When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

Taree Area

We went to the town of Taree mainly to see Jeffrey, our friend from Lobethal who has done so much for us. He is at a rally for Iron Butt Riders. That is the international group of long distance quickly riders. Rides like 3200 km. (2000 mi.) in 36 hours or the one we did several years ago 1500 miles in 36 hours. We did one and are happy with that, we got our certificate. Jeffrey has a wall of certificates. He did a 1600 (1000 mi) in 24 hours on the way to the rally too.

But we took the scenic route over the Barrington Tops Road. We left the New England Valley and climbed steeply on a narrow 1.5 lane road with farms and pastures on the less steep areas. This road was not a popular motorcycle road and I’m sure that is only because it turns to gravel before the top and runs for 40-50 km before it returns to paved.




Along the way we had to herd sheep and cattle out of the way. I’m glad that the goats were off the road. Those horns could do damage if they argued for the right of way!


The road ran along the ridge at the top through blue gum forests with one path of Ponderosa Pine, probably from Oregon or California. We also saw Scotch Broom, a brush that is taking over any open area in our home state. It is imported from Scotland and considered an invasive species that is beyond control. It can grow quickly and shade out the young seedlings we paid so much to plant. So we control it in the necessary areas and ignore it elsewhere.

These guys were in a camping area and the lookout had a great view. But we continued on heading down towards the coast.



Alongside the road was another patch of what is probably another invasive species. I don’t know what it is but it acts like the Kudzu of our American south. A vine that grows up and over everything eventually killing the support host which collapses and the vine continues outward.

This took all day and we arrived in the afternoon at the caravan park (campground) on the beach. We didn’t stay in Taree because the reviews of those parks were not favorable. We have several things to see and do so we are here a week.

It is the night of the “Super Moon”. The closest full moon in about 70 years. When it first came up from the Pacific Ocean it was very orange but as it rose it turned whiter and reflected from the waves. Very spectacular.










We took another “tourist route” and went to see a waterfall. We could see the left picture from the parking lot but a short walk around the head of the gorge brought us to another platform which looked straight across at Ellenborough Falls.

It is on a road like the Tops road but with more gravel. We saw the same vines taking over more of the countryside here. We stopped at a small cafe in a tiny village and had a couple of the best “Cuban” sandwiches we have ever had. Even better than we had in Florida where there are lots of Cuban immigrants.

We had planned to go to TimberTown after the waterfall trip. But it was too late after all the kilometers of winding dirt road. So we went the next day. TimberTown is a replica pioneer town with live events. Unlike the Heritage Village in Invernell this has volunteers and employees doing things. Like driving a bullock team down Main Street.





The bullock show was about to start so we went there first. They were hitched to a log wagon and circled the field like the horse carriage in the left picture. The handler demonstrated the various commands to get the bullocks to go left, right, stop, backup etc. before hitching them to the log. The bullocks ranged in age from 3-15 years old.

A group of  10-12 year old kids were in the audience and had a tug-of-war with the bullocks. Boys first and then the girls. The girls were able to back up the bullocks and so won the contest. (I think I heard the man give the “backup” command when the girls were out there!) As the kids left the girls were teasing the boys.

We had tickets for the steam train and horse carriage included in the admission price and rode them both.




In between the rides we wandered the two streets and stopped in at the blacksmith’s shop. Kathy asked if he could make me a bottle opener. (I collect them and have over 400, mostly magnetic to stick to the pantry door at home.) It is in the shape of a snail with the head as the opener, facing down in the picture to the right. The bottle cap is in his left hand and hooked by the snail’s head.

Another interesting exhibit, to me, was the steam powered saw mill. It has a working steam engine and the various saws do their thing, up and down or round and round.





The steam engine was a wheel mounted one which would be unusual for a saw mill. There is no need to move it. The power is transferred to the saws through a series of  drive shafts and belts.


The following day was a day of rest. We stayed around camp after several days of driving mountains roads and walking a pioneer town. I read my book, did some minor repair work and Kathy worked on fossicking the 10 kilo bag of wash she had bought at the visitor’s center in Inverell. She has to sort the good stuff from the dirt and gravel. When we were in Rubyvale she had the professional equipment of Willy’s Wash to use. Here she must make do with a bowl of water and a colander. She spent all day washing and sloshing and sorting



and peering and finally made it through the whole bag. A Kookaburra bird showed up that afternoon to help, or hope that something was edible. The plastic bag is the sorted wash and now she has to go through it by hand and find the sapphires, quartz, zircons, etc.



Saturday was reserved for the “Craftathon” at a local private club. We had to produce ID and sign in to get in the building. Then we had to pay $5 each to get into the Craftathon. As you can see it was mainly a woman’s thing. The various booths were for quilting, scrap booking, sewing, lace making and a couple of guys who did wood work with a lathe or carving.

Now it is Monday, Jeffrey’s rally is over and we are to meet him at the National Motorcycle Museum in Nubiac, NSW. There are about 800 motorcycles here. They are mostly divided by style and brand. There are lots of older bikes and a few very early cars. The Harley section was suprisingly small, about 8 bikes. The GoldWing section had 1, a 1975 model, the first year they came out. Kathy got bored and went back to the van but Jeffrey and I spent several hours looking and discussing the various bikes.



These sidecar racers must have been for a circular track. They have a built in lean. The Militaire, to the right, has a 3-speed stick shift in the space between the tank and seat. It is also shaft drive.


That completes Taree. We are headed to Sydney, but first we go to jail, and this is not a Monopoly game. On to Maitland Gaol and the convict built road.