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
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
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,
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
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.