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Cuballing Ride

Story by Raelene Blake

A good crowd was assembled by 10.00 am at the Amity, everyone well and truly dressed for the weather we were expecting to encounter on the day, but fortunately it remained fine, just cold. Fellow travellers joined us at Mt Barker, a small delay while Marie’s bike was push started, the price you have to pay for having “warm hands”.

Barry leading through WaginWe all stopped for coffee, very welcome, at Cranbrook then onto Katanning for lunch where Don Ball was waiting for us at the “Giants Playground”. No one wanted to play so we headed off to our weekend destination & arrived at the Cuballing Hotel late afternoon.

We were soon joined there by Huw & Bronwyn from Perth & Jeanette & Paul, our newest club members, who had ridden down with them. What an initiation, they had a very cold, wet, & windy trip - but were still smiling.
Colleen, our hostess at the hotel, was now madly organizing rooms for us all & trying to fit 30 people into 25 people into 10 rooms! No mean feat! But Colleen managed it!

Harley was quickly kicked out of his room & put up in the “lodgers” room - Jeanette & Paul top & tailed - and 6 of our “friendlier” members shared a room (see pic) Everyone slept well I’m told & there wasn’t even a snoring competition. Having managed all this, Colleen then proceeded to dish up a very tasty dinner of fish & chips for everyone! What a woman.

Cuballing dining roomThis was followed with an hour of hilarity thanks to Richard encouraging Clive to tell a few jokes, followed closely by Marilyn, Murray, Harley & Jan’s written jokes. We all moved back to the bar, where Colleen joined us for a lively game of darts, with her team winning.

There a couple of stayers in the bar but the majority then moved off to see if they were still in their original bedrooms or had been moved elsewhere in Cuballing to spend the night. Following an enormous country breakfast Sunday morning, we said our goodbyes & everyone headed home agreeing it had been a great place to stay.

Some riders going south, headed home via Albany Highway & had to endure heavy rain & hail. Others went via the scenic route, Katanning, Gnowangerup & Borden & only endured gale force winds & rain! It was quite windy when we got to Gnowangerup, the plan was to continue & have coffee at the new coffee/craft shop in Borden.

The coffee shop has been set up in the old hall & had a lot of interesting items for sale. The soup & coffee was very nice, but my mind was on the wind which was picking up rapidly, true to Merv’s predictions.

Very soon we were off & travelling at a 45 degree angle on our bikes. The wind whipping around us & dodging falling branches. Fortunately there was very little traffic, the locals knew better than to be out in this!

Finally, seeing the friendly sight of bikes & people gathered at the Bluff Knoll café, I pulled in to rest the weary body & blow on the icy hands, I had to keep checking my hands as I know there are ten fingers there but couldn’t actually feel them.

Warwick then tells me this is some of “the worst weather he has ever ridden in!” Now that makes me feel better! It is definitely the strongest wind recorded in my short riding career! If I can cope with this I can manage anything.

By now, Linda is desperately trying to think of someone - anyone in Albany, she can phone to come & collect her! Enough is enough. But no good Samaritan springs to mind . . . so its back on the bike with Colin.

But we’re not home yet and the wind is howling, determined to get us off the road. Soon we are met by a deluge of rain plus wind and minimal visibility, that soon passes & on we go.

Albany is a welcome sight, even more so, my driveway. A long hot shower, warm clothes & . . . 2 days later I’ve recovered.

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