Day 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.
A 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.
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!
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
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
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
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
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.