Banjo Paterson Rides Again

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Frugal Biker, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

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    Oddometer:
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    On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
    And men of religion are scanty,
    On a road never crossed 'cept by folk that are lost,
    One Michael Magee had a shanty.

    Has there ever been, well I've not seen,
    A poet that says so much more,
    The Banjo is dead but surely he's head,
    Of Australia's outback folklore.

    Frugal is my name, my nature is the same,
    And I'm heading off round Australia,
    I'm following some track that'll take me outback,
    And guided by a book that won't fail ya.

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    Money is not my thing, I can do without all that bling,
    And riding motorbikes is my game,
    I camp only where it's free, all in the name of liberty,
    And please feel free to do the same.

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    Laying in my tent I'm most content,
    Watching the stars move on by,
    Paying no rent only time is spent,
    Happiness is something money can't buy.

    Cheers, Frugal
    #1
  2. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
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    I could ride the XR1200, it's better suited for gravel roads with it's larger front wheel and more relaxed riding position, but it's the only bike I own that's still in mint condition and I want to keep it that way. Besides, it doesn't have a luggage rack and the Guzzi sounds better anyway.

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    I've fitted a set of Shinko E705's, a more robust tyre than most and they should give me a bit better grip on the gravel. Starting from home in the Dandenongs, I plan to cover as many places that I know of that are mentioned in Banjo's poems going as far north as Isisford in Queensland (can you guess the relevant poem?) before heading towards home down the Birdsville track. Of course a track called Oodnadatta can't be ignored so I'll investigate that as well.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #2
  3. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Long timer Supporter

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    "For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know."
    To follow your dream is an excellent theme for a ramble !

    I always thought it strange that the Geebung Polo Club is in Melbourne and not in Geebung Brisbane.
    #3
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  4. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    'And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him'

    I've ponded this question too. There are two Campaspe rivers, one just west of Charters Towers and the other runs north from near Bendigo into the Murray at Echuca, I don't know but I'm guessing that infamous polo match was played on the banks of the latter, perhaps someone can put me straight.

    'By the old Campaspe River, where the breezes shake the grass,
    There's a row of little gravestones that the stockmen never pass,
    For they bear a rude inscription saying, 'Stranger, drop a tear,
    For the Cuff and Collar players and the Geebung boys lie here.'
    #4
  5. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Unfortunately Wilson the drone is not in a fit state to come on the trip. Being Chinese I suppose it's not his fault that he didn't understand English, just simple words like 'whoa', 'steady up there' and 'come back ya bastard'. Anyway I'll leave him hanging up at the back door as an example for his replacement who is yet to arrive in the mail.
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    So it's time for the off, the first destination has got to be the Snowy River, but that may not be the first applicable poem, I hear it's a steep rocky track to where I'm going.

    Here is a bit of 'The Road to Hogan's Gap'.

    'Now look, you see, it's this way like--
    You cross the broken bridge
    And run the crick down, till you strike
    The second right-hand ridge.'

    It's not easy leaving home, I feel a bit guilty about leaving my wife to her daily chores. It does weigh heavy on my conscience, well perhaps not that heavy, I mean playing tennis and being looked after by the grand kids, a bit of gardening and morning teas with friends sounds ok to me. Speaking of gardening, my wife does a top job, I love where I live, they'll carry me out of here in a box.
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    I apologize up front that my posts may be a tad spasmodic, I rely on free wifi on my travels.

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #5
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  6. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    The first spot I want to visit is McKillop's bridge, it spans the Snowy River. It's a day's ride from home, well not quite a day but I didn't want to tackle it after a long ride, so I camped next to a bridge just east of Lakes Entrance. I thought I was on the banks of a river but the water was brackish so it was actually an arm of an inlet, but the water was good enough for a top to tail wash and the camp spot was absolutely free, which was just fine with me.

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    McKillop's bridge is up past Buchan on the Barry Way and turn off to the east. Well, the road into the bridge wasn't that bad at all, the surface was pretty good. It's a sight better than the road to Hogan's Gap, but you just wouldn't want to have a mishap.

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    'For look, if you should miss the slope
    And get below the track,
    You haven't got the slightest hope
    Of ever getting back.'

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    Yes folks, that's the Snowy River. Not a mountain man or a horse in sight and the number of cars and bikes about gave me a fright, it just didn't feel right.
    Being Easter explained the traffic about, dust from speeding SUV's was the only problem, no doubt.
    I could have camped at this lovely spot on the way back to Barry Way, but it was still to early to stay.
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    There was plenty of time to move on to Jindabyne.

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #6
  7. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    52
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    Sorry about the lack of updates, I'm just too knackered when I'm on the road.
    The good news is that I've made it to Birdsville, the bad news is that the track is not too flash. So I'm thinking of going north to Mt Isa and then west to Tennant Creek, down through Alice Springs and we'll see what the Oodnadatta Track is like when I get to Marla.
    A few days ago on the way up I camped at Mt Panorama, at the top of the Bathurst race track.
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    I didn't know the origins of the saying 'Beyond the black stump', but it was a survey marker at Blackall in outback Queensland.
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    On the outer Barcoo I passed that track that's never crossed except by folk that are lost.
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    Last night I camped just west of Wendorah on the way to Birdsville.
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    Cheers, Frugal
    #7
  8. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Let's move back up the track, so to speak, move back in time to on my way to Jindabyne.
    Re-tracing my way back from McKillop's Bridge to the Barry Way, some dick and a chick in a Porsche SUV, they fly over the crest right in front of me. They do their best to give me a shower of gravel and rocks, the bloody cocks. The air was thick and I yell out 'good one you prick', I don't think they heard, so I gave them the bird, the inconsiderate turd.
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    Back on the Barry Way, I head north to Jindabyne a 120kms away. It's gravel but mostly in good condition, just the same I'm getting knackered and I'm happy to stop and take in the view. Nature at it's best, I give it it's due.
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    Looking South, you can see the gravel road I've just come up on.
    Some folks enjoying the view tell me I've only got another 20kms of gravel and then it's bitumen into Jindabyne.
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    Jindabyne is full of tourists, queues of people backed out of the bakery so I head towards Thredbo. I see a couple of bikers stopped on the side of the road, thinking I met them before at McKillop's Bridge I stop for a chat, but they are not the same blokes. They tell me there is the Little Thredbo River not far ahead so I press on and that is where I camp for the night.
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    Camped in the edge of the bush on the side of the road, I didn't pitch the tent, just rolled out the swag and had a good sleep.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #8
  9. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Long timer Supporter

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    Where the girls are green and the grass is pretty.
    Lovely country !
    #9
  10. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    52
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    Australia
    Yes, generally speaking Australia is in pretty good nick at the moment, although no one likes a flood, the recent rains have greened up the country, knee high grass for miles and miles in the long paddock.
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    Cheers, Frugal
    #10
  11. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Long timer Supporter

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    #11
  12. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    I stopped for a rest just south of St George on the Dirranbandi road and talked to a couple on a bit of a road trip like me. He laughed when I didn't know the connection between Winton and Waltzing Matilda. I knew that the setting of our pseudo national anthem was based in outback Queensland but that wasn't good enough for this guy. Anyway, I looked up where Winton was and it was a bit too far out of my way, I could have gone there but I had my route planned out in my head, Tambo, Blackall, Isisford, Windorah, Birdsville. You got to leave something for next time, leave a bit of salt on the plate, mate.
    The place where I had stopped was the location of the last bushranger incident back in 1902.
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    The basis of Waltzing Matilda is that Banjo and his fiance were visiting a friend on an outback farm in Queensland, ok near Winton. The friend entertained them with a tune that impressed Banjo, the farmer took them on a tour of the farm where they found the skin of a sheep, someone had helped themselves to a free meal, and he also told the story where a shearing shed had been burnt down with the loss of some sheep during a shearer's strike. The police tracked down one of the perpetrators of that crime and instead of the surrendering, he committed suicide. Banjo put those 3 events together to write the iconic song. This is according to Banjo's grand daughters, I suppose they would know as well as anyone else.

    '...
    Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water-hole,
    Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee;
    ...
    Down came the squatter a-riding his thoroughbred;
    Down came policemen-one, two and three.
    ...
    But the swagman, he up and jumped in the water-hole,
    Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree;
    And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the billabong
    Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?'

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #12
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  13. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Long timer Supporter

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    Location:
    Where the girls are green and the grass is pretty.
    In Tambo, go see the chook races at the pub.
    #13
  14. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    I'm sitting here banging away with the laptop on my lap, my wife is enjoying a cup of coffee while watching some program on the TV and then the 'news' comes on. What's that, global warming?
    Sweet Jesus, love me to death, (that's a polite way of saying something that would get me banned for life) I've only been home a couple of days and I'm already swearing at the TV again. Fair dinkum, I'm telling you I wouldn't have a TV if I lived alone, I might end up that way if I continue with my bad habits. The ABC, our national broadcaster, are still banging away about global bloody warming, Sweet Jesus, so the world has supposedly warmed up 1.2 C. since 1975. Every bloody day we get this crap rammed down our throat. Big bloody deal, in 1975 the general consensus by all the panic merchants was that we were heading for the next ice age and they were recommending we spread soot on the polar ice caps to warm the place up a bit. If you are unaware or if you have been misled, let me tell you that the warmest decade over the last century is the 1930's and carbon dioxide has a miniscule effect on global warming. One of the best things about motorbike trips is that I don't see any 'news' for weeks at a time, my focus is on living each day as it comes. Enjoying this marvellous life, it really is a miracle, just think about it, an egg and a sperm get together and bingo, here we are, you wouldn't believe it if we weren't living the reality.
    Sorry about the rant, I feel better now, now where was I ? That's right, camped on the banks of the Little Thredbo river on the edge of the Mt Kosciusko National Park. The secret (if it is a secret) to having a good sleep is to be bone tired and squeaky clean and I had the best sleep ever that night. Check out this bush bathroom on my doorstep or should I say next to my swag. Crisp running water, ankle deep, concrete base, easy access, privacy, sunshine, just perfect.
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    That bathroom was so good I had another scrub-a-dub-dub in the morning and then headed towards Thredbo up by Kosciusko's side.

    'There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around,
    That the colt from old Regret had got away,
    And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
    So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
    All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
    Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
    For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
    And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.'

    I hadn't gone very far when I came across the toll booth to enter the Kosciusko National Park. I stopped and re-viewed my options, I hate paying tolls. I have been known to run the toll gates when overseas, I can verify that the booms on the French tollways are made of foam, I learnt this when I was a bit slow following a truck through the gate. Here, the attendant sensed my reluctance and asked where I was going, I thought quickly and said Khancoban. Oh thats ok, you can have a free day pass, just don't stop at Thredbo. Thank you very much. I did stop, but only to take a photo, you can see the ski slopes on the left.
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    I pressed on to Tom Groggin through some beautiful country on a beautiful day. Rumour has it that Tom Groggin was the home of Jack Riley, reputed to be the subject of the Man from Snowy River, but I wouldn't know anything about that.
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    '...
    And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast;
    He was something like a racehorse undersized,
    With a touch of Timor pony - three parts thoroughbred at least -
    And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
    ...
    He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
    Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough;
    Where the horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
    The man that holds his own is good enough.
    ...'

    Approaching Tom Groggin a couple of emus crossed the road right in front of me, which reminded me of the poem 'Saltbush Bill's Gamecock' although the setting of that poem is not anywhere near here.
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    '...
    Tis strange how often the men out back will take to some curious craft,
    Some ruling passion to keep their thoughts away from the overdraft;
    And Rooster Hall, of the Take 'Em Down, was widely known to fame
    As breeder of champion cocks - his forte was the British Game.
    ...
    Twas Saltbush Bill to the station rode ahead of his travelling sheep,
    And sent a message to Rooster Hall that wakened him out of his sleep -
    A crafty message that fetched him out, and hurried him as he came -
    A drover has an Australian bird to match with your British Game.
    ...
    The cook he banged on a saucepan lid; and, soon as the sound was heard,
    Under the dray, in the shadow hid, a something moved and stirred;
    A great tame emu strutted out. Said Saltbush, 'Here's our bird!'
    But Rooster Hall, and his cronies two, drove home without a word.'

    Now that is so funny, you can just imagine the scene.

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #14
  15. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Today I was settling down to do the next post and my wife asked am I coming to the footy. Family comes first, my youngest son plays for the local footy team, my oldest son has cerebral palsy and couldn't play, my middle son used to play but he is now past it, and my two daughters-in-law play for the netball team, so of course I joined her. Local sport is a great base for social cohesion, the football and netball clubs joined forces years ago and it's just a great community institution. Tomorrow is ANZAC day and it has grown in community support over the years, sporting and community clubs all around the country have embraced the ANZAC rememberance and it's sobering when you think you're having a bad day, just spare a thought for all those who have paid dearly for our freedom. This photo, taken off the TV, is of the ANZAC service before tonight's Aussie Rules game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground before a packed crowd, well as much as that is permitted by the Covid rules, 80% capacity, 80,000 people.
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    Earlier on today, our local service at the sports ground at Olinda.
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    My son Tom, is in the middle of the front row, three to the left of the left point post, with the Man From Ironbark look.
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    "Them barber chaps what keeps a tote, By George, I've had enough,
    One tried to cut my bloomin' throat, but thank the Lord it's tough."
    And whether he's believed or no, there's one thing to remark,
    That flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark.

    The weather is pretty variable up in the Dandenongs, this is how it looked later in the day.
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    Sorry for the digression, where was I? On my way to Khancoban.
    Cheers, Frugal
    #15
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  16. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    When I'm on a motorbike trip I lose weight, 3 kgs this trip, mostly because it's a bit hard to eat when I'm on the bike, but sometimes because I forget to eat altogether. Thinking back on it, my last half proper meal was over a day ago, no way was I going to join that queue at the Jindabyne Bakery. It was back in Lakes Entrance, a McChicken crispy wrap, don't laugh, it's healthy stuff, some toff would call it a Caesar salad, so I was looking forward to reaching Khancoban. It is a pretty town, it came into existance during the 1950's to support the development of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricity Scheme. An old farmer sitting outside the most popular shop in town, the Khancoban Bakery, I can recommend their ham salad rolls and coffee, told me that three brothers had just set up a dairy farm and had it requisitioned by the government for the town site. He told me that story several times, such is old age.
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    I press on further north into more high country, mostly through natural bush, I crossed the Great Dividing Range three times during the day. It really was a great ride, most enjoyable, up there with the best, great scenery and roads, little traffic.
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    The scenery changed as the altitude increased.
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    I finally popped out into high country farmland on the Snowy Mtns Hwy at Kiandra and continued my route north. Earlier in the day I had stopped to look at a power station and a guy stopped and started to chat, he was driving a car but such a friendly bloke has got to be a biker. He was restoring a Suzuki 750 Waterbottle and told me there is a good camp site up near Talbingo. Of course I got his directions all wrong, I turned off at Talbingo instead of riding past it, I eventually gave up and continued my way north. Up the road a bit I noticed a pristine creek so I stopped for a wash and then continued on looking for a camp site. Of course the site I was told about was just around the next corner, on the shore of a large lake.
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    I never waste an opportunity for a wash, my wife would scoff if she ever read this, so after another great sleep I had another wash, this time in the lake and then pressed on north towards Tumut.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #16
  17. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    The good news is that the new drone, a Hubsan Zino 2+, arrived while I was away on the trip, the bad news is that I've spent this morning trying to fire it up and I've made very little progress, it looks as if I might have to read the instructions. Actually two drones arrived while I was away, the other drone I've sent back to the vendor tout de suite. He didn't have the requested drone in stock, a Holystone HS720E, so he thought it would be ok to send an alternate drone, a Mark 300, which he tried to ram down my throat by saying it was a superior drone. I never agreed to this, how could I because he refused to specify the make and model of the alternate drone, he just sent it anyway, the dumb prick.
    Anyway for a bit of relaxation I resume this report. Now, where was I, that's right I've just left the lake between Talbingo and Tumut, my camp spot was down on the shore between the other campers, but there had been plenty of room.
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    In Tumut I stopped for a bacon and egg McMuffin, it was so good I had two. While I was drinking my coffee I checked my map for the road to Gundagai.

    Oh, we started down from Roto when the sheds had all cut out.
    We'd whips and whips of Rhino as we meant to push about,
    So we humped our blues serenely and made for Sydney town,
    With a three-spot cheque between us, as wanted knocking down.

    But we camped at Lazy Harry's, on the road to Gundagai
    The road to Gundagai! Not five miles from Gundagai!
    Yes, we camped at Lazy Harry's, on the road to Gundagai.

    Well, we struck the Murrumbidgee near the Yanko in a week,
    And passed through old Narrandera and crossed the Burnet Creek.
    And we never stopped at Wagga, for we'd Sydney in our eye.
    But we camped at Lazy Harry's, on the road to Gundagai.

    Oh, I've seen a lot of girls, my boys, and drunk a lot of beer,
    And I've met with some of both, chaps, as has left me mighty queer;
    But for beer to knock you sideways, and for girls to make you sigh,
    You must camp at Lazy Harry's, on the road to Gundagai.

    Well, we chucked our blooming swags off, and we walked into the bar,
    And we called for rum-an'-raspb'ry and a shilling each cigar.
    But the girl that served the pizen, she winked at Bill and I
    And we camped at Lazy Harry's, not five miles from Gundagai.

    In a week the spree was over and the cheque was all knocked down,
    So we shouldered our "Matildas," and we turned our backs on town,
    And the girls they stood a nobbler as we sadly said "Good bye,"
    And we tramped from Lazy Harry's, not five miles from Gundagai;

    I wanted to check out the Murrumbidgee River and a local directed me there via some very scenic back roads.

    'I bought a run a while ago
    On country rough and ridgy,
    Where wallaroos and wombats grow —
    The Upper Murrumbidgee.
    The grass is rather scant, it’s true,
    But this a fair exchange is,
    The sheep can see a lovely view
    By climbing up the ranges.
    ...
    A man would wonder how it’s done,
    The stock so soon decreases —
    They sometimes tumble off the run
    And break themselves to pieces.

    I’ve tried to make expenses meet,
    But wasted all my labours;
    The sheep the dingoes didn’t eat
    Were stolen by the neighbours.
    ...
    And sometimes under sunny skies,
    Without an explanation,
    The Murrumbidgee used to rise
    And overflow the station.
    But this was caused (as now I know)
    When summer sunshine glowing
    Had melted all Kiandra’s snow
    And set the river going.

    Then in the news, perhaps, you read:
    ‘Stock passings. Puckawidgee,
    ‘Fat cattle: Seven hundred head
    ‘Swept down the Murrumbidgee;
    ‘Their destination’s quite obscure,
    ‘But, somehow, there’s a notion,
    ‘Unless the river falls, they’re sure
    ‘To reach the Southern Ocean.’

    So after that I’ll give it best;
    No more with Fate I’ll battle.
    I’ll let the river take the rest,
    For those were all my cattle.
    And with one comprehensive curse
    I close my brief narration,
    And advertise it in my verse —
    ‘For Sale! A Mountain Station.’

    The Banjo certainly had a way with words.
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    You can see how much water must be about when the Murrumbidgee is in flood.
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    After Gundagai I headed towards Yass on lovely country roads.
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    I eventually came to a T junction, I didn't know which way to go, the signposts were not pointing to anything familiar. A farmer stopped and helped me out, I could go east, there was a gravel road to Yass but it wasn't a short cut so I wimped out and succumbed to the easier path, west to the Hume Hwy. Yes, soft I know but the time was moving on and I was getting tired.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #17
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  18. PilbaraGoat

    PilbaraGoat Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    978
    Location:
    Tom Price, WA/Bendigo VIC
    Great premise for a ride, and ride report!
    #18
  19. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    On my way to the Hume Hwy it was still lovely country.
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    I take some medication to lower the risk of another stroke and something tweaked in my brain that I didn't have enough to last the trip, so I stopped to check. Sure enough, I had only a couple of days left but I had left home with plenty. After an unsuccessful search, I thought I would have to curtail the trip, but then a fleeting memory triggered a further search and sure enough there it was in the lid of the rack bag. Phew! I do give myself a hard time sometimes. On arrival in Yass I noticed that I hadn't secured the bungee cords that hold a small back pack on top of the swag, I was lucky it was still there, I must be a gentle rider or something and I made a mental note to always check the bungee cords before heading off each time.
    Banjo had spent a fair amount of his time in this area, he had bought a property out the road a bit, 50kms away at Wee Jasper, so there is a park named after him in Yass.
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    It was getting late in the day and I had to find a camp spot before dark, so what better spot than Wee Jasper, I'll camp on Banjo's door step.
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    It was another great camp spot, plenty of fresh water for a wash, albeit it was right on the edge of the road. How much traffic could you expect at Wee Jasper, well not very much, and I was right. Except it takes only one loud vehicle to wake you up, I was sound asleep and bang, I was hit by a blast of pure noise. I was in a deep sleep, dead to the world, totally out of it and bang, I didn't know where I was or what was happening, some one blasted past in a loud vehicle and woke up the dead, they must be still laughing. Holy smoke!
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    But it was a lovely camp spot and it's a blessing to be able to pitch a tent on the side of the road for the night.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #19
  20. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks PG, the ride was good fun and so is writing the report. It's great to visit places that I've read about, and I'm already planning the next trip to see some of the spots that I missed on this trip.
    IMG_20210407_065454386_HDR[1].jpg
    Cheers, Frugal
    #20
    River Rat and staticPort like this.