no politics...just ridin'

Crossing Mt Jerusalem

What started off as a nice leisurely Sunday morning ride for breakfast turned into a mini adventure, complete with dirt tracks, water crossings and getting caught in one of the heaviest downpours I have ever ridden in.

Kat & I dropped into Steve & Denitta's place around 8:30am on Sunday to see if they wanted to join us for the scoot down the motorway to enjoy breakfast overlooking the beach at Byron. After allowing them a half hour to get ready, we headed south, crossed the border and in what was a first for me, rode the recently completed stretch of motorway between the Burringbar and the Brunswick Heads turn-offs (big deal - flat straight and unexciting, but better than what used to be there). After a slight hiccup with our leader (Denitta!!) missing the Byron exit, we eventually made it and joined the end of the line of traffic entering the town, but managed to jump a few spots whilst fast tracking to the Beach Hotel.

We pulled up and left the bikes parked right out the front - we ate brunch and sat for a while taking in all the sights, and there were plenty!! Once done, we thought we would take the scenic route back via the Coolamon Scenic Drive and possibly end up back on the highway near Mullumbimby. We managed to follow this road and really enjoyed it, riding through some tight curves and straights with awesome views out to the coast and other sections where the trees totally enclosed the road. The surface in some spots was a bit rough but we were not travelling at great speed so it was bearable. We made our way through Mullumbimby, but as we exited I managed to take the wrong turn (shhh - don't tell em - they thought I knew where I was going!!) - instead of heading straight out to the motorway we ended up on Main Arm Road, which took us through some beautiful contryside. We were also forced to cross a few of the flooded creeks on the many causeways along the way.

The further along this road we progressed the deeper the crossings were becoming and the more flood damage we were seeing, but we continued along to Upper Main Arm. It was here that we stopped and spoke to a fella who was clearing debris off the road - he told us that if we continued along this road we could make it to Uki, but we would have to ride through Mt Jerusalem National Park on dirt roads. I didn't particularly wish to return the way we came so we decided to continue. When the bitumen ran out and we were forced onto the dirt, I really began to think we should have turned back. The first part of dirt was deeply rutted from the rain that the area had experienced over the last week and where it wasn't, the surface was greasy from the wet clay like mud - not good on road tyres!!! After a quick chat, we again decided to continue, albeit very slowly.

A little further along once inside the National Park, the track improved heaps - it had obviously been well maintained by the NPWS and so remained pretty smooth. We made it to the top where the road branched off and stopped for a break - both Steve and Denitta were really enjoying the ride and so were we - almost felt like explorers as we had not seen any one else for a while. Off in the distance we could hear the thunder of an approaching storm so decided to get to Uki as soon as possible. The road running down was very steep in some places and Kat was holding onto me tighter than ever. I quickly learnt to use the engine (and not the brakes) to slow us as we decended on the loose surface - it worked really well. We all made it safely back onto the bitumen and thought we were ok for the short run into Uki and a beer at the pub - obviously we were wrong!

We didn't realise until a few km's further down the road that we still had a few flooded causeways to cross, with the last one being the deepest and the freakiest. On crossing the first of three, the thing that really stuck with me was the sideways force on the bike from the flow of the creek trying to pull you downstream. We finally came across the last and deepest and this was the time that I seriously considered returning the way we came over the mountain - it was probably about 400mm at the deepest part but was flowing fairly fast. Good ole Steveo thought bugger it and crossed first - he made it all the way, but just as he exited the bike stalled - that's what happens if you go too fast mate!! Kat & myself were up next - it was a battle trying to keep the bars heading in the right direction, but we made it no worries. Last was Denitta on her new Nightster - she took it slowly as well, but you could see her being forced towards the edge due to the lack of weight. She exited the water much faster than what she had entered, but we honestly thought she was going under for a few short seconds - not bad for someone who has only been riding for a short time - she is a trooper!!

We stopped on the other side and watched as a two cars turned around and headed back, not willing to cross what we just had. Steve's Speedmaster had swallowed a bit of water into the airbox causing it to stall as he exited the crossing - once we had removed the filter, it started fine. We got to Uki and had a quick beer at the pub before deciding to head for Murwillumbah and then home. Some of the damage caused by the flooding in the rivers was incredible - The Chef over on Motorcycle Paradise has posted some great photos which show the extent of the flooding and damage caused to roads in the area. After passing through Murwillumbah and seeing how full the Tweed was, we were diverted via Cudgen, due to the main connecting road to the motorway being flooded.

This is about when the rain started - it wasn't too bad until we were a fair bit further up the highway. When it came down, it really came down hard - so hard that I reckon it was about the worst rain I had ridden in. And you know what topped it off?? About 5 minutes after it stopped we were in full sun again and managed to dry a little before riding into Steve & Denitta's place. This was definitely a memorable ride and one I will do again, but maybe this time when the region isn't flooded.

Kat, me and Denitta overlooking Byron Bay at the start of Coolamon Scenic Drive

Up on top of Mt Jerusalem

You can see how good the roads looked

On our way down the other side

Kat & I on the GSX crossing one of the smaller causeways

Steveo crossing at speed....

...and Denitta following!

The water logged Trumpy after crossing the deepest causeway

Map showing the route we took over Mt Jerusalem

The section of dirt through Mt Jerusalem National Park



Blogger KT Did said...

Now that's an adventure! You hit all elements. Still with all the mud and rain it is SOOO BEAUTIFUL! Can't believe how beautifully green it is--very striking.
Glad you are safe and had a great time!

5:55 AM  
Blogger Biker Betty said...

I agree, you have beautiful country to ride in. Sounded like a great ride and adventure. Are you coming into summer now?

2:44 PM  
Blogger Beaker said...

Betty, summer has been with us for a while now and as you may have gathered, it is our wet season. The weather gets very hot and humid and is not the best of seasons for riding but we do!!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Lucky said...

Wow, that was an intense ride! I've tried taking my Triumph slightly off-road - it scared the pants off of me.

So, after I got my pants back on, I got myself back on to the pavement and pretended I'd never done that...

3:41 PM  
Blogger IronChef said...

Wondered where that road went Beaker, might try it myself when this rain stops and it drys out. Ex dirt bike rider myself so I am used to the loose feel on unsealed roads.

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks boring as hell

1:13 PM  

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