There I was, holed up in a very nice motel room for a couple of days because it was raining and COLD (40 degrees). I was OK but when Julia said “are you going to spend your whole vacation in that motel", I decided to “man up” and hit the road. The next morning it was 36 degrees and raining but I HAD to go (must show Julia). Rain gear and electric clothing on with thermostat up to 10, and away I went (crying like a little girl). After about and hour and actually turning the thermostat down to 5, I was beginning to think that it would be OK, THEN, here comes the altitude. 3000 feet and the thermostat was back up to 10 and I was looking for 15. :=) Fortunately, I was at altitude for only a little while. The Oxley Highway is a great motorcycle road.
It is number 30 in Peter Thoeming’s book I have on 100 top rides in Australia. The cold was overridden by the perfect motorcycle road. I passed thru a town called Gunnedah. It billed itself as “The Koala Capital of Australia”.
At lunch, a fellow told me about a little dirt road and a grove of eucalyptus trees that I should check out for Koalas.
I rode down there and parked the bike, sat quietly (as the fellow had told me to do) searching the tree tops for 30 minutes and sure enough, NO KOALAS! :=) I did catch these two watching me though.
Rode on disappointed (I‘ll look for a zoo). The next larger town was Tamworth which bills itself as the “Country Music Capital of Australia”. It also boasts of the “Largest Playable Guitar in the World“. I didn’t play it cause I was looking for beaches and warm weather. Made it to the coast at Port Macquarie. Warm weather, sunshine and beaches at last. I am a HAPPY BOY!!.
Actually had to stop and put away some clothing cause I was TOO WARM! :=) It actually got a little “tropical”. Lots of bananas, fruit, and sugar cane. Riding up the coast north was like riding thru the giant redwoods north of San Francisco but with eucalyptus trees closing in on the road. If you are a surfer (and I know my friend Jason at work is) then this is the place to be. I am sure he would recognize names like Lighthouse, Shelly, and Angels Beaches. The riding was excellent. I followed a great road along a river for many miles and also rode beside the ocean for many miles OD’ing on scenery.
I passed thru Ballina on the way north. Australia has some outstanding “bigs” and Ballina has the Big Prawn.
A couple of days riding north has me at Byron Bay, about 100 miles south of Brisbane. In the 1970’s Byron Bay was a hippie retreat (many of which are still here but drawing a pension) :=) but now it is a surfer and backpacker “hang out” (I may very well be the oldest “dude” in town) although Paul Hogan and Olivia Newton John used to live here. Byron Bay also has a GREAT Lighthouse.
It is 22 meters high, 113 meters above sea level and can be seen for 42 miles out at sea. It is also within walking (climbing) distance of the Easterly most point on the Australia mainland. The views are spectacular (except for that one the old guy jumped into). :=)
I have a couple of weeks to go north to Cairns and then a couple of weeks to go east to Darwin to meet Cory. Looking forward to some leisurely riding, sight seeing, and taste testing!! :=)
Many more pictures here if interested.
Posted by Rick McDermed at September 08, 2008 12:33 AM GMT
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