It is amazing what you can fit into a short time. We pretended that we were actually going on holidays by having two nights camping. We didn’t leave as early as we would have liked on Friday because we had to pick up Kevin’s bike from its first 1000km service. Then we had to find some new gear to keep us dry and comfortable on our big trip next year. Grandpa was cashed up and just had to have the whole BMW suit.
I had lots of fun packing and fitting things into my panniers, then realised that I had everything in- stove, food, clothes, sleeping bag etc. and Kevin would not have anything in his side except his spare pair of socks and undies. That was OK because the 2 litre bottle of home brew fitted in perfectly standing up and a bottle of wine as well as water. Good to know that I will have room to take another tshirt.
Lots of people don’t get that winter is the best time for camping but not always for riding motorbikes. By the time we got to Goulburn at 4pm, it was getting very chilly. We stopped for fuel and added an extra layer…and turned on the heated hand grips! What luxury. Heading out to find as many dirt roads as we could, the first detour was via Roslyn to Laggan. That road heads up over the hills and lots of old sheep properties with beautiful homesteads and shearing sheds. The scenery was great, but it just got colder and colder and then darker. Getting closer to Laggan, we descended a bit and it did get a little warmer. We have had some wild weather this winter and thankfully we have missed out on the wild wind that must have blown through that area, there were branches and trees down everywhere. Of course the later it got the more chance there was of meeting kangaroos and we did see a few but kept out of their way.
We had planned to camp at Tuena and have dinner at the pub, except, when we got there, the pub was closed…for good. It has been a long time since we have been that way. The General Store is still open and has fuel, which is good to remember for next time. There didn’t seem to be much point staying in ‘town’, so we set off for the reserve on the Abercrombie River. By this time it was just about dark and it has been a very long time since we have used our ‘motorcycle’ tent. It took a while to remember how it went up but we soon had our ‘home’ ready. It was too dark to find dry wood to light a fire, the windblown timber was too green still to be of any use, so it would be an early night. I have had some fun trying out my food dehydrator and had brought along some dried up bolognaise as a trial. Half an hour in some hot water and add some noodles, it was much better than anything else you get in a packet.
Saturday morning was pretty foggy and cold enough to encourage some wood gathering for a warming fire. That filled in some time until the tent was drier and we were packed up and had figured out which way to go. We turned off onto the first available dirt road and were enjoying cruising along and had negotiated a few water splashes and was perhaps feeling a bit complacent, when the next water splash was much steeper and muddier. I couldn’t decide which way to go through and stopped to have a better look. Bad move…splat over I went. Damm. It was muddy and slippery.
I love travelling on our own, we came to an intersection and weren’t quite sure if we should turn there or not. Well it was heading in the right direction and it was a decent forestry road, so we should just have a look and see where it went. It turned out to be the right road and it passed through more sheep properties after the forest stopped. We found a really nice pub at Perthville just in time for lunch and the best burgers. Then we had to find our way through Bathurst to the Bridle Track. It has been a very long time since we have been along there. Much of the road is tarred now, but when it turned to dirt it was just as I remembered it. The road is still blocked before Hill End which makes the road really quiet and not many people out camping.
We set up camp and there was a lot of dry wood in the river from a flood earlier. Great, that gave the fire bug something to do and I liked the look of the hill across the road and set off to climb to the top. Wow, I went straight up and it didn’t take too long to admire the view from the top, then I saw the nice and gentle path back down and followed that.
It was a beautiful clear night and we were lucky that there was no moon which made for a great night looking at the stars. We were warm and toasty in our sleeping bags and didn’t realise how cold it was until we opened the flap in the morning and saw everything white and frozen. I haven’t seen frost so thick for a long time and there was so much on the seat of the bike, I could scrape it off and make a snowball!! We just had to wait then for the sun to come over the hills and start to warm us and dry out everything but there was plenty more wood to keep us warm in the meantime. After packing up we set off to find some dirt roads home again via Jerrong and Taralga. Everything went well and we learnt a few things we should do or not do next time and maybe we will head down the coast where it is warmer.