As our big adventure on “Olga” the old girl is sneaking up on us at a rate of knots we needed to spend some more time on her. We hadn’t been away on a weekend fully loaded as yet, so last weekend was the time to test her out.
We looked at the map for a suitable destination a day’s ride away. Approximately 300 kms is sufficient on Olga, travelling at an average of about 80 kph. No huge days like on the other bikes. Scone looked to fit the bill and there were plenty of other options in the area should we change our mind.
Our first quick stop was down by the Turon River in Sofala. It is a lovely little park and there always seems to be someone stopped there. The footbridge used to be across the river, but it was washed away in the 1986 floods. There were big fund raisers to salvage, restore and reinstate the bridge, but it will never cross the river again. At least it is on show.
Unfortunately, it was wet and drizzly most of the way on Saturday.
Like all weekends away, our itinerary was based on our stomachs. Morning tea was planned for Mudgee. We always say we want to have a walk up and down the street, but are usually on our way somewhere, with no time to stop. As we drove into town we also discovered that the Farmers Markets were on. This looked promising, even though it was wet.
That was until we pulled up to park and heard a distinct CLUNK, CLUNK, CLUNK!!!!! That didn’t sound good. Oh well, let’s have a cuppa and then think about it. After a restorative coffee and cake it was decided to find a bike workshop, out of the rain, and see if Mick could find the problem.
The local Kawasaki dealers were very helpful. Mick had a tinker and a part was found to be a bit loose. Once tightened up TIGHT we were on our way again. We’ll look at Mudgee and it's Farmers Markets another time.
We travelled to Merriwa with no further problems. We had only been through this way a couple of times before and had only stopped for fuel. It is a lovely little town. When we pulled up I noticed a craft shop that looked worth checking out after lunch. Our rather late lunch was in a cafe that was doing a roaring trade. A great spot to stop. Next to walk it off, in the drizzle. I made a bee line to the craft shop to find that it closed at 2.30pm. It was now about 2.40pm! Blast! It looked quite interesting through the windows too. In front of the craft shop was a nice big op shop as well. Of course it was closed too. Oh well, I saved my money. We might just have to make another visit and ensure that we arrive before lunch.
The road from Merriwa to Scone was new to us and is a really pretty drive. The rock formations were stunning. They just looked liked they needed to be climbed. (It would be a funny sight seeing me trying to climb them.)
Once we arrived in Scone the rain cleared. It had been getting quite hot and muggy as we travelled north. We were very happy to get out of our wet weather jackets as we were starting to boil in them.
The weekend wasn’t to be too expensive, so we just stayed in the Royal Hotel, which was basic but clean and the pub puts on a terrific counter meal. As the evening was quite warm we had a stroll around the town. There are some beautiful old homes there and some rather tasty looking shops as well. Once again, Scone is usually one of those towns that you just pass through, or just stop quickly at the park. It was a good opportunity to have a bit better look.
The only downside was that there is no cafe open on a Sunday morning for breakfast. Therefore, we headed to Muswellbrook, only to find the same situation. The best option was a McBreakfast, which was still very nice.
Our ride home was through our favourite valley, the Bylong Valley. The weather was grey, but we didn’t have to put the wet weather gear on. The temperature was just about perfect for motorcycling.
We saw another BMW bike a couple of times and he took our photo as we were coming up the steep windys as we leave the valley.
This was just as the bike started to do some funny things as we went around right hand corners, so once we were back on the flat we pulled over to see what the problem was. The sidecar shock absorber had started to fail and when it hit a bump or we went around around a right hand corner it was causing the sidecar brake to go on. Not ideal. Mick was able to disconnect it, so, once again, we were on our way.
The fellow on the other BMW pulled over when we stopped, as motorcyclists do, and we ended up yarning for about an hour on the side of the road. It turns out that he attends many of the same rallies as us, so I’m sure we’ll bump into him again.
Once we were underway again we stopped in Rylstone for the yummiest lunch at Gallery 47. It was a great way to top off a fine weekend.
The aim of the run was to see how the bike travelled loaded up with our luggage. That side of things worked perfectly. Yes, we did have a few issues with the bike, but they were all easily fixed by Mick. That is one advantage of an older bike, unlike electronically programmed bikes.
We’ll still do some more test riding before Olga heads off in early March for her big adventure.