A big day of riding to start our Christmas trip ‘up north’.
We woke to a grey day, threatening rain but, thankfully, none.
Leaving around 8.30, we battled only for 30 sweet and short minutes on the Pacific Highway (FFS Sydney just fix it!) before we hit the Pacific Coast Motorway up to Raymond Terrace, a necessary evil to ensure we were able to enjoy some good riding a little further from home.
Turning off at Raymond Terrace, we joined the Bucketts Way which runs from there to Taree. The quality of the surface is variable and often terrible, many many patched-up potholes tell tales of periodic extraordinarily heavy rain. We wonder if these conditions might provide a useful project for some scientist but, perhaps, the cost is too big and the roads not significant enough for city people (ok, we know that’s us but WE CARE!). Apart from that, we experienced many glorious bends and we love love love passing through the towns of Gloucester and Stroud, reminds us of the motherland, see.
Lunch, picnic style in a supermarket car park although with the backdrop of the Gloucester Tops and friendly locals, no one was complaining.
Onwards, we dropped in on the father and step mother of a dear friend, a quick 15 minute ‘hello’ where we also learned how locals have been campaigning for an upgrade to the road, successfully, it seems, as we did ride through many patches of upgraded road, although these are still far too rare. Still, the road is well worth the sidetrip.
Back on the motorway to Wauchope, inland from Port Macquarie and the first town on the Oxley Highway. After fuelling up, we headed towards the range fully expecting our accomodation to be half way up the mountain. Anyway, I hadn’t checked and my booking agent hadn’t either so, when we reached Long Flat far too soon, and at the bottom of the mountain, we paused, momentarily, and decided to hit the mountain anyway.
Thirty minutes later, our expectations were met; glorious sweeping bends on perfect Tarmac, in the early stages, and tight curves around rocky outcrops, as we climbed higher. And the road was virtually empty, we had cleared the slow truck earlier on, threatening to soil our fun, so we were free to go as fast (Gary) or slow (moi) as we liked.
We returned to Long Flat, to have the warmest welcome at the pub, shown to our comfortable, cheap, rustic room. So, here we sit, enjoying a lovely view and friendly service. Despite the grey day, the sun is shining in our hearts (that’s cheesy, isn’t it? Oh well, sometimes, it’s got to be done!)
Tomorrow’s weather is looking dodgy, and this lady (and her trusty companion) doesn’t love riding in the rain so there may be more motorway then we hoped, but these things happen 🌧 and we may take the chance to explore a bit of the coast. Motel booked in Casino.