Recap: Riding the Lucky Lizard to the National Scooter Rally

My last report detailed my preperations for my scooter journey to the National Scooter Rally in Griffith. The day finally arrived and work was nice enough to send me on my merry way early (about 3:30). I now recall that some of my co-workers expressed concern, as it was bucketing down, asking about my thin rain jacket and lack of leggings. I confidently replied “then I will likely get wet, but never fear, the rain has almost passed, see, you can see Chatswood now… Almost!”

After a few hours of drenching rain (you know the feeling, as the cold water slowly creeps up the seat, between your legs & eventually to flood… well, you KNOW.)

Somewhere near Penrith (I guessed, as by now my paper map with tape on one side only had dissolved), I saw a Bunnings, so headed there in search of something to minimize further rain ingress. The ever so helpful young “greeter” asked “what do you need this evening?”, to which I replied “I will give you three guesses”, as I looked down at the ever increasing puddle around me. She was pretty good at working things out and kindly sent me down the wrong isle!

I then found there was no ZIP jackets! Oh well, I’m already riding a Piaggio one, so that’s sorted! Perhaps something else will work out, so I grabbed something that seemed like it would help. Then it was off again in hopefully the right direction. As soon as I started going up the hill to the Blue Mountains the fuel light came on and it kept stalling on tight left hairpins, but with help of locals fuel was found.

Refueled but still drenched, it was off to the FREEZING Mt Victoria, so the wetness could freeze just that bit more!
A coffee and a wrong turn later I was back on track for Oberon.

Lessons learnt:
Yoga-mat shoved up jumper kinda works ok to keep self from getting hypothermia.

Coming off the hill there was pea-soup fog, but having grown up in the Waikato, I like it. Sorta. Pro-tip for riding in thick fog (don’t actually do this): Stay between the white lines, go as fast as you dare and pretend it’s a video game. It’s all good until you hit the 10th patch of new road that has not yet been road-marked!
Coming out of the fog into complete blackness was a rather cool though (no moon, no stars, no lights, no fog = Blackness).

Lessons learnt:
– Road markings are rather important.
– Putting patches on roads or potholes is an ineffective way of fixing a problem!
– Luckily the only person still awake in Oberon was the lady at camping ground working late in the office, who felt pity for me.
– Steel cap boots, midnight & clothes dryer are not the best mix for a silent camping ground

Friday morning was crisp but sunny. So off I went, following my thin strip of second leg map that I had planned and printed on Thursday afternoon. To my unending glee, I discovered that the 2nd, then 4th to 8th roads were all gravel, varying from “gravel”, to farm paths, water crossings, and grass-in-middle-of-road gravel!

Scary moment: Trying to work out why scooter suddenly burst to life on every off-camber downhill corner. Which was clarified at T-junction where it kept going. Amusing. The throttle was jammed half on due to dust/debris.

Funny moment:
– Reading “proceed with caution, watch for cyclists” sign while careening thru said T-junction and trying to work out where they were, considering there had not been a car for 30min.
– A random Rapunzel tower in the middle of a paddock made out of a very tall stack of round bales, complete with pointy roof & hay hair.

Lessons learnt:
– I love riding on gravel.
– Cattle-stops are generally rough to ride over.
– Cows stare and moo at scooters
– Such a fun morning was had.

Then onto the serious “A”&”B” roads. Long, boring, straight, slow! I’m pretty sure I went past the same paddock on numerous times!

Came across cowboy droving cattle down the road, and partner (hum-diggidy) a few miles down the road, waiting with a fire, and hot Billy-tea.

Lessons learnt:
– Sheep run from Kiwis. Cows simply stop, stare & wonder what the f**k is this wee thing trying to come past.
– Roads are crap!
– Patches over patches make roads crappier.
– Can someone please teach the bridge builders to consult with the road builders so they can create a smooth transition!

Memorable moments:
– Road-kill = free fox-tail, complete with flies, as although I hate flexi aerials with foxtails on them I don’t mind one off the back of a fox-coloured(?) scooter.

Not so memorable moments:
– The smell of road-kill.
– Finding out my fox-tail still stinks of road-kill.

Crank up the music, play games of riding around shadows, work out where the smoothest part of the lane is, & upon finding it’s ALL crap working out over the white line on the left is the best & smoothest place to be.

Lessons learnt:
– It’s tricky to stand up with a heavy backpack on.
– It’s even trickier to stretch right hand/arm & operate throttle with the left hand!
– It’s frustrating when you cannot remember the last corner, nor see the next one.
– Avoid looking at the time nor mileage when traveling slow, as it’s depressing.
– Listen to music, as eventually, you will start losing the arguments!

Memorable moments:
– Finding turtle crossing the road.

I met this fella trying to cross the road
(why did the turtle cross the road?
To get to the lake on the other side!), so assisted him… still pretty sure he got there quicker than me!

– Seeing my first “Griffith” sign, sadly it was “Griffith 151km”.

Not so memorable moments:
– Riding off happily down the road until realizing “Griffith 151km” (94 miles) sign meant there were a mere 3hrs to go!
– Four hours of WOT
– A sore arse
– Riding for 20min, wondering why you appear to have lost power/speed only to realize you are not on WOT then riding WOT for another hour to make up for it.

Best moment: The wee green/white sign with “Griffith 5km” (3 miles) on it!

Arrival in Griffith

– Total mileage: 640-650km (404 miles)
– Total time on the road: 16 1/2 hours
– Max speed: 92kmh/57mph (downhill, a tailwind for about 2-secs.)
– Minimum speed: often
– 39kmh/24mph average (incl stops, therefore about 45kmh/28mph).

Quotes of the Rally:
– “I was more scared of the fridge”
– “You are not skinheads, you are hipsters” (various words removed from quotes due to young readership)

Dedicated to the three bald chaps with bushy beards, and not enough funds for tee shirts, due to spending all their funds on a newly acquired fridge, as they were running low on Ice.

With honorable mention to: “Toast? Would you like some toast?”

Second honorable mention to the bastard nail in my rear tyre that didn’t result in a flat.

Sydney to Griffith strip of map

One extra thing: In the week AFTER the rally heaps of 10cm lengths of my hair fell out!
I guess due to helmet rubbing on it, or from heat etc. It’s the little joys that get you through life.

Post rally trip to Comleroy State Forest, with a plan for prospecting, but in reality ended up mainly riding windy roads having fun!

Roads included Putty Rd, some even better windy roads, Galston Gorge, 50km/31 miles of gravel/dirt & 230km/143 miles all up that day.

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