HOG Bundarra Overnighter
Category: H.O.G. Rides
It had been a really long week and I was really looking forward to this overnight ride. We had plenty of sun forecast for the weekend, which only added further to the excitement. I don't know if it's just me, but if I haven't been for a ride in a few weeks, I start to get a little unsettled and a night away was just what the doctor ordered.
Wom and I were scheduled as road captains for this ride, which was really good as we both knew the route well. I had actually ridden straight through Bundarra over 12 months ago, but never actually noticed as the town is so small. By Friday lunch, both Wom and I had decided the route we would take was via Gloucester, up the mountain to Walcha, onto Uralla, then to our final destination of the Commercial Hotel Bundarra. We planned fuel stops at Gloucester for those with little tanks and fuel again at Walcha, combined with Lunch at the Royal Cafe.
Waking up Saturday morning all I could see was sunshine and I knew we were in for a great day. I had a couple quick coffees and it was off to jump on the bike and head to BP Beresfield to meet the rest of the HOG members joining us for the ride.
Pulling into the BP I could already see about a dozen bikes ready to go — but as is typical, no Wom. Standing around chatting with the rest of the HOG members, Wom pulls in and commences to fuel up. He allegedly rode halfway to the BP before realising he was on the wrong bike — a luxury many of us would love to have! Now that we had our fearless leader Wom, it was time for a quick riders briefing, then we were on our way.
Cruising up the freeway toward Gloucester we had a group of around 15 bikes, which was awesome to watch from the back. It wasn't long before we were winding up the buckets way, making the most of the scenery and just enjoying the ride. Problems struck about 20k from Gloucester... Wom had pulled over and flagged everyone through to keep going. I stopped to see what the problem was and it seemed his bike had gone into "limp home mode". I escorted him along for few kilometres before it happened again. Wom said he would meet me and the rest of the group at the Shell service station on the way into town, so I took off and informed everyone what was happening while we waited for him to arrive.
A few minutes later Wom arrived looking a little angry. It was apparent the bike wasn't going to play ball, so Wom made a call to Harley Assist, which also proved to be waste of time (note to self: let Harley Assist membership expire). Luckily one of our clients owns a motorcycle towing company and was able to come and give him a tow home. Wom decided, if he got home quick enough, he would throw a leg over the yamaharley and try meet us in time for dinner. From here on out I took the lead and Lochie chased up the tail.
No matter how many times I've ridden out through the back of Gloucester and up the mountain, I never cease to enjoy it. It was also great being out front leading the group. On our way up the mountain you really could feel the temperature drop. It was at this point I was very happy about my decision to don on the thermals early this morning. We made a quick stop at the pioneers lookout before pressing on to Walcha.
Arriving at Walcha we lined up for fuel and had a laugh at how fun it was winding up through the tablelands. It was now time for lunch so we shot over the road to the Royal Cafe and quickly gravitated to the fire that was burning inside. In all the times I've stopped here the coffee's never been bad and the food's always been great — especially the warmed up muffins! With everyone full of coffee and food it was time to brave the cold again and press on to Bundarra.
It truly is a beautiful stretch of road between Walcha and Uralla. Plenty of rolling countryside and lots and lots of sheep! The little buggers are literally everywhere! According to one sign, a town we passed had only 70 odd residents and around 70,000 sheep!
Uralla came and went along with the usual scenery. It wasn't far out of town you started to realise the main part of civilisation was now behind us. The properties, or stations rather, were getting fewer and fewer and further between. At one point, we were happily cruising along and a bloody 'P' plater flew past us in a Nissan 300Z only to be pulled up by the only highway patrol officer we saw on the entire way, 20 kilometres out of Bundara — poetic justice at its best!
We arrived at the Commercial Hotel Bundarra around 4:00pm. Much to our surprise, the publican came running out and opened the roller doors on 3 sheds and ushered in all of our bikes. Everyone proceeded to unpack and find our way to our accommodation.
The accommodation was exactly as you'd expect for a century old pub, although it was obviously cared for as the rooms and cleanliness were both stunning. I really enjoy doing these kinds of trips. It's my favourite thing to sit out on the balconies of these pubs and just take it all in, along with a few cold ones.
Looking around the town there was really nothing more than the pub, the post office and what looked to be some kind of mechanic or workshop. There was honestly little else.
I decided it was time for a freshen up then hit the bar and relax. I'm told the women's showers were pretty good, but the men's showers you had to really dance around to get wet! At one point the flow became so slow I feared the water was going to start running back into the shower head!
The rest of the afternoon was wasted lazing around the bar, watching the fire and having a few drinks. Just as we started to order dinner the prodigal son returned. Wom walked in to a roar of cheering and praise that he made it back. Seems he was able to shave 30 minutes of the return trip after being towed home! Everyone's dinner was absolutely sensational so full bellies all round.
The next morning it was continental breakfast in the kitchen, which consisted of standing room only while you cooked your toast and made an instant cup of coffee. It was quite funny standing around eating breaky. We could have moved back into the dinning room but it seemed no one cared for sitting down.
After packing up my room and sorting out the bike, I took one more opportunity to have a walk down the main street of the town and take a few photos. I saw some rosellas that were so crimson red they looked like little king parrots.
It was now 8:30am and time to head home. We thought it would be awesome to head back into Walcha via Uralla, then make a left and head down the Oxley Highway to Port Macquarie and finish on the Freeway home — honestly, any excuse to do the Oxley Highway!
Wom was back in the lead on his yamaharley with me chasing up the tail. We cruised through Uralla and fuelled up at Walcha. While at Walcha we had a quick discussion about the Oxley Highway for those who had never ridden it. Not long after we moved off and headed down one of the greatest pieces of road you will ever ride a bike down.
Ducking and weaving along the Oxley, no matter how many times you've done it, never gets old. It was such a pleasure taking a few first timers down it and watching how much fun they were having. We all pulled up at Long Flat pub for a beer and relive the corners that had just gone. Everyone wished we had more time to go up and down it a few times over.
A few short kilometres down the road to Port Macquarie we were filling up the bikes for the final leg home. Along the way Wom gave everyone a chance to be road captain and taste what it's like to lead a group. I think everyone enjoyed the experience, if not, I'm sure we'll hear about it next time we all meet.
As far as I know, everyone made it home safely. I know it was a great trip had by all and I'm certain it will be a trip we all do again.