01/08/2017 Sydney to the Hunter Valley

We stayed in Sydney an extra day because we needed to get our 16,000km bike service. We were staying in North Sydney at Chatswood, and needed to take our bikes out to near the airport in South Sydney-I wasn’t looking forward to this day. We got up early so we could get ahead of the Monday morning rush hour. We were on the road by 7am. We got over to the Harley shop with ease, the rain hadn’t come, the navigation was good and the traffic still hadn’t built. The Harley shop said our bikes would be first up so that was all good. We caught a courtesy shuttle and then the train back to Chatwood-all pretty simple.

The Harley shop said they would ring us when the bikes were ready but at midday we hadn’t heard and decided to get the train back there anyway. Just as we approached the Harley shop the big drops of rain began to fall. I was still hopeful we would keep ahead of the rain, it was coming up from the south. We had to wait about 30 minutes for the bikes and paperwork and by then the rain was torrential. We kitted up and it was at that point Husband realised he had left the Garmin navigation system in Chatswood. The Harley shop had also replaced his rear tyre (but not mine, same mileage…?) and a new tyre is very slippery. I wasn’t looking forward to this wet ride through central Sydney.

We set off down the busy 2 lane road and after a few K’s husband pulled over-his rear brake wasn’t working-we had to head back. Just getting back to the Harley shop with such poor visibility was difficult. We managed to get back there and the guys soon fixed the problem-a stone had fallen into the braking system.

By now we were already soaked-the rain was heavy enough to have leaked through my leathers and I had a boot full of water for the first time ever. Back on the road we headed in a different direction as we needed to get on the M1-husband thought if we headed to the Airport we would see the signs for the M1 but very soon we found ourselves in the arrivals and departure area of the airport. The traffic was chaotic and we got back out and saw a sign for the M1 but had to turn around. We pulled into an industrial area which was completely jammed with traffic, mostly big trucks. It took many changes of lights to get back out, and we finally got onto the M1. This road is 6 lanes wide at times and travels fast with very heavy traffic. The lanes are narrow and most people here drive big 4×4’s or utes so you can feel a bit vulnerable on a bike.

The torrential rain was flooding some roads but lucky for us a lot of the M1 is in tunnels under Sydney so that was great. I tried to stick close to husband as once on the M1 he pretty much knew the way. At one point a huge truck with a big digger they use in the mines got between us. I had to pass it to catch up to Stuart but it was trrowing off so much muddy spray that I couldn’t ride behind it-absolutely no visibility, and was nervous to pass it. My visor had fogged up on the inside and the muddy spray had made my visor impossible to see through. To pass it I had to lift my visor and soon felt the cold stinging rain. I really booted it past this truck as I realised the lane I was in was veering off the motorway. That was a hairy moment. If I had got off the motorway in error, I may never have found my husband ever again!!

Anyway, we managed to get safely back to Chatswood. The bikes and us soaked through. The temperature had dropped to about 9 deg and I was very cold, and fair to say pretty stressed. It was one of the most stressful rides I’ve done.

All up we really enjoyed our 4 day stay in Sydney-it’s a fabulous city, one of my favorites. The apartment we had was well priced and really well located and comfortable.

Today we rode out on the Putty Road, same way we came in, up through a very winding road into the Hunter Valley and that is where were staying tonight-amongst the vineyards in a small area called Cessnock. Riding onto Port Macquarie tomorrow for 2 nights as we have another day of rain coming-we shall stay off the bikes for this next day of rain!