no politics...just ridin'

Biloela & Gladstone

I set off on Thursday evening for the two hour ride up to Noosa to meet up with Steve & Denitta for our planned ride up to Biloela. On the way out to the motorway I passed a couple of RBT's, one operating and the other setting up, and as I followed the motorway north, I witnessed another two on feeder roads. This was amazing, as in my twelve odd years of living here in Queensland I have always thought that the police could/should show a far greater presence on the road - I had never seen such a visual blitz in one commute. It kind of set the scene for my ride up the motorway. I took it nice and easy and as the night was perfect for riding, I was able to really, really enjoy it - there is something very special to me about riding on a balmy summers night with little traffic to distract you. I rode into Noosa just after 10pm and yet again managed to get lost - those farkin roundabouts in Noosa (seems like hundreds of em) always throw my sense of direction. I pulled over, rang Steve and eventually found my way to their unit right on the river.

We rose early, geared up and set off for the long haul to Biloela. The day was shaping up to be as the majority had been for the last few weeks - hot and humid with the ever present threat of rain. Our first stop was in Gympie at the local Maccas for some breakfast. From here we progressed slowly in the traffic to the Wide Bay Hwy turn off about 10kms north - once off the main strip, we were able to increase the pace a bit due to the lack of said traffic. The road to Kilkiven is a really good bike road with plenty of straight, flat sections between sweepers along with a few hilly, windy bits. God it was good!! On reaching Kilkiven we took the road to Gayndah - now what the sign failed to tell us was that this road was only a connection to the Burnett Hwy - a single, bumpy lane of bitumen that was more suited to a road trail bike than ours. You know what made it even more laughable was when Denitta described the ride over this section to us - being chucked around and then half way along seeing a rough surface sign - she couldn't believe it! I gotta admit that there was a freshly paved section through some hills that ran for about 2kms, but that was the extent of the good surface.

After about 40 kms of this we finally reached and turned onto the Burnett Hwy - relief at last with a nice wide and relatively smooth strip to ride on. It was on this stretch that things livened up a little - I took off for a bit of a blat and reached Gayndah just before 10am but it took another 15 to 20 minutes before Steve & Denitta showed. When they did finally arrive I got the news that Denitta managed to cop a stone in the face whilst riding with her visor up. She removed her helmet and man, she looked like Fat Alberts sister (but we'll just stick with WeeMan) - her face was really swollen on one side and after a while the other side started to blow up. The thing that really impressed me though was that she didn't stop once hit - she just kept on riding. She did say that because she was a little behind Steve, she didn't really want to stop - there was no point feeling sorry for herself on the side of the road when she could do that whilst riding - what a trooper!! Anyway, we found a chemist and they gave us some ice to try and reduce some of the swelling. After checking her face, it was pretty obvious that it wasn't a stone that hit her coz there was no broken skin - must have been an insect that then decided to sting her as it's way of payback before dying. We spent a fair while in Gayndah under the wide, cool pub balcony just to give her a bit of a break and get right for riding again.

GSX having a breather

The thin, bumpy strip between Kilkivan and the Burnett Hwy

Our first break

Wide & cool footpath in Gayndah

Ouch!! Denitta's face before the swelling really set in

Straight section of bitumen where Dodge's bike burned

Taken in the spot they reckon he left the bike - my bike is where the Speedmaster burned

From Gayndah our progress slowed up quite a bit - Denitta's face was swelling so much that her eyes were starting to close - not good. We pulled up in Eidsvold and managed to get more ice for her - it was amazing how quickly the swelling reduced once applied. We continued on once she felt ok and not too far out of Monto arrived at the site where Dodge came off - a bit hard to miss with the huge burn mark and melted aluminum still embedded in the bitumen. It was a little freaky being here and walking along the road trying to determine what actually happened - we did notice that the council had resurfaced a small section that we believe was the cause of his accident. Other than that the surface was not too bad, a little up and down with the occasional rutt created by the many trucks that traverse this road. All I can say is that he is a very lucky man - the distance between where he was found and where his bike ended up indicate that he was really hooking along. We all make mistakes and learn from them - Dodge is still recovering and is yet to join us back on the road, but he shouldn't be too far off.

We rode into Monto just on lunchtime and headed straight to one of the pubs for a drink and more ice for Denitta's face. It was such a relief to be out of the sun and in the cool. Denitta's face was starting to respond and was now looking a little better, although still swollen. Whilst there, Steveo made a call to Koff and let him know that we were not far away. We stayed on for another half hour and then got back on the bikes for the last 90kms into Biloela. Just as we left Monto Koff rode past us, turned around and then joined us for the last stretch. After a riding for a while with such a good road under us I decided it was time for blatting so off I took, slicing through the sweepers and straights and really having a great time - a little later I thought about why Koff was taking it easy, then realised that he had probably passed cops on the way out to meet us, so I backed off. I pulled up just on the outskirts of Biloela and waited for the others - we then rode together to Trish and Koffs place where we were greeted by Trish and a nice cold beer. Koff cooked us a great BBQ for tucker and I then crashed - I was knackered from the long, hot ride and needed some rest.

Saturday morning we were up early. We had talked about riding up to Emerald (another 300kms) but wisely decided against it and instead took a tour of the Biloela region with our hosts. Koff was talking about selling the Mean Streak for various reasons and getting a naked bike similar to mine (think he is keen on the MT-01), so I thought I would let him and Trish ride the GSX for the day. This meant that I would finally get to ride a v-twin again - I really enjoyed being back in that lounge chair feet forward riding position again with the thump of the 1600cc motor beneath me. My wrists finally got a break from me leaning on them, but I had forgotten how harsh this riding position can be on your back after hitting a few major bumps along the way!! Not to worry - I still really enjoyed riding it. Koff & Trish's little tour took us out to a rather large flying fox colony first up and then onto the Callide Dam which sits adjacent to the power station and coal mine - not much water in the dam though. From here we took some of the long, straight and flat back roads heading north. We pulled up at a small out-the-way place called Goovigen - apparently the pub here is good on a Friday night. It was kind of surreal though, almost like a scene from a movie. There was a small windmill on the main intersection squeaking into the light breeze that was blowing, and absolutely no sign of life - you could almost hear that banjo playing! From here we joined the Leichardt Hwy and rode up to Dululu, where the Burnett and Leichardt Hwys intersect. We stopped at the pub (one of only a few buildings) for some relief from the heat. This pub was great - lots of local history on the walls and a fair bit of character. It looked as if quite a few people stop off here for a drink before continuing the drive inland or out to the coast. We had a drink out in the shaded beer garden and then decided to head back to Koff & Trish's place to escape the heat. On the way back to Biloela, we stopped off at the roadworks where they are both currently working - Koff gave us the low-down on what's going on while we stood beneath a few large bottle trees. Later that day after a decent feed, we headed off in the car just on dusk to check out the Callide coal mine.

On Sunday our plan was to head out to Gladstone to visit a couple of Steve & Denitta's friends. We were fed and geared up before saying our goodbyes to Koff & Trish - I gotta say that we had been really well looked after by them and it was great to catch up again - thanks heaps for your hospitality guys - we really appreciated it! We followed the Dawson Hwy towards the coast and I gotta say that this road was fantastic. The usual straights with sweeping corners as well as a cool section of tight, twisty stuff. The road surface was probably better than any of the other roads we had ridden over on this trip and it was just too tempting for me, yet again. I let the GSX off the leash and enjoyed this ride immensely, especially as there was very little traffic to deal with. One thing I did notice was the number of bikes on this road - it is obviously a favorite if you live in Gladstone and I can see why. I pulled into Calliope????? just before the intersection with the Bruce Hwy and got myself a drink - Steve & Denitta rode past but didn't see me turn into the shops. I caught up with them on the other side of the Bruce and we continued into Gladstone and out to Ash & Jill's place. I met them for the first time and we then spent a bit of time chatting out on their deck. I had a bit of a sleep later on while Steve & Denitta headed down to the dry dock to help Ash with a bit of work he needed to finish on his boat. After they returned we headed down to the waterfront for a BBQ dinner which was fantastic - our arms and legs provided the mozzies with a good feed too!

Monday morning and the part I hate about trips away - the thought of returning home and back to the daily grind. After thanking Ash & Jill for their hospitality, we set off on the 550km trip south. We had decided to leave early as I needed to be back to attend an appointment. The ride home was straight down the main highway and this obviously meant we were gonna see a few cops, so nothing silly today. The highway was busy but it was nice to be back on a great surface again. Our first stop was at the Miriam Vale Shell servo where we just had to get one of their renowned crab sandwiches for breakfast - it was great. Further along we stopped for a break in Childers and visited the backpackers memorial. The memorial, although smallish, was really well done. Childers is an attractive, old style Aussie country town with a lot of stone buildings flanking the main street - it was also pretty busy. We spent an hour or so there and then pushed onwards, stopping in Tiaro for lunch at the pub - and it was one of the best steak sandwiches I had ever had for just $7! The closer to Brisbane we got, the more congested the highway became, although there were a few good bits on the motorway just past the Noosa turn off. As I had thought, we did see lots of cops on the road either cruising or booking drivers - at one stage Steve and I passed one heading the other way and thought he may come after us as we were traveling a little faster than we should have been, but luckily he didn't Our last stop together was at the Caboolture BP where we fueled up and had a drink - we continued along the motorway and then onto the Gateway before hitting major congestion - apparently a truck had rolled and blocked the motorway so we crawled our way through the traffic and off the motorway to a diversion. This is where I last saw Steve & Denitta as she was a little nervous about lane splitting for this distance. I left them, made it back onto the motorway and finally got home at around 4pm.

This was my last big ride for a while and even though it was hot, I really enjoyed it. I had never ridden a lot of the roads we covered and so it was a bit of an adventure into the unknown, and with Steve & Denitta providing various forms of entertainment along the way, it is one I will remember for a long time.

Koff, me, Denitta & steve along with a few thousand flying foxes

Callide Dam with the power station off in the distance

The guys way up in front of me on this very long, straight & flat bit of road

Goovigen, where it all happens at 8 on a Sunday morning!!

Bikes & bottle tree

Denitta, Steve, Trish & Koff at the Dululu pub

Ash just returning after taking the Nightster for a spin

In Gladstone - Denitta, Steve, Jill & Ash

Miriam Vale servo - the home of the best crab sandwich - check out Santa!

Map of the route we took



Blogger IronChef said...

Hey Beaker, good trip. So with their feet and bar position are all the cruisers hard on the lower back? My knees give me grief now days on long rides being bent up on upright bike (wrists are no prbs), so was thinking I'd enjoy stretching the legs out on a cruiser for tours ?

6:04 PM  
Blogger Beaker said...

Mate, I don't think they are that harsh on your back - I just hit a couple of fairly big bumps, and of course with all of your weight on your butt and not shared with your arms, it is the point that your body absorbs the rough roads.

I suppose the only way you will find out is by taking one on a longish ride. I do like the cruisers, but once I got the GSX I really felt part of the road. The cruisers seem to float a little and because of the harder compound tyres you do feel as if the wheels are not in full contact. But that's my experience and everyone is different.

If I ever went back, it would be for an M109 - they are a nice bike!!

11:13 AM  
Blogger IronChef said...

Ok tar. The 109 is also the one I keep looking at despite scraping its pegs on the small test ride. I also like the Vrods however they are mighty expensive and I'd still want to bling one of them more so would end up double the cost of the Suzuki. Will see what happens down the road a bit.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous cobb said...

Hey Chris, looks like that would have been a fantastic ride up to Billo and back. Done it many times in a Cage but not on my skoot. Gimme a hoy when your planning another ride like that and we shall see if we can accompany you for the run.

1:54 PM  

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