A BOGAN GOES TO BOGAN GATE
I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a place just because of its name. Well, I have, but I’ve never made it the main focus of my journey though. But Michael (who has written about his tour through Victoria and out to Hill End) has. And he did it again recently. Wanting to get away for a few days and perusing the map of the general area he was thinking of going, he spotted a town called Bogan Gate. He considers himself a bit of a bogan (he says his wife reckons he is, anyway), so he decided that was a town he just had to visit; and so he planned his trip to visit to Bogan Gate. Fitting the bogan image, there weren’t going to be any fancy motels on this journey, it was to be camping. So he titled his story, “Tight-Arse Touring”. The general area he was heading into was the central and south-west slopes area of NSW. So he set off, with his trusty steed “Black Betty”, for a 3 ½ day journey. Here is his story.
Monday saw me leave Kanahooka around 7am. First stop was Marulan for petrol. Had a good run up Macquarie Pass and through Robbertson, but very cold. Stopped on top of the hill at Burrawang to take a wonderful photo of the valley covered in fog and to put my thermal gloves on. (Brrrr!). At Marulan I had to do a little dance to get some feeling back in my toes. Then um’d & ah’d about coffee here and decided to go on to Yass for coffee at a little favorite “Café Dolcetto”. While having coffee a local chap stopped and started to chat; you know the usual questions, “Where are you heading to? Where have you come from? You have to stop at the honey place at Murrumburrah they have 200 different honeys to taste!” But I had other plans, I wanted to stop at the Binalong Motor Museum. (I’ve been there, a small, but fascinating place. Elwyn). The sun was out now but still very cold. On arrival at the museum the gates were closed and on reading the operating hours sign it should have been open. Disappointed, I was just about to turn and leave when a little old man popped up in the garden next to the gate. He said “The gates are automatic but you have to drive right up to them”. So on entry I meet the curator, paid my five bucks and had the museum to myself. Was worth stopping for, only a small collection but very nice! Back on the road to Harden, then across to Wombat, then Young for lunch at Macca’s. At this stage I was quite surprised that I had not seen any dead ‘roos but there was plenty of dead Foxes ! Leaving Young I took the Henry Lawson Way heading for my overnight stop at Grenfell. Great scenery through this section with lots of sheep and wheat farming and the Weddin Mountains on the left as you head north. (I love the open country scenery out that way! Elwyn). At Grenfell I headed straight to the caravan park as I wanted to get my camp set before going exploring. No-one at the van park but a note said “Pick a site and I’ll see you at 4pm.” So I set up on a site well away from the road with an old couple in a van next to me laughing and saying, “You’ll freeze tonight” I said, “No way it will be a mild night with no frost!” Funnily enough it was a mild night with no frost. Another couple pulled in on the other side of me with a big Five Wheeler. They came from Heathcote and because I grew up in Heathcote we had lots to talk about. Talk about a small world! Back on the bike and into town for a look at the Railway station, old pubs, old shops and Henry Lawson’s birthplace. Every year Grenfell has the Henry Lawson Festival (June long weekend) where they invite a celebrity to officiate and they place a plaque in the footpath of the main street to commemorate their visit. (There are quite a few already).
Left Grenfell after the dew had gone off the tent about 9am. On the Henry Lawson Way heading to Forbes it’s ever so hard to stay focused because it’s so beautiful. The road surface is excellent but dead foxes every couple of kms. Stopped at South Forbes Iron Gate Bridge where you can see how high the Lachlan River got in the March floods. Topping up petrol in Forbes saw me topping up the oil as well. (Black Betty isn’t getting any younger). Leaving Forbes for Bogan Gate, the inspiration for this trip, saw excellent country vistas, big trucks, good roads and plenty of dead foxes. On arrival at Bogan Gate (on the Bogan Way!) I stopped for photos and to wet my whistle at the Hotel / Motel, run by 2 old ladies. Not much here, population 200, railway siding with big grain stores, hotel / motel and a butcher shop. Fronted the bar and ordered a beer from Shirl the publican and of course the usual questions, “Where had I come from?” And “Where was I going to?” So I let her know the reason for my trip! There is a dispute between Dapto (where I live) and Albion Park (just south of Dapto), each claiming to be Bogan Central of NSW; and my wife’s belief that I am a Bogan. Shirl was rightly offended by the Dapto and Albion Park claims, as Bogan Gate on The Bogan Way is the one and only original! My wife says she is always right and I’m a proud Bogan. As if on cue this fella walked in with flanno shirt, old stubbies and thongs. He said he had moved up here from Mt Druitt 20 years ago and he loves it! (I rest my case!). Now heading east to Parkes for lunch. I was surprised at the sheer size of the town and the CBD with people everywhere. With the noise in my stomach now quietened I’m back on the road heading east to Molong, my overnight stop. There was a lot of road works along this section with ½ km stretches being ripped up, graded, rolled and resurfaced. Just out of Manildra one section was wet slippery clay (nearly lost it!) and breathed a sigh of relief after I got to the other end. Arrived at Molong and again headed straight to the caravan park. Again no-one in the office only 3 phone numbers to ring. Rang the first number and could hear the phone in the office ringing, no answer. Ok, second number was Lorraine’s again no answer. Third number was Paul’s and I was just thinking maybe I could go on to Orange and spend the night there. Then from the mechanical workshop next door this big bloke started approaching me with a big steel bar in his hand. I said to him that he didn’t need the bar as I was going anyway. He just laughed when he realised what he had in his hand then explained that he was the third phone number, Paul, and all I had to do was pick a site and he would see me later. So I set up camp and had a quick look around town. Beautiful town centre with friendly natives and nice parks; even had Mulga Bill’s Bicycle across the road from camp. As it turned out Paul owns a bike himself and we spent a good hour chatting about bikes, trips and destinations, and of course local roads and places of interest.
Went for an early morning walk before packing up camp. Lovely clear morning. How quickly things change out here, within an hour dark clouds were rolling in. So a real quick pack up and on the road back towards Manildra for a left turn down to Cudal, had to go back over the road works with the slippery clay – YUK! Starting to sprinkle now so a stop at Cudal to put the wet weathers on. Now on to Cargo; just a pub and a general store so kept heading south aiming at Canowindra. Still sprinkling but more consistent and cold. Going past the Canowindra caravan park they had a Retro Caravan Show on, with a lot of old cars towing really nice Retro Vans. Didn’t stop as I wanted to get to Woodstock. (Now, especially being a musician, that’s a place I’d go for the name! Elwyn). I wanted to get there before the rain got too heavy. Pulling up at Woodstock the rain decided to stop for a little while which gave me the chance for a quick look around town. Interesting little town and worthy of another visit. (A musician friend of mine has a photo of himself playing a ukulele under the town name of Woodstock; so he can say he played at Woodstock! I have actually been there, but didn't think to do the same photo! Elwyn). Back on the bike and off to Cowra. The closer I got the heavier the rain got. Had to stop at the Rose Garden Café at the Cowra Information Centre as it was pelting down. Really nice food and coffee at the Rose Garden with an interesting little Breakout Museum in the Information Centre. Would have loved to have a better look around Cowra but the inclement weather put a stop to that. Maybe next time. Stopped here for nearly an hour waiting for the rain to abate. Rain easing now so it’s off down the Lachlan Valley Way; a wonderful piece of tar with beautiful scenery all the way to Boorowa. Rained all the way to Boorowa so I was cold and wet when I arrived, so no tent tonight. Tried the Motel first but they wanted $80 for a single in a tired looking Besa block unit. Next door was the Royal Standard Hotel. Great country pub, $45 a night, continental breakfast, big log fire in the bar, combustion heater in the dining room and an excellent menu. I grabbed a room, and had a hot shower. Then I grabbed the camera, had a quick beer in front of the fire and off exploring. On return to the pub I had dinner then back to the fire. Met a father and son team on their way to do some fishing at Burrinjuck Dam the father having that real dry country sense of humour, so it was an interesting evening. Having breakfast with the father when Daniel (son) came walking past from the shower. Father quick as a flash says, “Hey Daniel that TV there on top of the fridge is on the blink!” (It was a microwave). Daniel doesn’t stop but says, “Do you want me to tell the publican now or when we leave?” (Like father like son!). Leaving Boorowa now on route to Yass the sun is out but it’s freezing. Stop at Yass for coffee at Café Dolcetto, then Marulan for petrol. Still very cold. Now Moss Vale then a leg stretch at Robbo Pie shop. Didn’t have a pie as I was shaking too much. Now down Macquarie Pass and I could feel the temperature rising and by the time I got home I was warm again. This was a great ride and all roads I travelled on were good to excellent except for the road works around Manildra, but they should be finished now. Weather, although on the cool side with a little rain, was still comfortable. Standout for the trip was Bogan Gate; it lived up to my expectation. Also Molong, Woodstock and Cowra will be revisited with more time scheduled for exploring. Black Betty went well, only using about 300mls of oil. I will see about a "topendectomy" for her. Total cost of trip $280.
Don’t Slide Just Glide.
Cheers, Michael Harris
Thanks for another great story, Michael! My grandparents used to live at Young and I visited a lot when I was a much younger bloke; and I’ve been to a lot of these places. Never to Bogan Gate though! Like his other stories, this makes me want to take a few days off, jump on the bike and just go! I’d have to do this trip in winter though, so I could wear my daggiest flannel shirt!
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