Our Anniversary

Gee, how time flies when you are having fun. Grandpa and I have been married for 40 YEARS! Yikes, that is a long time and many miles. We decided to celebrate with…a motorcycle ride. Why not? Nothing too far or fast and just by ourselves.

One place I have had my eye on to visit is Yarrangobilly Caves near the Snowy Mountains but that was all booked out. So I looked around that area as there is great riding wherever you go. An AirBnB search brought up a lovely little cottage by a river that sounded even better than the caves, and the place to ourselves.

Mudbrick cottage

Our rule is that whenever we go for a ride that we have to travel one new road. This makes planning the route fun. We are still trying to conquer the dirt road riding thing, so decided to detour off the highway at Yass to the Wee Jasper road. I have driven along this road and knew it was windy and narrow dirt road but that will be OK I thought and off we set. It was narrow and windy still but not too bad and a much more interesting way to get to Tumut and then to Tumbarumba.

Relaxing

Our little mudbrick cottage

As soon as we saw the little mudbrick cottage we knew we were home. If this place was for sale we would have bought it then and there and lived a long and happy retirement. We sat outside and listened to the river flowing nearby and had some celebratory drinks. It was amazing that there was so much water flowing considering how dry it has been lately. I kept an eye out all afternoon on the water as it looked like perfect Platypus habitat but no luck sighting one.

Paddy's River

Paddy’s River

Looking from the verandah

Sunday morning we went on another road not yet travelled, the Elliot Way and that was a treat. After turning onto Snowy Mountains Highway, we came to the turn off to Yarrangobilly Caves, so I turned down to have a look, it was only 6km. It might not seem like a long way but the road was very narrow and windy and dirt again, so narrow and windy in fact, that they made it one way. Maybe another day we will stay and check out the caves and thermal pool, but not today.

Cheers to us!

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2017 National Veteran Motorcycle rally- and other fun stuff

This event comes around every 2 years and it was the first time I got to ride a veteran (pre-1919) motorcycle. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, the 1914 Douglas has a clutch, 2 gears and brakes. We set off for the long drive to Nuriootpa, South Australia, across the Hay Plain and I had decided to break up the trip with a night camping out.

We have driven past Yanga National Park a few times, so this is where we set up camp by the muddy Murrumbidgee River for some peace and quiet.

I was looking forward to some nice fresh fruit and stocked up at a roadside stall near Mildura with mandarins and oranges. I knew about the fruit fly exclusion zone, so didn’t bring any fruit from home, but forgot about the rigid quarantine inspections at the SA border. Dammm. There goes my nice fresh fruit. So then I had to buy some more fruit and got walnuts too.

We arrived at the rally just as the earlier arrivals were setting off for a short warmup run before the rally proper on Monday. I hadn’t had time to have a practice run on the bike and wasn’t feeling too energetic so I was a bit apprehensive about jumping on with about 120 other old bikes and taking off. So I rested on Monday, then had a practice ride around the oval, run starting it, using the foot clutch, valve lifter and air and fuel levers. OK, I think I will be right for Tuesday. Negotiating STOP signs, traffic lights and other traffic is a bit nerve racking, so Grandpa did the short ride through town until the morning tea stop, then I hopped on and rode through the beautiful, green Barossa Valley to lunch and then Grandpa had the ride back into to town. That plan worked really well. Those 500cc’s might be more than one hundred years old, but they work really well, even accelerating uphill past other bikes.

Douglas

Our Douggie

Now a week is a long time to be looking at old bikes and listening to old blokes talk about old bikes and watching them work on old bikes, so of course I also had a plan to go for a walk. The Heysen Trail passes nearby, it is a 1000km walking track from the coast south of Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges. Paula and I were going to walk about 20-30km overnight. We started through farmland with sheep grazing on the green grass. There were numerous hills covered in bush and pine plantations and communication and fire towers. There was a stone wall hiding in the bush and so many wildflowers out in the spring.

We camped at the Rocky Paddock campsite with what looked like manicured lawns courtesy of the hundreds of kangaroos living in the forest. Along the trail are some lovely places to stay and we passed the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ set up with beds, a fireplace, a toilet and water tank. It was so beautiful I could live there.

Then it was back to the caravan park which had a creek and parks around it. There was a bush garden growing endangered plants and harvesting seed, and a bush chapel if you felt inclined.

The only thing left to do then was to drive 14 hours back home again, until next time.