled up in a cloud of dust.  IMGP9094-001  IMGP9091-001By this time the weather had warmed up and was sitting around 35c with not much shade to be found.

Sharing the only small patch of shade available for our bikes

Sharing the only small patch of shade available for our bikes

After lunch we rode the remaining 108Kms into Esperance checking in to our Motel at a respectable 2.30pm.

After a refreshing shower and a dip in the Motel Pool we enjoyed some pre-dinner drinks prior to dining on the shores of the picturesque Esperance Bay on our self catered BBQ Chicken and salad. A veritable feast. Still a bit breezy but still very pleasant!IMGP9096-001 Tomorrow, after a 203 Km run north to Norseman we turn east and start our reverse crossing of the Nullarbor heading for the Caiguna Road House at the far end of the longest straight stretch of road in Australia. If we don’t stop at the sign for a photo opportunity this time I am in biggggg! trouble.

Hopefully, we will post this much sought after photo tomorrow night.

Bye for now

Dick, Ros, David and Sue

Day 12 – Karri Valley Resort to Albany WA

After enjoying a very pleasant breakfast on the veranda, we headed out for our relatively short days ride (circa 240Kms) at a leisurely 8.30am. We visited the quaint little timber town of Pemberton and checked the famous Gloucester Tree in the nearby National Park.

Ros "climbing" the Gloucester Tree

Ros “climbing” the Gloucester Tree

After enjoying some more fantastic winding forestroadst we made our coffee stop at a little village called Walpole. We then headed straight into Albany via a very gusty and windy run along the coast to check into our Motel early for a self help lunch in our room of Ryvita, cheese and vegemite. We decided we would treat ourselves to some local seafood for dinner so David and I set off to find the local seafood market only to find it closed. We resorted to the local Coles where we were able to purchase some great prawns and all the trimmings to make a great self help meal. Before dinner, we decided to jump on the bikes and do a quick tour of the local area. After nearly getting blown away along the waterfront, we climbed the hill at the back of the town to visit the impressive ANZAC memorial park. Unfortunately we were too late to go through the museum but the monuments and relics around the park were terrific.IMGP9081The plaques shown in the pic listed all the ships that formed the original ANZAC convoy and their details. We returned to our rooms to enjoy our prawns and salad which were superb!

We have now covered 5,538 Kms and are well and truly on the homeward leg. We are heading for the seaside resort town of Esperance tomorrow.

Bye for noiw,

Dick, Ros, David and Sue