2012 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad Rohde Trip

Rohde Trip – Penrith (Sydney) and Hunter Valley, NSW

Day 1 – May 27, 2012

Distance: 1169km
Time: 20hr (approx)
Departure: Plainland, Queensland
Destination: Hunter Valley, NSW (via Penrith)

Our first 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad Rohde Trip, by rights, should have been our honeymoon, however, we ended up having to make a totally unplanned trip just a few days before our wedding.

Insanity has well and truly set in! At least that is the only explanation that Burp and Giggles can come up with? After all, who else but us would jump on the Nomad and do a Rohde Trip to Penrith, NSW and back, a mere 6 DAYS before our wedding, and a mere 24 HOURS after Giggles’ surgery? Insane? Yes! But exciting? Yes

The purpose of this Rohde Trip was to pick up a Cub Sprint motorcycle camper trailer that we had bought on Ebay and to say we were excited was an understatement. What did not impress us was the fact that we had such little time to plan the journey but that’s half the fun I guess. Motorcyle campers are extremely hard to come by (2nd hand ones anyway), and this was just too good to pass up.

Prior to the trip, our biggest concern was how Giggles would cope because she had been operated on 24 hours previously, her foot was all bandaged and had to remain so, and this was going to be a very long, hard ride. We had to leave on Sunday and be back home on Wednesday in order to pick up our daughter from the airport, and our wedding was on Friday. As you can see, we were really cutting it fine………..

You will note that there are no photos at all for the first part of the ride and the reason behind this is that we left home at long before the sun rose, so it was pitch black and obviously Giggles was unable to take photos. She did however, have her trusty notebook and pen handy and was able to scribble notes, in the dark, whilst sitting on the back of the Nomad going down the highway (Yes, Giggles is very talented indeed lol).

It was a very early start, up at 0130 and it was like the Arctic! Of course anyone who knows Giggles is well aware that anything below 25 deg. C. is like the Arctic. In actual fact, Giggles was wearing so many clothes that it took longer to get dressed than put on her make up. On this occasion however, we had proof it was cold. Burp made the decision to wear his full face helmet. Yes, you heard correctly, no open face helmet for possibly the first time in years. Unlike any other road trips, this was the first one we had done whereby we took extra fuel in a jerry can You would be astounded by how much fits in the Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad pannier boxes

Our first stop was at the travel centre at Staplyton for fuel and if we thought it was cold when we left home, then believe me, we froze whilst at that service station at 0336. Whilst Burp busied himself fueling the Nomad, the security guard decided to chat with Giggles, no doubt wanting to know just how insane we were to be on a motorbike at that time of the morning in those conditions. Still no photos at all as it was still pitch black. Back on the Nomad and off we went again.

By the time it got to around 5am, Giggles was starting to have major problems with her foot and needed to get off the bike and try to take her boot off. (at this point in time, her foot is still quite heavily bandaged and it was a struggle to get the motorbike boot on over the bandages in the first place) Burp decided to make an unplanned stop for a coffee and breakfast at McDonald’s in Ballina. He was also stunned to see that Giggles, for the first time ever, refused to eat Macca’s breakfast, the most she could manage was a cup of coffee and some Nurofen for the pain.
We left Macca’s at around 0600, that is, once Burp finished laughing at Giggles because she apparently looked like “an eskimo” with all the clothes she was wearing. There could be something in this because we did get one or two strange looks and sympathethic smiles whilst we were rugging up to get back on the Nomad.

The road from Woodburn to Grafton was in appalling condition, and it was a relief to pull up at the service station in Grafton at 0740. Whilst having a much needed coffee to warm us up a bit, we chatted to some of the friendly tourists who were also out and about and it was finally time to get the camera out because at last, there was daylight. The sun had finally made an appearance. After sending a quick text to Giggles’ parents to give them our location, we left Grafton at 0815.

Even though we hadn’t been on the Nomad for that long, we decided to pull over at the Big Banana (an Australian icon) for a fatigue break (well it sounds better than smoke break doesn’t it?). By this stage it was definitely getting a bit warmer because Giggles finally decided to take off her duffle coat. Giggles admitted to Burp that she had found it exremely difficult to take photo’s along the way solely because her gloves were too cumbersome. It can be difficult enough taking photo’s from the back of the Nomad whilst doing 110kph down the highway but with gloves, it’s virtually impossible. As such, you can imagine Giggles’ disappointment when Burp refused to post in front of the Big Banana for a photo 🙂

Time to get on the road again so at 0915 we left Coffs Harbour. The following photos are just views taken along the Pacific Highway between Coffs Harbour and Allgomera Rest area.

The more we rode, the warmer it started to become so we stopped at Allgomera Rest Area to remove our wet weather pants. Whilst there, we noticed a gorgeous cat in the bush, such and odd place for him or her to have been, especially as he/she appeared, from a distance, to be either an MC or NFC. Really gorgeous and not at all phased by the travellers who were turning up constantly for a break from driving. Whilst there, Burp topped up the tank with the fuel from the jerry can and we then left at 1030.

Journey between Allgomera Rest area and Bulladelah

Upon reaching the Shell in Bulladelah at 1256 it was time to fuel up again, Giggles removed her scarf and gloves, sent another text message and then it was back on the Nomad until 1448 when we stopped at the Caltex somewhere along the Pacific Highway. Yet more fuel, check the tyre pressure, have a cigarette, send a text message to Giggles’ sister, Lynda, in Sydney to ensure we were welcome to call in for refreshments.

We reached Lynda’s residence at around 1600 and it was such a relief to go indoors and have an actual break. As you will have gathered, we have covered far more kilometres than we would normally on any given day and to have a much needed coffee and homemade refreshments was great. It was wonderful to catch up with Lynda, albeit for a short time, and many, many thanks to Lynda, Felicity, and Tahnee for their hospitality.

It is at this point in our Rohde Trip whereby we have no record of times. We headed towards Penrith (where the Cub Sprint Motorcycle Camper was situated), and the traffic was quite horrific, although perfectly normal for Sydney traffic. 

By the time we reached Penrith it was dark and after checking that documents were in order, and the state of the camper trailer, we hitched it to the Nomad and were back on the road heading towards the Hunter Valley region. We stopped at the Caltex again and re-fuelled and sure enough it started to rain. We only had approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours remaining but we were feeling rather shattered and riding in the rain, towing a camper trailer we knew nothing about did not make for a pleasant journey. At 2100 we FINALLY reached the home of Giggles’ parents and what a huge relief that was. More painkillers for Giggles, much needed coffee and dinner, a chat, and then it was off to bed.

Day 2 – May 28, 2012

Distance: 254km
Time: 4hr (approx)
Departure: Hunter Valley, NSW
Destination: Tamworth, NSW

Unfortunately, from here on in, there are only photos and no accompanying text due to the fact that Giggles’ misplaced her notebook that she uses on Rohde Trips to record all the details 🙁

 Day 3 – May 29, 2012

Distance: 556km
Time: 7hr (approx)
Departure: Tamworth, NSW
Destination: Kensington Grove, QLD

Approximately 3/4 of the way through the trip home, the camera batteries died. No surprise really as Giggles had gone overboard, yet again, with taking photo’s whilst sitting on the back of the Nomad 🙂

This brings us to the end of our Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad Rohde Trip. Even though it was an unplanned, and rather rushed trip, we still thoroughly enjoyed it.

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