Nine bikes and one pillion passenger gathered at the info bay at Mercer Road. After some discussion it was decided to leave Albany at 10am and travel through the Stirlings, along Formby South Road and on to Gnowangerup.
Ruth and Chris were in the lead when we came across water over the road. It was six inches deep. Fortunately, Ruth had her wet pants on and they stopped the water going into her boots.
There was lots to see with several old tractors done up along the roadside, Scooby Doo and Mad Max need a special mention, and also the amazing tank art.
The morning tea stop was at the servo in Gnowangerup where we caught up with John and Kerry who were on their way to Narembeen.
Chris Penny led us out of town to the mineral springs. This spring runs all year round. Years ago, they used to have a swimming pool here and they would have picnics in the area.
There was a lot of iron in the water and no one seems to know where the water comes from. Lunch was at a really nice community tavern at Nyabing- great steak burgers!
Then it was on to Dumbleyung. Before checking into the pub, we decided to head out to the Bluebird lookout before it got too dark. The lake was chockers! Some of us went all the way to the top, Pussy Cat Lookout where we were surrounded by a huge fava bean crop.
We pulled into the pub about 4:30 just as Warwick arrived from Albany in his X5 BM. The pub was fairly humming by 6 o’clock as the locals with the girl’s netball team arrived to drown their sorrows after their loss in the finals.
A lovely pork roast was had by all except for Ruth who had pigged out in Nyabing. But she did manage to fit in the pavlova. The netball girls had the juke box turned up and it got seriously noisy.
We felt sorry for those sleeping in the rooms above the bar. It was a good night. Thanks goes to Garry Taylor for organizing the ride and to Warwick for driving Trudy home...
The ride to Dumbleyung via Gnowangerup and Nyabing for lunch was beautiful and uneventful except for a surprise dunking in a small river crossing. When there is a sign saying water across the road sometimes there actually is.
The pub seemed quaint and peaceful but got busy with the netballers revelling into the night. My room stank of fresh smoke and l went to bed hoping it would go away. It didn't.
I got up, grabbed my doona, and slept on the sofa in the TV room. In the morning I complained and after some lengthy investigation they concluded that a fire pit under a lean-to had been alight all night and smoke had funnelled under and through the floorboards of two of the rooms. I got a free breakfast!
At least the sofa didn't squeak.
We started off the following morning with fog and heavy dew requiring a towelling for the bikes. Cold ride to Wagin for fuel then on through Arthur River to Darkan.
My bike 'Tinkerbell' was stalling at low speed so the short route to Quindanning involving gravel was abandoned and we took a safer route arriving there a little later to a crowded inn. Bikers from Perth and flashy vintage cars gave us plenty to look at.
On to Boddington and a cafe lunch in the sun. The group's scrap yard sculptors took us to see a park full of curious creations. After picking our favourite and posing for a photo we moved on to Dwellingup.
The town was hosting a festival involving steam trains with lots of people. We settled into the cabin and after much effort and consultation got the TV on to watch the Moto GP. Next day Andrew looked into my bike's stalling problem and concluded that the idle adjustment had been knocked during the towelling down the previous morning. No more problems after that.
We set off for a day's run, winding through the hills for morning tea at Jarrahdale Cafe then across country to Rockingham. Tinkerbell was consuming lots of oil and I needed some more, so called into Kim Britton’s Triumph showrooms.
All the guys eagerly followed. Like kids in a lolly shop they posed with their favourite bike. We reformed at the Mangles Bay jetty for a winding ride to the Pengo Cafe (near Penguin Island) for a fish and chip lunch before setting off to Fairbridge Farm via North Dandalup.
We refuelled in Pinjarra and rode back to Dwellingup. That evening we played Jenga (wooden blocks) and I performed a MIRACLE, if you want to know the details of that ask the other guys. Next morning, amid fond farewells, I set off home.
Today started with a birthday boy, and the boys worshiping him. Ruth left us today and went back to Albany. It was nice having her on the trip. We headed to Wellington dam where Steve parted from us, going back to Albany.
On the way we then stopped so Chester could lay with a gnome, then at Lowden we stopped to explore Frog Hollow. Stopping at Balingup for coffee, then on to Nannup for lunch with Bevan. He rode with us to Hamlin Bay, but we did stop on the way at Karridale.for the birthday boy’s drink, then on to Hamlin Bay. It was another awesome day.
Although we didn’t know it at the time, this was to be the last day of the ride. Chester was up first as usual and put the kettle on. Andrew was next: looking more cheerful after his sagging bed base was fixed the previous day. The first topic was the amount of thunder, high winds and rain throughout the night, then during breakfast the subject turned to the prospect of getting to Quinninup cold and wet then doing it all again the next day.
I could see the way the conversation was going. Why not just head straight back to Albany and only get cold and wet once? After looking at the BOM site and a map the decision was made to go to Albany via Manjimup and the Muir Highway as the weather looked worse along the coast.
After a bit of fannying about and packing up we departed Hamlin Bay at 08:02h. Temp was a balmy 9.3c. I fuelled up just down the road at Karridale then we were off to Manjimup via Nannup and Graphite Road, arriving at 09:47h. Temp here had shot up to 10.4c.
After a slight misdirection Phillip and I had a coffee and pie at the bakery while our three companions enjoyed the more salubrious comfort of the South Coast Roasters café further down the main street.
Chester eventually rang to say where they were, so we took what was left of our coffee and joined them. After solving a few more of life’s mysteries, we headed east around 11am for a relatively drier and pleasant ride, stopping at Rocky Gully where bladders were emptied and Chester had a nostalgic reminisce.
From there it was a straight run (with corners) via Spencer Road to Albany with a short stop at Narrikup to say farewell. Another great trip with good company, no breakdowns, no injuries, and everyone behaved themselves impeccably of course. And if you’re on one of these rides and Chester gets out his container of Jenga blocks don’t plan on an early night! Thanks Andrew for planning a great trip.