View Full Version : 3921km, 10 days, 1 man - a long and pointless adventure

03-07-2007, 06:27 PM
Day 1: Cold and wet and cold and wet

The plan was simple enough. Mel was going to Brisbane to work for the week. I figured I might as well take the week off work, ride down from Townsville, spend a week catching up with mates and sampling some local roads, then ride home again, all the while staying in a flash CBD hotel with wife. Kind of like a riding trip away without the guilt!

What I ended up getting was a 10 day, 3921km epic ball tearer of a ride! And I’ll attempt over the next few weeks to put my long and pointless ride report here…


A few days prior to the trip starting I figured out an alternative route down and back, to keep me away from the mind numbing and license damaging over-enforced boredom of highway 1. But the week leading up to the trip was not good. A cold and wet snap hit Queensland, and the few days before I took off were the coldest June days on record in town, and it poured rain. I was not looking forward to the prospect of getting wet on a long ride.

The evening before my mate from Emerald came over came over, we downed a few bourbons and played guitar, and about 2200 the rain got even heavier… I went to bed listening to the rain on the roof, feeling ever so slightly pissed off, but hopeful it would clear up.

Then when I got up it wasn’t raining. It very dark and overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining as I rugged up in about 15 layers and set off from the house…


Well, I got about 3km before it started bucketing down. And I mean bucketing…. I wasn’t happy. The entire 400km to Mackay down the coast, it poured rain and was freezing. Just north of Mackay I turned off the highway, and took an alternative route through the mountains and cane fields of the Pioneer Valley. I strongly recommend this shortcut to avoid the traffic, avoid delays in Mackay, and have a ball on the back roads. This route cut out about 1 hour for me. It would have been insanely fun but, hey hey, it was still raining and cold. By this time my legs and hands were totally frozen, and the bike was handling atrociously on the atomically slippery surface. Had two massive front end slides the two time I tried to push it. Not fun…

I rejoined highway 1 just south of Sarina. I had planned to much out up into the mountains again to avoid the 330km of nothingness that is the stretch from Sarina into Rockhampton, and take a heap of photos and stuff. But I was so wet, cold and angry I decided no photos, no stopping, no scenic detour, I’m just blasting straight down the highway into Rocky. So I sat myself in the seat, and just hammered.

I arrived in Rocky about 7 hours after I left Townsville. Wet, cold, numb, tired, crabby. I quickly stopped for fuel, headed just south of town, then turned south west up to Mt Morgan, and up onto the highlands, away from the main highway and hopefully out of the rain. Wrong.

The Mt Morgan range from Rocky to Biloela is about 150km of really entertaining winding roads, and the climb up the escarpment is as exciting as any road in Queensland. But in the rain and cold it was just hard, super slippery, and in my numb cold state my riding was shocking to say the least. At the top of the range it was about 10 degrees, and raining, so I turned my grips up to full blast, tucked my right hand under my left armpit, gritted my teeth and just rode though 1.5 hours of freezing hell. It normally wouldn’t bother me too much, but on top of the 7 hours of being wet and frozen, I wasn’t happy. My hands were completely numb, it felt like the grips were doing nothing, even when I gripped on as hard as I could. Turns out that was a VERY bad idea, but more on that later.

Anyway about 15km north of Biloela, there was a line in the sky, everything to the north was wet, and not a cloud in sight to the south. It was bizarre, like a big shower curtain in the sky. At 1650 in the afternoon, I saw the sun, weak and watery, for the first time that day. That made me feel a bit better. I rode through Biloela, south into a little 1 horse town called Thangool. Stopped out the front of the pub, took my gloves off, went inside. There was a fire in there and a heap of drunk happy people. This was the place I needed to be. I grabbed a room there for the night, took off my wet gear and put it in front of the heater, had a quick shower, then retired to the bar. A few beers were consumed while chatting with locals about all manner of things. They seemed confident that the rain would be all gone tomorrow, and I’d have a great ride. I tended to agree with them, I resolved to get back into the groove tomorrow, take heaps of photos, and have some fun heading into Brisbane.

I headed off to my room early to bed, I’d done 878km in 9 hours, in freezing cold terrible weather. It was one of the few days on a bike I’ve had where I just didn’t really want to be there. As I lay there, my hand that was on the throttle really started to ache, it kind of felt like it was burning. No drama I thought, all will be good tomorrow, then drifted off into a very deep half drunk sleep…

To be continued…

03-07-2007, 06:58 PM
[/img]At the top of the range it was about 10 degrees

10 degrees????? Yeah, that could be regarded as cold - in Queensland..... :lol: :lol:
But you're right, Leon, when the fingers go numb, the fun stops. Pete and I had a cold morning once when we stayed overnight in Jamieson. We had about 1/2cm of ice on the bikes in the morning. The ride to breakfast in Mansfield was about 40km long - and I swear, we were frozen solid by the time we got there. Heated grips were on full blast, but couldnt feel them one bit.
Luckily for us though, the sun was out and the day got less crisp as we went on.
Cant wait for the next instalment of your ride.

03-07-2007, 07:19 PM
Great to see you got a decent ride in. That weather was shocking cold and wet eh! Bad enough inside, let alone outside riding in it.
Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip. You might have headed back past home.

03-07-2007, 07:40 PM
:dance: :dance:

Sounds like a bit of a miserable start, but surely things will turn from here....?
Can't wait for the next bit!
:chug: :chug:

04-07-2007, 05:15 AM
Pointless? Riding is never pointless!
; )

04-07-2007, 07:11 PM
Keep it coming Leon.

Its been a while since I have been on a nice long ride

05-07-2007, 08:25 PM
Day 2: Burning into Brisbane – 654km of pain and fun!


Man oh man I had a great sleep. 10 hours of being totally zonked out. I woke up in my heated room, couldn’t hear any rain. Looked out the window, everything in Thangool was pretty wet from the dew but no rain. The day was looking up.

But my right hand was in serious pain. I had a series of pretty decent blisters on my hand, like burns. I presumed they were from when I had the grip up to full noise, but my hand was too numb from the cold to feel it burning. Hanging on as tight as I could probably wasn’t the smartest thing either. I had hurt my hand actually quite badly, but decided to press on with the aid of a few band aids.

I wandered outside to stretch a bit before jumping onto the bike – see what Thangool had to offer…

The town of Thangool.

Fog on the hills.

Original Thangool railway siding.

I jumped on the bike and rocketed out of town, using the throttle and brake very gingerly with my sore hand, into the fog. The fog was a cracker. Really thick, cold and wet, on the tops of the hills it wasn’t too bad, but in the valleys visibility was down to about 20m and I was crawling along at 60km/h.

Fog on top of the hills.

The sun was trying desperately to bust through, but not having much luck.

This foggy wetness went on for about an hour. As I was heading into Monto I was getting so wet and the bike had water beading all over it, I was thinking it was actually raining. Through the fog I saw a car on the side of the road with the hazard lights on, and an old guy walking along in front of it. I pulled up and yelled if he was ok. He said no worries, he was just putting up the free driver reviver signs. I said “WHAT!” as I had ear plugs in – he must have thought I was a bit of a retard. He explained again, and told me I should stop in for a cup of tea a few km up the road at the kiosk and warm up. I wasn’t going to argue so I pressed on and pulled into the little roadside stop at the north side of the little mountain town of Monto.

Still wet, still freezing.

Say what you want about BMW, but their glove drying and warming system is state of the art!

So I rock down to where they are dishing out the tea and coffee. Old mate there makes me a tea, and invites me inside the kiosk to sit by the heater. I sat there chatting to old mate about this and that, with steam coming off me from the heater evaporating the water. Eventually the old guy on the side of the road shows up. You know how every now and again you come across an old guy who loves meeting new people so he can use his favourite jokes on you? Well this guy had a whole act with magic tricks, prop comedy, jokes, the whole lot. And man it was priceless! What was even funnier is the other guy had heard it all before, so they were a true odd couple. One dude cracking gags and the other guy rolling his eyes. I love those old guys with their funny routines! Anyway before I knew I’d been sitting there for about 1.5 hours laughing at these guys antics, sitting in the kiosk in front of the heater drinking cups of tea. I bid them farewell, old mate gave me a few of his little magic tricks and showed me how to use them to win beers down the pub, and off I went. When I got back on the bike the fog had lifted a few metres off ground level, enough to keep me dry, and I felt pretty good. Top work fellas!


I continued on down the Burnett highway, this is a great way into Brisbane. All winding, all mountainous, pretty much deserted.



By about 1000 the fog had almost lifted and the last of the cloud was breaking up.

The sore hand.

Then all of a sudden went around a corner and bang the weather was perfect. Stop for a photo, put the screen back down, and enjoy the winding back roads all the way down to Crows Nest, down the escarpment at Hampton, and up to Somerset Dam for a coffee before I rode into Brisbane via Mt Glorious.

This area up here is just amazing. Phenomenal windy roads, beautiful scenery, very relaxing.




People make a lot of noise about Mt Glorious being one of the best roads in Queensland, if not Australia. I was pretty sceptical as I rode up, but the millions of bikes everywhere gave me a clue. A couple of road signs also let on what I was in for…




Well my opinion of Mt Glorious is it is totally AWESOME!! Despite my full loaded BMW, my sore hand and the fact I’d already done 600km that day, I was back into moronic racer mode. I’d pull over, wait for sports bikes, round them up, pull over again, wait for some bikes heading the other way, chase them down, pull over, and head back the other way again! What fun!! I can’t wait to get down there without luggage and in my road race leathers.





After doing that few times I trundled out into the urban sprawl of the state capital, and proceeded into the CBD, the wrong way down a few one way streets (whoops!) and into the flashy hotel Melissa was already booked into. Had to park my bike in one of those stacker, elevator lift things. Took me a while to figure out the best way, but my bike was always upright when I came out.


It was nice to be there finally. I was tired, smelly, but mainly pumped from the last 50km of madness. I unpacked all my gear, had a cup of tea and looked out the window at the clearing weather over the capital from our room.


A whole week with nothing to do but ride around, go to new places, catch up with old friend and drink bourbon cans – life is tough for some!

To be continued…

07-07-2007, 01:40 PM
Ohhh...yeah !!
Isn't it always the folks along the way (like those 2 old geezers) that become one of the most unforgettable parts of a trip?

Whoa, some serious mileage there....woulda liked to see the bandaids on yer rear-end, too :P :P
Shit, do the grips get THAT hot? :shock: :shock:
Have a perler of a week in Brissie mate...and leave the Mt. Glorious Rossi's alone for the time being, they might get an inkling of what's coming at them, once you've moved south permanently and go to find another "sandbox" to play in :thumbs: :thumbs:

Nice shots...as usual....especially those, where the sunlight fights with the fog.....noice!

10-07-2007, 06:35 PM
:whistle: :scull: :scull: :whistle:
...and?? Awrite then....don't tell any of the details of that cosy week in the hotel, fiiiine :lol: .... but, how'd the return leg go?

14-07-2007, 05:40 PM
Great story, shame about the weather, I had a trip like that recently.
Couldnt feel my grips working so just held on harder until I felt a stinging sensation.

Then I knew it was me and not the grips.......I learned how to ride my bike in the wet that week though. Better handling than I thought.


17-07-2007, 06:18 PM

Come on Leon...how'd it go from here? :watch:

28-07-2007, 02:00 PM
Top write up :chug:

Some great roads - I love those deserted side roads, and surprised how well maintained many of them are.

01-08-2007, 08:38 AM
I'm really dragging the chain on finishing this, and I can't see myself getting to it for another couple of weeks due to some other stuff that's come up (moving to Brisbane), but I'll get to it eventually!

Thanks for your patience! :oops:


01-08-2007, 11:22 AM
Thanks for your patience! :oops:


Patiernce ...my arse.
Running outta popcorn ! :wink: :woot: