This ride was my first hoggie overnighter for the year and I was super excited for it. Since we were expecting about 30 bikes I thought it best to do a bit of reconnaissance for the best fuel stops and where to stop for lunch so I rode my planned 1,000km loop on Good Friday. This in itself was awesome as it had been a good amount of time since I had done a 1,000km day and the weather was damn-near perfect. The route plan was BP Beresfield, Gloucester, Walcha, Tamworth then Narrabri for the night. Then a direct run home down the highway.
In the next couple of weeks a lot of the hoggies decided they were going to head up early on Friday. I was a little disappointed we wouldn't be riding up as a big group but I totally understood them wanting the extra day. This left about 10 bikes remaining for the Saturday departure which was fine by me.
Arriving at BP Beresfield we discussed the possibility of rain at Gloucester. I was rather adamant we would be fine and no wet weather gear would be required. I did confess while I am confident at no rain my confidence is rarely well placed so basically, we should expect rain! A short while later I ran through the ride brief and we were on our way.
Approaching Gloucester we started to get a little rain but the sky was looking dark and ready to pour down. I was staring to think to myself, I might throw a jacket on before we head up the mountain as I know the temperature drops about 10 degrees. It was at that moment I literally went cold at the realisation I forgot to pack a jumper! Scrambling for what I could do to resolve this issue, I came up with the idea I could run around Gloucester and hopefully find a cheap jumper. This was really the only viable plan.
Arriving at Gloucester I quickly announced my situation and ran towards town while being laughed at for being so forgetful. I blame my forgetfulness on being a little too focused on other good things. The first shop I ran into turned out to be a very high-end store. While the lady was very friendly I wasn't prepared to spend $80.00 on a jumper!! She pointed out there was a salvos store down the other end of town so I ran up there and tried again. Thankfully this time I was able to grab a nice, warm, black jumper for a total of $4.00! I quickly paid $5.00 and ran back to my bike.
Now nice and warm and only somewhat wet from the rain we headed out of town and up the Thunderbolt's Way. As predicted the temp dropped suddenly and I was very pleased to have my new jumper on. We stopped at the explorer's lookout but due to the low cloud the visibility was poor at best. Time to press on to Walcha for fuel.
Along the tablelands the sun started to break through the clouds and the warm rays were amazing. Arriving at Walcha there was smiles everywhere as we were all dried out and warm again. We quickly fuelled up and headed for our next stop, Tamworth, for lunch.
I really love the route from Walcha to Tamworth. The view dropping back down off the tablelands is spectacular and the roads are in great condition. We arrived at the pub for lunch just before 1PM which I was really happy with. I'd pushed the group along pretty hard to get here in time so we only had a short 150km run to Narrabri where we could relax for the afternoon with the rest of the hoggies.
With full bellies we all left for the final leg to Narrabri. Once through Tamworth the country scenery really opens up again. I love cruising through here just taking it all in. Riding though Gunnedah I remembered the last time I came through here with Wom when it was -2 degrees! Man that was a bloody cold morning to ride!
About 20km out of Narrabri I took a little side road which I hadn't told anyone about. Thankfully they all followed me! 20km later my little side road brought us right up to the entrance of the motel. Pulling up everyone was laughing thinking I was lost but clearly it was all part of the plan. We all promptly checked in and headed for the pool for a cool off and a bit of a wash down. It was great to be relaxing and catching up with all the other hoggies. I really love these people.
That night we walked up to the one of three pubs in town only to discover the entire town was there! The first two pubs we walked past were near empty but this place was absolutely packed. Quite surprisingly our food came out fast and was really great. After dinner a few of the hoggies wanted to kick on and went to another pub down the street but I was pretty keen for bed so I headed back to the motel and flicked on a bit of TV.
Waking up Sunday morning the sun was shining and it looked like a perfect day. As I wanted to be home for church I planned a departure time of 8:30am for me and anyone else who wanted to leave early. The remaining hoggies decided on breaky in town then depart around 10:30am. Turns out a few others were keen for an early kick off, which was fine by me.
First stop was 50km down the road at Boggabri bakery for a hot pie breaky. I stopped here on my reconnaissance run and was very happy to stop again. The pies here were great but one of the hoggies grabbed a bacon and egg roll and my goodness it looked incredible. Bacon falling out of it everywhere and two eggs running all over the place. Looked absolutely heavenly.
Back on the road again we approached a wide-load warning car that signalled us off the road so I pulled the group to the side. Shortly after, this enormous truck rolled past carrying a mining truck body that nearly covered the width of the road! It was amazing how big this thing was.
Safely back on the road again we settled in for some beautiful country scenery and long, sweeping corners. A couple weeks ago the cotton fields were in full bloom but this time many of them had been harvested. No more fields of white just bare ground. Later on we passed more fields that hadn't been harvested yet which are quite mesmerising in passing. We stopped for fuel at Muswellbrook before saying out goodbyes and each going our own way home.
Thankfully I was home safely by 2:00pm, which gave me plenty of time to get organised for the coming week and make it to church.