Bello to Batemans Bay
Seeing I lost all my riders today there’s no ride report. Here’s a tale from time long past.
A fictional story
A long, long time ago in a valley not far from here, a group of mad-keen dirtbike riders decided it would be a good idea to ride enduro bikes to Batemans Bay.
To ensure only the keenest of the keen came, a spot was chosen in the middle of nowhere for a track-clearing day where numbers would be taken.
So at dawn our local crew set of in the gloomy light and headed west, and a couple of hundred kilometres later we rocked up to a very keen crew ready with machetes and chainsaws. The trail was soon cleared of larney and logs and plans announced for an epic ride with 23 places available and $1000 each thrown in a kitty for expenses.
A few basic rules were thrown about, including we all had to do some organisation chores and there would be a carton of beer penalty for anyone getting a flat without extra-heavy-duty tubes.
Soon the details were all done, guides booked, two 4WD support vehicles organised and we even had a furniture removal semi and a bus arranged for the trip home.
So early one morning, we all gathered at the back of a secluded valley and headed off into the bush. Just to make sure we were awake we did every bit of single track in the area, almost taking one DRZ out in the process.
Soon we were back on flowing ridges making good time, proving it’s not the number of riders but the riders in the number that makes the difference.
Dropping into Bellbrook we picked up more riders at a slap-up breakfast feast, some prime private-property trails followed before heading south for Gingers Creek area and a bush refuel.
My WR had been making strange noises at high RPM, so while waiting for the backup vehicles we pulled the bike apart looking for clues, but to no avail (it ended up being things stuffed behind the headlight vibrating, found on the last day. D’oh.)
The trails around Cells River were supreme, with lots of steep hills and monster erosion mounds. A stray rock almost sent a KTM cartwheeling down a steep ravine, only stopped by a single log. A few feet either side and rider and bike would’ve disappeared into what looked like a bottomless pit. Not to worry, there were plenty more KTMs there.
Soon we were cruising through Enfield State Forest to the sleepy town of Nowndoc. The motel at Nowendoc doesn’t like dirtbikes, and despite booking the place out with nearly 30 people they treated us badly. Now you know why both I and my discs avoid the town like a plague. We’ve never been back.
After a crappy night’s sleep on lousy beds, we headed off early. Having cleared the legality of a road out of town with the friendly local police we were somewhat surprised to have a farmer blocking our way. Despite assurances we were all legal, one of our group was attacked by the farmer’s son. With 23 of us he was greatly outnumbered but we let it go and idled along the road and out of reach.
In a further sign of goodwill the Nowendoc motel gave out our contact details so we could cop abusive phone calls from the local village idiot.
Nundle soon had all forgotten as we skirted the edges of the dark pine forest on a blissful roller-coaster of steep climbs and downhills sprinkled with nicely shaped erosion mounds that were a highlight of the whole trip for most.
Denman or bust(ed)
After a superb feed from the support vehicles at Nundle we headed for God’s own adventure country (that’s a shameless plug. It’s on upper hunter on the Vol-2 DualSport Australia disc) and 20 river crossings on our way to next overnight at Denman.
The details get a bit fuzzy from here and mostly rely on hearsay, no doubt exaggerated by time, but the following afternoon tea at Moonan Flat pub we tried to settle in to a long 80km tar transport to Denman.
Apparently a wheelstand contest broke out, riders were riding side-saddle, riders riding three abreast, and riders doing large slides all witnessed and unappreciated by the local police who apparently followed us out from the pub.
After witnessing enough poor riding to give him writing cramp, they pulled up around a dozen of us. Apparently familiar with enduro bikes he was initially surprised to find he had pulled up middle-aged men not teenage hoons, he inquired about where we were from. Seemly shocked by the Bellingen reply, he inquired were we were heading. Batemans Bay was not what he expected.
After a stern lecture which basically amounted to ‘pull your heads in’ he let them go, along with “tell the guys at the front to stop doing wheelstands” added to the great tales at Denman Hotel after a very eventful day.
Lost and out of Fuel
After a tar transport and cruising through farmland heading east, we weren’t sure exactly where we were, but either were the guides. It was good riding even if we did run out of fuel, and we were soon rescued by the 4WD support and after a longish transport we were in Kandos to meet Tom and Sunny Corner Trail Tours.
After a superb lunch and a lie in the sun while the hoons in the group replaced rear tyres destroyed after only 600km we headed out for a treat.
Sunny Corner Trail Tours soon had us in the most amazing bush. Huge rocks with tiny gaps in between made single-track heaven which was enjoyed right till dark. A truckload of pizza washed down with cold refreshments soon had us in a happy place after another great day’s riding.
A late start gave us time for mass oil and filter changes before being let by the Black And Gold motel owner through nice bush across to Jenolan Caves guesthouse.
My wife always wanted to stay here so I got a room upgrade and met her there. It felt somewhat strange booking into a flash hotel in three-day old riding gear, although I was soon scrubbed up and on my best behaviour. I even swapped riding gear for a fresh start the next day.
The room upgrade soon payed for itself, being just above the restaurant and stocked with cold cans of bourbon. That schooner of coke I brought sure lasted a long time…
Watch that drop
Back into the bush we had lunch at Wombeyan Caves along with a stern lecture about riding slow, not overshooting any corners and watching out for traffic.
The road to the coast started clinging to the edge of a cliff which surprisingly still had slide marks right to the edge, followed by a climb down to cross the river, and back up again along with a cool sandstone tunnel.
A longish tar transport with lots of corners (and lots of bushwalkers) to our next overnight at Nowra.
KTM Trail tours
KTM Trail tours picked us up early the next morning for a full day of singletrack to let our hair down. Fast, sandy trails had us hooting and hollering all the way to Batemans. The boys added considerably to the Westpac crash fund and a fun day was had by all.
A great awards night followed with various prizes for best crash, DNF and best snorer was handed out along with lots of fun and laughs.
Easy way home
The next morning the removalists were loading the bikes into the semi, while we piled into the bus, shortly followed by the first stubby opening. The semi flew past uphill, no doubt happy with the lack of weight, as we did our best to drink the weight down in the bus. By the central coast the bus was considerably lighter but a whole lot louder as the party hit overdrive.
Soon riders started to stumble off the bus at designated drop points and our trip was over.