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December 14th, 2011 | Australasia

South to Forbes – Another 1000 km ride…!!

Great ride today, clocking up over 1000 km for the fourth time in Australia and the seventh time on my World Tour…

Final chin-wag with Mark as I prepare to leave Brisbane...

By the end of the day, I would have ridden far enough to reach Sydney if I had chosen to take that route...

I left Brisbane at 6.30 am, and arrived in the small town of Forbes at 7.30 pm, but this time, unlike last week’s long ride that finished in complete darkness, the sun was still shining…!! No Wallaby dodging today…!!

My route took me south-east to Warwick, and then cut across a wide swathe of countryside to hook up with the Newell Highway at the border town of Goondiwindi…

“Border…??” you may ask… Well, Australian states are so large, they might as well be separate countries…!! Goondiwindi is on the border between Queensland and New South Wales, and sits on the northern banks of the Macintyre River…

This old church in Warwick was being renovated... The grounds were closed, so I could not take a closer look...

I stopped at the edge of town, close to the bridge and did a quick calculation to ascertain if I would get to my next planned fuel stop without too much stress… By now, I had a very good idea, of how far I could get on a tank, bearing in mind the speed and terrain I was riding at and in…

Hard-hitting messages like this are commonplace throughout Australia...

Satisfied that I could make it if I went easy on the throttle, I covered the next 125 kilometres at a slower pace than I was used to, but one which gave me time to take a breather, so to speak, and enjoy the rolling countryside I was riding in…

Most of the traffic seemed to consist of road trains and other large freight haulers, on one particular section of road, eight of them were driving nose to tail, drafting each other…

I saw them coming and prepared for the massive wave of turbulence I knew they must be generating… The ensuing blast of air, as the first truck came abreast of me, almost took my breath away, and for the next eternity, I had to wrestle the Big Fella away from the swinging trailers, as the vacuum they had created threatened to suck me against this “extra long road-train”….

My left elbow had not been “tested” for some time, and I believed that it was on the mend, but after the jerking it got while I was being buffeted by the trucks, I quickly realised that it was far from being an injury that I could begin to forget about…

In this wheat and grain growing area, silos such as this one dot the landscape and can be found in almost every small town you ride through...

The town of Moree is famous for having the largest Pecan Nut plantation in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 75 000 trees make up the Trawalla Pecan Nut Farm, located to the east of town.

The damage caused by massive flooding earlier this year is still evident in Queensland and New South Wales...

The rich dark soil in this area also support olive trees, cotton and wheat… Hundreds of hectares of fields already harvested, line the road for many kilometres to the north and south of Moree…

On many stretches of the roads running west of the Great Dividing Range, roadworks to repair flood damage from earlier this year, are still in progress…

The low lying areas of the region were inundated with water, and many of the smaller bridges on the Newell Highway had been washed away completely…

The recent rains had not helped matters either, and it was clear that the teams working on the highway were racing to get their repair work done before this season’s downpours begin… On more than one occasion, I was forced to join the long queue of cars waiting to pass a narrow section of road that was under repair…

I was hoping to clear Dobbo and reach Forbes, 150 km beyond that, before nightfall...

I had to smile when I saw the bit about "Sound Proof Units"... It reminded me of the hotel in Aelaide I had stayed in... At one point, I thought a Gorilla had escaped from the local zoo and was having his wicked way with the occupant...

After refueling in Moree, I turned the heat up again, and gave the Big Fella his head…. He needed no second invitation after the last few hours of “slow” 100 km/h riding, and with a surge, we powered away and headed due south towards Coonabarabran…

Considering the 180 kgs that the Big Fella is carrying, I am still amazed at the acceleration that this bike generates… I don’t think I will ever tire of the feeling of power that travels through the seat of my pants and up my spine, whenever I pin the throttle back to its stop…!!

The afternoon seemed to fly by… We gobbled up hundreds of kilometres in a single big hit, riding the tank from full to empty without stopping, from Moree to Dobbo, covering 381 km…!!

While I stood refueling the Big Fella, I discovered that I had in fact “lost” an hour during this ride, because New South Wales was in a different time zone to Queensland…!! I was a little confused by this, because I was riding to the east, and should have been gaining time… But then I remembered the oft repeated jibe about Queensland  : “One hour and one hundred years behind New South Wales”… This is in reference to Queenslanders “Hillbilly” reputation…!!

The sun was still high enough in the sky to allow me to take the next 150 km at a leisurely pace again, having broken the back of the day’s ride with my last long stint…

Mmmm... Tough choice...!! I do so hate being late...!! Would that be badly crushed or just slightly crushed...??

Arrived in Forbes after 13 hours in the saddle and having ridden over a 1000 km from Brisbane... Tired...?? Just a tad...!!

I cruised into the small town of Forbes about an hour and a half later, with enough daylight in hand to make me consider having a bash at reaching Wyalong, 100 km further on… I had already covered 1020 km for the day, and decided to call it quits and find a decent room before dusk settled over the land…

The end of a long day... Man and machine take a break in Forbes, New South Wales...

I settled on the Lake Forbes Motel on the eastern edge of this small town, and haggled with the desk clerk for a few minutes before giving in and accepting his best price for a room…

I rode around the back and parked in front of the room allocated to me, and then stepped off the bike for the last time today, patting the tank and taking a slow walk around to check that all the gear was still in place… I had lost a water bottle along the way earlier that morning, and wanted to see how it had slipped out of the cargo net…

The following day, I would be riding down to Melbourne, about 850 km from Forbes on the route I had planned, and hopefully, that will really be my last long ride in Australia…!!

My thoughts are already taking wing to the windswept wastes of Patagonia, and the tougher rides I will have to make there…

Today was a good ride which allowed me to determine my current levels of stamina and endurance, and I am happy to say that I feel ready to tackle what for me has always been one of the most daunting parts of my ride around the world…

I have been to “The Top of the World” (Nordkapp, August 2010) on the Big Fella, and now we were heading for the most southern city in the world, Ushuaia… Also known as Fin del Mundo, or the “End of the World”…

But first, we had to get to Melbourne…!!

©GBWT 2011

1 comment to South to Forbes – Another 1000 km ride…!!

  • Margie Gush

    can’t believe that tomorrow you will be in the same city as our middle daughter!!! all the best for the next stage of your adventure – a very blessed Christmas to you too as we will not be near any internet for about 2 weeks!! lots of love from us all The Gushes

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