Trip to Coalmine Beach

All photos © TFB, 2011.

They say that it is a rare thing when three planets line up, and who am I to argue. But let me tell you, it is rarer still when a bunch of schwein-hundt motorcyclists can all:
  1. get permission from their missus's;
  2. get time off from the scaly boss; and
  3. get their bikes running.
Well, come the last weekend of April 2011 the biker equivalent of a planetary alignment took place, and so it was that we 'comrades of the syzygy' took off along the marvellous winding tarmac of the South West, down the roads we know and love. The weather was cool after one of of the longest, hottest summers on record (courtesy of a massive La Niña weather event), and despite the chance of a bit of rain, we were looking forward to going places without dehydrating ourselves stupid.

Mind you, it wasn't the most auspicious of starts. The aim was to meet at the Serpentine roadhouse at 9am. Only the vicar was on time; all that seemed to matter to Bludnut was that he and Watto had arrived before the Baldini brothers. (You know your standards are shot when you are happy with an outcome like that.)

Over the last couple of rides, we seem to have been able to get by without the traditional 'transport & recovery' vehicle, which is just as well because Gus has deserted us for warmer climes and is currently eeking out a living up north. So with the bikes loaded up with pretty-much everything except food & beer, we took off down the road to Dwellingup and then Quindanning, and then lunched in Collie. Bulging panniers and lurching duffel bags notwithstanding, the riding was the usual spirited affair. And who can blame us; the bends on the Dwellingup road are smooth, perfect arcs that just invite you to go just that little bit deeper than you might otherwise. Magic. Then it was on to Boyup Brook, Bridgetown (where we stopped for a bum break and to sample glorious brews at the cider brewery joint... the stout, oh the stout), Manjimup, and then down one of the most rewarding stretches of tarmac in the South West, the road to Walpole:

After winding down through the Karri forest to Walpole, we pulled into the Coalmine Beach caravan park, just outside the town. First duty was darting back into town for supplies (MEAT and BEER), then pitching the tents, and then scratching together some fire wood (because the park proprietors were too enthralled with the blasted wedding of Wilz and Kate on the idiot box to want to get us a bag of their over-priced blocks of lignin). That done, we settled down to an excellent evening of food and beer. To top things off, Joe produced a bottle of some fantastic Jamieson's whiskey. That was just one smashing drop, putting me to sleep rather nicely in my tent (which, by popular consensus, had to be pitched away from the other wheezing flatulent gents because — so they say — I snore). As you can see we managed to snaffle some all-important shelter for the motorcycles.

The next morning John and Warwick put the rest of us to shame with their early morning 'iron man' swim in the inlet... mate, gives you goosebumps just looking at the photos...

The Walpole Inlet is a well-kept part of the natural world:

Then it was off to take a look at Mt. Frankland; none of us had been there before. So we fueled-up...

Only about 30kms north of Walpole, the main drawback with getting to Mt. Frankland was that we had to do it on wet clay roads — and as you can see this left the bikes nicely coated in clay sludge.

The secret to riding road bikes on 'roads' like this is to TAKE YOUR TIME. By the time you've realised you're coming into a corner too fast, it's too late; you'll either meet the scenery, or drop the bike and then meet the scenery (especially if you have a 240kg Katana with a skinny front tyre). Not the grandest choice in the world, is it. So puddling along is the go.

Getting to the summit of Mt. Frankland itself is a good walk; about 30 mins from the carpark up to the top, via some tiring steps and a couple of steel ladders along the way. Once up there, the views are 360 degrees, and well worth the hike as you can see...

Another evening under the stars, a few light showers during the night, and some hot brekky the next morning saw us ready to head back to Perth... Manjimup, Bridgetown, Donnybrook, Boyanup, then north up the booooring Forrest Highway because... well, the missuses and the bosses were exerting their inexorable inter-planetary powers and so like all good syzygys, ours was coming to an end.

See yers all for the next jaunt!

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