Tuesday, 11 September 2012 15:32
Ed Joshua reports on the 2012 Soup Run:
The usual activity busied the home and family in showers and breakfast but today was a little different from the norm - Today was “SOUP 2012”. For starters I was in IO Bio tights! It was far too warm to wear all my clothes for breakfast so I covered up in the basics much to the amusement of my daughters and SWMBO suggested I was a wet Egyptian – in denial. Anyway breakfast was cleaned up, I failed to get the question of the day on ABC radio, the weather was said to be showers but the sun was shining. I farewelled the family and set off for fuel for Sheila (BMW R1150GSA) and then to wait in the sun at the Macquarie Inn until my cohorts arrived.
Soup had been planned and discussed by the PiRiders(NSW DPI motorcyclists) and FLTourers(Lazy people who get lost on motorcycles) and the Dubbo and Western Plains Ulysses group(fast Old farts) for a few months and it had almost become a tradition as motorcyclists gathered to the fray to meet the challenge of winter riding somewhere for a bowl of soup and then home again.
John (Yamaha 1300) and Moldy (Triumph Tiger) and Rabbit (Yamaha 1300) arrived for a quick chat prior to starting at 8.35 am. The planned route was explained – Golden Highway to Spring Plains Road, turn right, Layes Creek, Gulgong, Mudgee, Lue, Rylstone for fuel and morning tea, then up the Bylong Valley Way to Denman for some soup, then back through Bylong to Mudgee and home through Goolma. All were happy with the plan and we could adjust it as time and ability waned. The sun was shining but it was cool in the shade of the trees along the Golden Highway, the grass was green and the sheep and cows were out grazing so all was right with the world as I was inside my helmet and not my office. I led the way remembering all that Rabbit had discussed about leading a ride so I kept my pace to what I was comfortable with until we got to Spring Plains road when we could make up a little time. I contemplated recent discussions about the number of foxes along this road and could not see a one, not even a carcase so the baits that the LHPA rangers and I had been distributing to the local farmers must have worked their magic and controlled a large number of them. Then the road was taken up by trucks and graders and bob cats etc... so we slowed and traversed the road works and then back up to speed for all the lovely corners, keeping the eyes peeled for Mr Skippy, he wasn’t up for breakfast or had finished and had gone for a lay down at Layes Creek.
We traversed Gulgong and the bladder was starting to scream from the cups of tea I had at breakfast. I battled on through the fog at Mudgee and enjoyed the Lue road, more road work on the 65km corner to straighten it out, buggar. We pressed on to Roilstun. I arrived in town with the crew behind and rode up to the bakery for morning tea. Peter’s bike was parked in the street but where was the team? I rode back along the street to find them and they were all filling up at the petrol station, so I joined in and then we went and had morning coffee and caught up with Peter (DR650 loaded) Peter was on his way to Wiseman’s Ferry for the start of the APC Rally ~7500 km trip through 4 states with 130 other riders over ~7000 km dirt and on the circuit. Google APC Rally to find out more if you’re into that kind of adventure and have the time and inclination. Peter started off up the Bylong valley way as we finished coffee and then to we rode on up the road.
The Bylong Valley way is great since it was sealed but it is peppered with pot holes from the mining trucks and other traffic so it can be treacherous unless you concentrate and apply all your riding skills to enjoy the myriad corners compiled for your riding pleasure through the Murrumbo crater and along the Goulburn River until it meets the Hunter River near Denman. At Rilston we discussed the Yarrawa Diversion so I turned right just after St James vineyard and collected the ride together for a venture over dale, right at Yarrawa bridge and through dairy farms, grids and culverts with the smell of the country to add spice to our day prior to soup at Denman Hotel.
The Central Coast and Narrabri team had assembled at the table booked by Ian so we said “Gidday!-)” to old friends and enjoyed our soup – Chicken and sweet corn with crusty bread and the company of motorcyclist from around NSW and other guests at the hotel for lunch. The Orange team arrived later so we took more time to catch up with them but time was getting away. We discussed how the day’s ride was a bit like shearing as we had done two hours and then smoko followed by another two hours and lunch, and mused as to how we were going to see the day out? John was concerned about the roos on the way to Dubbo after dark so he chose to take the Golden Highway home instead of another helping of the Bylong Valley way, we said our farewells. Rabbit, Moldy and I chose a second helping of the way through Bylong to home and Rabbit asked if we could stop to see the outline of the Murrumbo Crater as he had heard me talk of it but had only seen the road, pot holes and corners. We headed over the Yarrawa Bridge and along the way, we climbed Cox’s Gap and into the Murrumbo crater once inside I pulled over to outline the rim to Rabbit and Moldy. Many of the Orange crew rushed by, Moldy suggested we should get going before any more craters appeared! I Think the idea of a large meteorite striking the earth to form this huge landscape 10 kms across put the shivers up his spine. We continued over the Murrumbo Creek and up the other side of the crater to Bylong, where we stopped to fuel and I bought a couple of bottles of Two Rivers red for SWMBO to enjoy over dinner later, and we enjoyed a chat over a pipe and a drink – afternoon smoko. We rode on again and a rainbow appeared contrast up against the red escarpment of the Bylong Valley, a few drops of rain on the visor and a little more care in the corners but the new metzler was gripping well after this morning’s running in so homeward we continued enjoying the feel of Sheila through corner after sweeping corner.
Heading for Roilstain we were stopped by Police and rescue services, Moldy said “Hope there wasn’t a bike involved in the road accident.” And I agreed. We waited silently until they had cleared the road of debris and we rode quietly past the wrecked 4wd and blanket covered lump on the side of the road. Someone’s family wouldn’t be home for dinner tonight. Later I found out it was a 66 year old male who had passed away in the accident.
This sobering view made us take a little more care to ensure we arrived home safely so the concentration was paramount and focus was on the road, the weather was looking showery as we turned for Lue. Back on the road again and through the traffic and now mud of the road works, through Lue and onto Mudgee, through town standing up stretching my back and legs, onto Gulgong, but not, turn left for Goolma and the rain started for real. I tried to get into a clear space on the road so the rain could wash the muck off my visor.
I knew that Rabbit and Moldy had oiled their leathers so the rain wouldn’t bother them and my suit could keep out rain so instead of stopping to unpack the wine and put on wet weather clothes we continued to battle the rain, trucks, traffic and the sun going down. This was not an easy battle as the sun shone through the rain, it reflected well of the wet road, the rain pelted down and the road grime kicked up by truck and car tyres mixed to make a deadly mixture preventing sight of the road. I had to do something to improve this so when the opportunity arrived to round up the truck and the cars I took it by twisting Sheilas ear hard. The rain washed the grime from my visor and I used the wiper blade on my glove to scrub the crap of the visor and to occasionally shield my eyes from the two suns shining at me so I could see the road. Eventually the rain abated and the traffic cleared as we reached Ballimore turn onto the Golden Highway.
I pulled onto the Golden Highway in front of a large B Double and was able to get around a couple of cars and into the clear vision without road grime spray as we traversed Ballimore road works. I twisted Sheilas ear once again as a Golf with a P plate came up close behind me to put some gap between us. I had to exercise my glutimus maximus and legs to get some blood flow into the muscles as I had been sitting on them for over two hours and the highway is a pain on a bike. This was the last run of the day and I was getting tired. I approached Mugga hill and saw Rabbit and Moldy in my Mirror and I waved goodbye as Rabbit turned for home. I battled through the afternoon traffic and headed for home myself. I pulled into the garage and there was a call on my mobile phone from home, so I walked in and said Hello, instead of answering it. 5.30 pm it must be knock off time. Feed the dog, get changed and catch up with the family news of the day. Organise dinner with the assistance of a glass of whiskey and accompanied by a glass of red. It was a good day.
There was a call on the mobile phone, from Moldy, where was Moldy? I had been so focussed on the road, the sun the rain and road grime; I had forgotten my fellow rider, he called to say he was home safe and sound. He had been caught behind the B-Double truck and in a mire of rain, mud spray, road grime, traffic, with water on both sides of his visor so he had stopped so he could clean up the situation and see where he was going, clear his visor and continued on to Trangie. I can say I was relieved he was safe and the Tiger was in one piece.
We had worked hard for our soup, 10 hours, 655 kms on Sheila’s odometer and add another 186 for Moldy on top of that to and fro Trangie. Morning smoke, soup for lunch and afternoon smoko intermingled with a myriad of corners, roads, traffic and weather. The sidewall of the tyres saw some good use during the day and not much had scrapped the road other than the centre stand in one very bumpy corner. It was good to catch up with old friends who I only see on motorcycle rides and to enjoy the great Australian out doors. Soup 2012 was run and done so now I can look forward to SOUP 2013, bring it ON!-)