The time has come to do our fully loaded test ride. The object of this ride is to FULLY load Olga with enough stuff to travel around the world and ride fairly hard all day, find a pub, sleep, and then come home. Easy.
It was decided by the navigator, Janice, that about 350 ks would be enough, so our destination was to be Scone in the Hunter Valley, NSW.
Bathurst, Mudgee, Ulan, Merriwa, Scone, Muswellbrook, Bylong, Rylstone, Bathurst. This route gives us a bit of everything. Slow, steep, rough country roads, a bit of smooth main highway, traffic. Our first stop was at Sofala for a quick luggage and bridge check.
Saturday morning was wet. All day was wet. Light misty rain that kept the wet weather gear on but also kept us both hot and sweaty.
The ride to Mudgee was as expected, however as we arrived for a morning tea stop Olga's transmission went CLUNK. Not the noise I wanted to hear. We had passed a bike shop on the way in so back we went, as it was still raining and a workshop would be very much appreciated. Saturday was a quiet morning for the local Kawasaki dealer so he made us room in his workshop to operate. My initial thought was drive shaft universal joint. Adjust the swing arm a bit sideways, both ways and the noise was still there. Disconnect the uni from the gearbox, no clunk. Put back together, do up TIGHT, no noise. Phew. This took about an hour, so no time to explore Mudgee, it was off to Merriwa for a late lunch. The noise didn't return so we kept going.
As we pulled up for lunch the bike shop owners drove past. They had to go to Sandy Hollow but instead of going the direct way, they followed us without us knowing. It says a lot for country people as to how generous they are. If you ever need a new Kawasaki on anything bike related, go to the Mudgee dealer and tell them Olga the Outfit sent you.
After a late lunch it was off to Scone via a road we hadn't been on before. Great road, scenic rock formations and a bike behaving itself. BLISS.
We stayed and ate at the Royal Hotel. Good basic rooms, spotlessy clean and a counter meal worth riding 350k's for. After a few beers and food it was time for a walk around town then sleep. The pub room was only about 50 metres from the train track but I heard no trains.
Seeing as we ate at the pub for tea, we would have beeakfast at a cafe. Share the $$ around. Nothing open for breakfast, so off to Muswellbrook. Still nothing open, so off to McBreakfast. Good coffee and toast.
After breckie it was time to head home. We rode up the main street Denman to find all the cafes open for breakfast. Next time. From there it was to Sandy Hollow, turn left and onto my favorite bit of motor cycling road from Sandy Hollow to Rylstone through the Bylong Valley.
Along the way we were passed by a GS rider, big wave. We passed him at Bylong while he was having a coffee, then he passes us again. Coming up out of the valley is steep and slow. GS man is sitting on a hair pin bend to take photos of us at speed. He must have a VERY SLOW camera. Pulling up this hill Olga starts to do silly things like pulling very hard to the left. Stop and GS stops behind us. Ths sidecar shock absorber had decided to fail causing the sidecar to sag, thus causing the brake to come on on hard right handers. Easily disconnected. GS man had an ADV Rider sticker on his helmet, used to race a BMW at Mount Panorama and was on for a yarn. I reckon the bike took 5 minutes to fix and we talked for over an hour. We hadn't even got the bikes right off the road and every car and bike that went passed slowed down to see if all was OK.
After exchanging names and email addresses it was off to Rylstone for a late delicious lunch at Gallery 47 in the main street. The waitress wasn't happy with the look of the long black coffee she made me so she made another. She said the creme wasn't to her liking. Perfect coffee and a great meal. Home time.
Finally home at 4.00pm. 700 k's of hard but very enjoyable work. Back wheel off to check a wheel bearing, wobbly wheel and the high, low beam switch off to see why it melted. Wheel bearings OK, just a bit loose and a bad connection causing a very fine spark in the switch. Easy fix. The shock absorber will be rebuilt in the next day or so, then it's time to give her a wash and polish and send her on holidays to England.