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Winding road to Stockton

Date:
By the Editor

Lead: Michael Chesworth

Shotgun: John Holsinger

Sweep: Fred Madderom

Words from Editor Peter Cox, pictures from Photograper Lifeng Ji and Peter Cox

If you're going to ride through a La Nina summer you have to be a keen observer of rain radar, pack the wet weather gear and accept you'll probably get wet at some point.

And accept that you'll also spend some time steaming inside the personal sauna of your wet weather gear when the rain eases and the heat and humidity rises.

The dozen or so riders on Sunday's ride to Stockton, a beach village north of Newcastle, faced their moment of truth over coffee at Saddles.

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Riding gear dripped as the group recaffeinated at Saddles. 

Rain had gradually built up for the last 10 to 15 minutes before the stop and few riders were in wet weather gear. There were some wet trouser legs, especially for the riders on naked bikes, 

It looked like the rain had set in - push on or call it? The BOM app showed clearer weather ahead so the group pushed on and, after 20 minutes or so, was rewarded with clear weather for the rest of the day. Although I heard that some riders struck showers over the city before they got home.

The riding route was planned as the slow way to lunch, following the Old Pacific Highway and then weaving through back roads down to the Central Coast, around Newcastle and ending at the beachside village of Stockton.

Unfortunately the first, dry section of the Old Pac was a slow run due to a restored Ford XD running the route around 20kmh under the speed limit and building a big line of traffic.

The weaving through the back roads to Stockton took a few more weaves through the countryside than planned so it was a later arrival than expected and a very quiet Stockton main street.

The group split between a fish and chippery and the pub. Around 2.30pm it was shades of Hill End, as two of the meals for the pub group arrived after the rest of the group had eaten. At least the pub staff were apologetic and Fred didn't get banned when he questioned the delay.

The food got the thumbs up, with very large serves dished up at the fish and chip shop and high quality Thai at the pub. The Crying Tiger was declared a highlight, very spicy!

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John waits patiently for his meal while the others tuck in.

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We stood for ages with fixed grins waiting for the boat to be in shot.

With a late start to the return journey the group made a beeline for the highway twin servos, now with Ampol branding, for fuel, goodbyes and then split for home.

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So long, farewell, hope this last leg stays dry.

For more of Li's great pictures, click here to open the Chapter website.

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