There was a meeting in Newcastle. Work needed me to attend and because of stuff, the video call wasn’t an option. The meeting was scheduled for after lunch (1pm) and planned to finish by 4pm. With daylight savings, it’s not dark until about 7pm. It’s a 2ish hour direct …. you know where this is going… ride. So I can leave after the family is off to school and work. Take a scenic route and arrive at the meeting. Then ride back and even make it home before sunset, or at least into the city outskirts (and therefore low probability of a kangaroo intercept).
And that’s what I did. The fam was off to work and school by 7am. The top box was filled with my work clothes, my iPad and stuff, and I packed some lunch. Ever since that slog around the Jamison to Eildon leg of the MotoGP trip (see day three), I’ve been paranoid about not having food and water with me. So I had snacks, water, a bottle of coke and two pork and salad rolls (intended for lunch and dinner).
Clear start at about 7:30am, up through the traffic to the M1. This was super annoying and probably added 30mins. Onto the M1 and it started to rain. And rain properly, not just light drizzle. I decided to skip the Old Pac. Instead I ran up the freeway a couple more exits and turned off for Wollombi.
Leaving the freeway, the rain gradually eased off over the next half hour as I headed inland. This was a fairly open road and more enjoyable as it dried. I stopped at the Kulnara Station. Only bike there.
Then it was on to Wollombi. Only bike there. Roads were basically dry now.
North from Wollombi. I have only ridden this once before, about 15 years ago, in the dark.
It was very nice in the sunshine, I hadn’t realised it was such a nice trip from Newcastle to Wollombi. Out of the hills and into the valleys, it became mundane with town after town. Still even then I arrived at Fighter World at the Airport about 1130. Time for lunch (and a quick look inside).
And then the meeting. Opened at 1:00. Closed at 1:30. Wait! What… I’ve ridden all this way, through rain and sun for 30minutes…..
Cool! An early mark, time for a new plan for the home trip. My original plan had been just to shoot down the freeway. If it was still light I would take the Old Road from Mt White to Berowa, just to break it up.
That was the plan if I was leaving at 4pm, but I was leaving before 2pm.
So, the new plan – back to Wollombi, where I would decide if I would head to Wiseman’s or Mt White. In the afternoon, traffic was lighter and I made good time. School zones were active though.
Got to Wollombi. Almost the only bike there again.
From here, it would take about 3 and a bit hours via Wiseman’s or 2 hours via the freeway (so add a bit for the Old Pac, and the inevitable rush hour traffic on Pennant Hills Rd). I rode towards the turn off for Wiseman’s, changing my mind every few kms.
In the end I decided I wanted to head home. I headed for Mt White and down the Old Pac. I stopped to eat my last roll at Pie in the Sky (I hope they weren’t too mad I had my own food). Leaving there about 5pm. Almost the only bike there too!
I was home by 6pm.
Pennant Hills Rd was like a dream.. very unexpected.
The bike performed excellently, of course.
And in some of the familiar parts, I felt I rode a lot better. I can improve, I just need to ride the road every week or two to get used to it. Actually, that’s THREE rides this month now. And all of them included the Old Road. I’m sure that this is helping my confidence.
And the other thing I wanted to talk about was these awesome gloves. For sometime I had wished for waterproof gloves that weren’t heavy winter gloves (which I do have). When shopping the other day for my normal gloves I found these Dainese Gore-tex gloves. They are probably not great in high summer, but a rainy day they should be fine. Worked fantastically today. Dianese Nembo.