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December 2008 Club News

September 2008 Annual Ride

Outside the rubbidy at Southern CrossDay one: Saturday 27th 9:00am - Some 18 riders, 5 towing trailers (one of which was made by Barry out of a car hopper with a genuine BMW badge), two trikes, one sidecar and 2 with two-up  gathered at the corner of Chester Pass and Mercer Roads for the annual trip away. The majority of the riders headed east, while Ronnie, Antoinet, Andrew, Wendy and Geoff took a shortcut north through Hyden. Jack & Des rode with us to Wellstead for morning tea before waving us goodbye and heading back to Albany.

We had pleasant conditions all the way to Esperance via Jerry and Ravy. Andy was nervous about the boomers and told us he was attacked by a big yellow bird somewhere between Ravy and Esperance nearly knocking him off his bike. Turned out to be a low flying crop sprayer on the end of his run.

Frank and girlfriend at Lake BallardA few of us entered Esperance via the ocean road past Pink Lake and the wind farms and spotted several whales off Twilight Cove. When we arrived at the caravan park, Clive was tipping water out of his trailer. Apparently it leaks pretty bad. (He muttered something about Marilyn having something to do with it, and bloody water bottle!).

It was off to the tavern down the road for tea before turning in. We had a security light on over our tents all night. So none of us knew when the sun actually came up but Harley was all packed ready to go when we all surfaced.

Day two: Sunday 28th. A few of us met at the bakery in town to get some stores before heading off north to Salmon Gums for morning tea. There we saw a good lot of photos and historical information in the covered rotunda in the local park. There was even one picture showing snow on a vehicle in 1956. Up the track a bit we made a brief stop to check out a dam that had been built to service the railway, but it was never used. It was Norseman for lunch and a bit of a ride around town and up to the lookout. It was well worth a visit as it has a commanding 360 degree view of the area.

Camping in the bushThe country to Fraser Range Station was fresh from the 25mm of rain that had fallen a few days before. With plenty of water in the gutters, we witnessed two emus having a slop around in one of the spoon drains. Just like the birds in our birdbath back home. Fraser Station is 100km east of Norseman and has good facilities. The stone shearers quarters and kitchen were neat and there was another hard accommodation fibro adjacent. There is a great barbecue area. The showers need a dollar coin to operate them and the water was “B”…. hot. The station owners dropped the bottom out of a 400 gallon tank and put it near our tent site, filled it with timber and set it alight.

After tea we all sat around the fire with the clear starlit sky, telling a lot of jokes, lies and untruths while sipping the odd ale or two - some more than others. It was a great atmosphere and doesn’t get much better that that!

Fire and b*****it, not brimstoneDay 3: Monday 29th (Holiday). Frank and Helen took off - destination Menzies. While the rest of us headed back through Norseman and on to Coolgardie. A few of us pulled in to Widgiemooltha for lunch where Wes T. rocked up from Bremer to join the ride for a few days. We arrived in Coolgardie early so we had a look around at the local sights. Meanwhile, the police boys and co headed to the Hall of Fame the other side of Kalgoorlie. I think they just went for the ride as it was nearly closing time by the time they arrived. Ronnie, Antoinet and co were all set up when we got back to camp. Huw was there too with his new Moto Guzzi. It was a pub tea that night. Good food, what was left of it, with a romantic setting in the dining room. Only two of the 12 lights were working, maybe they didn’t have a ladder high enough to reach them.

Day 4: Tuesday 30th. We woke up to rain and grey skies, so breakfast was at the servo over the road. Huw headed home. Geoff headed off just before Ronnie and crew. I think he must have been going for longer than a week. He even had the kitchen sink with him. Good thing someone spotting the dragging strap. It could have been a disaster. Someone else spotted wire poking out of Wes’ tyre. So it was off to Kalgoorlie for a replacement. The fortunate ones with hard accommodation (The Softies) stayed another night and took a trip to Kal again, then Ora Banda. Still can’t get a straight answer as to whether the road is sealed or not, funny that!

Frank and Helen who camped on the 2nd floor of the local at Menzies took a while to work out why it was still light in the room after lights out. Frank saw rays of light coming up from the floor from room down below. Wouldn’t need a dust pan. They took a ride out to Lake Ballard to view the statues which are becoming quite a tourist attraction. 40 odd kms of  this road was unsealed but in good condition.

Those of us with tents (The Tuffies) packed up wet and headed to Southern Cross where dynamic Rembrandt wanted us to check out some ghosts at the Palace Hotel, a lovely old hotel with lots of sporting memorabilia. There were framed and signed jumpers, tunics and signed bats etc of sporting icons both past and present on display, but no ghosts.

The closest thing to a ghost was a couple of pokies in the corner (not attended) making strange noises and a slight breeze through some curtains. Ron A decided to head home from here and turned west into some dark weather. Barry led us on a run around town ending up at the lookout which he had been looking for in Coolgardie. (Only a couple of hundred kms out). We couldn’t see much as a squall came in, the one that Ron would have ridden through.

It was then off to Muka with a must pit stop for ale at the Bullfinch Pub. Always an interesting stop. Booked into Muka railway houses to thaw out. Clive and Dave arrived later, apparently Clive had to jump start Dave not once but several times during the day only to discover loose terminals. Don’t you just love it!

Day 5: Wednesday 1st. The Softies - Someone pointed out a flat bottom on Jim Sharpe’s rear at Southern Cross, “Tyre that is” only to discover the culprit, a nail, probably picked up at the pipeline pumping station. So it was a trip to a local tyre place and have it plugged. Further collateral damage for the Day was Colin’s new FJR, it rolled off its stand.

The Tuffies left after morning coffee and headed to Wialki (better and better crops, a real “Purple Patch”) and then on to Beacon. First stop was at the information centre for coffee and to get the gen on the area. Next stop was the caravan park, small but neat and tidy with good facilities.  Rhoda the caretaker, also the barmaid, manager of the local community club, booked us in (quite a character). After setting up camp we took a ride out to see some county about 40kms north. Ray and Andy doubled up with Clive and Dave on trikes.

Checked out “Crimpy’s tank”, which was built to service the Beacon area. It was opened by Ernie Bridge in 1990. The water comes from Mundaring Weir. Dave stepped out around the tank and did lots of sums to work out the capacity of the tank. We all agreed it held a bloody lot of water. There were lots of everlastings and wildflowers out around here and the crops looked good too.

Then off to another site not far from the emu fence which was an old well and Gnanna Hole, to service the sandalwood cutters in the years gone by. On arrival back at Beacon, the Softies mob arrived moving in to what was left of the hard accommodation at the park. We all wandered down to the local Community Club for pre-dinner drinks along with a few locals. Dave generously shouted us all a drink or two and the only time he went quiet was when he picked up the tab. Thanks Dave. After a few bleak years, the locals are all smiles with the recent rain and the crops look excellent. Lots of husbands and sons have been working on the mines in the past few years to help make ends meet.

Day 6: Thursday 2nd. Awoke just before dawn to a snoring symphony with a fog horn in the background (Clive had been banished to 50 mtrs away). It all abruptly stopped when a crow started squawking on a pole above tents, and I reckon it had a belly ache after knocking off Rays hommus dip the evening before. Very grey and damp again when packing up this morning and the forecast was for more of the same. Wes headed off to Perth. Frank and Helen, on the Deauville went to Toodyay via Wongan.

Dave and Clive headed south. The rest of us rode through steady rain to Koorda, another happy town. It was here that Bob shouted us all coffee. “Thanks Bob”.  Barry, Harley and myself headed towards Wongan Hills and onto Lancelin. All the crops across the northern wheatbelt look very good and should yield well if Jack Frost doesn’t get them. The rest headed south to Cunderdin stopping at a vintage museum by the old pumping station, well worth the visit according to Colin.

Somewhere in the Wild West...
Then they were on to Corrigin visiting the dog cemetery on the way. Another good worthwhile stop. Then through Kulin to destination Harrismith where they camped at the local in dongers. Tea was at the pub where Colin’s son and family joined them. Dynamic lifter apparently met his legend here, the compost tumbler weatherman Don Thompson. Often hear him report on ABC -  if compost tumbler dry – no rain, if  moist- it’s wet! Did you find out the good oil inside it Ray? Next morning the group led by Colin took them to the family farm nearby for a good breakfast before they departed for Albany.

Day 7: Friday 3rd.  Most people headed home with clear weather. We checked out coastal Lancelin, Ledge Point, Seabird and Guilderton. This would be a good camp spot on another ride. It was then inland to Gingin, Midland and then Vic Park to check out the bike shops. Barry and Harley headed off to find accommodation while I stayed with family. Coming home on Saturday afternoon there was some pretty wild weather. Arriving in Albany to fullblown winter just before dusk. Clive and Dave got home sometime Saturday. Clive said the bike got slower and slower between Mt Barker and Albany. Thought he might have picked up a bit of water in the fuel. Couldn’t blame Marilyn this time!

Summing up: although the weather was mixed, the countryside looked fantastic. It all made for a good week away with good company and a lot of laughs. Frank and Helen stuck to the game plan as per the agenda, and you did well Helen being the only women in the southern group, see if we can encourage a few others  next year.

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