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Broken Hill - Mildura - Albury - Home

By Wom Battle
Category: Rides

Not again! I knew I was tired last night but once again I managed to stuff up setting the alarm properly, but this morning I couldn't even work out what I did wrong. Once through the routine of packing the Harley-Davidson® I returned to the Shell Broken Hill for a docket. This morning even later at 6.42am with further to go than yesterday.

Heading south down the Silver City Highway to Mildura at sunrise was enough to improve my mood.  I stopped to take a photo of the magnificent sunrise, took off again and 10 minutes later had to stop again to take a shot of an even more magnificant sunrise. My head was full of numbers and the route, without the GPS talking to me I had to wing it most of the day and hope that I didn't get lost and lose too much time. Or worse, come up short on k's. I already had less than 24 hours to do nearly 1800k's, time was going to be a little tight.

At the Victorian border I ignored the GPS and took the Calder Hwy to Mildura thinking it might be like the Calder Fwy, it wasn't.  Having said that it was interesting, who new where Sunraysia Sultanas come from, well I didn't.  It was like riding through a wine region only I think the houses might have been bigger. Mildura at 9.30am on a school day was busier (and bigger) than I expected. 

I stopped at a Caltex servo for fuel, had a quick chat with a guy on a BMW on his way to Adelaide and thought I'd use the facilities while I was there.  The door was locked, the staff were puzzled.  They came to check, it didn't seem locked then so I walked in and saw a native of the area having a wash in the sink with his bags on the floor.  Well, I was there to go and when I went he was gone.  Very strange.

Soon I was out of Mildura, where I saw the road I should have taken join up with my route and I was soon out on to the open plains towards Hay.  I got through my traditional 11am dozies fine arriving at South Hay for fuel about 12.30pm.

My next stop was the servo at Gillenbah/Narrandera.  This stretch was pretty rough, with increasing roadworks causing more delays. At one point I found myself standing on the footpans of the Road King® as I dropped off the edge of a large section of unfortunately graded soft gravel. Somewhere along here my Airhawk became a hawk so I had to resign myself to bareback riding for the last 1000k's or so.

I then saw a road to Finley shortly followed by a BP and mistakenly thought I'd made to to Gillenbah early.  I rode through the servo and realised I'd got it wrong so rode straight out.  At that point I realised the importance of the corner docket I was going to get before turning south to Jerilderie and Finley.

Within site of the servo at Gillenbah I was stopped yet again by roadwork. I waited with the bike turned off for over ten minutes in full realisation that I needed to get the docket, turn around and come back to these roadworks to turn onto the Newell Hwy south.  At the servo I grabbed some sugar hit lollies, went to the cashier and asked for a tax receipt.  After some puzzled looks and further discussion he quite rightly told me I wasn't getting a receipt until I'd paid for them.  Ooops, focus Wom. It was the 3pm period of the day I usually find a little difficult too.

Luckily the traffic flow was moving forward as I left the servo so I managed to catch up, wave to the lolly pop man and get onto the Newell without another significant delay. This small win was soon turned sour by at least four other areas of roadworks and delays on that stretch of road.  I eventually made it to Finley, fuelled up and hot footed it to Albury through Howlong arriving just on dusk.  I filled up and called home. 6pm and 700ks to go up the Hume. It was going to be a late night.

The Hume was busier than I've ever seen it. Rows of trucks light up like small cities on both sides of the highway all seeming to travel faster than they should have been, except for uphill.  The temperature was also dropping quickly, by the time I got to Yass I was shivering. I filled up, pushed the Harley into a parking bay and ratted through the panniers and bag to see what else I could put on.  I found a cheap wet weather suit and put it on over the one I already had on. I couldn't get the pants on but the additional thin layer on top did help slightly while riding through Goulburn and into the Southern Highlands. But it was still cold.

Here there were spots of fog about, but nothing like the last time I'd ridden through here in the dark.  I had been feeling pretty tired, but the closer I got to the M7, M2 and then Thornleigh the realisation of finishing the 3000 mile ride in under 72 hours was sinking in. My spirits and focus lifted. I stopped at the BP in Thornleigh for the last fuel before finishing and could only pay through the night window.  I talked the operator into going into the shop to grab me a Cherry Ripe and after the sugar hit I hit the road for the relatively short trip down the F3 to finish the ride.

The roadworks were not done with me yet though, 100ks, 80ks, 60ks, 40ks, 110k in what seemed a never ending loop, but  I was on my way home. Well, on my way home via Beresfield for a corner docket because I was (uneccessarily) concerned about being short on k's for the total trip.  At the BP at Beresfield I bought a twin pack Cherry Ripe to give to my wife and son when I got home and woke them up sign my end or ride witness form.

From Bero a short trip to the local servo for a fuel top up, a finish docket and then home for the paperwork. I think the family were happy to see me home, but probably not so happy to have to celebrate my arrival shortly after 2am in the morning. 

It took me quite a while to thaw out and shake off today's ride.  While quietly elated that I'd successfully completed the SS3000M, on the odometer 5063ks in less than 72 hours, I also had some time to reflect on why the Ironbutt Archive of Wisdom talks about Day 3 being hard.  My first hand experience of this gave me pause to reflect on my ride plan. Next time I do it, I'll do it differently. But for now, it's done and dusted and hopefully I still have all the paperwork I need to get it certified.

Spotwalla Map of whole ride
Day 1: Darwin to Alice Springs
Day 2: Alice Springs to Broken Hill



Wow! Wish I could be doing what you're doing now! But alas, I've just started my career and it'll be a long while before I've got the disposable income to get a Harley... But someday...

Posted by K in Brissie, 01/07/2012 12:28:22 am

Thanks K. While I'm passionate about my Road King, if it's got two wheels and an engine and you can afford it...... it's time to ride!

Posted by Wom Battle - My Harley Davidson, 01/07/2012 11:40:44 am

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March 2023