17 Down Under:
17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark $50.00
Chockstone Forum - General Discussion
General Climbing Discussion
|Off-topic Climbers who ride version 2; MOTORcycles
||Wednesday, 2 May 2007 At 1:38:51 PM
|Brief trip report about the journey.
To those who did not attend (Blue Mtns Climbing Festival - Escalade '07); … you missed a good thing.
Left home later than I intended so skipped breaky.
The highway ride was OK for the 1st couple of hours then it settled in to being fairly boring, with bugger-all cop cars / radars out to keep the interest up, which was surprising for a double demerit public holiday period.
Once I turned off the highway at Gunning and found some dirt and tight corners it sparked up the interest considerably, and took my mind off the highway induced backside weariness.
I met a Bathurst rider and it then became sufficiently interesting that I continued to deviate from my original intended route and went an hour or more out of my way following the dirt back-roads through to Bathurst with him. Only concerned myself once by carrying too much speed into a cobbled corner while being blinded by his dust in the setting sun … Frantic stabbing down through the gears while matching revs and using engine compression avoided a wheel lockup and it turned out OK.
Stopped at a driver reviver; had a cuppa and biscuit for breaky on dark, and layered up with more clothing for the night ride ahead.
The ‘mizzle’ set in at Lithgow, and this combined with the constant stream of oncoming traffic headlights glaring in my fogged visor, by Sydney peoples making their exodus from same; made for ordinary riding on what would have been some good corners enroute to Glenbrook, my chosen destination for the night. The full moon looked great for a short time between clouds, but the break did not last long enough to see the much anticipated cliffs of the Blueys (or should I say Blackys), while at night?
The constant changing of speed limits (all unrealistically low), every few km was an annoyance but given the conditions did not matter too much.
Got to Glenbrook late and drove around for an extended time ‘finding’ my mates place to chin-wag even later into the night. I skipped dinner out of courtesy to the hosts who had finished theirs.
Next morning had a cuppa and so as not to impose on my friends agenda left at the crack of late!; ... thinking I will go to a dreaded Maccas a little up the road, that I noticed last night.
Seems the Sydney crowd has not finished departing Sydney, and they all zeroed in on that destination for breakfast. Clumping around in wet weather gear in the extended queue I thought that bolting a simple bigmac would be the go; as I am not keen on crowds … The girl who served me reckons they don’t serve those for breakfast. So I decided to leave, as it was against my better judgement to go there anyway. Getting on the bike again I checked my watch and noticed if I had been 5 minutes later I would have got the dreaded item; … talk about a close shave!
Headed off to Katoomba instead. It is only about 25 km away but even with riding up the inside ‘lane’ and avoiding most traffic, still took two hours in the gridlock due a motorcycle accident somewhere ahead. Felt guilty riding my m/bike past a fallen comrade, but the situation was well in hand with appropriate medical attention present, so I continued on as there was little else I could do.
At Katoomba in solid rain I decided I had had enough of dodging traffic in slippery conditions, and stopped for ‘lunch a day late’.
I knew I was in a magical place when two blokes carrying m/cycle helmets wandered past and I said,
“A good day for it eh?”
To which one replied “You speak English?”
“Yeah mate, don’t you?”
Don’t know what Euro language he did speak as native, but after a while I got the gist he wanted to know where good things to see in the Blueys were (or should I say Foggys in these conditions?).
Being on a hybrid bike myself and seeing where he was pointing on my map I directed him to some ‘good’ dirt roads leading to obscure destinations.
Later as I was scoffing lunch I saw him ride past with his pillion on a strictly street machine, … Heh, heh, heh. Who said sandbagging was restricted to climbing?
Got a pleasant surprise when an old climbing mate who I thought was fighting in Irian Jaya with the Free West Papua Movement, tapped me on the shoulder and said; “I thought I recognised you when I went past”.
I should have known it was him as I had noticed the ‘cage’ he was using was parked half on the footpath / half in a no parking zone … Yep that’s typical of his style …
Mate directs me to the school campground (not yet signposted by Festival organisers), and I reminisced how the PP (major sponsor), shop gave me the run-around for directions …
Me standing at counter dripping wet in bike gear ~ “Can you tell me where the school campground is please?”
Helpful young lass behind counter “You will have to look on the website”.
Thanks … I will just whip a magical waterproof one out of my topbox and plug it into the nearest lamp-post I think to myself, as I depart without further knowledge.
Rendezvous with friends from Qld and set up camp.
It was good to have ‘camp’ established, though socialising in the mizzle conditions was not easy.
Scoffed my out of date cold tinned ‘wall food’ for breaky meals for the remainder of the weekend.
The Climbing Festival was excellent.
Returned home via Jenolan Caves road for the look-see. Good stuff except the 4xs wanting my half of the road as well as theirs.
Did not see any shooters at Shooters Hill; … probably because I was going too fast.
It was good to strip off the wwgear down on the lower altitude roads.
Got to chat with a drought stricken farmer grazing his cattle on the long-paddock while checking my map at an unmarked cross road. He reckons that winter will knock the farmers with nil grass due frosts soon. I wonder if his surname was Hanrahan?
Very few police-persons about on the return journey; ~ queer sort of a blitz I reckon, when they rely upon stand-alone flashing signage to keep motorists in check, which mostly says 'police about'; ... but none to back it up!
Re the climbing … I didn’t don the harness or rock-shoes (though I took them), over the entire weekend; as I was too busy enjoying the journey, the Festival, and the company.
Maybe next time …
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