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Unruly mob in ToodyayI'd been looking forward to this weekend and it didn't disappoint. Leaving Albany at 9 am for the ride to Toodyay where we were camping the night, saw around a dozen of us take off to Cranbook before continuing up the Great Southern Highway taking in Wagin, Narrogin, York, Northam and finally Toodyay. The weather was fine, and the road has the advantage over the Albany Highway with some nice bends.

Among our group was Jeff, a friend of Mike Saunders who had ridden over from South Australia with his wife on a short holliday. He was riding a new BMWK1200LT, it even had a GPS navigation system on it Peter and Judy were already in Toodyay, having stayed with relatives the night before. We were also joined at the camp site by Huw and Bronwyn, Piers and son and Dave Ward and KT, his dog. The park has been rejuvenated since the last time we camped there and was looking good.

Dinner was to be a counter tea at the Toodyay Tavern. The caravan park was only a kilometre from town and most decided to walk in, but the more laid-back amongst us hired a minibus taxi to take them to the watering hole. It was a lovely warm evening and we took over part of the verandah of the pub, the food was excellent, the pub, service etc spot on. We had a great night, the stayers managed to coerce the barmaid into giving them a lift back to the caravan park after the pub shut - these were mostly the ones who took the taxi to the pub who were by now more laid back than ever.

Next morning we met up at the Caltex service station in town. Breakfast was eaten and the obligitory group photo was taken. My exhaust note seemed to be getting louder and an inspection in Tooday showed a nice hole in the exhaust. I bought a couple of clamps to help quiet it down and hopefully find something at Toad's. Great ride in the morning along the brilliant back roads before arriving at Toad's who lives along the Chittering Valley Road. Apart from our group the BMW Club was also there, so there were bikes everywhere when we arrived.

Toad and rare Rhodesian bike.Morning tea was provided for a cost of $4, this included Toad opening the doors of his shed. The shed was huge, it cost him $100,000 to build, (Telecom redundancy) and the variety of bikes were amazing. There were a lot of Italian bikes including, MV Agusta, Moto Moroni, Benelli, Ducati as well as some obscure brands. The majority of the bikes were in as found condition, which I think makes them even more interesting.

He was saying that when he started collecting in the late 60's people were practically giving their English bikes away to buy the latest 4 cyl Honda 750's, Z Kwaka's etc. In the 70's and 80's he was picking up bikes on farms in WA, and even riding over east with his sidecar outfit and bringing up to 4 bikes back tied to the sidecar chassis. He also imported some bikes from the U.S.

Toad picked up some of the less popular Italian makes quite cheaply as parts for these bikes were hard to get in Australia and once they needed spares which were unavailable the owners were practically giving them away. He had the V8 P76 powered sidecar outfit (seen at a few Black Ducks) in the shed as well as a Triking - a three wheeler Moto Guzzi powered vehicle based on the Morgan. Click here for the Toad V8 at Black Duck Rally - 35 seconds to open.

Shedfull of bikesHe also told me he has another 2 sheds with over 200 bikes stored in them! It was a great way to spend the morning as well as catching up with some of the BMW Club members but before too long it was time to return home.

Some of our group went different ways, we came straight home via the Albany Hwy with Peter & Judy, Merv & Debbie, Mike and Jeff. Phil & Lurl and John & Jan's sidecars were not far behind. It was a great weekend. Toad extended an invitation to visit his collection again, but he reckoned give it another 18 months and the bikes on display would have changed again. I think we'll have to take him up on that offer.

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