A Graunchy ride to Hill End

“So what’s at Hill End Nige? Will there be swings for us to play on?” Lucky was pretty sure he knew the answer to this but was still hopeful he could avoid an afternoon/evening of drinking too much beer. “Of course there’ll be swings Lucky and hooly-hoops and a merry-go-round but first there must be beer.” “Will there be a blessed chapel for those of us in need of spiritual guidance” asked DD with little hope the Royal Hotel might cater for that sort of thing. “Of course DD” Replied Nige “And we will all receive the sacraments together. But first there must be beer.” With this Sideways, Moey, DD, Lucky, Nige, and new friend Shannon (Yet to be given an appropriate Nige Name) set out past Broke and on to Bylong Valley Way to Rylstone then Sofala and then Hill End. The weather was warm enough when we left Maccas that morning and apart from some pretty ordinary road surfaces this side of Bylong all was going well. Some lousy pick pocket, however, who could really run fast nicked Sideways wallet out of his jacket somewhere between Tuggerah and Broke but was kind enough to return it anonymously to his letterbox next day minus the cash. So that was good news.

The Royal Hotel at Hill End. Did not see one member of that family.

 

We stopped off at the other Royal Hotel in Sofala. No Prince Philip there either!

So anyhoo we arrived in Hill End around 4 in the afternoon tired but keen to hit the swings WHEEEEEE. ‘Ceptin there were no swings. No swings. Nor were there hooly hoops and no chapel off the side of the hotel. We were devastated or “Devvo” as the younger ones amongst us said (That was no-one so no-one said it). “There’s beer youse lot. Foller me.” And so we followed Nige into the pub. The bartender was a friendly bloke and keen to make us welcome. “Hello fellas, what’s you’re pleasure?” Nige reached across the bar and grabbed him by the lapels pulling him roughly to within an inch of his snarling face. “Six Four X’s, big ones and right bloody now.” “Certainly. You must be Nige. I’ve heard of you.” without breaking his ear to ear grin at seeing six cashed-up and wifeless men enter his bar. We all sat down quietly as Cheerio Pete (something like that) brought over the drinks, being sure to give the first to Nige. ” I think you might have been a little unfair, even graunchy (pronounced: grawn-chee.) to Pete there Nige” Moey said. “What is it with you and that word. Everything’s bloody graunchy with you these days!! Find another word.” “Nah I like graunchy. It has a plethora of applications.” Moey happily replied, clearly proud of his word. “Yeah we like it too Nige” said Sideways, “Don’t we boys!!” “Oh absolutely,” “yes indeedy,” “truly glorious.” And so it remains. Moey’s favourite word.

 

Graunchy Yeah!!

 

“Sofala beer is pretty graunchy” Moey announced. “I’ll just grip my legs and grit my teeth and say nothing” Nige thought pensively.

 

After temporary release to take our bags up to the rooms we could see why the fifty or sixty dollars was so reasonable. Lucky had a queen size bed in a room about the size of a king size bed. The walls were papered with old newspapers but did have a hook for your jacket or for killing yourself if your stay was more than one night. Everybody else had the same except of course for Nige who scored two single beds. “This room is beneath my status” He mumbled and repeated most of the evening. Dinner, however, was magnificent and included in the price. Old style porterhouse steaks on mashed potatoes. Delicious and big. Our new friend Shannon hit the rooms first still recovering from a hip replacement only a few weeks earlier. He never whined once about it though. He, by the way, bought Nige’s old Ninja. Turns out it’s a very nice shiny black colour. I always thought it was a kind of mottled grey and brown with grass growing off the sides but there you are.

 

Lucky’s room.

Nige’s room. What royal ever slept here?

Breakfast was Fruit Loops and full cream milk, toast and tea etc. also included in the price. Headed home about 8.30 and almost got to Ilford when Sideways’ newish Yamaha Virago with a tank the size of a sippy-cup ran dry. Luckily we met a guy in Ilford who had fuel on hand but looked tired and bent from carrying armfuls of tattoos around. He rode a Rocket Three after spending many years on Harley Davistowns but had lost his licence several times on them and was proud to say that he had now gone almost eighteen months without having to go to court for various traffic violations. Sadly, he then admitted, he was off to court tomorrow and expected to go without his licence for another extended period. What you could ever do on a Harley to be fined is beyond me by the way. Maybe leaking oil all over the place or noise or littering various parking areas with them. Certainly not speeding. Anyway he was a nice fellow and wouldn’t accept any money for the fuel. We wished him good luck for his court appearance and headed on.

 

“This tank Sideways! Theres only one word to describe it and I think you know what that word is!”

 

The usual route took us back through the farmlands behind Jerrys Plains and nobody fell off. The sealants that were sprayed on the dirt section just before we arrived on the trip out, causing us to backtrack through Denman, was long gone and easy to navigate. Our goodbyes were held at Broke as Moey headed off home turning left at the servo. ” Graunchiest ride ever boys!! ” he shouted happily as he turned towards Cessnock. DD and Sideways decided to search for Sideway’s missing wallet which had already beaten him home. That left Nige and Lucky and our new friend Shannon to enjoy one last coffee at Jerrys. Then DD turned up as well. “Thought you were helping Sideways find his wallet” we all said. “Charity only goes so far boys and, instead, I prayed it would be found for him and returned to his letterbox.” A collective sense of goosebumps enveloped us all. Glorious.

 

Blessed!!!

 

 

 

 

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We Love You Markeeeeee!!!!!!

And so it was raining. Nothing new about that. So there we were all draped in gladwrap. The MotoGp ride was on again and this time we headed west again for the first time ever to Bathurst and the Knickerbocker….again. Nige, Lucky, Mohawke, Sideways, and Black Santa. All with varying degrees of permission from wives. So much love in amongst the skinny cappucinos and butterscotch lates. “haven’t seen youse forever old chums” etc and other one-step-short-of-gender-confusion cuddles and we were off. Did I mention the rain? It rained. All the way to Bylong. Then it stopped. Then it got cold. We all shivered a bit and were pretty sooky by the time we stopped at Rylstone.

“Do something Black Santa” we all pleaded. ” This wevver is unpossible” said Lucky the Advanced English HSC teacher.

“Now fellas the good lord knows his business and it will turn out to be a dead set ripper of a day.” but Black Santa was wrong. It got a bit colder. “I love the rain, it invigorates me” said Sideways which surprised us all.

Sideways kickin it old school after a double mochachino.

Sideways kickin it old school after a double mochachino.

Anyway we finally made our way into Bathurst with all the usual confusion about which streets to take to get round the back of the pub. We’ve only been here about a thousand times. It’s like two turns.

Now, because we were all so cold 80% of the gang thought it a good idea to shower up and meet at the bar in twenny. Except for Nige, “Hey youse blokes I’m still the president heya and demand you drink heavily alongside me whilst I tell youse how I love Markeeeeee way more that any of youse. Youse can knock one over or whatever in the showers later. Don’t test me or there’s gonna be tahwubble”

Twenty minutes later, after a delightful shower, we returned to find Nige still berating us. “….. and I expect nuffing but honor and respect and obedience from youse all and did I mention how much I love Markeeeeeee way more than any of youse. Somebody buy me a XXXX Gold. Thanking youse!!!” Strangely, by this stage Nige was sitting apart from the other patrons who had gathered waaaaay over the other side of the bar area and seemed overly interested in their half-empty glasses and mumbling something about not making eye-contact with the ‘angry man’.

 

A bunch of what we assumed to be uni student girls were dressed up as pirates and some of them were wanting photos with them on top of a pyramid of gentlemen from around the bar. Now Lucky was not aware that pirates wore fish net stockings and asked Moey if they were real pirates, “Well Luckmeister, think about it, where would they park their pirate ship in Bathurst.” and Black Santa added, “They’re just brazen hussies Lucky. Don’t pay them no nevermind. I’m right aren’t I Sideways?” But Sideways and Moey were by now already forming the base of a pretty dodgy looking pyramid and Sideways was pushing for innovation so Moey had to sort him out. “You have to face downwards Bobby or the girls wont climb on”

It took some time and a bit of scrapping around for white tee shirts but we finally put together a pretty fair effort.

It took some time and a bit of scrapping around for white tee shirts but we finally put together a pretty fair effort. That’s Sideways in the pink. He’s really strong.

You know how Moey’s bike is really old right? We’ve talked about that in the past. Well his right side crankcase cover was metal on metal when he pulled it apart to check some kind of noise he was unsure of. “Last time I replaced my fiddliochronogizmeechain I’m sure I gave the mechanics at Chuckawaythegaskets in Newcastle a brand new gasket after they finished fitting the swazneebocker back on. Its a real mystery what they did with it.” So there he was sitting in the dirt at the back of the pub worrying what might become of him if old Fallapart couldn’t make the trip home. “Fellas we might have to go home through Lithgow and stay on the big road just in case the worst should happen” said Moey. Nige pointed out that, as per club policy subsection 12.7a “..All riders and especially Moey and his shitbox Kawasaki must travel on roads where no help at all is available and, wherever possible, be out of phone tower range” So no joy there for Moey. “Look old mate, if worst comes to worst one of us will double you home and send help back for whatever’s left of Ol’ Fallapart. How’s that?” Nige offered whilst we all giggled behind our hands. Except for DD who thought the offer was genuine. “So Lucky, are we going to share the responsibilies between us on who carries Brian and what about his luggage? Brian’s luggage lucky. How will we disperse it equally? I don’t want the part with his underpants in it!” Things were getting a bit out of control by this point so we all ate ice creams to calm down.

You know what Dave, when we get home I'm gonna install an ice cream holder on my handlebars and eat these wherever I go. And I'll get a blue one for the Klunker.

“You know what Dave, when we get home I’m gonna install an ice cream holder on my handlebars and eat these wherever I go. And I’ll get a blue one for the Klunker.”

Our usual ride around on Sunday just didn’t happen because it was too cold and there was only a slim hope that Moey might make it back anyway. Instead we went for a little wander around the town and discovered there was at least another road away from the Knickerbocker with shops on it. “Who’d have guessed this Nige?” said Lucky, “Why, we’re like Columbus or Captain Cook or…or.. or General Pants and other great explorers!” Lucky also teaches Senior History. Meanwhile Black Santa toddled off to church. “I think it was for the three free wishes you get there.” said Lucky the former Religion teacher. “That must be where they keep the Genie!!”

And the race was on. Because we had watched the earlier races and tried some new drinks or because we were all so concerned about Moey’s issues, tee hee, we didn’t have our usual bets on who would win and placegetters etc. Of course Nige was all “I’m the only one allowed to bet on Markeeeee because I love him so much.” and we were all, “Whatever you want Mr Atrill because we have nothing but respect for your position as club president.” (You know…until The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs stages another coup.) Markeeee fell off and Nige thought that was a real bummer, “That’s a real bummer” he said and switched off the set. We never found out who won.

I really love Markeee DD. He's my sweety and he will win for me.

“Markee didn’t win David. Select a random member of the club and kill him please.”

Monday Morning was nice. At the Knickerbocker, breakfast is included in the price. You have a wide selection to choose from but you only get the one meal the Polish lady cooks for you all. It’s a plate piled high with a potpourri of carnage: bacon, sausages, eggs, and other stuff. We tried for a variety of how to get the eggs cooked but no luck there either. Although she seemed friendly I think we were all a bit worried about ending up in the gulag so we just ate without complaint. Nige thought she was wonderful.

Lucky learns all meals are the same for morning, noon, and night.

Lucky had ordered Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon. Disappointed? I think so.

Despite Moey’s misgivings we made it safely back to Gerry’s for some awkward man-love moments and a nice coffee. I don’t know if Moey actually made it all the way home from there but ah well.

 

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So Whose Really Running This Show? A Lazy one to Rylstone.

Controversial? Certainly, but with a decreasing number of weekend rides and some distances between overnighters there was always going to be trouble. When Lucky called for troops for a lazy ride out to Rylstone hands went up everywhere to join in. A new rider was invited along and, rather than wait for a club name to be initiated, proclaimed himself “Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs”No hang on ……Sorry, that should read “THE Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs.” Lucky had already aligned himself to The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs and expected a ground swell of support to challenge Nige somewhere out west.

So anyhoo we all met at the usual place: Nige, Mohawk, Killswitch, Sideways, Black Santa, Lucky, Grizzly, and The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs. Black Santa was still riding his old red bucket of bolts and was first to extend his hand in friendship, “Good morning Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs it looks like a glorious day for a ride” “Ahem” interjected Lucky, “I think you mean THE Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs don’t you Black Santa?” ‘Oh yes, yes of course. Please beg my pardon The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs. Its absolutely glorious to meet you.”

The Supreme Ruler of the Universe. An imposing figure.

The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs. An imposing figure.

With hugs and kisses attended to, the group (Still Niges at this point) headed out. Fuel at Broke then on past the farms out the back of Denman and then The Commercial hotel at Rylstone. Accomodation at $55 per night for a single room was good. Mind you all the rooms we were given had more than one bed in them and the shared facilities were good. Must remember to bring your own soap to this one because they have shower gels in the showers but these can be tricky I think. Plus I like to choose my own scent, dont you?

Nige looking presidential with The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs formulating plans.

Nige looking presidential with The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs formulating plans.

Well the beers flowed freely that afternoon and night with everyone blessing each other and more hugs and promises of friendships forever etc etc. Then Nige excused himself to go and rip one off or tear one out or hit one out of the park or whatever it is he does when he’s alone. Maybe it was just a wee, dunno, but it gave Lucky time to propose a bloodless coup. “C’mon fellas, Nige has been a great leader and we all love the little cutie pie but isn’t it time for change? What about you Johnny, are you with us?” But Killswitch remained neutral which didn’t help the cause much. “Moey, you in?  “Yeah, nail his arse to the wall!!” Said Mohawk. ” Kill him till his dead” Shouted Grizzly. “Hail The Supreme Ruler of the Universe, Hail!!” So some enthusiasm from Grizzly. Sideways ran outside to set fire to Nige’s Klunker but remembered he had no matches and returned crestfallen but the thought was there so that was nice. DD called for calm and suggested we pray on it because it was a big decision to make even though The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs really did look the duck’s nuts and seemed “An absolute ripper of a bloke”.

Then Nige came back and shouted us a beer and the coup was forgotten. Grizzly and The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs both agreed that, despite the failed coup, their first overnight ride with the Niges (if you don’t count the Klunker ride out to Grizzly’s farm) was good fun.

Nige returns to find himself still the president.

Nige returns to find himself still the president. Note the false smile from The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs.

 

A good night’s sleep and breakfast up the road at some la de da antiques cafe. Right next door to Rylstone “Guns and Ammmo” shop. Priceless. So off we went for the trip home. A quick stop at Broke, a longer stop at Jerry’s where Lucky and The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs discussed future possibilities.

The Supreme Ruler of the Universe leaving the Commercial Hotel. Biding his time.

The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs leaving the Commercial Hotel. Biding his time.

 

All up a good ride with plenty o’ controversy. Nige possibly considering whether to accept The Supreme Ruler of the Universe and its Environs is a suitable name for the newbie. I thought he was muttering something like Fairy Dust as a possible alternative but can’t be sure.

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Bathurst MotoGP

Planned ride to the Knickerbocker in Bathurst for this years Australian MotoGP. 18th, 19th & 20th October

Saturday kickoff, 8:00am at Tuggerah Maccas for a 9am start. Broke, Bylong Valley Way, Sofala etc.

Sunday am ride before the races (all 3 classes on TV)

Monday, ride the reverse home.

Let Lucky know if you are interested or leave a comment here.

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North Coast

Madge and I packed our winter woolies, donned multiple layers and headed north.

First stop was Gloucester where a hot drink at The Roadwarriors Cafe was useful in warming the cockles of the heart.

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Onward and upwards to the lookout

Lookout

before arriving in Walcha where it wasn’t very cold overnight at all.

BMWice

The next morning after the bike thawed out, we headed for Casino and some lunch in town at the bakery.

Casino

We pushed on with a full stomach towards Bangalow and stopped for a bit of a squiz.

Bangalow

Back on the bike and on to Byron Bay and our accommodation for a couple of days.

LordByron

Off to the Beachie for dinner and a few ales.

Beachie

The next day was an opportunity to tick a few Tommy Tourist boxes.

Easterly

One of the extremities ticked off.

MadgePath

On the tortuous path up to the lighthouse.

YuppieCoffee

Having some yuppie coffees.

Off to Nimbin via Minyon Falls and The Channon on some terrific roads.

MinyonFalls

NoDeal
They didn’t have to tell us twice 😉

Hemping

Surely we can fit even more stuff on the GS?

Embassy

We were offered drugs here.

BestViews

Best view in town of baggies and cookies. Put the camera away.

VDub
Gotta put this cliche photo in.

Out to Kyogle where there was a million bikes for some reason. Couldn’t find out what the ride was. South to Casino and Grafton to end up at Coffs Harbour.

Coffs

The shopping trolley at Coffs motel.

ButterFactory

Continued to Bellingen and the Old Butter Factory where some more goods were added to the bike.

Emporium

Really impressive building inside and out. Emporiums are rare.

EborFalls

Ebor Falls on the way to Bendemeer via Dorrigo and Armidale. It was coooooooling down.

IceFence

Spent the night at Bendemeer Pub with a few ales to keep us warm but woke up the next morning to an ice covered landscape shrouded in fog.

Waited around for it to warm above zero and decided not to risk heading back towards Walcha and Gloucester. The warning lights on the Beemer were going ballistic.

Icetree

Eventually went down the New England to Tamworth where the fog quickly lifted and the world turned a warmer place thankfully.

Sidetrack to Gresford to check out a campground and then home.

Campground

 

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Ride this Sunday 27July

Forget the Ulysses boys, Niges ride again!!! I’m so pumped for a ride down the Putty to the Greygums I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps Tuggerah at 8.30 and leave at 9. All welcome.

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Top speed comparison at Mugello

Best and worst top speeds for all three classes after Friday free practice (2) for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, which contains the quickest straight on the calendar.

MotoGP:
Fastest: Hector Barbera (Ducati) 346.7km/h (215.4mph)
Slowest: Danilo Petrucci (Ioda CRT) 302.6km/h (188.0mph)

Moto2:*
Fastest: Pol Espargaro (Pons Kalex) 289.9km/h (180.1mph)
Slowest: Elena Rosell (Moriwaki) 271.7km/h (168.8mph)

Moto3:
Fastest: Arthur Sissis (KTM) 233.9km/h (145.3mph)
Slowest: Danny Webb (Mahindra) 218.8km/h (136.0mph)

* All Moto2 riders use a control Honda engine.

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The Celebration of Retirement Ride

The Celebration of Retirement Ride
On the 26th of May Mohawk, Nige, Johnny Killswitch and DD gathered at Tuggerah McDonalds for the inaugural Celebration of Retirement Ride. The forecast was highly favourable with unseasonally warm weather. After some trivial banter and venting we headed off with high expectations (he was a late inclusion in the ride). Moe was ride leader and we headed towards Bendemeer.

We headed out through Yarramalong towards Wollombi (I was disappointed that we didn’t stop at Gerry’s for coffee). Then onto Singleton, Dungog and to Gloucester.

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Ahh the country feeling as we cruised into Gloucester and stopped for fuel; birds chirping in the trees, cows lowing in the hedgerowed paddocks, locals whistling through pieces of straw and calling “How de doody!” Next minute the spawn of Satan roars into the servo in a Lucifer-black armour-plated personal carrier and screams to a halt in a cloud of dust and sharp rocks demanding to be serviced with high-octane aviation fuel. The retired gents were in the midst of refueling their noble steads and whose weapon happened to be in the way of the cacodemon’s access to the pump? Yes, Johnny who was feeling a strong desire to strain the potato’s and as he returned was accosted by the fiend. John held his cool but because he had been involved in three altercations over the past few days in situations which were quite confrontational had to be restrained by his riding companions from drawing his pistol containing a silver bullet. The ghoul, vomiting verbal filth, stormed into the service station to pay and then roared away to intimidate some other innocent poor soul. I’m sure he was a top bloke, he just had a bad day.

After our close encounter with the fires of hell we headed off pleased to be on the road again. Every small coffee establishment along the way received our patronage until we finally reached Walcha where were we disappointed once again by the Café Amour. Then into the sun we rode on the final leg to Bendemeer.

The pub was very salubrious with what I think were the best rooms in which we have lodged.

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After settling we had a few quiet ales and dinner.

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Nige got unusually quieter as the night wore on and we had a very pleasant evening until the pub was closed about 7:45 p.m.

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The 27th greeted us with yet more glorious weather and DD said “ripper”. We followed the previous day’s route home stopping at Gresford for a cuppa and experiencing some very enjoyable stretches of road. We had a close encounter with a member of the constabulary but he either didn’t see us or was more interested in some other objective.

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Many thanks and appreciation to Moe on an excellent ride.

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Greygums on Wednesday

Just a late one about a ride to Greygums this Wednesday 23April meeting at Maccas Tuggerah at 8.30 and leaving at 9. God Bless.

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Decision made!

Sell the Storm, trade the Storm, keep the Storm, keep the Storm and buy a KLunkeR, trade the Storm in on a Cruiser but not a Harley (never a Harley), sell the Storm and buy a Blade, buy a Blade then rent a cruiser to chase a KLunkeR blah blah blah. With 50,000 km on the Storm and the obligatory offer of $4000 trade in, Ant bought himself a new XJR1300 muscle bike. It’s a beauty all dressed in black and sounds very nice with a Scorpion slip-on. Good to see he didn’t go down the cruiser path. “How do you feel on the bike” he was asked in a recent interview. “Majestic” he replied and I think that says it all.

Yeah!!!

Yeah!!!

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