The Narrabri ride organised by Chris Laan and meeting up with the Newcastle riders was a terrific weekend.
Dave and I took the tar up the mountain after work – about 350km and out to Uralla where we met up with Boz, Chris, Maso and Muzz. Arriving well after dark at the top pub, Chris soon found out it wasn’t a good idea to tap his watch at me when I’ve been riding the Dominator in the cold without heated grips.
It turned out they’d had an eventful trip with Waz having a nasty off and having to head home (he had broken four ribs). Later they had to stand around for two hours in the pouring rain with a river running down the road (Boz’s version), two hours with 10 minutes of light rain (Chris’ version), waiting for a tilt tray to pick up Chris’ BMW with a flat rear tyre.
Apparently Boz had been having trouble with his bike on the first day, so the plan was to pull the carbie apart early in the morning. It turned out it wasn’t a fuel problem, but the block of Gouda he was keeping in the air box.
Chris had a terrific route mapped out to get to Narrabri (and for the entire weekend actually). The roads were in perfect condition, and after a light fall of rain there was hardly any dust. Warrabah National Park is one of the Challenge locations. Travelling along Glenbarra Road we were only a stone’s throw from the location. Lack of river crossings meant we had to go all the way into Manilla and double back. It looked like a great place to go for a swim when it’s warmer. We’d no sooner left Manilla after lunch than Chris got his second flat of the trip. No BMW Roadside Assist needed this time as Dave had a tube to fit. The Boggabri-Manilla Road was another terrific track winding through cotton country and past coal mines. An executive decision was made not to go to the Challenge location at Mt Kaputar to avoid getting to Narrabri after dark.
We met up with Newcastle riders there – Johnathon, Greg, David and Matt along with Phil from Lake Keepit. I don’t really want to elaborate too much on the accommodation, other than to say it was hard to decide whether it was the way the sheets snapped as you folded them back, the unidentified stains, or the dubious cleanliness of the towels that was the most endearing quality. And that’s before we even mention the techno/doof doof onesie party that went on half the night, competing with the town bells and a few stoic snorers. Thankfully the company more than made up for that.
We got away to a reasonably early start with perfect weather and even better roads. Mellburra and Gravesend Roads were a little dusty but the riding was great taking us through a variety of countryside. Breakfast was at Warialda. Fortunately for us the cook stayed around long enough to make brekky for us before she headed off the the chook show. From there, the riding continued to get more enjoyable as we took Gragin, Yetman and Inverell-Bonshaw Roads to Kings Plains. Muzz even let me have a ride on his DR650. I’m not sure which of us enjoyed it the most – me with my first ever ride on a DR, or Muzz rekindling old memories on the Dominator. After heading down Pinkett and Kookabookra, Dave and I left the Coffs crew at Ebor, completing 1350kms for the weekend by the time we arrived home, keen for the next ride.