On Saturday the 17th of May, 11 riders set off in the breaking dawn for their yearly pilgrimage seeking enlightenment. The plan was to have breakfast at ‘Gilberts Winery’ then on to Manjimup, then Nannup to Pemberton finishing at one of our favourite haunts, the ‘Gloucester Motel’. Cathy, Chris S, Jeanette, Jenny, Michelle, Pauline, Rowena, Shelly, Sue L, Tammy and Meagan were the starters.
We decided at the info bay to skip breakfast at ‘Gilberts’ and head off whilst the weather was kind. That made our first cup of coffee a couple of hours away, the first test of our resolve. Chris R and Raelene couldn’t make the ride but wished us well so all of us near virgin pilgrims were left to our devices to forge our way through the bitumen wilderness. Chris S took a different path at Rocky Gully to lay out the spread and entertainment for her son’s 16th birthday back in Denmark (she hardly looks old enough). We said our customary goodbye’s and indulged in a little bladder lightening.
From Rocky Gully we tootled on to Manjimup where, I might add,
some numbskull 4WD driver passed several of us up a hill which
was also a corner, ie. double white line zone which sent hearts
racing as if anything else came over that hill we were pretty
sure that we would end up the worse off.
Once in Manjimup, those of us that didn’t have to fuel our
beasts every 200 km snuck off for a little retail therapy in a
haberdashery then a coffee and pie to satiate that breakfast
yearning. Jeanette found us a little later in our contented
bliss and reminded us that we weren’t “there” yet.
We rode into Bridgetown and were greeted by streets already half-filled with motorbikes, and as is with pilgrims of this kind we all “looked” assessing the ilk of the others steeds and trying to see if we recognised anyone behind the helmet's perspex. Settling our bikes at the curb we descended on the ‘Emporium Bistro’ for a sumptuous lunch. It was here that we realised we had more in our number than usual we it was mentioned by staff “we might like to book next time”.
The owner/manager?, being a rider himself, did give us
complimentary coffee frequent flyer cards and was kind enough
though to direct us to the ‘scenic’ route to Pemberton via
Nannup. “The road has awesome curves” he said, “the scenery is
rolling green hills with cattle and beautiful trees” he
said. OMG, the road was truly awesome but I’m not sure
anyone actually got to look at the scenery as I’m pretty sure
they were all eyes glued to the road ensuring we stayed on it,
to have time to look at any beautiful bloody scenery. We had a
quick fuel-up and breather at Nannup then on to Pemberton where
we arrived just as the five from Perth hit town as well.
Again we turned a lot of heads pulling in to the Gloucester
Motel, many probably thinking it was another group of male bike
riders only to realise we were a bevy of buxom beauties when the
helmets came off revealing 15 heads of luxurious locks.
We ate that night at the Gloucester’s restaurant and lucky for
us it had an ‘all you can eat buffet’ on for only $27.50. We did
manage to control ourselves and glide ladylike to the buffet in
instalments instead of the grand stampede that could so easily
of been the reality. The food was delectable and piled high
enough to feed several small African countries, and even
decorated. A whole watermelon was carved into the shape of a
rose, all the radish were roses, there was even a little bamboo
forrest made from leeks and celery, someone was very talented
and had time to create.
We left the restaurant earlier than usual (ie. before getting
kicked out) and went back to our rooms for a little chat. There
was no ‘solving problems of the universe’ this ride, just a
pleasant catch up, I think we were all happy and comfortable
with our peers and just all being there together was enough.
This is a polite way of saying ‘no one got drunk, sick, vomited,
hurt themselves, danced on tables, tipped ice down young men’s
pants or had shire presidents draped over their knees. So we
were asleep before midnight which was probably a good thing
considering the physical punishing we were going to get the next
It started raining at 5.30am. Not the Albany drizzle kind of
rain, the kind of rain where you can feel each individual drop
through your gloves and pants. Happy Birthday Pauline.
We lingered a little longer over breakfast (in the rain) than we normally do then wished the Perth crew farewell (in the rain) and Sue L who was going to ride on to Busselton I think (in the rain) to catch up with friends before we left ourselves (in the rain). By the way, did I mention it was raining? By Walpole I personally was that wet and cold that I could have bought home several goldfish in the pond that had formed at my crotch from clamping my legs to the fuel tank. No the pond was not warm and yes it was clear rain water.
It was very comforting to see Chris Rees and our other halves
there to meet and encourage us to keep going and I must say, I
did get a little satisfaction in seeing that they were very wet
as well. And still it rained. Pauline summed up the ride that
day beautifully, must have been the coming of another year that
gave her even more poetic wisdom than she is already blessed, in
a text she sent me that night.
I quote “Wetter than a duck shagging a shag on a rolling log in the middle of the ocean in the rain being watched by a pelican... and that’s wet”.
And I couldn’t agree more. Bring on next year I say, and we will do it all again.