2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad Rohde Trip

Rohde Trip – Tamworth, NSW

(Unfortunately, most of the photo’s from this Rohde Trip were lost so we have included the few that we were able to find.)

Day 1 – April 1, 2011

Distance: 387.8km 
Time: 4hr 45min (approx)
Departure: Kensington Grove, Queensland
Destination:
Warialda, NSW 

The reason behind this road trip was a journey to Tamworth for a family event and so began the “Great Debate” and the birth of the Burp and Giggles Road Trips. Controversy came about in the respect that Burp was of the opinion that this was not our first road trip, whereas Giggles was of the opinion that it was our first road trip and that the previous 2 trips didn’t count, so a compromise was achieved. Whilst this is in fact, our 3rd road trip on the Nomad, it is our first “Burp and Giggles” road trip.

After a few nights of careful planning by Burp, the route was chosen and had encompassed townships/roads that we had not previously travelled on. Naturally, all the map work was determined by Burp because Giggles was still trying to work out, without any success, how to get from home to Broken Hill via the maps much to Burp’s amusement.

Now that the route was planned, all that really needed doing was to pack, and as per usual, this was a joint effort. Giggles got everything ready, laid it all out and Burp packed it in the 2 bags that would fit inside the pannier boxes. This was amongst Burp telling Giggles “I don’t need this many jeans”, with Giggles insisting that “Yes you do”. Fortunately, looks can be deceiving however and one can fit a lot more on the Nomad that one would at first believe. Mind you, Burp and Giggles came to the conclusion that a luggage rack would have made all the difference and of course, we did have to pack extra clothes we would not have normally taken because one cannot attend a family event wearing a pair of jeans that one has spent 2 days in on a motorbike!

One aspect of the Road Trip we did not bother to sort out prior to leaving was accommodation. Like previous road trips, we figured we could find somewhere to stay in whatever towns we were stopping in for the night. This is despite accommodation issues we have had on previous trips however we won’t go into that………….

A gorgeous day, wonderful riding conditions, just 1 small detour and we would be on our way. Then up the road to the service station to check the tyre pressure before setting off at 0910.

Giggles had decided to take photographs of the journey from the back of the Nomad (at 100kph no less) and managed to get some halfway decent photos. Unfortunately, prior to creating our new web site, most of the photo’s were irretrievably lost.

The little town of Clifton seemed as good a place to stop as any and we found a nice little park there.

Whilst the roads were seemingly much smoother than the Bruce Highway is (wouldn’t be difficult now would it!), that did not last long so of the debate about which State had better roads was under-way  Giggles, being a New South Welshwoman, naturally had to defend her home state.

By the time we reached Inglewood, hunger had set in and it seemed as good a place as any to pull up for food and fuel at a service station.

Considering Texas is also where the NSW border is, Texas was disappointing and we were both expecting something much more.

Yetman was the next stopping point………………..yes we stop a lot but you know what they say; stop every 2 hours to prevent fatigue blah blah blah. Anyway, the reason we had allowed so much travel time was so that if we saw somewhere we wanted to stop, then we could do so without it putting us behind schedule.

With Warialda being our chosen destination for the evening, we had a short journey remaining.

Prior to entering Warialda Burp noticed a sign for a Lookout so we figured it was worthwhile going up the little country track to see the views. Giggles must point out here that she does not see any points of interest along the way to stop at, solely because from the back of the Nomad, due to her tiny stature, her views are limited to the back of Burp’s helmet.

Warialda was a lovely little town and our first port of call was the Tourist Information Centre to see what choice of accommodation there was in the area. There turned out to be a caravan park and a couple of pubs and the lady who worked at the Information Centre telephoned the caravan park manager and arranged for him to meet us at the park. Don’t be misled by the words “Caravan Park” because in reality, it consisted of some grass for anyone who wanted to camp in tents, as well as a few cabins, an amenities block, and a BBQ area.

The park manager was a really nice man, who, like most country people, loved to talk. This wasn’t a bad thing though as we learnt which pub to avoid, and where to go to get a decent meal.

The cabin itself was clean, tidy, however……………………there was no complimentary tea/coffee/sugar/milk! Of course, being on the Nomad we were travelling very light and didn’t even have a drink with us. As Giggles is a confirmed coffee addict this was not good………

Giggles then decided to send her family a text so that they would know what was happening and whereabouts she and Burp were, only to discover that 3 has pathetic network coverage and there was no service at all.

By now it was late afternoon and we made the decision to walk to the Bowling Club for dinner, and then the next morning we would have a quick look around the town before heading to Tamworth. The meal at the Bowling Club was lovely and reasonably priced and the walk to and from the Club was a nice little walk although as per usual, Giggles had the wrong shoes.

Upon getting back to the cabin after dinner, feeling too tired to do much of anything, (and not even having a pack of cards) a shower and bed was the best option. Giggles decided to commandeer the shower first and both she and Burp had every intentions of having very hot and long showers however, after 25 minutes, it was Burp’s turn. Poor Burp had been in the shower no more than 2 minutes when the hot water went. Unbelievable! The cabin must have been on a very small electrical heating system and so Burp ended up with a rather cold shower because Giggles stole all the hot water.

Day 2- April 2, 2011

Distance: 387.8km 
Time: 4hr 45min (approx)
Departure: Warialda, NSW 
Destination: 
Tamworth, NSW 

Upon waking, having had a relatively good nights’ sleep, and then Giggles remembering there was no available coffee, decided it was time to get dressed and get the heck out of there into town to a café because as Burp is fully aware, a Giggles without morning coffee is a very scary Giggles indeed.

Venturing outside, the weather looked decidedly overcast so Burp decided that wet weather gear was a definite must and of course the bonus to wearing wet weather gear is that it gave us more room in the pannier boxes, which were rather full to say the least.

Unlike travelling in a car whereby we can just jump in the car and drive, if rain is imminent, we have 15 minutes of putting on wet weather gear, before finally being able to get on the Nomad and go.

We found a lovely little café in Warialda with wonderful service and fantastic coffee so Giggles was happy because her coffee addiction has been quelled for the time being and Burp was happy because Giggles was no longer “scary Giggles”.  Burp might “scare” the rest of the humankind (which Giggles can’t understand), however, a “Scary Giggles” with no morning coffee is enough to petrify even the toughest of bikers 😉

After coffee we went for a quick ride around the town as wanted to have a look and found a lovely little Catholic Church that we pulled up out the front of while Giggles went inside to chat with The Man, while Burp took photos.

Time to get back on the road and continue the journey, whilst hoping the rain would hold off, and yet more evidence of the friendliness of the local people became apparent. As we were heading out of town, an elderly couple were walking up the street and gave us a great big wave and smile. This is despite Burp doing his Scary Biker Impersonation, so Giggles gave them a great big wave and smile back. Of course they would have had no idea that Giggles was smiling because half her face (including her mouth) is hidden by the helmet. 

The NSW roads are STILL in excellent condition, unlike QLD roads………..

Then, It was at this point that Giggles began to lose the “our roads are better than your roads” argument………

As we approached the bridge to the Gwydir River, Burp decided it was time for a smoke break, oops, a riding fatigue break. It was a lovely old bridge and Giggles’ photos did not really do it justice.

When we reached Barraba it was time to stop for a coffee at the local service station as Giggles was having yet more coffee withdrawal symptoms. We found it interesting that yet again, we pull up somewhere and there is not a person in sight, yet within 5 minutes of parking and getting off the bike, people turned up in droves.

The townsfolk were very friendly however it would appear that a prerequisite of being a Barraba resident is that one’s chosen vehicle MUST be the typical Australian Ute. 99% of vehicles that pulled into the service station while we were there were all Ute’s. Of course, accompanying these Utes were the inevitable hunting dogs.

After coffee, there was still no sign of inclement weather so the wet weather gear came off and was repacked in the pannier boxes by Burp. By this stage we still had NO mobile signal.

Once we were approaching Attunga, Giggles thought she would give the mobile another try (yes, it is possible to send a text while travelling along the roads at 100kph) and finally, there was service. A quick text was sent off to family explaining that we were in Attunga and could we drop around for a coffee. Five seconds later there was a reply of “Yes”. Giggles then informed Burp that rather than go into Tamworth to look for accommodation prior to visiting the family; we were now heading straight to their home for coffee. Fortunately, Burp has an excellent sense of direction and remembered how to get to our destination because Giggles had no idea, which is worrying really as it’s her family we were visiting.

After lengthy discussion the decision was made to spend the night with family, sparing us from having to search for accommodation and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all.

Day 3- April 3, 2011

Distance: 113.5km
Time: 1hr 32min (approx)
Departure: Tamworth, NSW 
Destination: 
Armidale, NSW

Burp had no set destination in mind for the evening and it was a case of riding to see how far we wanted to go. Remembering of course that when on a motorbike, it is preferable to stop before it gets dark for a number of reasons, one of which being kangaroos…………Do you really want to take your chances on a bike at dusk if a roo decides to cross your path? Another of which being bugs……………………..Burp wears an open face helmet and bugs hitting you in the face at 100kpm, especially Aussie bugs lol, can be painful.

Once we’d reached Armidale there didn’t seem much point in carrying on, even though it was only about an hour down the road from Tamworth so we called it a night and began the accommodation search. Burp pulled up at 2 motels while Giggles went in to inquire about the price, and to say we were horrified was an understatement, with one motel wanting $125 for the night! Every motel seemed to be the same and Giggles had to start wondering if the prices were suddenly being increased because we had turned up on the Nomad, rather than in a sedate family vehicle?

We kept looking and Burp found a sign for a Pembroke Tourist and Leisure Caravan Park. We rode in there and stopped at the office so Giggles could go in and find out the price.

The Park Manager was fantastic, such a bubbly, outgoing personality and the price for overnight accommodation in a cabin with it’s own en-suite was much more reasonable than what the motel’s were charging.

The cabin was lovely, again, clean and tidy, quite spacious and much to Giggles’ delight, there was complimentary coffee/milk/sugar. We were off to a good start………………..

Whilst sitting on the balcony having a coffee we met a lovely older couple that stopped for a chat. She was originally from Wolverhampton, UK whilst he was from Worcestershire, UK. Of course Giggles was rather fond of Wolverhampton Wolves whilst living in the UK. They knew the area quite well and had stayed at the park on numerous occasions and spent about 30 minutes chatting to us.

Once we’d finished our coffee we decided to go out for a quick ride around the town to see what was there and to grab something for dinner. We went back into the cabin to get what was needed only for Giggles to ask Burp why on earth there was a pool of water near the bunk beds in the cabin. Burp had no idea and headed up to the office to inform the Manager. Two minutes later Burp returned with the Manager in tow and after a bit of a look it was decided that it was the fridge causing an issue. The Manager offered to move us to another cabin however we didn’t see that there was any need, particularly as we had no intentions of using the fridge anyway, so the Manager cleaned up the mess, stayed for a chat and then we were off to view the town.

After about 5 minutes of riding around, we concluded that it was too dark to really see much and we would find a Hungry Jack’s or similar for dinner and would then get up a bit earlier to have a look around town before setting off.

As you can probably tell by now, Giggles is taking photographs of anything and everything, despite much eye rolling from Burp, but he loves it really and as everyone keeps informing Giggles,  it’s wonderful to see photos of Burp looking so happy, and what a great way of remembering our first road trip.

Giggles has now discovered where their daughter gets the habit of putting fries on her burgers………………her father does exactly the same thing, and with the same amount of concentration.

After dinner, it was back to the cabin for a good sleep before setting off for the final journey home. We would certainly recommend Pembroke Tourist and Leisure Caravan Park to anyone passing through Armidale in need of accommodation.

Day 4- April 4, 2011

Distance: 536.2km
Time: 7hr 1min (approx)
Departure: Armidale, NSW 
Destination: 
Kensington Grove, QLD

After showers, with more than sufficient hot water, although Giggles told Burp (very generously of her) that he could have the first shower in case the hot water ran out, and a coffee, it was time to find somewhere to have breakfast and then have a quick ride around Armidale.

Whilst we had quickly ridden around Armidale the previous evening we had seen a couple of beautiful cathedrals, both of which we were determined to photograph so we parked the bike and walked to the Cathedrals, the first of which being the Anglican Cathedral.

The second cathedral was the Catholic one and the architecture was breathtaking.

More than happy with the numerous photos we had taken of the cathedrals (yes there are many more photos not included in our road trip diary), the time had come to depart Armidale. At this stage, Burp was unsure whether or not we would end up at home or perhaps stop somewhere else along the way. As we had allowed so many days for the trip anyway it really didn’t matter so we had the luxury of being able to play it by ear.

We had already planned to stop at the Wollomombi Gorge, a point of interest also told to us by Giggles’ dad who said it was well worth visiting so that was to be our first stop.

We had intended to also visit Ebor Falls after we left Wollomombi Gorge and it was not too far up the road. Both of us loved the Falls, they were absolutely beautiful and it was well worth stopping for a visit.

You will, by now, have discovered that Burp and Giggles can only ride so far before Giggles’ need for coffee surpasses her need to actually cover any great distances so the next stop was Nymboida, where there was a gorgeous little Inn called Nymboida Coaching Station Inn, set back off the road in the middle of nowhere and what a beautiful place it was to stop.

At some point, Giggles wants to return to this Inn as something about it was just perfect.  It’s quaint, charming, and utterly peaceful.

The Inn was so charming, the owner was very friendly and we met the resident dogs that were an absolute delight, well, until the male decide to mark his territory on the Nomad much to Burp’s horror.

We could have stayed at the Inn a lot longer but at this stage we were still unsure exactly where we were riding to so it was off to Casino. You will notice in the photo below that Burp has a look of total concentration on his face. This is because he was trying to decide whether or not to pull up for the night soon or carry on all the way home. Poor Burp was weighing up the pros and cons, checking distance, and in the end, had to make the decision himself because Giggles had absolutely no idea. In fact, Giggles was more interested in the swings than reading road maps or determining times.

Off again, heading towards Lions Road, but unsure as of yet which direction to take.

We then reached that point in time whereby a decision had been made. To explain…………….prior to the trip, we had been hoping to incorporate at least one of the Great Rides.

To explain further………….for Valentines Day, Giggles had bought a book for Burp entitled “Australia Motorcycle Atlas – 200 Top Rides”. That should be self-explanatory yes? The top 200 rides in the country basically. Well, one of these rides is Lions Road which is 48k’s running between Summerland Way and Rathdowney.

We decided that even though it was getting on in the day, this was too good an opportunity to pass up, particularly as Burp had heard of this ride and it was one he had wanted to try for a while, so off we went.

This was a spectacular ride and one that we want to do again when it is earlier in the day and when we have more time. There are so many more bends on this road than the Mount Glorious ride that we do on a regular basis, and there were a few scary moments but it truly was fantastic, to say nothing of the gorgeous scenery.

It was along this “Great Ride” that Burp suddenly became unsure as whether or not our Road Trip needed photos after all, however in Giggles’ defence, it was the fault of the road…………..Giggles was merrily taking photos from the back of the Nomad whilst Burp was trying to navigate the road. Whilst the ride was great, the road had some rather “iffy” moments whereby sharp corners, rough road, or potholes appeared unexpectedly. It was just unfortunate for Burp that the road was bad at the exact same time Giggles was sitting up off her seat with the camera positioned directly over Burp’s head. (you can see where this is going?) We suddenly hit a bump in the road that came up out of nowhere and as Giggles sat down rather hurriedly, the camera came down, from a great height, straight on top of Burp’s helmet.

This set Giggles off in uncontrollable giggles with Burp asking something along the lines of “What the heck are you doing back there?” whilst no doubt wondering just what it was that hit him on the head. Giggles was unable to explain what had happened due to the fact that she couldn’t stop giggling. This was a moment that Giggles would remember for all eternity.

Since our 2011 Rohde Trip, we have ridden the Lions Road again, during daylight hours, so check back on our 2012 Lions Road Day Ride page for a more detailed version of this ride.

Almost home now, a quick smoke break at Beaudesert, with plans to then stop off at Yamanto and pick up a few supplies that we knew we had run out of at home.

At some time that Giggles can not remember, we finally made it back home and it should come as no surprise to anyone that we were in bed by 2130 that evening.

Needless to say, the first of the Burp and Giggles Road Trips has been a learning curve and we have learnt that for future road trips………

* Always carry sachets of coffee (the “posh” ones that don’t require milk) and sugar
* Always inquire as to the hot water system prior to booking accommodation
* Take smaller notebook
* Take a game of Yahtzee or Uno
* Sort out the darn motorbike trailer prior to any future road trips to cut down on accommodation expenses and to increase packing capabilities
* Buy a Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad luggage rack

 

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