I knew today was going to be a long day, slabs of straight bitumen roads as I head towards Bourke, Dubbo and then hopefully Mudgee for the night. So why the focus on Mudgee if the rally starts from Wauchope I hear you ask?
Since before buying my T7 I had been thinking of what custom graphics would adorn my new adventure bike. My love for the Paris Dakar meant I wanted to incorporate the iconic Dakar logo while retaining the history of the Tenere name.
I had no interest in fitting my own graphics kit, let’s just say I was at the back of the line when handyman skills were handed out. I knew I’d stuff it up and cringe looking at any photos of my pride and joy. DMK kept popping up in my searches and it wasn’t too far from Wauchope, so I reached out to DMK owner Jeff Dray. He offered an installation service and helped me finalise a design.
The run to Bourke was a straight and uneventful run, other than a tricky roadworks section which saw me directed towards a truck head on. Then it was just a quick splash of fuel and advice on where to eat in town.
The friendly attendant directed me down the road to Morralls Bakery, which was a great tip. After indulging in some pastry delights and experiencing some wonderful country customer service, it was time to continue towards Mudgee.
This proved to be another long straight stretch and my mind began to wander and anxiety started to creep in about the upcoming rally and if I’d bitten off more than I can chew. Like an oasis Mulga Creek Pub appeared and even though I wasn’t really hungry or thirsty this is a location you can’t drive past.
I just can’t get enough of these unique outback pubs, not just the theme and the character, but the people you meet who keep services open for us. Our chat was all too brief before I continued down the Mitchell Highway towards Nyngan.
Phone reception has been patchy throughout the day, and whenever I return to service the Bluetooth in my helmet commences a rapid fire dings of messages and emails. I pull over, check to see if there is anything urgent and notice a message from Jeff at DMK, “Did you want your graphics on Gloss or Matte?” Having no idea, I thought I’d give the expert a call to help me decide.
Jeff answered and immediately commented on my “Epic Adventure” and let me know he was following my progress. I was still amazed that anyone was interested in my ride to Wauchope, but I thanked him and settled on Gloss.
Jeff let me know his offsider would be fitting my graphics kit as he was at Dubbo Hospital with his wife as they were expecting a new addition to the family. ‘No problem mate, and all best with the birth of bub,’ I said, to which Jeff then replied, “Hey won’t you be going through Dubbo? If so we could catch up the way through.”
He’s a braver man than me leaving his expecting wife in hospital, but it would be great to catch up. “Nah its all-good mate,” he reassures me, “She’s not due for a couple of days.”
We agree on McDonalds in Dubbo, and within a couple of hours I’m pulling into the carpark with thoughts fixated on a McFeast and large fries and catching up with Jeff of course. After a couple of awkward message back and forth of “Are you sure you’re at McDonalds?” we realise there are two in town and Jeff drives over to meet me.
We spent about thirty minutes chatting about his beautiful wife (Jeff you still owe me $20 for saying this), motorcycles and business. It’s great to meet someone who is so passionate about their business and the motorcycle community. Jeff gives me some advice on the best route to Mudgee, but fails to let me know about the mouse plague that was gripping the greater Dubbo region – more on that shortly.
While I love riding at night, it presents challenges when trees and bushes are close to the road edge hiding wildlife that decides it’s the perfect time to explore. There were a quite a few kangaroo carcasses strewn through the winding roads and my pace eased accordingly, making the ninety minutes run to Mudgee look more like two hours.
Did I mention the mouse plague? I felt like I was playing live action “Frogger” with mice constantly crossing my path, flickering as they enter my headlights illumination.
Just after 7:00 pm I see the welcome signs for Mudgee and start looking for “Vacancy” signs as I haven’t booked any accommodation. I pass a series of “No Vacancy” signs until I finally see VACANCY flashing at the opposite end of town. I stop and walk into reception only to be told they are booked out and the “NO” sign isn’t working. I plead my case and the receptionist suggests a room at the Pub down the road – perfect.
I head into the pub and ask if they have anything available, and it appears I’m in luck. “We’ve had a few late walk ins, but I do have a room with one bed, is that okay?” I jokingly reply that its just me, so that’s fine. The young guy guides me to my room, round the back of the pub, up a long flight of stairs, through a common area to the base of a second set of stairs. He stops and points up the stairs and says, “It’s the room at the end.”
I ascend the stairs to the sound of high-pitched colourful language between a couple of lovely ladies. As I pass their room they slam their door and I’m hit with a strong “herbal” smell. I arrive at my room at the end of the hall ready to unload my gear, flop on the bed and relax.
As I open the door I’m confronted by what you can only describe as a converted broom closet. As I manoeuvre in and close the door my head hits the sharply sloping ceiling. The door itself have slots cut in the timber with a small metal grid placed over the cuts, I assume this is an attempt to allow air into the room as there are no windows.
My luck had to run out eventually. Time to return to the bike, carry my bags up two flights of stairs, check some of my GoPro footage and prepare for tomorrows adventure – Wauchope.
Day 4: Total kilometres: 690. Highlight: Mulga Creek Pub. Must do: Book accommodation if travelling to Mudgee!
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