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Thunderbolts Way: Day 2

By Wom Battle

With the weekend ride plan out the window, JP and I spent a little time on Google Maps last night trying to work out a new plan for today.  Initially we were to head to Tuncurry from Walcha to meet the HOG chapter for lunch, but we were only 100k's or so from there and it didn't give us much to do for the next 6 hours.  There didn't seem to be a "long way" to Tuncurry that was tar or doable. A morning call to my wife to chat about the weather revealed it was bucketing down at home and along the coast that was our intended route.  A similar weather story was foretold if we headed west then south.  I figured if the weather was bad the HOGS might stay home so without any further thought JP and I decided to go home the way we came.  What a shame, NOT! If we were going to get wet, it might as well be while having fun!

We couldn't get out of the Hotel quick enough.  After a quick bite at a local greasy spoon and a fuel stop we were heading back up the Oxley Highway to revisit cornering heaven.  I could feel the excitement building as we headed through some bends on the way to Long Flat.  I was eagerly waiting to see if there's was a winding road for 45k's sign on this side too.  I wasn't disappointed and in fact locked the back wheel up trying to stop in time to get a photo of the bike in front of it.  I also took some snaps in the leadup to the hills then warmed my shoulders up for the reverse run of yesterday's blast.

JP was in the lead today, again the mindgames and the questions came thick and fast.... Can I keep up? Was I slowing him down yesterday? Is he just really polite? Will he slow me down?  Where was that crazy bend we nearly lost it on?  Then we hit the curves.  Out of necessity the questions were put to one side and the Queensland Blue pumpkin went back on the shoulders.  We roared up the hills noting a large number of bikes coming back the other way.  A bunch of k's in we came across a number of cars parked off the road with the occupants strangely looking towards the road and a very tight corner at the end of the parking area rather than enjoying the view the other way.  JP and I were fully committed and coming in hot (but safe BTW). 

I was off the seat and looking at him around my mirror and I saw his bike starting to head completely sideways across the road.  I hit the curve and while my bike started to go sideways I saw him take a foot of the footplate and I could swear he was going to try to dirtbike it around the rest of the corner.  I forgot what trouble I was in and actually laughed at the thought of JP trying to hold up a couple of hundred kilos of sliding fatboy with a foot.  File that one for later.

Fortunately  there was some grip towards the edge of the road that wasn't on the mountain wall and we got the bikes back in shape and kept going.  I knew at that point why the tin box drivers were watching the corner, there would be plenty of havoc to see.  Every corner for the next few k's felt like someone had smeared butter on the road, any sign of a lean and you were sliding.  But after a while the road came good and we were away again.   Towards the top of the mountain we road into pea soup mist.  I managed to take some snaps as I followed JP's barely visible tail light, but it was go slow until we started down the other side towards the open road that took us back to Walcha.

With the mist came damp, that mixed with cold and elevated speed in the nice 110k road after the mountains brought me to the coffee shop at Walcha shaking like a Thunderbird puppeteered by an epileptic.  More coffee and hot food and the piling on a few layers of clothes brought my temp back up from below zero.  I called my wife again for a weather update and the news was all bad.  So we put on the wet weather gear and got ready to head back down Thunderbolts Way and to Gloucester where we decided to were going the meet my family for lunch at Perenti for Mothers Day.

The trip over the mountain was a little quicker today, we were loosened up, warm and having a ball.  With the full face I can't see my speedo unless I specifically look down but JP told me we were doing some handy speeds around the sweeping 85k bends.  I was too busy sorting out the frame flex in the old Road King and concentrating on lines to worry about things like speed.  In parts the road was wet, I could see showers about but it didn't rain on us.  We arrived at Gloucester, settled down in the cafe and it started to pour outside. 

We took our time with lunch and walked out resigned to but not caring about riding home in the wet. The ride thus far had just been too good for anything to spoil it. But, by the time we geared up and got fuel the rain had stopped.  We ended a perfect weekend by riding the last 130k's or so home in sunshine.

The weekend had everything, great weather, great bikes, great roads, great food and very memorably, an extremely potty mouthed old tart in the pub the night before that hated a certain football team.  It'd been years since I blushed like that but I can't wait to see if she's there next time I head back that way.  Rest assured I'll be doing that ride again and JP's keen too.

K's travelled for the weekend: 860
Fuel used: $71.00 (approx)



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October 2020