Blog: September 21. It’s been a busy week.

Hi everyone. It’s a wet Sunday afternoon, and I’ve had some time on the bike this week – which was good.

First up was Chris Laan’s Coffee Crawl, and it was a snorter.

Darren Newberry and his DR650 joined us, and he turned out to be a top bloke. He seems to answer to just about any name – Darren, Daz, Dazza, Norm or even ‘Ronnie’, apparently.

We kicked off with Cris and I, hard panniers loaded with comforts, meeting Darren at Urunga, then heading up to Juan’s for our first coffee of the tour. As we sat down Dazz grabbed an old Trailbike Adventure Magazine from his backpack and showed it was him on the cover!

CoffeeCrawl_032So we’d ridden together before, and I’d got his name wrong in that issue. That’s why he’d answer to ‘Ronnie’.

What a crack-up.

From Dorrigo we headed to Wongwabinda where we found the cafe closed – but Darren picked up a hint it may be open soon…

CoffeeCrawl_035The sign was leaning against the signpost. Maybe it’ll finally be open next time I’m up there.

From there we headed along the dirt road and Chris set up his travelling relaxation centre and brewed our our first coffee. It surely doesn’t get much better than this, does it..?

CoffeeCrawl_040It was the start a really awesome, low-stress ride. Even the pannier latch on the Triumph breaking didn’t ruin things. We roped the pannier in place and kept going.

Chris had planned the whole route and converted it to GPX files, but we were all three happy to make it up as we went along. The weather was fabulous, and even though Darren was more set up for dirt, he and his DR650 seemed to enjoy themselves as we dodged in and out of towns, taking in plenty of bitumen, all of it with great scenery. We ended up staying the night at Barraba, and we fluked the best motel ever.

Brian Doran, the owner of the Barraba Motel is a keen rider, complete with Triumph belt buckle. When I asked the room prices he said, “For you $89. For the bloke on the BMW, $99.”

From left, Chris, Brian Doran and Daz/Ronnie/Norm.

It was hilarious, and he and his wife Jo turned out to be great people. We had a great stay.

The Wednesday morning was sunny and warm, but there were warnings of a Storm To End All Storms later in the day, and Chris guided us accordingly, keeping to the bitumen to start with, then running us from Glen Innes out through Ward’s Mistake after lunch. We thought the storm had arrived at one stage as the wind went berserk. We hunkered down and tried to stay on the bikes, but maybe 10 minutes later it was sunny and warm again.

We had a great time, and it was a ride I enjoyed a lot.

The quote of the tour came from Darren. He’d fitted LED blinkers to his DR, and I pointed out that they needed resistors to slow down the blinking rate. I also pointed out that, as an electrician, he wouldn’t have any trouble with that. With a straight face he replied, “I’m an AC electrician, not a DC electrician.”

Meanwhile, I had the coffee plunger and coffee Chris had brought back from FNQ for me. I was really keen to give it a good run on our first ride, but then I got all precious and wanted to make sure we used really boilling hot water. Chris had a Thermos, and I wasn’t sure the water would be hot enough. Typically, I jerked around so much I ended up not using the plunger at all.

I’m a dead-set slapper sometimes.

The good news is, that means we have to go another ride so I can give it a run.

After the Coffee Crawl I parked work’s Triumph and dragged the Dominator up to Guyra for work’s ‘Congregation’ function, and it was a raging success. 260 riders threw up their tents at Moredun Ponds and seemed to have a great time.

Congregation_066I was working, so I went out on the course to get photos. I don’t know where everyone went, but they didn’t seem to be on the course. I waited frigging ages at a couple of locations to get the images I wanted. Copeton Dam was an obvious one…

Congregation_012I waited an hour and 20 minutes for those two to come along.

Then I waited another hour at another spot, and when a bike finally showed up, here’s the pic I got…

Congregation_019Does he look familiar to anyone?

Marty was sweeping the course of the Vince Strang ride which overlapped the Congregation at this point. It seems Vince’s ride was a raging success as well, so that’s more awesomeness.

There were some great people at the Congregation. Dave and Karen Ramsay guided 30-odd riders to the event, and the pair must’ve had a few drinks that night because their pic is all blurry…

Congregation_069BMW’s Miles Davis was there, carving up the place with incredible style on a 1200GS, as usual…

Congregation_050Ed Brown, who I met a few months ago when he bought a KLR650 and we tagged up to ride for day as he headed home on it was signing in when I arrived. Ed is ALWAYS cheerful…

Congregation_042I nearly fell over when Scott and Steve, two of the Bega Boys who I shared several brilliant rides with a few yeas ago, appeared out of nowhere! I hadn’t seen those guys for ages, and they’re the best blokes. I was so surprised I forgot to snap a pic. I’m sure they’ll forgive me. They were beaming and seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as ever.

Even Gav Gill pitched a tent the size of a moderate pavillion and settled in for a chinwag or three.

It was a big night, alrighty.

Of course, I was there to work, so I didn’t get time to sit with anyone in particular, and then, when the chance came to bolt that same evening, I packed up the Dominator and headed back. I’d hit a kangaroo a glancing blow with the van on the way in that morning, so I was hoping the law of averages would allow me to get home unscathed, and so it proved.

That was quite a big week for me. Meeting a few awesome new people, and bumping into a bunch of great people I already knew but hadn’t seen for a while, and getting to ride a couple of sensational bikes in great company made it one of those great weeks that just doesn’t happen often enough.

It’ll be hard to beat.

TF

 

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One comment

  • Ed Brown on September 26, 2015 at 7:05 pm said:

    It was a great weekend Tom, well done to everyone involved, and thanks again for your encouragement on that first ride, your passion for adventure riding helped set me on the road to the congregation. I have already started planning for the next one.

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