Friday, 8 January 2016

Map Of Tassie Tour - Day 1 - The Grey Gum Cafe

The Map of Tassie Tour
Eleven months after it was intended, our first tour of Tasmania was finally underway! A car crash, a heart attack and a grandchild later and we were off.

Originally to be start of the The One Day Tour (TOD 2015), it was scrapped after an escapee on an ice bender took out the side of the Forester three days before we were due to leave home. The tray of the stolen car he was driving smashed a path through all four panels of the passenger side. The resultant five week delay made travel to Tasmania impossible, so we reversed track and headed north instead. By May, we had made it to Cairns before my father's heart attack bought us home. Our first grandchild kept us there.

Apart from family responsibilities, the time was well spent making changes to the Avan and building a storage retainer for the back seat of the Forester. Sue also had the chance to even more thoroughly plan our assault on the little patch down south. She took great delight in passing around her map of Tassie and getting people to write anecdotes on it. You have to admire the lengths she will go to for a good time.

After a last cup of tea with son Sam, wife Jacquie and our beautiful little grandson, we hit the New England Highway, stopping at Scone for tea and avoided the jam (traffic). At Muswellbrook, we detoured via Jerrys Plains and then the Putty Rd, on our way to Camden.

I love driving the Putty Rd, although a lot of the joy is removed by having a rig trailing behind. Given my time over, a more fuel efficient drive would have been straight down the New England and Hunter Expressway, onto the M1 south for Sydney and the M7 across Sydney's west. If I had, I would have saved fuel but cost myself money.

Travelling the Putty Rd always means a stop at Grey Gums Cafe, which lies almost exactly halfway between Singleton and Windsor. Just like the road itself, Grey Gums is a haven for travelers, especially the many weekend warriors who arrive in their droves on any day of he week, their legs astride Harleys and BMWs and Triumphs and all manner of escape machines. Under the leather and club patches, mild mannered Clark Kent's mask their accountancy and legal practice week days behind the grunted, deep-throated roar of serious road machines.
* Picture provided from Tip Advisor

Grey Gums has developed from a good idea, to a touring bike icon but its a place welcome to all travelers. You'll always get a cheerful hello from host Kym and go there enough and you'll be greeted with a hug and a peck on the hairiest cheek. There is plethora of tucker, with options for those gluten avoiders too, proving that all are welcome. The setting is as rural as it gets, with eucalypts dominating and hills rolling in from every direction. Recently added flag poles display the colours of touring bike clubs and new pagodas offer shade and a comfortable seat on even the hottest day. Inside you'll find an assortment of crafts, art and local produce for sale because Kym is one of those wonderful types who supports artisans.

You may even purchase the poetic works of moi, so you can tell the class of the joint right away. Kym restocked today, purchasing copies of the second edition of Six Nines (2015).

For the travelers with the camp on wheels behind them, Grey Gums offers free unpowered sites for 48 hours, with a key made available for showers. Take the weight and have a chin wag with the passers by.

After leaving Grey Gums, the remaining two hours took us to Camden and a couple of nights with my Dad before we strike south for Melbourne. All the winding and ups and downs through the hills took its toll on the fuel tank and it had to be fed along the Richmond Rd, before we turned onto the M7. Ouch!

Sue went to bed smiling. She just loves a road trip!

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