Well this was it, my first solo bike adventure! I have been riding for a few years now but have never ventured out onto the open road on my own. I just finished uni and had a week and a half before I was starting permanent work, so I decided to go away on the Super Sherpa to visit my parents in Young, NSW. I have done this trip several times in the car and each time I was able to tackle it in one day, so I figured 3 days on the bike would be a breeze!!
The plan was to leave Adelaide on the Monday, arriving in Young on the Wednesday and then travel through to Dubbo Thursday staying for a night, returning to Young Friday and then heading home on Saturday. A big trip but I figured I have done it all before in the car so it should be a piece of cake!!
I left home around 8:00am a little later then planned but that's ok. Unfortunately this meant I was stuck in the Monday morning traffic. Due to my large panniers I was unable to split traffic and was therefore at a stand still in the traffic with all the tin tops. By 9:30am I was out of the city and enjoying the ride through the Adelaide Hills. My first stop was in Mount Pleasant to put on some extra layers and check the map.
I was going on some roads which I had ever traveled on before and was amazed by how beautiful is around there.
I rode to Walker Flat and caught the punt across the Murray River. It is amazing there!! The scenery was fantastic.
From Walker Flat I rode to Swan Reach. Along the way the road runs parallel to the Murray River and the views are spectacular. We have had a lot of rain lately in these areas lately which meant the river was surprisingly full.
At Swan Reach it was time to re-fuel and head on towards Loxton. Halfway between Swan reach and Loxton it was time to stop for a lunch break and stretch.
I rolled into Loxton just after lunch time and had a quick stop here. A quick check of the map to see which direction to head in next and I was on my way. From Loxton I was heading to Mildura and was planning to stay there or somewhere near by that night. From Loxton to Mildura it was boring old highway the whole way. I arrived in Mildura just after 4.00 pm and decided it was too big a town to stay in. I consulted the map to see what places were around and settled on Robinvale. I phoned ahead to check the caravan park had a cabin, jumped back on Super Sherpa and headed for Robinvale.
They only had a deluxe cabin left but the guy gave me discount and the service was amazing. I will defiantly return here!
View from my cabin
All settled in for the night
The plan for today was to leave Robinvale early and head towards Jerilderie, 370 km away. I was up and ready to leave by 8.00. I had enough fuel to get me to Tooleybuc therefore the plan was to get a few clicks done early and then fill up there. I rolled into Tooleybuc only to realise they don't have fuel! Quick re-think and decide My only option is to head up to Balranald fill up and then back track.
After filling up and a quick break I headed back towards Kyalite discovering a dirt road heading in the direction I needed!! Jackpot!
This was a lovely dirt road to travel on. A nice break from sitting on the highway and battling a head wind! The surface was great with some small slippery spots to test my abilities.
Whilst traveling along I saw something large on the road ahead. At first I thought it was a large dog but as I got closer I realised it was a huge eagle! I tried to snap a picture but it flew away before I could get the camera out.
The dirt runs out and I continue to Deniliquin on the tar. Stop for fuel in Deniliquin and decide to push onto the next town for a break.
Arrive in Cargalo .
After consulting the map I decide to head towards Narrendera for the evening. Call ahead to book a cabin and jump back onto my loyal stead for the final leg of my days riding.
Quick stretch in Jerrilderie.
Arrive in Nerrandera about 5pm after a big day in the saddle.
Day 2 saw me ride approx. 470km, battle locust swarms, a head wind, short detour and smiling the whole way!!
Today was to be a short days ride to Young. I was taking the long way to get there as I wanted to travel on a little dirt again. I was up early and on the road at 7.30am ready for a fun days riding. After filling up I was on my way to find a dirt road my Atlas told me existed. After traveling along the highway for about 50 min and no sign of the road I was hoping to take I thought I better stop and check the map.
The map tells me there is a road but I have no idea how to find it. Now looking at the map I have two options. 1 – take the main highway all the way into Young and be there in about 2 hours or 2 – continue on for 20km and take a different road back in the direction I just came.
I decide to take option 2. The idea of sitting on the highway all the way there does not excite me.
Although it was a big detour the road I decided to take was lovely.
There was hardly anyone else on the road so I felt I had the whole country side to myself.
A few small stops and I continue on the road towards Young. I traveled through Junee and Cootamundra and then arrived in Young at about 12.30 pm. I was exhausted but looking forward to surprising my Mum and Dad.
Mum and dad were surprised and Sherpa was happy to be unloaded and rested in the backyard for the day!!
I spent the rest of the day with family and relaxing. Very proud to have completed the first half of my first solo motorcycle adventure!
Today was a day of rest. I spent the day with my Cousin, who had just finished school for the year, and my Dad. A very quiet day with both rider and bike resting.
Another day of rest and spending time with family. Decided to do some of the touristy things today.
Visited the Chinese Memorial Gardens
After a visit to the Young Museum it was time to get ready for dinner out at my Aunty's. They have 12 baby lambs and it was feeding time while we were there.
Amazing country side:
After two days of rest I am ready to get back on the bike and head home. Sitting on Google maps planning my return trip has me very keen to get back on the bike.
Up early and all packed ready to go by 8 am. I fill up in Young before I leave so I can get a few clicks done before the weather warms up.
I have planned to again take roads which are away from the main highway and they are spectacular.
More beautiful country side:
I arrive in Narrandera just before lunch time so stop here for refreshment and stretch.
From here I was heading to Hay and then taking a little detour to avoid sitting on the Hay plain the whole way into Balranald. It was really hot by now so I was searching for shady spots to have a rest.
This road runs parallel to the main highway and is almost empty. About 3 or 4 cars go past. The lack of other vehicles is great because I can sit on 85 to 90 km/h and not hold up anyone.
The road runs out and once again meet the highway. I was aware that there might be big locust plagues on my trip and up until now I have only encountered very small patches of them. While having a quick stop on the side of the road it notice that the ground appears to be moving. Upon closer inspection I discover it is baby locusts hopping along.
I travel along the Hay Plain having a few photo and stretch breaks.
I roll into Balranald around 5 and hope the caravan park has an available cabin. I am in luck. Due to all the rain the farmers are unable to harvest their crops which means the harvesters have not arrived for work, so I am lucky enough to have one of their pre-booked cabins. I unpack and ride to the bottle shop to get an ice cold beer after a big day on the bike.
I am planning to ride home today. It is a big ride but I am super keen to get home. After an early night I am up early and ready to get on the road. It is already hot and I am keen to get a few K's done early before a stop. I ride into town and fill up and then hit the bitumen heading towards Mildura.
Riding along looking for a spot for a rest and I discover a large lake. I can't remember the name of it now but it is somewhere between Balranald and Mildura.
From here the ride is pretty un-eventful as I am sitting on the highway. I have a fuel stop in Mildura and sit on the highway again through to Loxton. My trip follows the same route as earlier and I have a few stops to break up the journey.
I stop for lunch at a petrol station somewhere between Mildura and Loxton. It is so hot now and so I am seeking shade to sit in. They have some tables under two big fig trees and its a great spot to sit and eat lunch.
Back on Sherpa and head towards home. A few small stops to wet my shirt as a temporary air conditioning. Its hard to believe that I was wearing thermals on the first half of my trip and now I am over heating and soaking my clothes to cool down! Crazy weather!!
Back at Walker Flat and still awe struck by how amazing the Murray looks.
The camera retires here and I focus on getting home. I left Balranald around 7.30 am and arrive back home in Adelaide around 4.30 pm. Today was the biggest day of my trip – 570km and I was happy to park Sherpa up for the night. About 2,500 kms conquered on the trip!!!
The roads on the trip weren't enthralling, but I was excited (and chuffed) to have done it on my own. It's lit a fire, and now I want to do another one – albeit a more challenging one.
Now, where that map?