Heavy rain in Sydney suggested a very wet ride home, but things did improve.
Above and below; proof that I was in the Country Capital of Australia, Tamworth NSW.
Although I cannot be counted among its most enthusiastic fans, it was interesting to
wander through the museum/display at the Big Golden Guitar. There were also some
great displays of Donald Bradman memorabilia and a life size cutout of Chad Morgan.
This station has a long history, and is still a functioning rail junction.
With red dirt images like these, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the north west of Western Australia. This is
central outback NSW, heading to Cobar, a town renowned for its copper, lead, silver, zinc, gold mining.
This was my first stop after a ride of five hundred and seventy kilometres, probably a bit far for my first full day on the new ride.
I was still getting used to riding with a sidecar. But the motel at Cobar was very comfortable, the meal at the restaurant great,
and the long hot shower was the first of many that I would use along the way to ease my aching muscles.
Wilcannia, a little deeper into the outback, and getting to areas that, while scenic, are sparsely populated. According to Wikipedia,
this was the third largest inland port in the country during the great river boat era of the mid-19th century. Times must certainly
have been different then because the buildings, both restored and abandoned, speak of a time when money flowed through the
town. The Post Office pictured here is a magnificent structure, and is currently being restored. And if you are passing through
town, be sure to stop off at the "Miss Barretts" coffee and bits & bobs shop.
And then on to Broken Hill. It was too late in the evening by the time I arrived in town, but I was directed by the information
centre staff to a fantastic motel at the Lodge Outback Motel. Come morning, I was in a hurry to leave this town behind in an
effort to get away from some of the worst, roughest roads I had been on thus far in NSW. So while I am sure there is much of
value to see in the town, I implore the Broken Hill council to pay some attention to their roads. In fact, the same plea goes out
to most of the NSW towns through which I road. FIX YOUR ROADS, PLEASE!
These small roadside stops are fantastic. As it was raining and cold, I stopped for a cuppa at the Olary Hotel (SA). The photo of
one of the few other buildings in the town is indication of the population, but the inside of the pub told a different story. There
must be people coming from the outlying area for meals, drinks and entertainment, because the pub furnishings were quite fancy.
Onya Olary. Well worth the stop.
Mannahill, South Australia. There were buildings over the road, but this abandoned railway station sat proudly, displaying a
quality of building only found in the early days of Australia. And the state of the J Kenworthy Memorial Park suggests
a time when there was much more to be commemorated in Mannahill.
After long distances of relatively flat land and straight roads, the lead up to Horrocks Pass could not have prepared me for the
scene as I came up over the crest and down through the pass. The view to the west was beautiful, and the hills on either side
presented sharply V-ed valleys. At the top is a lay-by with a monument to John Horrocks, after whom the pass is named.
Iron Knob, South Australia. Referred to as the birth place of the iron industry in Australia, it now has a population of under 200.
This abandoned service station and motel on the edge of town is a sad reminder of better times in Iron Knob. Prices for land and
houses are low, with houses available under $40,000. But for all its remoteness, these are the ghost towns that could attract
retirees looking for a cheaper alternative to the high cost housing in cities. And before you ask, yes I could be tempted.
Sunset on the Ceduna foreshore. After a good ride across from Port Augusta it was a treat to settle back in the cabin at the
Tourist Caravan Park and have one of those many long hot showers that I used to sooth the muscle aches. When people
started passing my cabin on the way to the beach I overheard comments about the sunset, so spent the next hour down there
soaking up the last rays of sunshine, then snapping these pics.
On the way back to my cabin I was invited to a carvery dinner at the Foreshore Hotel/Motel, and figured I was up for a ho-hum
meal of local seafood - fish and chips. But no, for $20 I was treated to a three course, first class meal. And the service was
top quality as well. Keep it up, Ceduna. I'll be back.
Nullarbor Roadhouse and the road looking west. For some time coming in from the east I had been seeing lots of wombats that
hadn't made it across the road, but for the entire distance I didn't see any kangaroos, and not one camel.
Below: The Great Australia Bight. I could have taken a plane ride over the whale grounds to the east of Nullarbor, but time
and finances dictated otherwise. Apparently it has been a very good year for the numbers of whales. However, seeing whales
or not, the sight of the cliffs along here always inspires me with the sheer majesty of this place. After thirty odd years, I once
again took pleasure in standing quietly in awe at this fantastic spot.
Finally, the border, Eucla, a night's sleep and a bit of a look around the old telegraph station. Although I was still only just
over half way there, I felt like I was home. And that feeling would grow the closer I got to Norseman and Esperance.
In 1984 I walked in the waning light of day from the old rooms at the Eucla Motel to the telegraph station. This time I rode
my bike down. The sand has reclaimed most of the site, but the remains still present an insight to the size and layout of it.
If you're passing through, be sure to check out the museum that is part of the motel complex.
Home at last. The clock says 3,994Km, but the records I kept on fuel showed about 4,300. Not sure which is wrong, but either way, it was a long ride, it was an adventure, and now begins the ongoing pleasure of using the motorbike and sidecar for leisure and cruising. Watch this space. Or keep an eye on the Capelwood Rides blog for short ride maps and information.