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Old 05-09-2013, 04:50 PM   #1
Happy Snapper OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Brisbane, almost heaven!
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The Twins do Old Grafton Road!

So Gregor (Goosefeather) and I have started this tradition of Autumn ADV rides. In 2011 we did “Birdsville or Bust” ( ) then last year it was “To Timbuktu” ( ) and then this year it was to be somewhere down around the Snowy Mountains.

Well unforeseen circumstances intervened and so the best laid plans of Happy & Goose were apt to go astray!

OK.. so the 7 - 10 day ride was out, but a quick 2 day was on the table. My better half wanted me to drop some marketing brochures off to her clients and potential clients in the area and I had always wanted to go and have a look at the Old Grafton Road and in particular the tunnel that is cut into the rock there.

So.. “The Twins Do Grafton” ride was born. (Twins being the bikes) Both Gregor and I have updated our rides since Timbuktu with a view to longer rides. He has gone the path of Orange with a 990 KTM while I now have Maximus Obesus (Fat Max) as my ride. Fat Max is a Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 that spends most of its time doing deliveries around town for my better half's business.. but man can it eat the miles. I just wish my backside was up to the job too!

So.. plan is to leave Brisbane and overnight at Glen Innes then attack Old Grafton Road the next day and return to Brisbane the same day. When you look at a map.. anything is possible time wise.

Yeah right!

So.. here we go...

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Wednesday morning finds Gregor at the front gate on his KTM

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Meanwhile Fat Max is cleaned, loaded and fueled & eager to go. Although not all that popular, I love the OEM panniers. Lift out bag in each one. Clothes in one and newsletters/brochures in the other. Pretty good dust proofing too! Just need to look out for those Clayfield College mums in their Audis!

Our plan of attack is to go down the Lion’s Road to Kyogle for the first leg.

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Well.. that idea is out the window!

So we back track and use the Summerland Way.. where you always find Grey Gonads towing caravans. (Yes Gonads.. you go nuts trying to pass them!)

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Of course there are some good photo ops along the way!

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We get to Kyogle and decide it’s time for lunch. Great hamburger out the front of the cafe. The bikes are a magnet for people wherever we go,so we like to keep an eye on them. Yes they are locked, but GPS, Spot tracker and UHF are easy targets for 5 finger discount type people.

From here we head out past farming country into the forest. Attempting to do a U turn for a photo op Fat Max nearly has a lie down. Thank you Mr Yamaha for a low centre of gravity or else he would have tested his crash bars!

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Gregor going Gangham Style on his Kato.

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Where the Fcuk are we?

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This is really pretty country.

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Soon we’re into the Richmond Range State Forest. Magic spot and dry weather access only. Full of roos and paddymelons that dart across the road in front of you at high speed. Even had a large native mouse cheat death in front of my wheels!

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These roads are relatively easy on a heavy bike.. found it rather enjoyable. It would be a lot more fun on a 250 but a PIA in actually getting to the forest unless you trailer the bikes.

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Gregor checks his GPS. I should take this opportunity to say that he is an excellent navigator. My GPS drives me nuts.. it keeps falling towards me on rough roads. I finally figured out the RAM mount slips because of tapered handle bars. I fix it with a small bungee strap across the back of the windscreen mount. I must thank my daughter for the jar of bungee straps she gave me as a gift!

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Gregor shoots his bike.. in the nicest possible way.

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I shoot his bike too.. here is my picture!

Climbing the range out of the forest I see what looks like a giant car tyre on the road. As I approach it.. it turns out to be the biggest python (in terms of diameter) I have ever seen. It is curled up in the only spot of sunlight. Now, I am thinking about stopping for a picture, but the road is really off camber here. Might be OK on a 250 but with the 1200 you have to plan your “landings” as a 747 captain might. Level ground for the side stand or else over the whole thing goes. So past the snake I zoom. He may well have moved after that as Gregor is not too far behind me and didn’t see it.

Eventually we come out onto the Bruxner Highway. We are running late as usual. So we decide to only go as far as Tenterfield for the night and to get an early start tomorrow. Neither of us like dodging roos in the dark.. it’s hard enough in daylight. We book into a local motel as the sun sets.

A Thai meal in town and some Jim Beam and Coke and we are both really mellow. Cold walk back to the motel. A 7:30 start is planned so we book the earliest breakfast.

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This is the air temp the next morning.. Gregor starts calculating wind chill factors and decides to put on his long john underwear. He then sits down and starts to put his boots on.. until he realizes his trousers are still in the motel. Must be the cold!

The air is rather crisp and Gregor keeps telling me how good his heated grips are.. until I threaten him with violence if he tells me again! I have a set but haven’t got round to fitting them yet.

 photo OldGraftonRdTrip37-Version2_zpsef30570e.jpg

Some good photo ops first thing in the Autumn light.

We refuel the bikes at Glen Innes and then take the Gwyder Highway towards Grafton. Eventually we come to the Old Grafton Rd turnoff on the right. Dusty dry but firm dirt. The road turns to bitumen as it drops down off the highlands into the river valley. I come across a bloke towing a caravan up the hill from the bottom. I see him in plenty of time but Gregor meets him on a blind corner. All is well as he is in low speed mode. A large eagle flies across in front of me and I watch its flight to a tree. When I turn back.. a bloody roo is in front of me hopping across the road. By the time I have the picks on.. he is over the side.

Eventually we are on the valley floor and back to dirt. There is a nice picnic area there along the river with excellent barbecues and a toilet. It is not intended for camping but a few camper trailers are set up. it would be a great spot for an overnighter on a ride in the area. (BYO shower!)

A few roos are around and let us get remarkably close. Some pictures below.

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We leave here and head off to find the tunnel.. it’s only another 60K plus to go and then another 85k to Grafton. The road is very dusty and starting to heat up. Gregor stops to change out of his thermals and I go to spend a penny. My helmet mounted GoPro is running and I leave my helmet on the Yamaha.... where it records Gregor’s strip. Good value!

Along the way we come across a secret USA Spy Base!

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Eventually the tunnel just appears out of nowhere around a corner. Amazing!

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Gregor arrives and does an inspection. (Mining engineer you know!)

Did I mention that this road is dusty?

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Max is dirty!

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They both are!

From here we ride to the long ago abandoned settlement of Dalmorton that grew out of gold mining. Only a few buildings remain, but a sign shows the entire layout of the once busy town. Had bakeries, shops and all mod cons of the 1800s it would seem.

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Gregor examining the town map.... looking for a coffee shop!

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Some of the buildings have been preserved.

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Some less so!

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A lesson in how to hide backgrounds.. compared to the last picture!

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Always time for a bike shot!

OK.. from here we headed on into Grafton for a late lunch at Subway! Now the plan was to go back through Kyogle, catch up with a friend for coffee just before the Lion’s Road (open this time of day) and then head over the road and back to Brisbane.

But a GPS check showed the quickest way home was to slab it up the Pac Highway. Done deal! We headed out to Ballina and refueled just on the outskirts of town. Form here it was non stop to Brisbane. Gregor and I became separated by the traffic but both arrived home safely. The last leg was 230k and that is the longest I have ever done non stop on a bike. As my visor is tinted, the plan was to stop at sunset and put on a pair of clear glasses so I could ride with the visor open. Couldn't find a place to stop so just ducked down behind the windscreen.

Magic trip.. great riding with Gregor but if I was to do it again.. well I would allow 3 days to take the pressure off.

Thanks Goosefeather.. another item crossed off the bucket list mate.
Happy Snapper

Never trust atoms.... they make up everything!

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Happy Snapper screwed with this post 05-11-2013 at 02:21 PM
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:18 PM   #2
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Awesome ride report.....looks like you had a great time...wish I was there!!!
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:10 PM   #3
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Nice pics and wordage.

Thanks for sharing.
"Motorcyclist are always going to be frowned a pond..." an inmate in the AUS group

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Old 05-09-2013, 06:24 PM   #4
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Great shots Happy Snapper . . .

hey, did I remember to tell you about heated grips
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:02 PM   #5
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Goosefeather's Contribution . . .

I can’t add much to Happy Snapper’s commentary, but I can bolster his pro-grade photographs with a few happy snaps that I took:

The route we followed - on reflection, we should have taken another day and had a more interesting and relaxed return home -

The pro in action at Bluff Rock -

The locals appear to worship interesting deities -

Part of the sealed section of Old Grafton Road -

Mann River National Park -

The water is clear and cool -

I shall title this “A Perspective in Green” -

The Old Grafton Road ends up running alongside the Boyd River -

I looked down at one stage while up on the pegs, and promptly wished I hadn’t - it’s a bit of a drop in places and no barriers (photo does not do it justice) -

Taking a hint from Mark about cropping -

From this:

To this:

This shot is stitched together from three, shows some distortion of the bridge and the planks -

The obligatory attempts at arty snaps -

Approaching the tunnel -

And looking back the other way -

A great ride . . .

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Old 05-09-2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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Nice ride + pics.


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Old 05-11-2013, 12:36 AM   #7
Sleepy John
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Nice work if you can get it!
Sleepy John
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:21 AM   #8
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A gentlemen's couple of days. Nice pics from both. Thanks.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:28 PM   #9
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Looks like a great ride. Nice pics too.

Old Graft on rd is on my to do list.
Soon hopefully.
You think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an Amateur!
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:32 AM   #10
Happy Snapper OP
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Originally Posted by Hardhead View Post
Looks like a great ride. Nice pics too.

Old Graft on rd is on my to do list.
Soon hopefully.
Get in and do it mate.. but allow 3 days.

And... lots of unfenced roads.. you know the drill.... Hidden Cow and Crashing Tiger.

Sorry about that... couldn't resist.

I nearly had crashing Yam when the front let go on a small low speed corner... lucky my "dab" saved the day!
Happy Snapper

Never trust atoms.... they make up everything!

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Happy Snapper screwed with this post 05-13-2013 at 08:48 PM
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:37 PM   #11
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Thanks Happy Snapper
I like old Grafton road is one of my favourite for views, and it's easy to forget the cow shit covering the bike.
"It's better to ride a boring bike than push an interesting one" ... Canuman

"I just may as well admit that my other bikes are toast. I don't ride them. Plain and simple. I didn't want this. It wasn't the plan." - snakebitten
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:52 PM   #12
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Nice rr guys, thanks for taking the time to share


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Old 06-01-2013, 11:29 PM   #13
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Nice write up and pics.
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:31 AM   #14
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Awesome write up! I live in Glen Innes so next time you guys are passing through I would love to come along for the ride if you guys like.

Red and blue flashy lights and a loud siren are all that's needed to legally RIDE FAST
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:37 AM   #15
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Im heading from Glen Innes to Port Mcqarrie this saturday 8th if anyone wants to join :)
Red and blue flashy lights and a loud siren are all that's needed to legally RIDE FAST
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