Our local North Coast Adventure Bike Rider’s Facebook page is fast gaining momentum and I’d been saying for awhile I’d put together an overnight camping trip. So when the chance came to try hooking up with Tony and the crew from Armidale for a run down onto the Georges George’s Creek, I only put it up on Facebook.
We had people from as far away as Brisvegas to Kempsey and everywhere in between.
Unfortunately, due to the bad weather leading up to the weekend, Tony’s mob pulled the pin thinking the trail would be too tough.
Everyone was still keen to suck and see from our end, and Wilbur ‘Onesie’ birthday-boy Wilson got a few 4×4 mates together to come camp and party with us and do a ripper cooked brekkie on Sunday morning…not to mention the ice and beer.
Rocket Rod Colling from Armidale was going to camp with us, but then found he needed to be home Saturday night, so for peace of mind, jumped on his Kato Enduro bike and rode out to see how bad it was. At that stage the trail down to the crossing was prime, with water levels safe, so he rode up to the camp site to leave us a note. He found Wilbur’s daughter Megan and, much to her surprise, gave her a note for me. It was a Dr Livingston moment.
We rocked into camp around 5.30pm after a 400km-plus hot dusty ride (’til we rode into a nice little storm in the Guy Fawkes National Park) that included Oil Rig Road in Giberagee, Doboy Road, lunch and a swim at Dalmorton, Guy Fawkes, Old Ebor Road, then down to Styx River via Wongwibin Road.
After setting up our camp we joined with the 4×4 crew to eat, drink and party into the night, all with the promise of an exciting day ahead.
Toughing it out
At 3:00am I saw stars, but by 5:30am when I set off up the creek chasing a fresh Platapie for brekkie, the rolling mist was getting heavier. By 7:00am the rot had set in to a constant drizzle and spirits were dampened. We packed up, devoured our egg-and-bacon rolls and good coffee organised and cooked by the birthday boy. Then we headed off into the gloom up a grey clay track that was just perfect.
I can’t say the same for the red clay when we got to the top of George’s Trail. It was much wetter there, so a handful of us slipped down to the big tree across the track before the trail starts to drop 800m in five kilometres. Only the WRF450 and XR650 were keen to go any further, so with the rain setting in we all slid back out to the crew and headed on up Forest Way where I knew we’d have a bit of trouble in the wet, but nothing like what confronted us a few kilometres up the track.
It was a bad week for the grader to tidy up the washed-out, rough track.
To everyone’s credit only two went down and it was a lot of fun with plenty of support to get through it. Karen smashed it on the DR. She loves mud now.
Meg did an awesome job riding through it on her own later after helping pack up Wilbur’s camp. I bet she checks her phone for updated urgent track warnings from friends next time! There’s plenty of phone service up on the ridge lines in there.
Wet as shaggs we pulled up at Fusspots for a cuppa and most headed off for Grafton or Dorrigo.
We rode with Don back out to Old Ebor Road, then into Wards Mistake and up Kookabookra, dancing round massive storms on the most perfect damp track. We pulled into the pie place for a cuppa and found a pretty dejected, glum Juan, not happy with what’s happened at Dorrigo, and keen to see more old friends drop in to see him in Glen Innes.
Since everybody else had been smashed with rain on the way home from Ebor, it seemed fair that we copped it on the way home from Tenterfield, and Don wasn’t spared either, getting into south Brissy about 9:30pm.
It was a great ride with only three offs, one flat (yes, Nigel again) one lost side sump plug on a WRF450, fixed with an 8mm bolt and luckily someone carryed a litre of oil (on our way to Oil Rig Road). A ripped-off back wheel Hugger on the Rhino was a good thing. It would’ve only blocked the wheel in the mud later.
Bikes ranged from Meg’s DR250, a WRF Jedi 450, DRZ400, Husky 630, DR650s, F800GSs, a Tranny 650, an XR650, Tenere660, a Kato 690, an R1150GS to the Rhino GSA1200 punted around very smoothly by Duncan.
Although we didn’t achieve our ride plan we had fun and it certainly was an adventure. It was a bloody good reason to have another lash when it looks less likely to be washed out.