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Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
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Earlier in the week I had the urge to get on the road for one last time before stepping back on the plane bound for cooler climes. The weather forecast was showing it to be warm and clear, the Mighty K was freshly serviced, and the old swag (camping gear) shaken free of dust and insects. I spread out a map of the region.

I like the Bunya Mountains in Queensland for camping. They're not a place of particularly spectacular views, due to heavy rainforest growth and no lofty peaks. But they're quiet, clean and green, and mostly free of people, owing to their somewhat remote location. I turned the pointy end that way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunya_Mountains

I headed out early in the day after a quick brekky to beat traffic and make some time, 'cause I wanted to ride on country roads instead of the main roadways. I allowed myself time to stop frequently to take a few happy snaps.

Wivenhoe Dam, where the floodwater which swamped the cities of Ipswich and Brisbane a few years back due to SEQ's much too-late 'controlled releases', came from. The water level is fairly high and that's good considering much of OZ is about to head back into persistent drought, El Niño style.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1210
A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1211
Wivenhoe Dam picninc area

After a quiet night in the hills I meandered south east down towards Crows Nest and Toowoomba and eventually found myself going in the direction of Narrabri NSW along the Newell Highway (so much for sticking to back roads) where near-constant roadworks had me stopping in the heat for fifteen-plus minute stretches. It's a good thing bikes can filter towards the front of the queue with no official repercussion. The cooling fan came on regularly. Once in Narrabri at dusk I camped at a caravan park along the river. The blowflies in the bush are as thick as thieves and if you don't wear a hat you're forever doing the Aussie salute. The other campers, mostly grey nomads, welcomed me generously with friendly convo and offers of a coldie. I slept well, but a grey dawn promised rain later on and heavy cloud was rolling in swiftly high overhead.

There's a great local road near Narrabri which, after crossing over the Mt Kaputar Range, gets you to the quaint country town of Bingara (site of one of the Aussie K rides recently). The sky continued grey and ominous with cloud. A breeze blew steadily. I made haste across the plain towards the distant range where the sun still shone.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1212
The wind-blown plain towards the low mountains

The Narrabri-Bingara road is a little-known shortcut up and over the low range through grazing lands and rugged, forested hills. The road follows a gentle river (with a fair amount of water in it) down the other side. I noted a large amount of cattle were being mustered due to a lack of grasses for feed. Later I read about it in a local newspaper. Up to 40,000 head are being slowly shuffled round from dried pasture to fresh grasslands. It's a substantial undertaking reminiscent of the 'olden days' of cattle droving.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1213
The road to Mt Kaputar.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1214
An empty old drover's cottage.

The urbanite in me was 'Jonesing' for a cuppa and as I was approaching Bingara round about cuppa time and after circulating the CBD for a mo', a café was located quick smart. I sat reading a paper and enjoying the view. I have to say that I much prefer the smoother taste of most Australian coffee over the tendency towards bitter (burnt) roasts on offer in Americaland. $tarbuck$ and the lot just can't get it right in my taste estimation.

In OZ, one can, with a straight face and without guile, waltz up to the counter and order a 'flat white' or a 'long black', but you'd better know what you'll get...

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1215
Good coffee (flat white) with freshly baked scones, jam and cream.

Sated, Copeton Dam and the road to Inverell and beyond were next on my agenda. But first, a quick squiz round this lovely country town and up to the lookout to the east of town.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1216
The CBD, Bingara NSW

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1217
Batterham's Lookout, Bingara NSW

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1218
Abandoned farm house and sheds

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1219
Copeton Dam

Next up later on, more piccies and travelogue of the road to near the coast, Glen Innes to Grafton on the Gwydir Highway, through the Gibraltar Range.


__________________________________________________

1987 K100RS, '89 K100 w/K1100RS engine, '93 Framed K11/K12 engine 'Big Block', '96 K1100RS, '09 K1300GT, '13 R1200RT-P, '95 R100 Mystic & '77 R75/7.

    

Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
Moderator
Moderator
I enjoyed the winding road down from the Copeton Dam and on into Inverell. As I rounded the bend going out of town I spotted the flashing blueberries and cherries on top of a cop car, so I slowed. Sure enough it was two coppers book-ending a group of bikies, the scruffy, Harley sort who're copping so much misery lately due to the Queensland government's gangland-bikie-media blitz-public safety-we'll fix-you-up crackdown. Now some might say what are the coppers just over the border in New South Wales doing stopping bikies from Queensland? The new Queensland laws are designed to 'chase' out the bikies, to move them on. This mob had their station wagon packed to the gunnels, a classic red Panhead in a trailer, and eight or nine Harleys of various vintage and rake. No club colours were evident, but this doesn't stop the constables from pulling them up. I rode conspicuously past as most heads turned towards me. I felt a pang of guilt as my red BMW doesn't exactly match the 'wanted' profile, but personally have sympathy towards the majority of cruiser or HD riders who are going about their own bloody business, that of simply piloting their preferred method of transport, two wheels.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1221
A view from the back side of the hills above Inverell, New South Wales.

At Glen Innes I stopped for petrol. It's a beaut town on the New England Highway with classic buildings all round.
A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1220

I had two and a half hours to make it across the range and down into the valley on the Gwydir Highway to get to Grafton, which is along the Pacific Highway on the banks of the Clarence River. Grey clouds were trailing me and I was chasing the clock. The Clarence is one of those wide, dark, slow-moving rivers that flows slowly across sugar cane fields. It carries an immense volume of water and when it floods it is a sight. But first to hand, getting down the Gibraltar Range.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1222
The Gwydir is a sweet, two-lane highway that after leaving Glen Innes cuts across rolling grazing land then into scrubby dry bush, followed by greener, moister temperate rainforest. This is evident by fig trees, leafier gum trees, and two-metre tall ferns that look like some ancient dinosaur food. The road really starts to wind, too. There's a coupla good lookouts with views of the valley floor below.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1223

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1224
The road down the range winds beautifully and is ideal for single track vehicles. I came upon a coupla small roadworks due to severe landslips blocking the road. These took no time to cross, as it was a Wednesday late-arvo and there wasn't much traffic, I was waved through quickly. I stopped at the sign announcing the park and lo and behold what must have been the largest cowflap I've even seen was smack in the middle of the layby! It was at least metre wide, no joke. The cows must be ginormous to leave marks this big. Thankfully it had hardened over, though some poor sod had driven through it, as evidenced by his tyre tracks and the gahd-awful stench and the increased blowfly activity about. I moooved on.

Remember me stopping for petrol in Glen Innes? Eighty kilometres into the tank the bike seemed to run out of steam pulling up hills. It came on as a stumble like a blocked fuel filter, then grew progressively worse. I had to downshift then keep the rpms low enough to climb the next hill. I pulled over. It idled rock steadily. It revved up without load, no worries. I engaged first gear and rode away. Ten kms later it did it again. I stopped again and checked the fuses for signs of one popping out. I looked at the (newly installed) four-pin connector on the RH side and popped open the fuel cap for signs of 'vapour lock'. Nada. All good. Once again I took off. The bike ran flawlessly until twenty kms further. I noticed the fuel gauge drop to near zero once as it began to stumble. This was a sign of loss of power to the fuel pump. I stopped again and revved her good and hard. She coughed and cleared, perhaps something had blocked the pickup screen....I rode on. The problem never did reoccur, though the fuel pump was making slightly more noise than usual and the RH side of the tank was warmer than I like. I was looking round for a place to camp up in those verdant hills as the sky grew heavy with cloud and the scent of rain filled my nostrils. I gave it some stick and headed east.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1225

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1226
The Gwydir Highway rolls and undulates down from the range and out through the valley. Speeds that feel comfortable are 90 to 130 km/h. There aren't many cops about.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1227
The Clarence River from South Grafton

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1310
That evening as I sat on the screened-in porch of the Crown Hotel at riverside, sipping schooners of Grafton Bitter (now brewed in Melbourne) I could see and hear the thunder and lightning flashing out across the distant hills I'd just come from. The drizzly rain began at dusk, and it was 34c humid degrees, but I was safely tucking into my delish pub counter meal, sipping another coldie and already dreaming of the next day's ride towards home.

Next up, the steady, soaking rain up the Summerland Way towards Casino and Lismore.


__________________________________________________

1987 K100RS, '89 K100 w/K1100RS engine, '93 Framed K11/K12 engine 'Big Block', '96 K1100RS, '09 K1300GT, '13 R1200RT-P, '95 R100 Mystic & '77 R75/7.

    

RT

RT
Life time member
Life time member
Another nice travelog TWB, loverly part of the state that is.
Who is that baldy guy you took a photo of, looks like he is having a good time.
Cheers
RT


__________________________________________________
2011 R1200RT
    

k-rider

k-rider
Life time member
Life time member
really nice looking roads there ;-)
and the colour of the bike on its last Picture !!!
beutifull:D


Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
Moderator
Moderator
@RT wrote:Another nice travelog TWB, loverly part of the state that is.
Who is that baldy guy you took a photo of, looks like he is having a good time.
Cheers
RT
I dunno. The bastard was at every stop I made. Bloody doppelganger.
scratch


__________________________________________________

1987 K100RS, '89 K100 w/K1100RS engine, '93 Framed K11/K12 engine 'Big Block', '96 K1100RS, '09 K1300GT, '13 R1200RT-P, '95 R100 Mystic & '77 R75/7.

    

BIG D

BIG D
Life time member
Life time member
Cool 

A brilliant report TWB, I did enjoy reading that and some great pics,
"I say" Tea and cream scones Do you have a slight touch of the pomme somewhere mate Very Happy

The old K looks as good as ever, it must have been a treat to ride her on a trip after some time stateside thanks again for sharing.

Okay its coffee not tea it was the scones that did it Very Happy 

BIG D

    

92KK 84WW Olaf

92KK 84WW Olaf
Life time member
Life time member
I really enjoyed that one. A very excellent post with a nice touch.


__________________________________________________
1992 K100LT 0193214 Bertha Alaska Blue 101,000 miles
1984 K100RT 0022575 Brutus Baja Red bought 36,000 now 89,150 miles
1997 K1100LT 0188024 Wotan Mystic Red 58,645 now 100,380 miles
1983 K100RS 0011171 Fricka 29,495 miles Damn K Pox Its a Bat outta Hell No 33,600 miles
    

Björn

Björn
Platinum member
Platinum member
Nice ride and fabolous pics. Enjoyed the coffee bit too, myself ready for a "long black" now Razz

Wish we ever had the chance of surely knowing that the next couple of days will be dry Smile


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In Thór's name we hit..... the road.
A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW R120011
    

K-BIKE

avatar
Life time member
Life time member
Great travelogue it was like being there. good on you mate you take us places most of us will never go and it is a privilege to be there with you via your writing.
Regards,
K-BIKE

    

mawhera

mawhera
Gold member
Gold member
Real nice pics, and country, great in very light traffic. Ride on mate. rick


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A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Nz_log10


Rick
K IWI land
New Zealand
    

Ed

Ed
Life time member
Life time member
I'm enjoying the ride postings, sounds like a nice stretch of the legs .
cheers Ed.


__________________________________________________
1987 K100RT  Ex- police        
1989 K100LT  Ol' Blue and "Kart" the Kamper trailer.  now KAPUT . 
1993 K1100RS  0194321         Colour #690 Silk Blue  aka " Smurfette"
2018 Kart upgrade.
A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW 10_x_110
    

Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
Moderator
Moderator
Thanks, you lot. That seems like ages ago now as I sit on a grey Sunday morning near Tacoma, Washington, sipping my first cuppa of the day, and getting ready to fly to L.A. for a two day seminar for work.

I had intended to add some more piccies and commentary on the last day of the ride up Summerland Way from Grafton to Bangalow, then to the Gold Coast hinterland and home to south of Brissy - it rained most of that morning. I made it a slow, meandering day off the motorway as much as possible. Perhaps I'll get a chance to post those pictures in a few day's time.

Cheers.


__________________________________________________

1987 K100RS, '89 K100 w/K1100RS engine, '93 Framed K11/K12 engine 'Big Block', '96 K1100RS, '09 K1300GT, '13 R1200RT-P, '95 R100 Mystic & '77 R75/7.

    

ausbrick

ausbrick
Silver member
Silver member
Half ya luck , looks brilliant trying to clear some time to do the same down here now its warming up.AB

    

Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
Moderator
Moderator
A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1311
Next day, The Crown Hotel, Grafton, NSW. During recent floods the water level in the Clarence River reached to the bottom of the outside deck.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1312
Jacarandas in full bloom. Grafton sponsors a Jacaranda Festival the last weekend of October. No prizes for guessing what colour the theme is.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1313
The Tweed River at Tumbulgum, NSW with Wollumbin (Captain Cook's Mt Warning) in the distant background. Taking a break after a day riding in the rain.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Dscn1314
A tumult of rolling waves and heavy, grey sky. The Tweed's entrance from Captain Cook's Point Danger, Tweed Heads NSW/Coolangatta Queensland.

Within an hour, after a serve of fish 'n' chips (crumbed Flake) and a cold stubby of James Squire's, taken whilst seated next to the incoming tide of brackish Tweed River, sated and satisfied, and with my last Aussie ride for another year over, I was home.

Now I've returned to 'The States' to work and toil for a while, but I expect to be opening the shed door and casting some Queensland sun onto the Mighty K within a year. I expect she'll be patiently waiting, as she does. I miss her already. The '04 R1150RT, herself a willing mount, will be my mistress in the meantime.


__________________________________________________

1987 K100RS, '89 K100 w/K1100RS engine, '93 Framed K11/K12 engine 'Big Block', '96 K1100RS, '09 K1300GT, '13 R1200RT-P, '95 R100 Mystic & '77 R75/7.

    

charlie99

charlie99
VIP
VIP
well written dazza

some familiar places along that route

enjoy the states ...but I bet it feels great when you get back down here ...just another bit of paradise that we all have around our neck of the woods .


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cheezy grin whilst riding, kinda bloke ....oh the joy !!!! ...... ( brick aviator )

'86 K100 RT..#0090401 ..."Gerty" ( Gertrude Von Clickandshift ) --------O%OA quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Au-log10

"redframe" rs "bitsa"  with many contributions from the k100 community ,,with many thanks
    

smithy

smithy
Life time member
Life time member
Great post TWB, enjoyed the read. For anyone that hasn't been to Grafton when the Jacaranda's are in bloom your missing something special. I employed an older lady in our bakery at Grafton that showed me a picture of Grafton in flood in  56, she had her boat tied to the balcony of the hotel at the clock tower monument in the main street. Every shop in Prince street Grafton was under water.


__________________________________________________
87 K100rs : Vin 9462 
86 K100rt : Vin 9901
Naked
98 K1100lt: Vin 8044
    

rosskko

rosskko
VIP
VIP
I did some work on a property not far north of Grafton many years ago. Lady had lost about $100,000 worth of property size from the floods reclaiming her land.

I cannot confirm, but she mentioned that the volume of Sydney harbour passed by her back fence every 10 seconds or so when in full flood.


__________________________________________________
1986 K100RT VIN 0093801K100RT with summer fairing for a northern visitor

Basic/2 6308802K100CJ  05/1988

K1100RS 0194321
    

smithy

smithy
Life time member
Life time member
I would believe that rossko, the Clarence river system is huge, two of it's biggest floods have been in 56 and 74 and I hope they don't see floods like that again as the levee banks that have been built around Grafton couldn't hold back that amount of water. We had 50 acres on the Orara river which feeds the Clarence, we lived there for over 18 years and have seen some big floods, and on some of those occasions have only been left with 5 acres of high ground, and it could take over a week for waters to recede as the Clarence makes it's way to sea Via Yamba. I cant remember what year it was , but I remember seeing south Grafton under water and the stink of roten carpet ect: lingered for weeks. If your ever in Grafton there is a hotel called Roches family hotel just off Prince street behind the Crown hotel that has a flood hight measureing stick it's worth a look .


__________________________________________________
87 K100rs : Vin 9462 
86 K100rt : Vin 9901
Naked
98 K1100lt: Vin 8044
    

AJ.Valente

AJ.Valente
Life time member
Life time member
Thanks for that travel log. The roads look real good, at least the ones you're showing. I think you'll like the PacNW roads as they are all very good and well maintained. I used to romp around the twisty-tourney 2-lane highways of the Olympic Peninsula on my old R90S passing motor homes and truck campers like they were standing still (but received my first Big Ticket after passing an unmarked cop car--woops Sad ).

BTW, have been inspired by some of your "light" modifications and will be upgrading to 3-spoke wheels this winter, though will use the rarefied K75S rim up front in order to keep the original brake system. I also like the red stripe around the edge of the rim and hope you don't mind if I do the same. Rolling Eyes


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'98 K1200RS Marrakesh Red

My old K100 RT Pics and Mods
    

Two Wheels Better

Two Wheels Better
Moderator
Moderator
Thanks, AJ. I hope you like the mods you do to your bike. Mine turned out well for me and are just what I was seeking: something newer and more functional in the handling department and the engine room, without too much fuss. All mods are easily doable and the parts 'n' pieces are readily available, thanks to BMW's once more common 'parts bin engineering'.

I'm familiar with most of the good roads round here having lived and worked in the PNW between Portland OR and Tacoma/Seattle on and off since 2000 when I came back from the UK. One of my very favourites (when the squids aren't out pretending to road race on it) is NF25 out the back of Mt St Helens. Another is Skate Creek Road near Ashland WA (south side of Mt Rainier), and yet another is little-known Ben Howard road along the Skykomish River heading towards Sultan WA. Of course, those are just a few of the many. I spent a long June weekend out on the Olympic Peninsula and finally had the chance to ride up Hurricane Ridge. The sun came out near the top and the view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca was exceptional. The winding mountain road down through the clouds from 1600 metres (5200') was fantastic! The clouds broke open once again, revealing Port Angeles on the American side and the Island of Vancouver across the Strait over in Canada. I agree, many fine roads.

A quick, three day, 1600km jaunt through SE Queensland and Northern NSW Hurric10
Hurricane Ridge, Washington state.


__________________________________________________

1987 K100RS, '89 K100 w/K1100RS engine, '93 Framed K11/K12 engine 'Big Block', '96 K1100RS, '09 K1300GT, '13 R1200RT-P, '95 R100 Mystic & '77 R75/7.

    

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