I travel light, well I think I do…….

The Adventure Bike Australia DRZ400 is not a big machine (neither am I) so I try to keep it simple.

In the days of Gold Coast Suzuki we ran free overnight adventure rides every month. We stayed in pubs (my preferred method) you don’t have to carry a lot, just a change of clothes, toiletries and the compulsory wet weather gear, tubes & tools.

I like to tackle what single track I can find with a bit of pace and rhythm and a simple bag on your carrier still has my bike handling well like a motorbike should.

But I’m learning and over the last couple of years have done a few of these camping rides, and there are two main reasons why I do them, Dave and Karen Ramsay.

I know from running rides what it takes to make it work and team work is one of them.

You won’t find a nicer couple than Dave and Karen with their warm inviting country style and if I get asked and I can wrangle it, the weekend is free I go, these two always put on a great ride.

Take this latest ride ” The Chaelundi Camping Christmas Ride” with daylight savings travelling from our Gold Coast base to the meet and start point would mean being on the road at some 4.30am ! Easy say’s Dave just stay at our place on Friday night, we’ll all put in for pizzas have a couple of beers and wines, tell some stories, hit the hay ready for a decent start in the morning. I didn’t have to ask my riding partner “Neil’s On Wheels ” twice we were there.

We’d had some good rain the weekend prior with talk of more possible showers to come but as the week wore on the weather just simply got better and better. Whether it was mandatory house chores prior to Christmas, the first V8 race ever at Newcastle to watch on TV, the fact that some people convinced themselves that nasty weather was to come or that last year’s ride was bush catered for I don’t know but at a dozen riders this was well less than half of last year’s Christmas group ride. There was still a little dust so a dozen was sweet as far as my riding partner Neil and I were concerned.

Now when I do write a story like last year’s Xmas ride more than a couple paragraphs are usually taken up with a rock sliced a tyre, I drowned my bike, there was a small accident, something broke on some guys KTM but nothing, no not a thing this year, zippo, nil. Well a very slight clutch cable problem but hardly something to write a story about.

Saturday was perfect not too hot with a great variation in trails and back roads. Dave had changed the ride ever so slightly so the rumoured wet boots crossing never happened and we took the easier and ultra scenic route of Carnham Road to Jackadgery with a couple of breaks on the way. Always one of my favourite back roads and I never tire of each and every time I pass through here. Some beautiful river crossings and camp sites along this road and Dave did his customary cool down but that’s River Ramsay find a nice creek and he’s in it !

From here it was through Ramornie and our usual narly single track blast before working our way down to the river at Dalmorton. Now I’m only five and half foot tall and would struggle on some of these bigger bikes but tell you the way some of these people handle these more technical trails my hat is off to them, they truly do a great job of keeping up and kept the whole show moving at a good pace. In fact we’d had a good run all day with very few 4wds about and no issues so made great time getting into our overnight camping spot.

So this new campsite was a first for all of us, well tucked away in the bush and yet well catered with twin long drop toilets, tables, fire wood, bbq pits, rock pools to bath in and perfectly mowed lawns.

Gob smacked we were the only ones there, yep the whole place to ourselves, this was awesome a Saturday night and not another camper in sight.

As mentioned we had great riding weather in fact being a little South and West the night air was cold, here it is near on December and cold enough to be well snuggled and curled up in my sleeping bag.

Sunday morning was clear and beautiful and we headed South East out of Chaelundi taking on a new Ramdog trail special, I loved this track it snaked and meandered through varied bush land just a perfect ride for us guys on smaller and medium capacity adventure riders.

Stopping to take photos of the group over a little plank bridge I got into a little grove to catch back up to the pack only to fall fowl of dropping into a nasty deep wash out at speed just as I passed Karen, oops no off but well out of shape is a kindly reminder of Mal you’re not on your lightweight vintage race bike now !

Not more than a minute later just as the heart rate was coming down I round a bend to find Dave kindly moving a sun baking snake of the trail buy hey that’s our Ranger Ramsay always caring for nature !

Heading North East now we stopped for a decent morning tea break at the beautiful but also very popular campground of Platypus Flats then on through old familiar country side where we once held one of Australia’s 4 Day Enduro Championships onto our designated lunch stop of Glenreagh.

It’s at this point a few of us make the decision to break for home and we had more than a few miles in front of us. The pub was busy so while everyone was still ordering we elected a light snack at the local cafe. Final goodbye’s to old friends and new and a special thanks to hosts and friends Dave and Karen and it was time to slab that big black tar bit home.

Head down we were determined to push for home with minimal stops. Dropping onto reserve just prior to Casino we stopped for the necessity to fuel the bikes, take in a coffee and snack. The body was getting tired and weary and our efforts of a big push home were well rewarded catching the last dozen laps of the final round of the V8 Championship and the who should of won the Championship Jamie or Scott, Holden or Ford and that my friends is a whole other story !

Special thanks to Dave and Karen Ramsay for having us and making another weekend great !