Home / Site Map / My Harley Blog /

FarRide East #19 - Lightning Ridge

By Wom Battle
Category: Rides

A while back I mentioned finding the FarRiders, the Iron Butt Association's Australian connection and today Zanderhar, @officerhardass and I got to experience this ecelctic group first hand by participating in the FarRide East #19 RTE - Lightning Ridge.  To translate, it's the 19th FarRide in the eastern half of Australia to Ride To Eat at Lightning Ridge.

I won't go in to the details any more, you can find them on the FarRiders website, suffice to say that you had to be in Lightning Ridge to check in with officials between 11am and 11.30am with a starting fuel docket and info that proved you'd just ridden 1000k's or 1200k's in the preceding 24 hours or were part way through a ride that would see you complete that distance. Miss the checkin and that's just too bad.

The three of us were doing what is known as a FarRide 1200 Gold which required us to keep more detailed documentation, a log and all dockets, but not quite as much as required for an IBA certified ride.

So, up at 2am to get Zander and I ready to meet @officerhardass at the local servo for a 3.00am starting docket (fuel) with a plan to arrive at Lightning Ridge about 10.45am including stops.  The boring New England to Singleton was a little less boring at that time of the morning and our first planned fuel stop was Muswellbrook. No rain, but it was cool and there was quite a stiff breeze blowing.  So for no the conditions weren't too bad.

Riding into Muswellbrook we passed the Caltex on the right that was open and kept going for one that might be open on the left.  At the other end of Muswellbrook we turned around and rode back to the Caltex. A minor hiccup. Fuelled up we kept heading north through Scone, where there was more 24hr fuel, making our turn around a waste of time, then on up through Willow Tree for a left at the Roadhouse to Quirindi. 

The wind had dropped a fair bit but it started to get cold and while the sunrise to the east on the Breeza Plains was absolutely beautiful, it was fribbbin' freezin'. By the time we got to Gunnedah and saw the lights on at the Macas there was no discussion needed about spending some thawing time inside for hot chocolates and McWhoCares.

We left Gunnedah still with numb feet and had a leisurely ride to Narrabri where we fuelled up at the BP on the way in to town.  There we met up with a couple of FarRiders who'd left Wallsend about 2.45am who told us that they measured the temp in Gunnedah at -1°C. Ouch no wonder my feet were still cold. Heading out of Narrabri we turned left towards Wee Waa and after Wee Waa into territory I'd not seen before.

We had been lucky not to see much wildlife in the dark, birds presented some ducking moments on the way out towards Walgett. At one point my TomTom got completely lost, don't know how it lost it's GPS connection with a clear sky, but we had missed a turn and fortunately it didn't feel right. A reboot of the TomTom turned us around, only a few minutes wasted but we were probably very lucky.

Between here and Lightning Ridge the numbers of motorcycles were growing.  Some passed us, we passed others stopped on the site of the road chatting, drinking tea, lots of waving. The only major thing of note here was that the roads weren't that great. We saw a couple of mangy emus on the the side of a fence but still passed cautiously. The suspension on the Road King got a good old workout and Zanderhar was left flying in the air on more than one occasion.

We at arrived at the Lightning Ridge Bowlo slightly ahead of time at 10.40am with at least 100 bikes of all descriptions (as varied as you can think of) already there.   Riders of all shapes and sizes were sharing smiles and easily engaging in conversation.  Bang on 11am checkin started and the masses lined up. Bikes were still arriving. Bang on 11.30am checking closed.  After the big group picture at 12pm a nice roast lunch for everyone ($15.00) and you could already tell the ones that had finished their rides at checkin and were staying for the night had started to party.

During lunch I got a taste of the seriousness of the checkin window, we spoke to a bloke who had arrived two minutes late for checkin from Brisbane with a SS1600k day planned. He was turned away. So he'll get the IBA certification if his docos are up to standard but a DNF for the FarRide.

@officerhardass was keen to tackle the 630 or so k's home sooner rather than later so we said a few goodbyes, grabbed a quick coffee and cake. A quick fuel up at the local Caltex followed by a 35 second trip around Lightning Ridge and we were on our way back.

We wanted to get as many k's done as possible before dark hit and timed it perfectly for a snack and change of riding glasses at......yep.... Macas Gunndedah.  (Tip, don't ever try the McPorkyRib they are selling at the moment, I've renamed it the McYuckSuckSauce eeeeew!).  Shortly after that, for completeness,wearinf a familiar looking vest we also witnessed a beautiful sunset to the west while on the Breeza Plains but that wasn't enough to quell the upset of the McRibbySauce.

Scone was our next stop, with 1200k's done at that point we were still going strong.  While fuelling up I saw a bloke on a Spyder wearing a familiar looking vest who told us he'd left Wollongong at 12am that morning for the FarRide and was heading back home for an SS1600k, topping our jolly jaunt by quite few k's.  He rode off with AC/DC blaring and that was the last we saw of him.

The last part of the ride was the worst.  Although fatigue and even cold wasn't an issue at that point there was lots of traffic around and the  *&^*&% New England Highway was at it's worst. Saturday night lunatics everywhere, speed limits changing every few k's, roadworks, trucks, a zoo on wheels. I hate that road.  Anyhow, we made it safely back to the local servo for the last fuel docket and said goodbye to @officerhardass.  Home by 9pm for dessert.

FarRiders also like to know that everyone made it home, so a webpage with a login is provided to all registrants to use to register having finished the ride.  Safety and looking out for each other is big in this community of hard core riders.

Next time I go on a FarRide I'll make sure I stay over.  FarRiders are a great bunch who share a common interest that's, let's face it, not for everyone.



Great write up Wom. Pleased you enjoyed your outing and arrived home safely without incident. My riding partner and I returned to Newcastle via Coonamble, Gilgandra, Duneedoo, Merriwa etc and found the Golden Highway much more pleasant than your encounter with the NE Highway. Hope to catch up again next time. Ian

Posted by Tele, 03/06/2012 10:26:12 am

Thanks Tele, would have preferred to go back that way ourselves, wasn't sure about getting fuel when we needed it. Hopefully next time we'll get to chat longer than a quick g'day at a servo.

Posted by Wom Battle - My Harley Davidson, 03/06/2012 10:30:40 am

Disclaimer: This non commercial website and its content is not affiliated with or associated in any way with the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Harley-Davidson Australia, the Harley-Davidson Owners Group® or any Harley-Davidson® Dealers in Australia.  The use of the terms Harley-Davidson, and Road King® are unavoidable because that's what I own and ride.  This website,  called "My Harley Davidson" , and any opinions or comments expressed herein are purely about my Harley-Davidson Road King ownership experience, a truly great experience at that. I have no intention whatsoever to infringe on any trademarks or copyright ownership of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company or anyone else.

September 2023