Thursday, September 14, 2006

RATs take Grampians by storm!

Well it was one of those days when the alarm goes off and you know before you open the curtains that its not the ideal day to do a 2 hour ride on a motorcycle to the Grampians National Park! It was dark, overcast and the sky had just opened up with a huge shower as I pulled on the bike boots.
At the Wharfshed everyone was anticipating a wild day and the black clouds certainly looked like they were getting blacker!
Just before departure time the clouds opened up and it poured down - it was going to be one of those days! With the rain lashing down and Mick already on his second pair of gloves we set off heading in the direction of Skipton via Bannockburn.
It was a quick ride to the roadside servo in Skipton and at one point a police patrol car coming in the opposite direction reminded us with a flash of the blue lights and some finger pointing that 150km/hr wasn't exactly legal! Even Pete got a warning in the Hyundai!
The coffee and toasted sandwiches went down well as we sat around the fire in the BP garage and then it was onward to Dunkeld - our next stop for lunch.
The pub served up some good grub and the open fire was again a welcoming site to warm the extermities and the other little bits that disappeared! With heated grips on his bike Murray was warm as toast & made us all envious - but then we are hardened bikers!
With the Grampians in site the final sprint to Halls Gap would be a quick one but unfortunately Graeme & Tina missed the turnoff and went the long way around - then just outside Halls Gap their bike stopped - not a drop of petrol left. Luckily it was close to town and with Tina on foot and Greame pushing they made their way into town - first stop the servo! A certain male amongst us suggested Tina should have pushed the bike with Graeme on it - wonder who that could be!
We all quickly relaxed in the surronding of gum trees, kangaroos and mountains and a few got more relaxed than others with a few Tasmanian alcoholic refreshments and a drop of fermented grape juice!
The pub was the place for a cheap feed and Shirley managed to get a cabbie to take us all out there - I think it was his busiest night for a long time. Pete made a surprise presentation of a Carlton football wooden spoon to Greame who looked like he was really impressed!! Unlucky for Pete that his beloved Collingwood were thumped the following day - I bet Greame had a lot of pleasure watching the results of that one!
A few of the party goers stayed till closing time & the elderly & frail went home to bed!
Next day was beautiful and after a hearty breakfast it was a big ride to Beaufort through the back roads of the Grampians following Rod.
I heard someone say that the roads would be like goat tracks & couldn't get that song from the sound of music out of my head as we passed though the mountains on those little norrow roads - '"high on a hill lives a lonely goat herd...".
The stop at Beaufort was a much needed one & we were all freezing - except Murray! After a quick coffee we rode off following Mick on the red sprint - the exciting part was yet to come!!
We missed a tuning and did a u turn to go along this little country road that turned into - yes, the dreaded dirt road... now I wasn't the only one that took the lead and took everyone on a dirt road! It wasn't that bad but one corner had me thinking off the series Long Way Round where they dropped their bikes in the sandy dirt road.
We all made it and Mick was very apologetic when we pulled up at the pub in Rokewood. It was freezing and several of us decided to ride on to Geelong leaving the others back in the warmth of the pub. Getting home and into a hot shower was never so beautiful. It was a great weeked and with 17 of us on 12 bikes it was a great turnout. Look forward to the next one to Marysville in November. Thanks Mick for taking some great photos - see them on the photo album.

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