So we left Maccas about 9ish on Tuesday 7th Jan for another look at more Victorian roads. This time it was Moey, Sideways, DD, and Lucky. The weather was a bit dour on departure and drizzly rain accompanied us (nice use of personification giving a sense of friendly comradeship with the elements) all the way to Mount Victoria. We were hoping to run into the big guy again but, sadly, he wasn’t around. Though still, literally, around that poor old green KLunkeR I’ll bet, tee hee.
Anyway, leaving the mountains and heading southwards we spent an eventful day losing and finding each other all the way to Culcairn. Moey loves to hide behind billboards and such and giggle as we sail blissfully past, “Corner markers are for poofs” he reckons and we all agreed despite our collective inability to stick together for more than about ten minutes. Doesn’t matter because we did eventually regather at the pub with DD arriving about an hour ahead of us having chosen to ignore our plans to meet up in Wagga. Doesn’t matter.
The Culcairn pub has new owners but still looked after us very well. $50 this time but the rooms were good and the showers were just lovely. We didn’t actually get there till 7 so by the time we had a beer and a shower and some dinner it was pretty much goodnight everyone. Sideways was pretty keen to see the staircase again because apparently it came from an old shipwreck and had been lovingly restored at some cost for the pub. I reckon Bunnings could knock something up at half the price but there you go, doesn’t matter.
A hop step and jump into Victoria through Corowa and found ourselves in the West Gippsland region and Buxton (at least that’s what my smartphone pictures tell me) when Moey took us up a dirt road to this triple story railway something or other. Pretty impressive and we really spent some time figuring out how the weight distribution and physics of the whole thing kept it upright. We all pretended to understand but Sideways the builder is probably the only one who got it. Anyway, doesn’t matter because it looked good.
On and on we went climbing up and through some spectacular roads and found our way eventually to Maffra. Prior to this an unexpected last second turn off the highway for fuel left Sideways stranded on that same highway and unable to turn around. “Anyone know if Bobby knows where we are supposed to meet at some point?” one of asked as we stopped in Benalla to top up. “Yeah, no send him a text” Well we did and headed off to Euroa where the text said we’d wait for him. When we got to Euroa and checked for a reply it said, “I’m in Benalla”. Apparently he had managed to circle back to find us gone and then got booked for speeding in his attempts to catch up. The same cop who pulled him over had let us pass with just a flash of his headlights just fifteen minutes earlier. Sideways was, understandably, not happy but kept a brave face for the rest of the trip.
The Macalister pub in Maffra was pretty good and had small glasses of beer to drink from. Just like last time but that doesn’t matter; we just had more. Goodo, now the rooms were ok but it only had one toilet and shower for the six or so rooms it had. We managed though and it was only $40 from memory.
Lucky wouldn’t shut up about his fancy shmancy Pro-Oiler that had come with the Bandit muscle bike. Experimenting with varying flow rates that could be adjusted from the handlebar mounted controller saw him up the “delivery speed” from its normal position of 3 up to 7 to see if it made any real difference. It did. Mind you I still think it spewed out less oil from the rear than DD’s old “Red Ripper” which leaked more than the Exxon Valdez. DD also had a little oopsy along the Alpine Way where Vic Roads had thrown copious amounts of loose stones along 10 k’s of otherwise beautiful bends. He managed to stay upright though. Then there was some horrible dirt section after the turn off to Falls Creek but we also survived that.
Oil spattered rear end or not, we had more fun on the Alpine Way as we headed up through Omeo and Corryong and back into NSW where they don’t hide speed cameras in trees or abandoned tractors and whatnot. It felt like we had masterminded an escape from Alcatraz. Tumut was just delightful and the weather was again kind (More personification that gives a sense of welcome and affability). It’s soft breeze met us with a gentle kiss (getting the idea now?) as we removed our helmets for the last time that day.
The Woolpack Hotel was great. Again, $50 for the night but this also included a TV in your room. Shared facilities were clean and plentiful. Again, the long day riding left us a little weary so we didn’t stray far from the premises. Sometimes we remind me of a pet cat that just pokes its head out the door for a quick look around before scuttling back inside. Never mind, doesn’t matter.
Ok so on day 4 we headed north and stopped somewhere near Yass for breakfast. That DD’s a scallywag. Despite all warnings to turn off mobile phones around petrol bowsers, DD thought it a good idea to not only call Julianne whilst near a bowser but actually lean on it for the whole conversation. “Shouldn’t one of us tell him to move clear” a worried Moey proposed. “Nuh, this could be hilarious.” replied both Sideways and Lucky simultaneously and hooked pinky fingers for their secret wish. Both probably hoping for a spectacular fireball at DD’s expense. Just for a bit of a giggle and the money to be made on youtube for filming it. It didn’t blow up so that was good I suppose. Doesn’t matter.
Up along the Abercrombie road and into Oberon where we stopped for lunch.
Back up through Mount Victoria, Wiseman’s Ferry and home by 3. Lost sight of Moey and Sideways for a while but caught up at the Ourimbah turnoff from the freeway. I don’t think they saw us but we waved a hearty farewell to them anyway. Doesn’t matter, the love is still there. Moey did a great job as ride leader with a GPS that more often than not gives him the middle finger. And Bright? Well once again that sultry mistress beckoned to Dave but wouldn’t surrender him access to her most private parts.
When is enough, enough? Never. I thought it might be nice to have something with a whole heap of carrying capacity for those long four day rides without being stretched over the tank like a medieval rack. The 08 Bandit has it all: Givi hard panniers with a Ventura rack; ABS; radiator guard, Pro-oiler for the chain; Yoshi exhaust; and other bits and pieces. Bought it from a bloke up here at a good price because the GFC screwed him over and he needs the cash. Sad farewells for him. Felt a bit sorry for him but perked up once I felt the grunt of this thing. Still keeping the Busa and the KLunkeR of course.
I’m looking for volunteers to go over the wall and ride headlong into Victoria. Proposed 4 day mission to be executed during the 5 day window of opportunity, 7th Jan – 10th Jan.
Candidates must be true of heart, steeled in spirit and cast iron of gut.
Applications in triplicate to Minister of Rides.
Short answer, somewhere else. In fact no girls came. No Care-Flight helicopter required either. You see it was three years ago that seven rode out and only six came back. Remember? Tajna, on that Harley-Davistown Limited Edition Soft-tail, went belly-up on the Thunderbolts Way near Nowendoc and then had to be flown to John Hunter Hospital. She always said it was a freak accident but I think she just spotted a pretty cow in a pasture and the bike merely followed her gaze……down the embankment , over the fence, and next to that same cow. She wasn’t killed or anything so we laughed pretty heartily about it. The Soft-Tail ( I’m referring to the bike (THE MOTORCYCLE)) was eventually written off, leaving the remaining ten million of them even more limited and, therefore, I suppose, more valuable.
Lovely. So, since neither Ant nor Tajna were available for the ride, given his commitment to looking after his daughter and her commitment to staying the hell away from him, we only took five: Sideways, Nige, Lucky, DD, and Moey. It was good to see new skinny Nige with half a dozen new holes in his belt to accommodate his healthy shrunken girth. Sideways wanted to know why he was on the GSA instead of his Ninja, “You ridin’ like a pensioner now mate?” He asked and we all laughed at that and slapped Bobby on the back and everything.
This time we headed out towards Singleton and stopped at Wollombi where we met “Rocket Rod” – at least that’s what it said on his number-plate. Rod was pretty excited to see us and wanted to show off his new/old Honda VFR which he got “For a bargain dontchya reckon guys? Only paid 5 grand cash for ‘er” “How many kays it got” one of us asked. “Dunno, about free hundred fousand I fink. Whazzat got ta do wif anyfing?” He was a gem.
DD had earlier arrived at Maccas with a rear tyre that was as flat as Rodriguez’ singing. Yeah my friend Sam saw him in concert this year and said he was “Painful to listen to.” so don’t get mad at me. Anyway, a prayer or a novena or something plus some air in it and it looked like it was okay. I’ll get back to that. We stopped at Maccas in Singleton where the boys had bran muffins and talked endlessly about their various miracle cures for this and that and preventative grains for staying regular or something. They wouldn’t have looked out of place knitting socks while they were there.
We eventually found our way to Gloucester where, getting back to the DD story, his front tyre was now pretty ordinary as well. “Jeez fellas I can’t believe the big fella upstairs would set me this challenge when I just wanted a weekend away.” Fortunately, on closer inspection, it turned out he’d just left his angle-valve still attached after the last time he’d topped up. “You ripper” he exclaimed. “Thank you Lord. You’re a champion.” But God hadn’t finished enveloping DD with his loving protection. More on that later.
And on we went to the Thunderbolts Cafe for lunch. DD and Nige had the biggest meals ever and both reckoned they were dreadful.
So, after that debacle, out along Thunderbolts we went and landed in Walcha about 4ish. Except, that is, for Sideways who had earlier left Gloucester like a scalded cat and had gone so fast he broke the space-time-continuum and arrived the day before yesterday. Lucky led the rest at a more leisurely pace and happily avoided the radar after Nowendoc. “What are ye doin Lucky. Ye don’t have to slow down to 60 for #$@%’s sake. The speed limit is a hundred ya know”. “Sorry Nige, won’t happen again” a chastened Lucky replied knowing he had only slowed to about 95 anyway.
We all wandered off to the RSL club where Nige signed in as Valentino Rossi from 1 Italy Street. (Next day he signed in as Markey Marquez of 19 Spain Rd and hoped the rissole club would rue the day they lost a perfect marketing opportunity when these MotoGP heroes visited their club) He’s a rascal. We had a few beers here but were disappointed to find out they wouldn’t be serving dinner because they had no cook.
We did eventually stumble to the Apsley Hotel for dinner and then back to the Walcha Motel. Sideways forgot his medication so was in considerable pain which meant he couldn’t do the Gingers Creek ride next morning and Lucky must have eaten a poisoned nut because he was unwell and stayed in his room as well. At least it gave him time to write his memoirs.
The ride to Gingers was excellent by all reports and DD, who led, was flashed twice, there and back, by the rozzers to slow down. Anyone else would have been shot through the leg as a warning but not DD. None of us know how he does it but he appears pretty serene about the whole thing and how come he never gets booked, “As if ” is all he will say with a little glance skwards. As for that bike of his; it blows more smoke than the Marlborough Man, has all sorts of odd bits falling off it willy-nilly, uses more oil than a porn scene fluffer, and has tyres with less air in them than Yul Brynner’s lungs. “I still love the old girl but.” He maintains, “She’s a ripper and an absolute champion.” Meanwhile, earlier, Nige had gone wandering around Walcha looking for pornography. And he found it.
Sunday afternoon was the big race and we gathered at the RSL. Some big fat guy was watching the cricket but the barmaid had promised the screen to us the day before. Nige took action, ” Excuse me but you said we had the big screen to watch the races so could you change channels now. Thanking you!!” She replied “No I can’t he’s watching the cricket” “Well tell him to bugger off” “I can’t” she said “Why not?” He said. “Because he’s the president of the club” She said. “Oh for #$%@’s sake” He said and added, “Well I’m the president of the Nige Motorcycle outlaw gang, and this is my posse” pointing to where we had all just been standing. We were actually hiding behind the chocolate wheel in case trouble started. “Oh for #$%@”s sake you lot come out here.” But we were pretty comfortable right where we were. Luckily, the fat president, oblivious to the shenanigans, chose that moment to head off home and, with a cheery wave to us all, bade us a good night and a safe journey home.
The race was run and won (Lucky won the cash prize for picking the winners) and we had Chinese food at the New England Hotel. A pretty early night where Nige suggested it was time for us all to rub one out. Most blokes would just say goodnight.
When Nige wandered off to the bathroom we all discussed the idea of ordering breakfast early in our rooms next morning and then leaving promptly at 7 to beat the heat. “Oh for #$%@’s sake” was all he had to say when he found out. We ate at the Amora cafe and left at 8.30.
It was about ten degrees when we left Walcha so we rugged up warmly. When we passed Carson’s Lookout it quickly became very warm and by the time we reached Gloucester, which had reached about a hundred and thirty five degrees, we were hot as. Anyway we stripped down fort the final leg.
From Gloucester to home was uneventful but hot. Nobody pointed out how much cooler it might have been had we left a bit earlier. Best of all, five went out together and five came home together. And as for the “Where’s Tajna Memorial Ride” part of our adventure – Well to be honest we forgot to stop at the point of impact to pay our respects. Actually, none of us were real sure where it was anyway.
That last ride to Victoria was great but wasn’t quite perfect so we decided to do it again. Mohawk, who had organized everything told us to meet at Maccas at 7AM for an early start. I was still in my jimjams at five-to so had to scarper to get there on time ” Pretty sure Bright’s on the agenda DD ” said Sideways, once we’d all gathered at Maccas, but DD was not to be fooled twice in the one year. “Look fellas, if it happens it happens and that would be glorious but, you know what, just being here with you blokes is good enough for me.” Yeah nice little guilt trip there which washed right over the top any of our collective and fairly limited thoughts. This time there were five: Mohawk, Sideways, Killswitch, Lucky, and DD. We wiped the last of the sleep out of our eyes and headed west.
Guess who we ran into at the servo in Mt Victoria!! It was that big bloke again. You remember him, he was the guy hoovering down all the cream buns and vanilla slices the last time we came through. ‘course you remember. He was the bloke who rode a KLunKer like Lucky’s but with solid rubber tyres and a swing arm made of a girder recovered from the Tasman Bridge disaster of 1975. He was corpulent. This time he draped himself in black which is nicely slimming and probably felt pretty pleased as he checked himself out that morning in his garage-door-sized mirror. “Oh yeah you look gorgeous. Wait’l the girlies at the Caltex see me now”
Off we went and found ourselves heading towards Tarana. A nice windy piece of road where Lucky turned Goldenboy into the worlds fastest trailbike after rolling the front wheel sideways over a small stick on a left-hander. Dirt and dust and grass were all as surprised as lucky was to see him there but the mighty Busa punched through and eventually slowed enough to find its way back to the road without falling down. “How’s yer sphincter Lucky?” Killswitch, who had witnessed the unhappy event, enquired. “Yeah no great thanks. Wont slow me down.” It did. A lot.
We found our way into Tumut and stayed in the Woolpack Hotel that served beer and it was very good. My recollections of day 2 are a little vague. I remember Moey and Sideways checked their maps a few times and seemed to know where they were going. I also know we rode some twisty bits down into Victoria and I remember names like Batlow and Wangaratta but time got away from us a bit and we stayed a little short of our intended destination opting for Seymour instead. The Royal Hotel was pretty good though and we got to wander around and saw some old army tanks.
One of the great pleasures of travelling with other blokes is the shout. When we were in Tumut on the first night, and after more than one shout each, it so happened that it was Lucky’s turn but everyone was tired and wanted to go sleepy byes. “OK no worries, I’ll shout next round tomorrow night” Brilliant!! Have you seen the beers they drink down there? Check this out.
Here’s a close up.
Look, it was a great victory for Lucky in Seymour. I think the whole shout was about a shilling. But getting back to those tanks. They are all over the town and apparently Puckapunyal is just down the road a bit. We had a good play with some of them and then had dinner at Subway. That was a bit ordinary but very nutritious..I guess.
Next day was crazy. We rode up into the mountain ranges and into Maryville. The roads were great even though the high winds had scattered all matter of the local shrubbery all over them. Mohawk could’t understand why he had some trouble in tight right-handers and once again suspected the steering geometry of the muscle bike. Turns out a length of the local timber had somehow wedged itself between the exhaust pipes and stuck forward and beside the front wheel. Any attempts at turning to the right meant the stick was rubbing away his sidewall and preventing his wheel from pointing in the right direction. Sideways reckoned he could smell something burning for most of that section. It was found when we stopped at the highest point at some lookout. We also had lunch at some cafe called the Ten Bears where there were way more than ten.
Speaking of Sideways, which I now will, reminds me of his incredible powers of observation. All along the way he’d say “Did you see that old pre-eighteenth century barn on the ridge about half a kay off the road back there?” or “Did you see that Indian Myna Bird nesting three kays up that mountain back there. I think its beak was a bit twisted.” or when Johnny said he saw a piece of some plastic in a ditch next to the freeway Sideways said “Yeah it was part of a Navman GPS. Part number 638B was stamped on the side. Did you see it Moey?” Moey and Lucky exchanged pensive glances. “No” replied Moey, “I dont think so”. “Well what about you Lucky? you must have seen it.” “Ahhhm maybe, I saw something grey I think” “Yeah that was the road Lucky” DD helpfully added. “Oh. Right. There did seem to be a fair bit of it.”
By the end of day three we were back in NSW. Culcairn seemed a nice place to stay and the pub was huge. Inside was another typical Aussie drinker called Billy. Now Billy was one of those characters who had a practiced reply to every comment the barmaid made. “Yeah c’mon over here love and I’ll give yer something to smile about” He drank and drank and drank. He lost about a million dollars in bets to the bar staff when Adam Reynolds kept missing conversions for Souths against Manly. The rooms were comfortable and the owner was a lovely lady who only charged us $40 for the night. Jackpot!!
Last day and we were ready to get home. Backroads up through Blayney saw the four of us head into Bathurst. Bell’s Line and home. 2500k of fun. Forgot to mention when we got to the Bright turnoff DD veered towards it heedlessly but that’s as close as we got. “Wait till the big fella upstairs finds out about your rotten behaviour you blokes” He said but, again, we never listened. We got close to the best riding ever but I think we might give it another go pretty soon.
Looking to repeat the ride to Walcha of a few years ago on the 19th 20th and 21st October. Leave Saturday morning and arrive early arvo for drinks. Ride somewhere Sunday morning but be back in time for at least the moto 2 and Gp at the RSL club. Let us know if you intend to come so we can book accommodation. BTW I haven’t forgotten the ride report for the great Victoria ride but waiting till normal internet speed resumes after our little boy used up all ours and we only have super low speed for another 4 days.
IMPORTANT NEW INFO
At this stage we have 5 definites: Moey, Lucky, DD, Sideways, and some other. Plus we might have Ajax join us on the Sunday mmmmmmaybe. I have tentatively booked six rooms at the Walch Motel because the pubs only had the odd room here and there. Price is $86 per night but the rooms have 2 single beds in them if you want to share. Alternatively, you could book a room at the New England Hotel as they do have a couple of rooms left. Can you let me know your intentions so I can advise the Walcha Motel of any cancellations.
Meet at Maccas Tuggerah at 8.30 Saturday morning for a 9 O’clock departure. There’s no rush and we should be there early afternoon.
Thanks to my fellow Niges for a great ride which saw us tackle some of the best roads in the country, despite some adverse conditions. Due to wild weather we missed some others but I will certainly be back to relive the magic. There isn’t much left of my rear tyre I must say. Even the big rd home wasn’t that bad… for a big rd. Great company, great pubs and grub and a great muscle bike… can life get any better?
To those lining up for Vic ride, it would be advisable to pack wet gear, some warm clothes and a spare pair of smalls. Thursday will see a few showers on route and cold morning set offs.
Let me know of any probs asap. see you all at Maccas Tuggerah at 7:15sish for 7:30 off..
So anyway we all decided since the weather was good and the roads were dry to retrace our steps to one of our favourite places. Nige bought along a new friend, Ajax, on a GS800 and he thought we were all “lovely, just lovely”.
Nige, Ajax, Ant, Sideways, Mohawk, and Lucky headed out right on the dot of nine. The road out to Wollombi was free of any real traffic so we were able to stick as a group pretty much all the way. We also didn’t ride absurd speeds and are watching our speedos a lot more carefully these days. Sometimes we go mad but not as much I don’t think. The Putty is as good as ever and we could still chew up the tyres a bit. Nige was on his GS but even the knobbys held on for some impressive cornering. The Greygums was crowded as usual but managed to feed us all lickety split.
The ride back through Broke and Wollombi was fun and of course we stopped at Jerry’s for more coffee. We talked about the MotoGP ride for the 18th to 20th October. Ride to Walcha like a few years ago. More on that to come.