Blog: February 22. Been out and about.

MitchsFirstGPSRide_027It’s Sunday morning of a busy week, and it’s not over yet. I’ll be at my desk all day today, I’d say.

To complete the trio of sub-$10k 650s for work, I sprinted down to Sydney, returned the DR650 and grabbed a new KLR650. I hauled it back up to Cessnock and joined a RideADV three-day. Greg Yager runs a fantastic outfit, and I wasn’t surprised to see a lot of very familiar faces. His rides are the kind that keep people coming back.

Greg himself was in great form, giving his usual informative and entertaining briefing – including reminding everyone of how Graham Whipp and I got behind the sweeps when we stopped for coffee on a previous ride.

MitchsFirstGPSRide_042Steve Smith of AdventureMoto was in attendance as well, and I was glad I was wearing my new Klim jacket. Here he is with adventure-ride film-maker Dave Darcy (on the right in the pic). You probably know him better as MAD TV.

MitchsFirstGPSRide_017I strapped on the supplied KLR luggage and had a ball.

The route couldn’t have been better for the Kawasaki. We wound our way around some of the Old Pacific Highway bitumen, roosted through a lot of really nice trails, had morning tea at Karuah and lunch at Buladelah, then finished up at the motorcycle museum at Nabiac. That was an eye-opener. I’d never been in there. It was amazing. This Postie caught my eye…

MitchsFirstGPSRide_040It was such a great, sunny day. I didn’t have to follow the ride – I was only there to write about the bike – the bike was really nice, and I was having a ball. I decided in the morning to just turn off the phone for the day.

So there I was, enjoying myself, swanning about the place like a goose and taking in the scenery. It was a really pleasant day.

Then, that night after a shower, I thought, ‘Better check the phone.’ Sure enough, a single missed call had slammed my number and a message had flooded into my message bank (I’m a popular guy). But this was a call I’d been waiting on for quite sometime. ‘Could I please give Toby Price a call?’

So Saturday morning I was up before dawn, on the KLR and belting down the freeway to get back to the van and keep an appointment with the Dakar winner. Of course I got lost. Only I could get lost between Tuncurry and Cessnock on the freeway, but I managed it.

After the stress of possibly missing the appointment because of being late or running out of fuel, I roosted up to the van, threw the bike on the trailer and bolted. When I arrived I suspect I looked more like I’d just done Dakar than Toby…except he had that whopping big trophy and a smile that fairly lit up the whole of Newcastle.

There’s a lot of great people in motorcycling, but Toby Price must be one of the best and most genuine. He was, as always, unrushed and very generous with his time, and I really enjoyed hearing some of the inside thoughts of the race winner and where he’s heading. He’s not in Australia all that much now, so for him to give up a Saturday morning just so we could chat was something of an honour, I thought.

For the record, I honestly believe Price will win five Dakars and equal Coma’s record. He may even do better. After that he told me he’s busting to race cars, including competing in Dakar on four wheels.

That was the end of a hectic few days that brings me up to where I’m sitting here, and now I have to get on with some work.




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