Summertime is so busy for my fruit business, this ride was months ago.
With a few extra days off work presented a chance to go north for a couple of days with an overnight at Drake. Forecast rain and father’s day kept the numbers down with only Troy keen to go. The plan was to follow volume one and reassess the riding with Troy, who had never been and after countless times see how I still enjoyed it.
It would be interesting to see what the damage the fires had caused and if there were any issues.
Off to the Promised Land
Troy turned up early keen despite a big party the night before so we were straight into the tight corners and loose gravel of my road. Always a bit excitable on the start of rides meant a few long waits for troy as I used my home-court advantage to stretch the throttle cable and use up some energy.
We made almost 15km before the rain started, thankfully light but we tiptoed up Dorrigo mountain which is notorious for diesel spills and thankfully the rain stopped just over the mountain as temperatures plummeted.
Dirt warmed us slightly through Chaelundi, being early we had time to admire the majestic views from some of the numerous lookouts along the way. Some views were better than others.
Liberation trail runs parallel to the road, where the huge fire of the same name started. The protesters must be proud that in the 80’s they closed all the firetrails and locked up this area. The damage through here was unbelievable with so many dead trees, it might take a while before they can call it old-growth again
The road was in excellent condition if a little dusty, and we made great time to Dalmorton. a huge group of riders was regrouped in front of a historic hut so we bolted for the tunnel.
Troy was enjoying the faster open road and keeping up with no problem. We leapfrogged as I stopped to take photos.
After hearing about the tunnel and looking forward to his first through the tunnel experience he was slightly disappointed it was over so soon. Next time he might go a bit slower so it lasts longer, experience counts.
More fast-flowing dirt followed, we passed push bike riders, 4wd’s, campers as the road twisted and turned, hugging the steep slopes on the edge of the river. It seems everyone except my other mates weren’t worried about fathers day.
As we moved away from the river back into the fire-ravaged bush we took Tommy’s rock turn and climbed over the large erosion mounds to the superb lookout and trig point.
The view from these two is well worth the climb. A couple of DR’s turned up from Inverell.
We jumped back down and before long we were climbing up onto the range and crossing the highway.
After some fast dirt the road began to narrow to a farm track. A road closed on a small bridge which still easily supported bike traffic and into Deepwater for an overdue lunch.
We heard Spirabo might be closed but it was open and all good. The forest was mostly freshly charred and a few big rocks embedded into the road provided unexpected airtime but thankfully left still round rims.
Tenterfield water supply looked full as we turned off towards Rocky River road which was smooth, dry, and very slippery. As we increased our corner count following the river, the rain started again, still only light we high tailed it to the Lunatic Hotel for some well-deserved dinner and drinks.
Cruising the Clarence
An early start found us exploring a different way to Tabulam which added 5km of dirt but also a few km of extra tar.
After refueling we headed south, the bitumen fairies had been at work taking some more dirt away.
We peeled off and followed the river past numerous campsites with fantastic scenery to Jackadery.
A quick transport down the highway before we were back into the forest. Ramornie like most forests in our area had been burnt to a crisp, the roads were in good nick and we detoured down to the Nymbodia river for a look.
With so many trees burnt Troy must have been getting emotional, so when an unburnt section appeared Troy wasted no time in riding straight through a corner and giving a young tree a hug. Such caring was a beautiful thing to see.
More crispy forest later we were jumping our way down from the range into the back of Coffs rainforest and home early.
We have now covered the bulk of the burned areas from Volume one from Drake to Gingers Creek (Oxley Highway) and pleased to say it is all in good condition and rideable.