It’s Sunday morning as I write this, and yesterday I enjoyed one of those rare rides not connected with work.
The Dominator was finally ready for action again, and being the Easter weekend, I felt I could afford a morning to myself. Darren ‘AC’ Newberry was looking for a ride as well, so we headed out on one of Marty HC’s routes from Coffs to Taylors Arm.
It was nice. I haven’t been doing much riding lately, so I felt as rusty as hell. My last ride was the Ducati Multistrada Enduro a couple of weeks ago, and I felt the bike did most of that ride for me. As usual when I get back on an old-school bike with no electronics, I spent most of the morning in the wrong gear, stalling and cocking up the braking. Darren on his DR was carving up and generally looked to be having a great time. He’d fitted a VSM case saver, and he reckons it gives him an extra five horsepower because it looks so horn. It SO does! It’s a great-looking bit of gear.
We trundled along, stopping here and there and having a look at the scenery, until we arrived at Kosekai lookout, where Darren pointed out the Dominator had an oil leak.
Sure enough, it looked like oil was weeping from the banjo fitting at the top of the external oil line behind the head. I’ve had it leak from there before, and a little torque on the bolt fixed it. This time – after burning my fingertips on the bolt – I could hardly move bolt at all. Maybe one-tenth of a turn, and I was packing it I’d strip the thing. There was only a smear of oil on the case, so I decided to leave it alone. I’ll get it back to Dan Vaughan this week. I suspect it may need new crush washers, and there a couple of other small bits and pieces could be attended to.
While I was fiddling about with that problem, Darren casually pointed out the joining link in the chain was a bit suss, too.
I carry a spare joining link, but I was in no mood to replace that one right then and there. The link actually looked fine. It was the locking plate that looked loose. It looked as though the O-rings behind it had disappeared. I was pretty confident it’d get me home, so we carried on.
After a coffee (for me) and something called ’50 Lashes’ (for AC), we headed to our respective homes. Dazz lives at Taylors Arm, so I very much enjoyed a quiet cruise along the road to home. I know plenty of riders think being on the bitumen isn’t really ‘riding’, but I enjoy it a lot. Roads like the one from Taylors Arm to Macksville are especially nice.
Meanwhile, I see the Ramsays have a full house for their Mount Kaputar run, and I’m not surprised. The adventure-riding community is a small one, and word soon gets around when someone’s doing good things. I’ll bet that’s going to be a great fun weekend, and if Dave fronts up with some ANZAC bikkies it’ll be the icing on the cake.
Also, in what’s kind of sad, I see Boris is finishing up with Detour Trail Tours.
It’s kind of not sad, too, because Boris is happy about the situation. He’s decided it’s time for a change, and he wants more time with his family, so I reckon he’s a legend for having the brains and courage to see what’s important.
Still, Boris is a great character, and I have some huge and warm memories of rides and goofy fun events that are thanks to Boris. He always welcomed me on a ride, often set me up with bikes, and I always admired him for running what I believed to be a sharp, professional tour outfit. I only know of a few truly professional trail tour companies in Australia. Coffs Detour was one of them, and one of the best. Boris also embraced, and brought a great deal of colour to, Longest Day, one of my pet projects. He and Dan Vaughan still hold the record distance for that ride. It was Boris who introduced me to Mick Crutch. Mick and I don’t ride together a lot, but when we do, I’m always comfortable knowing I’m riding with one of the best-prepared, most competent and capable riding partners a bloke could ever hope for. We’ve shared some epic Longest Day rides.
One of my favourite memories of Boris was riding the A4DE in Coffs – I think it was 2008 – and as I was slogging along through the bush, a maniac burst onto the trail thrashing about with a machete. It looked like an unbalanced helicopter rotor the way that thing was slashing and whirring around.
It was Boris. He’d set the course for that national championship, and was doing some last-minute clearing – during the event – for some reason I never had time to discover.
The adrenalin squirt got me through the rest of the day, though. So that was good.
So it’s with a tinge of sadness I see Boris move on, but at the same time, I say, “Onya, mate. And thanks for all the good times. There’ve been heaps of them.”
I’ll drop the Dominator back to Dan V this week, and while that’s a bugger, I’ve been spending a bit of time on my trials bike lately. It always improves my riding – and right now it needs a lot of improvement, I can tell you – and I enjoy it a lot, so I’m guessing that’s the riding I’ll be doing this week.
The next ride I see on my own horizon is a run on the 2016 BMW F800GS for work, and then the Vince Strang Ride on the ANZAC weekend.
There’s a couple of things to look forward to!