Time for the 2019 “Bring Your Oldest Bike Ride” for a week.
The majority completed the 7 night, 8 day ride. And there were others who, due to other commitments, did 3, 4 or 5 days. That’s the beauty of the ride you can pick and choose what you’d like to do, coming and going as you please.
But we averaged around 18 bikes for most of the time, which together with Bronwyn doing back-up duties was a good number. Where would we have been without Bronwyn and the trailer, she was clearly the most popular person there. Even though Phillip and Bronwyn live in Kojonup they are very active members of the Club.
It was good as well to see Keith coming down from Dunsborough to join us at the start of the ride in Albany.
We set off on a nice sunny morning with Garry, our Italian Police Escort, heading towards the Bluff Knoll cafe in the Stirlings, a great way to start the week off.
Then through Borden to Gnowangerup. John Mac unfortunately had an electrical problem at this point, but with many hands in the headlight and under the seat, it pointed to the battery. The battery had decided that enough was enough, I’ll come with you, but you’ll have to start the bike yourself by using the kick start - lucky he had one. Note from web editor - there was also the BMW two-step dance, thanks Dan and others.
Gnowangerup was also where Ducati Wes from Bremer and John “the Matchless twin” would join us. John had only done about 15 miles on the Matchie before the ride, but had utmost faith in the machine.
After a Gnowangerup lunch we rode through Broomehill to Chester Smith’s place on the outskirts of Katanning.
He has an amazing and varied collection of old memorabilia, machinery, farm and home items in different sheds. And its all laid out very neatly and presented very professionally.
This is the second time we’ve been there as a Club, and again this time, they had tea/coffee and cakes and biscuits laid out for us. Chester’s wife and sons were also there to help explain the different pieces around the place. Their collection of garage memorabilia, tractors and stationary engines is outstanding.
After spending quite a while there we headed to Woodanilling where we were staying the night. We averaged throughout the week about nine tents with the rest of the riders staying in either units in the caravan parks or hotels, motels even B&B’s in close proximity.
The majority went to the Woodanilling Tavern for dinner, and four of us stayed and dined at the caravan park - the charge for camping was $10 a night - cheap for this day and age.
Next morning a lovely ride to Narrogin (coffee) and then towards Wickepin before heading across the Albany Highway to Boddington, our next night’s stop.
This was a particularly exceptional days riding, great roads and weather. There was only a couple of “moments”. One was John whose absolutely beautiful Matchless decided that it was time to have a rest and jumped on the trailer. The other was a bee which decided to do its usual somersault and managed to sting me between sunglasses and helmet.
I immediately pulled over, together with the bee who wouldn’t let go of the sting. “Help” I shouted and immediately I was surrounded by expert bee sting retrievers. There’s a certain technique which needed to be applied to minimise the effect of the sting.
Leaving the deceased bee by the side of the road we continued onto Boddington, apart from a bit of pain I didn’t seem to have any side-effects - I had a antihistamine pill on me and took it straight away.
Six of us decided at Boddington, at Bob Boyes suggestion, to share the original (restored) police jailhouse which is located in the caravan park. It was very salubrious, with Chris and I having the honeymoon suite and Bob, Chester, John and Garry T sharing two cells. The cells are brilliantly done and if ever six of you are wandering though Boddington its the place to stay.
We all went to the pub that night and after dinner a very competitive game of pool ensued. I can’t remember the eventual “doubles champions” were, but it was someone who beat Chris and I after holding the table for several games - Wes and Steve rings a bell.
Next morning I was looking out my right eye, the other eye had decided to shut, when John roared in on the Matchie. Unfortunately it was very hard to start. The spark looked a bit weak and it was decided that it was definitely electrical, or fuel or something, but the best place to have a look would be Bridgetown on our two night stop.
Leaving Boddington our first break was Quindanning where Bob Boyes had organised morning tea. He had arranged scones, jam and cream with tea or coffee. And it was all laid out in their restaurant, beautifully done with more than enough for all or us, the cream being brought by Bob from Boddington. A great piece of organising Bob, and only $7 a head - marvellous.
Then onto some lovely roads to Collie for our lunch stop. It was here that Huw and Elina joined us on their bikes. I must admit after the scones it was a bit hard to fit lunch in, but most had a go anyway.
Down the road we went from Collie to Boyup Brook. At the outskirts of the town the police had decided to set up a breathalyser road block. They breathalysed the first couple of riders, but then when they saw they were going to get swamped by the group coming down the hill they decided to let us through. We would all have registered zero anyway.
Lovely road down to Bridgetown where we spread our tents out in the caravan park. All the units were occupied and Phillip and Bronwyn managed to score a delightful B&B.
The Club pergola was brought out, Phillip supplied a light and it was a nice cosy “happy hour”. We decided to cook in the campers kitchen which was very well laid out.
Next morning the old bike enthusiasts were tying to find the fault with John’s Matchless. Ignition timing, compression, points, plug, carbie, fuel all good. So it was decided that it was most probable the magneto itself that was the cause of the non-starting problem. John decided it would be better to use the RAC to take it back to Gnowangerup.
The RAC turned up within a short space of time and agreed to take him and the bike back to Gnowangerup. It was a shame, but it was the only thing we could think of doing other than leaving it on the trailer for the whole trip, which was no good for John who wanted to ride. I think the RAC Ultimate Roadside Assist is good value as it covers any vehicle under your name, you’re better off with the top level though.
We had two nights in Bridgetown and so a ride to Balingup via the back roads was the plan for the day. The riders have corner marking running like clockwork and every corner there was a rider there. Excellent, nobody got lost and there were some fabulous roads. This time Bronwyn was pillioning Phillip’s green machine and Leanne, who drove up from Albany for the two nights in Bridgetown also riding on the back of Colin's.
It was also in Balingup that Paul joined us, he lives most of the time there and it was great to see him. After a long stop at the French cafe in the main street it was back on the bikes for a ride to Greenbushes and down the Maranup Ford road which joins up with the Nannup Bridgetown road. We then headed back to the caravan park for a lazy afternoon.
Next morning we agreed to all meet up in town at one of the cafes. Here it was great to see John returning from Gnowangerup on his 750/4 Honda so as he could complete the rest of the week away.
Leaving Bridgetown we rode to Nannup, where a compulsory stop at the cafe was in order before riding to Margaret River for supplies and lunch. It was then down the picturesque Caves Road ending up at Hamelin Bay caravan park, our stay for the next 2 nights.
It's a lovely shady park and the staff are very friendly, as they all have been. We had plenty of room and decided to put the pergola up once more. The campers' kitchen here is excellent to with plenty of room in the outside area. There’s also plenty of cabins in the park.
After a look at the beach it was time for a meal. Interesting in our tent that night, Chris hopped into our sleeping bag and let out a yell, something about a spider. Anyway when I got in the tent there was a large (massive) Huntsman spider inches away from her head walking around the roof of the tent - inside.
Not sure who was more worried, Chris, the spider or me. Anyway I had to be brave and grab it and throw it outside, but unfortunately its demise was the same as the bee several days before. Chris now zips up the tent completely ha ha.
Next day was a ride to the lighthouse, there was a bit of drizzle, but it didn’t come to much. We then rode to the Augusta IGA and bottleshop (for more supplies) before lunch at the Bakery. We were lucky to get in as it was closing early on that particular day.
That afternoon, after another look at the beach to see if we could see the stingrays John and Louise arrived from Perth, John on his Z Kawasaki and Louise on the 400 Honda - a lovely bike.
Dinner was again in the campers kitchen, and after a while I thought I'd better drag out my guitar as Bronwyn had being carrying it around in her car all this time.
I enjoy playing and have been doing it since I was 16, as you could tell by some of the songs that I sing ha ha.
Next morning Karridale for a welcoming coffee (the tap water can have a bit of a strange taste at Hamelin Bay) before heading up a different road to Nannup and lunch, here Huw and Elina left us. The effort that members make to come on the ride make the planning it worthwhile.
Manjimup via Graphite Road was the last night's destination. Once again the owners provided scones, jam and cream for each of us, not many caravan parks do that. Apparently the park will close shortly as they aren’t making any money, shame really. They were saying a lot of travellers are making use of Air B&B and free camp sites in the bush making it unviable for them.
That night about half went to the pub and the rest made use of the cosy
Next day was the last and it was home via the Tingle's Bakehouse just after Nornalup. John and Louise headed back to Perth. Once again the road was relatively empty and we had an enjoyable ride. The pies etc at the cafe are the best, they shut throughout the winter, so its a great place to go during the summer months.
We then headed for home. Everyone seemed to enjoy the week, we have a great bunch of people who are very easy going, don’t complain, help whenever they can and always have a smile on their face, so its a pleasure organising rides.
Again thanks Bronwyn (and Phillip) for towing the trailer. It was used several times for bikes, and of course, carried luggage, chairs and importantly eskies, we couldn’t have done the ride without you.