All photos © TFB, Geoff, Warwick & Pete, 2014.
After a couple of aborted attempts at rounding up the lads, AT LAST Warwick and I managed to whip the crew into action. Initial estimates had us at approx. 12 or so motorcycles plus assorted operators; but after Watto, Trav & Rory pulled out, we were down to slightly more manageable numbers. Their lame excuses were scornfully regurgitated around the campfire, and... hang on, we're getting ahead of ourselves.
This ride I decided to take the GS1000. Sure, it doesn't have the power of the Katana, but I was curious to see how it would cope with 2 solid days of being flogged along the open road, and how it would handle the twisties. Well, it didn't miss a beat. Geoff, not having a motorcycle these days, once again piloted the 'support and recovery' vehicle, this time in his rather swish Saab (complete with rear window jammed shut with a stick of wood).
He issued me with strict orders NOT to load in the faithful old portable BBQ "or any other crap". Of course with a bit of arm-twisting he finally relented and agreed to cart THE BOX which contained all the essentials, eg. cooking oil, matches, utensils, mozzie repellent, kettle, coffee, tea, sugar, axe, etc.
The crew were mostly on time for the 5:30pm rendezvous at the Serpentine Roadhouse. Pete, Ian, Scotty, Edan, and myself were there on our motorcycles. Geoff rocked up with his Saab and we threw our gear in the back. To top things off, Geoff's mate Sunny came along; being fairly fresh off the Indian subcontinent he wanted to witness Australian male fireside banter for himself. By the time we'd set up camp at the Dwellingup caravan park, Sunny had slotted right in and was abusing the rest of us like a pro! We quaffed ales and swapped yarns late into the night. As you might expect, the truthfulness of these tales was inversely proportional to the lateness of the evening. Edan's neighbour Scotty had also popped along on his brand-spankers Hayabusa, meaning that there were no less than THREE such buzzards on the ride. Throw in Ian's Honda Blackbird, and we had the usual interesting flock of machinery assembled for low-level flight. Warwick and Joe rolled into Dwellingup later on that evening, after we'd downed a top countermeal at the local pub.
For the first time in living memory, Joe turned up on a steed that was better than decrepit! That's because he's landed himself a beauty of an '08 GSX-R1000, complete with lots of fruit inc. full Yoshimura exhaust system and carbon fibre can. "I'm going to look after this bike," he said -- but of course this assertion was greeted with guffaws and loud choking sounds, ie. understated scepticism. We give him 5 years and it will be needing a full restoration. Of course it will join his garage of previous motorcycles he has flogged into the ground, only to be moth-balled because he's going to restore them all one day! Seriously, a nice pair of wheels there Joe, and welcome to the Suzuki fold. ;-)
At about 1am we finally called it a night. Scotty might have brought the essentials (ie. himself and his motorcycle) but he had packed precious little else. So it was that his first night was spent attempting to sleep in the chilly night air in the dirt under a towel. When we got up the next morning, there he was, still lying face-down in the sand, towell stretched over his back. "I reckon he did it hard last night," observed Pete drily. Yep. Bet he's going to bring a bit more stuff next time!
So once we'd all finally woken up and were feeling a little more human, we hoofed it down to the Blue Bird Cafe in Dwellingup, and recharged on coffee, bacon & eggs. Then it was off to Bridgetown for lunch, via Quindanning, Collie, Mumballup, and Boyup Brook. 'The Cidery' was the obvious choice for lunch, where in honour of Warwick I chose the vegetarian option and a pint of their wonderful porter-stout. (Warwick has yet to return the compliment by eating a bacon sandwich, but I'm not holding my breath.) Whilst in Bridgetown we also raided the local IGA and the bottle shop, buying up a load of the essentials: meat, snaggers, bread, eggs, and coffee that wasn't set like concrete in the jar.
Then it was on to Peaceful Bay via Nannup, Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole. By now we were really in the groove and everyone hooked along enjoyably as the road wound through the enormous Karri trees. The Manjimup-Walpole Road has often been mentioned in these write-ups, and that's because it is to bikers what meat is to carnivores, ie. essential consumption. It's the perfect mix of speedy straights and swooping bends, dips and crests that will get your inner ear wondering which way's up, along with open scenery and dense forest. And there's about 100kms of it. You get the picture.
Finally we pulled into Peaceful Bay after about 600kms of riding for the day. To our utter delight campfires were allowed (it's a total fire ban everywhere else this time of the year). As we didn't have Watto the Tree Uprooter with us, we had to buy a couple of bags of firewood. The fire got lit, the meat got cooked, beers were downed, and we all turned in at about 9:30pm as we were all a tad stuffed. But what a way to go to sleep: I opted not to pitch my tent (loaned the fly to Scotty who was glad to wrap himself in more than a towell as he zonked out on the comparitively soft grass) and spent 30 minutes or so staring straight up at the Milky Way until I drifted off into the land of Nod.
The blasted kookaburras let rip with their demented and raucous cackling before the crack of dawn. (Note to self: must pack a sawn-off shotgun into The Box as well.) Scotty was the first up and while he was rummaging around in The Box, he put last night's uneaten meat to one side. Before he could snatch it back, a horde of carnivourous DUCKS had descended and made short work of the remaining hamburgers and steaks!! I kid you not: these ducks made short work of entire steaks, and so it was that Warwick's dream of a vegetarian utopia was once again dashed. Anyway, there went breakfast. But we still had enough snaggers to fry up, and Warwick cooked up some beaut fried eggs in bread crusts. Washed down with loads of coffee we were once again ready for the trip back to Perth.
A few of us had to get back by 4pm-ish, so we simply zooted back up that magnificent road to Manjimup, and got to see the other side of the Karri trees. Then on to Donnybrook, where we raided the local bakery and washed the pastries down with ales in the park. Then it was past the outskirts of Bunbury/Australind, and on up the booooooring Forrest Hwy to Perth and home.
Mate, in retrospect I have to say that it was SO GOOD to get away for the weekend, being something like 15 months since the last jaunt. We now have a Spring Ride in the pipeline... so hopefully not much later than next October we should once again be on the open road, pleasantly surprising campers everywhere with our civil behaviour and erudite conversation. Or something like that...
Stay chooned for the next ride!
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