Ride to Melbourne (Day 4 - Sunday 16th August '98) 

Map of rideClick for map of ride

We woke up at about 8:00am.  If was difficult to determine what the weather was going to do, as the sky was composed from patches of rain cloud and blue sky.
After checking and topping up the oil level and lubing the chain on the GPz 550, I loaded up the BMW only to discover that it wouldn't start (Odometer reading 24038 kms, GPz 62706 kms).  With a few layers of clothes on I pushed the BMW to the nearest hill and Junko helped me attempt a roll start.  With a thin film of perspiration all over my body the BMW fired into life.  We left Quirinda at about 10:00.
Next stop was Willow Tree where I bought 2 metres of electrical cable ($2.40) at the General Store to hopefully use later as jumper leads if necessary.  The BMW started without any problems and we continued on to Murrurundi.

Old house at Murrurundi

At Murrurundi I bought a bottle of Ginger Beer to drink later in the day.  I secured it to my luggage and we headed off to see the Burning Mountain near Wingen.  As we headed down the Liverpool Range I hit a few bumpy sections of road but nothing too severe.  We arrived at the Burning Mountain Reserve at about 12:00 and Junko was laughing as she removed her helmet.  I turned to my luggage to have a drink and was disappointed to discover that my Ginger Beer had gone!  Junko told me that she saw it fall off and explode as the plastic bottle hit the ground.  She was happy that her bottle of water, also on my luggage, didn't suffer the same fate.  We left the bikes and did the 3.5 km return walk to the Burning Mountain (so named because it smokes due to a coal seam being ignited under the ground a few thousand years ago).

Burning Mountain

We reached Scone at about 1:00pm and I saw a BMW R80GS and a big Yamaha off road single (XT 600?) parked at one of the petrol stations.  Both bikes had German registration and the R80 had two huge aluminium panniers attached.  I decided to have lunch at the same petrol station so we parked beside the bikes and went inside.  I ordered lunch and talked briefly with the German owners of the bikes.  He rode the BMW and she rode the Yamaha, they were heading to Sydney.  As we left the petrol station's cafe it started to rain.  We put on wet weather gear and started out for Muswellbrook.  After a few showers we reached Muswellbrook where we continued through to the Bayswater Power Station for a quick photo session at about 3:30pm.  Then we did a U-turn (Junko's back wheel spun on the wet road as she accelerated) and headed back to Muswellbrook.

Me near Bayswater Power Station, Muswellbrook
 (Click for a larger image)

From Muswellbrook we took the road to Merriwa, which started out looking like a back street.  Various sections of the road were in good condition which I couldn't work out for a relatively remote road.  All became clear as we passed several wineries - we were in The Hunter Valley, home of some of Australia's top wines.
We reached Merriwa at about 4:30pm and decided to stay there the night as they had a Caravan Park and I didn't think we'd make the next town in daylight.  With few food places open our choices were limited, but we had a delicious dinner and headed back to the tent.
I discussed with Junko her earlier wheel spinning trick I witnessed earlier in the day and she said the GPz was always missing gears and going into false neutral.  I told her it wasn't and that it was the rear wheel spinning.  I think she was impressed.  I was unimpressed, however, as I realised we had only travelled 216kms that day.

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This page was updated on Wednesday 4th November 1998