Harking back to a previous post (“How cold is too cold?“) this crazy Sydney weather just can’t make up its mind. Here we are at the October long weekend – first weekend in October, only 1 month into Spring – and it should be the perfect time of year for riding.
We, along with thousands of other holiday-makers, were thrilled to see no rain forecast for the long weekend. And so, in advance, we planned a camping weekend with friends.
A brilliant plan
We devised what we thought was the perfect plan:
Let’s camp at Glenworth Valley, we said. (It is idyllic, I’ve heard…)
And so close to Sydney, we said. (It’s only 90 minutes away – going the long way round.)
So we can take the bikes, we said. After all, it’s right in the midst of some great riding territory.
You know this is going to go wrong, don’t you…?
Well as the week edged closer to the weekend, the forecast temperatures began to rise.
Against my better judgment, we crossed our fingers and persisted with our plan.
The girls drove the 4WD, packed to the hilt with all the camping gear. The boys rode, unencumbered, on the Beamer and the Duke.
A small glitch…
There was only a small (try 3 hours) glitch on the way when the girls were pulled over by the police at St Ives to be informed they were unwittingly driving an unregistered vehicle (that neither of us owned).
“You are not authorised to continue travel in this car unless it is directly to the nearest point to complete the registration process. Tough luck that it’s the Saturday of a long weekend and you’re all packed and ready. By the way, that’ll be $630. Have a nice day.”
After a frantic call to the boys, who were already at Berowra, and several more frantic calls to find an auto repairer open on a Saturday that could fit us in at short notice (thank goodness for Kmart Tyre Services, especially the one in Pennant Hills), we were legally allowed to restart our trek.
Welcome to Glenworth Valley
The campsite was pretty nice, apart from the horse manure that proliferates over every square foot of land. It was busy, but large enough to not feel crowded. You are immediately forced into country-go-slow mode, because horses have right of way on all the roads. So you sit. And wait.
By the time we’d setup and settled in, the shadows had crept across the valley and by 5pm we felt it was time to start a campfire and get dinner ready.
Zorro did a very admirable job on the camp cooker to turn a simple array of steak, potatoes and mushrooms into a delicious restaurant-quality dinner for the 4 of us.
After a cool night, the sunshine hit us quite early. And began to heat quickly.
A trip to the Hunter Valley
Needless to say, by the time we’d had breakfast and the mercury was already at 30 degrees, no-one had any desire to put leathers on. So the bikes sat, unloved, in their field of dung-rapidly-turning-to-dust while the 4 of us piled into the air-conditioned luxury of the 4WD.
We journeyed up to the Hunter Valley via some great winding roads through Wollembi to Cessnock, and some not-so-great dirt ones where I was glad not to be on the bike.
The Hunter region hit 37 that day. We drank iced coffees, roamed from airconditioned shop to airconditioned shop, and thanked our lucky stars that we hadn’t ridden.
It was mostly a case of killing time until we figured the shadows would have crept back over camp.
Then Monday dawned…
The holiday Monday dawned (way too early) and the forecast had been altered – it was now going to be just as hot again.
We weren’t the only ones rising early – it seemed about 2 billion flies had hatched in the dung-laden Glenworth Valley. Breakfast was consumed between much flapping and cursing.
We quickly dismantled camp and got outta there.
Not to be deterred, I said “You know, being on the bike is ok when it’s in motion and not stuck in traffic.” So we parked the car and the 4 of us climbed on the bikes.
To Wollembi and back
We rode up to Wollembi and stopped in at the Tavern for a cold one. The town was packed! Turns out they run a very popular market every long weekend there, with vintage wares and trinkets.
Can’t tell you how it was, sorry, as we had no intention of sauntering around stalls in the sun.
On the return trip it was getting to that point where, no, it doesn’t feel cool even when the bike’s in motion. I was very happy to get back in the car and leave the poor boys to sweat it out for the return journey.
As we drove back through Chatswood, the car registered that it was 39C outside.
Sorry, but that’s just too hot.
Especially for Spring.