VJMC Ride Report Part 6 – Day 5 – Open Road, Sydney Traffic, Old Codgers And What’s That Burning Smell?

The thrilling conclusion to the long-promised ride report for my road trip on Scarlet to and from the Tamworth VJMC Blue Ribbon Weekend! Read Part 1 here, Part 2 herePart 3 here,  Part 4 here and Part 5 here.

Day 5 – Monday

A forum member from Sydney had also stayed overnight in Newcastle with my riding companion on the way up. He was keen to get home, so we headed off from Newcastle around 9:30 am. We had originally planned that I would travel back to Sydney and show him the Rising Sun Workshop, as it wasn’t far from where he lived. He’d  mentioned he was pretty tired and might want to give it a miss, so I led the way along the highway after we’d refueled.

Despite being on the supposedly slower bike, I eventually found myself a fair way ahead of my riding companion.  After stopping to make sure he was still behind me and seeing him give me a wave as he went past, I pressed on toward Canberra through suburban Sydney. After getting through the worst of the traffic, I stopped on Pennant Hills Road for fuel and an early lunch at about 11:30.

I’d evidently not communicated clearly that I was going to head on to Canberra without a long stop in Sydney, as I had messages waiting on the forum chat, in my inbox and on my phone asking where I was and checking that I was OK. I made sure to reply that yes I was OK and that I was heading on to Canberra.

I made a mental note to get an e-pass for the following weekend after getting stuck on the toll roads due to missing a turn, then stopped for a break and a can of energy drink at the Frank Partridge VC Rest Area at the start of the Hume Highway shortly before 1 pm. I parked next to a couple of other bikes and chatted with the amused riders, who were on their way home to Mittagong. They described themselves as  “old codgers on overpowered bikes”

They remembered bikes like Scarlet from their younger days and had a few fond memories to share about the CB250RSs they’d ridden and been around back in the day. I told them where I’d ridden over the past few days and that I’d grown up as a pillion on a similar bike.

They agreed with the general consensus that I was probably mad, wished me a safe journey home before continuing on their way and said if I got stuck around Mittagong at all to look for them in the pub.

I’d rested enough myself, so it was back on the highway and onwards until a well-earned stop for fuel and McDonald’s in Goulburn – less than 100 km from home!

I parked in the McDonald’s carpark at about 3 pm and could smell something burning. After inspecting the makeshift saddlebags I realised they’d slipped a bit and the one on the rights had been sitting on the muffler for an unknown length of time – it was quite warm and one of the tie-down straps had melted through. As there wasn’t much I could do about it at that point, I had some food before re-tying the saddlebags and hoped for the best on the last leg home.

Having rested for long enough to eat and refuel, I remembered to get another photo as I hadn’t taken any so far that day.


If you look closely at the full-size version, you can just make out the sign for the roundabout behind the trees above Scarlet. Here’s a close-up in case you missed it!

Roundabout Sign

I finally made it home just before 5 pm. Scarlet looked pretty good after such a big adventure!


The cheap backpack I’d used as a saddlebag was very toasted by this point though.


Strangely the one on the other side was pretty much OK by comparison!


After emptying the contents onto my bed I assessed the damage.

The toolkits that had been in that bag were almost completely wrecked.


The metal parts at the bottom had conducted the heat to the rubber and plastic.


This was once a ratchet screwdriver.


The craft knife I was able to at least salvage the blades from.


The roll of electrical tape fared the worst. The rubber holders for the sockets and ratchet screwdriver bits had fused with it and the ratchet handle had a plastic cover that melted into the spring. The pliers and other screwdrivers came off pretty lightly and can still be used as backups though.

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The workshop manual was a bit worse for wear but still perfectly readable. Even now it still smells a bit odd though…

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The small cheap socket set I’d left in the blister pack fared a little better – maybe the spacing in the packaging helped?

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Approximate kilometres travelled:

  • Day 1: 410
  • Day 2: 375
  • Day 3: 200
  • Day 4: 300
  • Day 5: 425
  • Total: 1710
  • Average number of hours riding per day: 6
  • Average kilometres travelled per hour spent travelling: 57
  • Fuel purchased according to receipts: 54.22 Litres
  • Estimated extra fuel purchased: 20 Litres
  • Estimated Average Fuel consumption: 23 km/Litre, 4.34 Litres/100km, or about 65mpg

Other figures for those interested:

  • Toolkits burnt: 2
  • Toolkits requiring replacement: 1
  • Backpacks destroyed: 2
  • Helmets bought: 1
  • Pairs of knee guards bought: 1
  • Cases of beer bought: 1
  • Cans of energy drink consumed per day when riding alone: 2
  • Pub meals eaten: 4
  • Pub meals missed out on: 1
  • Total cans of energy drink over 5 days: 6
  • Times GPS battery went flat: 10
  • Highest number of curse words per minute on the evening of Day 4: 20+