Karen, Marty (Bigdog), Ian, Nick and I headed off from Casino at 8.00am for a mate’s property at Mongogarie. Greg caught up at the cattleyards as I was telling the others that Jeff had pulled out of the ride due to possible cracked ribs from a fall a few weeks back when we took him through here.
Riding sensibly along overgrown farm tracks, trying to pick a line for the others to follow to link up with a fire trail up to Cherry Tree, imagine my surprise. As I rode past the spot of Jeff’s demise, wondering just how the hell he dropped the lovely old ’89 DR650, my back wheel slipped into a hidden greasy rut and passed my front wheel! There’s no photo as it was for demonstration purposes only.
Not So Mean Dean, Meg and Craig rode up from Coffs early, met up with Wazza in Grafton, and galloped up past a big campdraft at Baryulgil to get to Cleveland Crossing on the Clarence five minutes before us.
Quick meet an greet for a few new faces then off to Drake where Darcy and Holly were already waiting in the sweep support ute. The timing was brilliant. As we were topping up with fuel, Bernie and his mate Rob arrived having just ridden the Rocky after staying at the Royal in Tenterfield Friday night.
All together we danced through the twisties to the BNT camp and the first little test: crossing a deeper than expected Cataract River.
Fortune favours the brave, and there were big grins on those that took it on. Only a DR had a little sleep on the far bank after hitting a lousy large rock, and Nick proved a point by coming across on the deeper side.
Enjoy the view
Pointing up to Wellington Rock, our lunch stop, had everyone champing at the bit as we headed up into Basket Swamp National Park. As lead rider I got to waltz with a Nissan 4×4 not far up the track on a tight bend with little room to park. It was a pity Dean didn’t have a Go-pro, as it would’ve made a great training video.
Basket Falls is a wonderful spot to explore. It has a lovely natural spa and a great place to watch Platapie play.
Gorgeous soft sandy tracks interspersed with gravel on the wetter clay spots and plenty of whoops for anyone chasing air made for a great dash around to Wellington Rock. A few fellas were pretty impressed with Karen’s motocross-style passing manoeuvres and probably more so her hairy legs when they caught up at our lunch hut. It turned out Darc had swapped with mum at the Falls and passed nearly everyone. Nick may have given the XR a spell somewhere along this track?
As we had a sweep ute, and having lunch in this gorgeous bush setting was easy.
(Bernie Wittman asks if this is the one – TF)
Back out through the park and down on to Boonoo Boonoo Track for a great ride to the river crossing.
Although fairly rutted and loose in places, everyone got up the big hills okay to the top of Harrigans Lane still keen for more adventure. Wylie Creek Road was made for the twins and didn’t disappoint. Then we zigzagged our way on as much dirt as possible to a very happy ending to the day through Girraween 4WD track into Jennings.
We highly recommend the Jennings Pub as an overnight camp. Lynne was a great host, our rooms were spotless and comfy, both dinner and brekky were both large and tasty, (must go back for the beer damper) and we had a great night making a fair bit of racket forcing the local brigade to keep turning up the telly.
Saddled up and off by about 8.00am, we slipped and skated our way around the Doctors Nose to Draining Rock with awesome views and granite boulders of all descriptions. Pottsy rode up early and rendezvoused with us on Gunyah Road.
Picking a line on these tracks after big rain can be tricky, and there were plenty of traps to avoid, some washouts ending in one-metre deep holes just off the riding line. I was glad when everyone arrived safely at the lush shady sanctuary of Pyes Creek.
Meg wanted to finish on a high after a very big weekend’s ride for a newby, so at Torrington when we sent Darcy and Holly home, she set off for Coffs. I think she may have thought our next track might be a bit ugly for my ute. In places it was, and Wilbur did well and Karen showed me a particular finger regularly on the way down to a recovery spot where we sorted out Dean’s Kato.
Carpet Snake was gnarly on a bigger bike in a couple of places, but Gulf Road back to Emmaville was a heap of fun. We bolted into Glen Innes for a quick feed at that place I won’t mention, and Pottsy, Dean and Wilbur headed for Coffs via Kookabookra. The rest of us went Shannonvale to the Old Glen Innes Road through the tunnel to Grafton.
We waved to Wazz, Bigdog and Ian took the Highway to Ballina, and Greg, Nick, Karen and I took on the roos up to Casino. We were home at 7.00pm.
Thanks to all for making a great weekend of it. Better have another one in the middle of winter, eh!