Garry T, Ian Jury, Bob Boyes, Chris Sainty, Andrew H, Ronnie J., Chester and Warwick with the trailer loaded with our camping gear, met Saturday morning at Mercer Road meeting point. It was a brisk but pleasant morning. The previous two days had been extremely wet and windy, so we were a bit concerned about what was in store for us for the weekend.
Our first stop was the Stirling Range Café for morning tea. Warwick
drove on to meet up with John Davis at Gnowangerup to load up the
trailer with more camping gear and provisions.
Garry then led us over to Ongerup for a visit to the Mallee Fowl
Centre. It was my first visit. I was quite impressed with all the work
that has been done to help save the Mallee Fowl. The Mallee Fowl
Preservation Society has done a fantastic job in making it what it is
today. Incidentally, Garry Taylor was at the first meeting some years
ago. John Davis has been on the committee and Warwick has had some input
too over a period of time.
After seeing the Malleefowl Centre we watched a video and learned that John Williamson (singer) is the patron. Funding has been supplied by some mining companies and volunteers have done many hours of work to make it what it is today. There is also a nice café. I highly recommend a visit to this sanctuary.
We were then northbound to Pingrup where most of us tucked into yummy home-made pies and sausage rolls at the local café.
We had a short stop after lunch to admire the art on the CBH silos. It was really well done. About half an hour of riding later, we arrived at our camp destination at Chinocup Dam. John Davis and Rod Chessel had just arrived.
Rod had come over from Bunbury on his 1954 Ariel. John had already been there the previous day to choose a nice setting to camp and also chop some wood for the campfire. He also dropped off some water and a wheely bin.
Then he erected a shroud for the bush dunny. Busy boy! Colin and Leanne Dowsett had also arrived in their 4 x 4 with the camper which Colin had built. (Glamping!)
We put the yabby nets into the dam and lit the fire. We enjoyed a few nibbles and drinks as the sun went down. About an hour later it was time to check the nets. We caught a large bucketful of yabbies which we promptly cooked and then devoured. Then we all sat around the fire telling lots of stories about life, telling lots of lies and enjoyed each otherís company. The last to go to bed was Ronnie about 1:30am, or so they say. Itís probably true as he was the last one up in the morning.
It was a very cold night with one report of ice on the tent just before dawn. The fire was stoked early by Warwick.
The gas barbecue was set up and everyone tucked in to a healthy breakfast and a hot cuppa. When we had finished packing, Ian J. took off to visit family in the area, as this was his patch for most of his life.
John D. took the rest of us on a walk to show us the large catchment for the dam he had renovated with his dozer. We saw a wedge tail eagle nest and spider orchids on the way. The dam had been renovated to try and drought-proof the area in those dry years. It was originally built to provide water for the steam trains.
Then it was time to head homewards. Rod left us at Nyabing for Bunbury
while the rest of us travelled down
to Gnowangerup. We all fuelled up and stopped for coffee and said goodbye to John. A few of us stopped to have a quick look at the old Toolbrunup school on our way to Albany Highway. Ronnie and Chris pressed on.
It was a great weekend covering 460km all up. Great riding with no wind on both days. The countryside was nice and green. The yellow canola flowers were in full bloom.
Thanks go to John Davis for organising the weekend. I can see it happening again next year. Thanks also to Garry Taylor for suggesting the visit to the Mallee Fowl Sanctuary and to Warwick for bringing the trailer with all our gear. It made riding easier for the rest of us.