Today 73km
Trip 188km

Stuff-ups and more stuff-ups! Up at 4 am as the cooks got up and started to prepare breakfast. A quick pack up and dress, then down to the showground in the mill owners 4WD. Put the bags down in a corner where we could see them and started on the bikes, preparing and loading them into the trucks. Within minutes the sheep-like hordes had dumped bags on our bags and buried the lot.

Two luggage trucks, a cattle truck and the tipper were filled — hordes arriving and pushing and shoving. Good bikes and twenty kilogram monsters, desperately trying to pack them to minimise any damage. 70 to go… 30 to go… 23 into the sag bus trailer, then only seven left, flat on a layer of bags in the luggage compartment under the coach. Dozed in the bus to Raymond Terrace, then sat waiting, waiting, waiting for the other bus and our bags. Half an hour later we finally gave up and headed off. JB said he’d take care of the bags for us. Turns out they were there all along, one of the BNSW staff had moved our bags from the bus to a truck and not told anyone! Along with that they managed to lose JB’s helmet and shoes, so after working all morning to pack 1,200 bikes, he didn’t get to ride his own!

Rode today with rocket-Rod, he’s from Wellington and grew up in Newcastle and around this area, so knew all the details about the roads and towns, where to go when we got to the towns, and where they used to ride a few decades ago. An enjoyable ride, doubly so to be finally back on our bikes, but very humid after all the rain.

Coming into Newcastle we must have zigzagged all over town to avoid any sign of a main road or a right-hand turn, it got to be annoying in the end, and thoroughly disorienting.

Party night before the rest day tomorrow — I don’t know why I bother going to them some times — the same sad cover bands, the same guys dressing up in women’s clothing every year. Turn around to go home and the best stuff up of the day happens. There was a bus in from the campsite to the club, but no transport home! Several hundred people, half of whom have no idea where they are, are now expected to walk a couple of kilometres home at midnight through a dodgy part of Newcastle while dodging the abuse and cars of the local hoons. Thanks BNSW, magnificent organisation there!