A few times a year a group of my oldest friends and I take a road trip, about 250kms, from Sydney to a little farmhouse 50km outside Mudgee, NSW, Australia. It started out as a once a year bender, daytime drinking, bonfires, shotguns and crashing old dirt-bikes. These days it a little more refined – but you wouldn’t bring your mother.
Not a lot changes in that part of the world. The roads bend through the landscape, the towns along the way are slowly dying. Most people are just passing through. Two power stations and a maximum security prison are your employment options. Some folks start at one and end up at the other.
Kandos is the nearest town to the farm. On my visits over the last decade not much appeared to have changed there either. The main street is so quite you’d swear you were looking at a photo. Around half of the stores are boarded up. Stray dogs pass at intervals as rust creeps onward.
So, on this visit I was a little surprised to find, on Kandos’ main street, this place: Buds & Bikes. We’d wandered into town in search of some supplies, mainly meat and beer, when we found it. At first I just saw the cafe sign and was delighted at the prospect of a good coffee and a place to sit down. Then I saw a little sign that had written on it in chalk ‘Motorcycle Museum – Entry $6’. The museum section is separated from the cafe by a false wall and a black curtain over the entrance. I couldn’t see in but I though, hell, for $6 who cares what’s in there. I paid my money and in I went.
I nearly died twice when I saw what was on the other side. Once at the sight of the finest Harley Davidson collection I had ever seen, and a seconds time when I realised that, despite having three very nice cameras with me on this trip, on this outing I only had my phone camera to document my find with.
I was greeted inside by the owner Ken. It turned out my $6 not only got me entry to the museum but also a guided tour with the owner. He happily detailed the age, specs and history of every bike on the floor while my jaw hung slack and I asked stupid questions. The bikes inside span from the 1920s up to today with some so exceedingly rare they where not actually production models, but prototypes. Ken has lovingly restored many of them to mint condition while others are works-in-progress.
“I won’t get through them all in my lifetime” Ken tells me with a sigh and smile.
These are the Photos I did manage to snap but they don’t really do the collection justice. My favourite was an old knuckle-head which was a work horse for the Queensland General Post Office. It originally delivered telegrams to rural areas and was owned by the GPO for over 30 years. Still had original Postal Service panniers and paint job (what was left of it).
If you’re ever on the road between Lithgow and Mudgee you should stop in to Bikes and Buds. Hopefully you’ll be as stoked on it as I was. It might just put Kandos back on the map. I’m thinking of going back with a proper camera!