Touring with Gibbo:
1/2 Lap of Oz: NSW
Day 16: Clare to Hay Cont.
We have always had a time slot of 8am to 4pm to ride to avoid, as much as possible, the suicide wildlife, but given the slow start, we did not arrive in Hay until just after 5pm... too late and I have to say the last hour I was nervous. The motel at Hay was welcome and welcoming to us. It's always a relief to have a comfy bed after a long day in the saddle.
A good night's rest, good tucker and 1,000 beers at the local pub, will always do it for you. Hay's a surprisingly nice town, which unlike many country towns, seems to be holding its own and not going backwards, which is a good thing.
Day 17: Hay to Parks.
This is where the 3 amigos again became the dynamic duo. Grant headed back to his digs in Castlemaine and Bill and I continued on. Bill was going to go as far as he could that day, in the end calling it quits and Dunedoo, and I was staying the night with good friends in Parks. We said farewell on the outskirts of Parks.
Beware as you leave Hay... There are no servos on the Mid Western Hwy., North East of Hay, only back across the river at the truck stop at the large roundabout on the South Western side.
Parks is an interesting town with a surprisingly difficult to navigate, with a very odd street layout, or it was to me. Anyway it was lovely to see our friends again, and a good night (with just the odd bottle of red) was had by all.
Day 18: Parks to Armidale.
The lonesome biker made an early start and took the backroad to Dunedoo, then up through Coolah to Tamworth to Armidale. It's a decent day in the saddle 540kms or so. The further I went east the cooler it got. I know these roads pretty well, and it's always nice to get back the familiar after so many days on new roads. The weather forecast for Armidale tomorrow did not look good... how unusual... not! My friends in Armidale did ask me, 'are you OK with and early start?'... 'Sure', I said.
Day 19: Armidale to home.
What I didn't know was that they were moving house this day... truly! The house was in boxes and they wanted to be on the road at 5am. This is truly uncivilised. I slept between the tea chests that night, but all good. We compromised and got up at 5.30am and left by 6.30am. It was not actually raining, thought it may as well have been. I mounted the Vulcan for the final day's ride and it was 4 degrees. Thank God for heated handgrips. I was dreading Ebor, but looking forward to coffee at Fusspots. Ebor was foggy, 1 degree C and Fusspots had not opened yet. This is not good.... this is bad! Add to this it had just started raining...crap! It was a slow trip down the mountain. Having hardly laid the bike over the the last 8,000kms, I have to say the first few corners were dodgy, but after a few I got into the hang of it again. I thawed out by Grafton made it home sweet home, Squeakygate Retreat by late morning... no damage done, and glad to be home... sorta.