Black Dog Ride 2011 – Day 14

Dalby QLD  to Coffs Harbour NSW

Winston

Another cracking day was brewing and I was itching to get on the road early – I departed with Dave who would be my riding buddy for the day, final destination was Dave’s house in Coffs Harbour. We weren’t 100% sure what James, Kim and Sharon would be up to today – they’d let us know as the day progressed.

For me, today was the best day of the ride. 

It was a combination of things that allows me make this statement: The early start to the day; the pace of the ride; the journey; the conversations with Dave throughout the day; listening to music through my helmet, and the weather. It’s quite often hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes something great, and for me today it was the combination of all of these things. Days like today make you appreciate why you ride 🙂


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Metal bikes

We departed Dalby quite early (we even beat Daryl onto the road, but only because he’d lost his glasses and had to turn back to find them!) First major town we came to was Toowoomba where we stopped for a quick drink break, and to navigate our way out of here onto the New England Highway which lead us into Warwick. This trip was decidedly chilly, yet I was steadfastly sticking to riding with my Hornee jeans, which are great in warmer weather, but nowhere near as warm as my leather pants when the temperature drops. Besides, this was Queensland with the motto: “beautiful one day, perfect the next” 🙂 In Warwick we had a full pit-stop (fill the bikes and the tummies – with a pie!) and I spotted some motorcycles made from nuts, bolts and chain links, something James had been looking for all trip.

Bumblebee

Tenterfield was to be our next stretch stop riding through/past Stanthorpe (with it’s Big Apple) which is close to the Queensland/NSW border. We had a pretty traffic-free run so far today, with good quality roads all the way from Toowoomba. I would have liked to stop off longer in Tenterfieldbut we only needed a stretch stop, and we had other places to stop for longer later in the day. I decided to change into my full leathers to stay warmer as it hadn’t warmed up enough since starting the ride. I was instantly rewarded as I no longer shivered whilst riding (yes, I should have done it earlier!)

From Tenterfield we had a choice: head east through Casino and onto Grafton, or keep heading south towards Glen Innes. Here Dave showed some of his local knowledge by deciding we’ll head towards Glen Innes, but cut over at Dundee to the Gwydir Highway. We stopped at Deepwaterfor a fill and lunch (Here I had the 2nd-worst pie on the trip – the worst was the scaldingly-hot & sloppy pie from Cloncurry). This one was dry and warm-ish, with the consistency of an apple pie. Still, it had to do.

That way!

If the Warrego Hwy into Dalby was the bumpiest we’d come across in Queensland, then this little 11km stretch between Dundee and Bald Nob was the one in NSW. Admittedly this is listed as a minor road and you expect it won’t be billiard-table smooth, but it was quite rough, bumpy and full of potholes to be avoided. Once we hit the Gwydir Hwy, we had a great, cruisy run towards Grafton.

It was on this stretch of the ride where it all came together – due to the relaxed pace of the day, I could hear the music and simply go with the flow – the ride seemed easy and effortless, into and out of the sunlight through the National Park. We stopped off at a lookout overlooking the valley and Dave proclaimed “isn’t it beautiful? We’ll be riding down there soon enough”, pointing out the valley floor far below.

Sunshine

The weather was glorious – a few scattered clouds, patches of sunshine and blue skies helped make this ride fabulous. By 3pm it was colder than when the day started, however I was perfectly warm in my leathers now, and was thankful I made the switch earlier in the day. The Gwydir Hwy reminded me of Macquarie Pass in the NSW Southern Highlands with it’s scenery, twisty turns and a few hairpin bends. It straightened out as we headed down into Grafton for our last pit-stop for the day. Once Dave had fuelled up and we bypassed Grafton proper and headed toward Glenreagh & Nana Glen instead of taking the Pacific Hwy to Coffs Harbour.

The ride from Dundee to Coffs Harbour was spectacular, scenic and a great way to cap off a great day’s riding with Dave. Dave put us up for the night and we had a wonderful dinner with real vegies! Kim, James & Sharon arrived a few hours later after having had a scenic & longer trip home. I went to bed early as tomorrow was my solo ride home and I wanted to get underway before 7:30am.

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