Thursday, May 31, 2007

Grampians Trip - Great Week-end!

Well it was great to see the weather forecast predicting a sunny week-end for the annual trip to the Grampians National Park. It was blue skies when we all rocked up at the Wharfshed on Saturday morning and everyone was looking forward to a great ride and overnight stay at the Halls Gap Caravan Park.

A total of 13 RATs had booked in for the event whcih is becoming a regular event on the calendar - maybe next time we should make it a bit longer and have 2 nights though as its tough getting up for work on Monday morning after covering 650kms in 2 days - especially on that Shellford - Skipton Road! On the way, that road was a nightmare as we were riding into strong wind that was either full-frontal or coming across at a 60 degree angle - it felt like my head was in a clamp at times!

We reached Skipton and it was a quick stop in the service station to regroup and warm up with a quick coffee. We decided to take the route via Avoca - Leighs favorite place!
There's a pie shop there called Pyrenees Pies that has a big sign saying they have everything from Possum & Beef to Crocadile Pies - being a veggie I wasn't that bothered when they had a simple selection of the usual run of the mill and not a bad veggie pastie. Some of the other thought the other cafe just a couple of doors away was good too.

Anyway, it was on to Halls Gap via Ararat. It was about 3pm when we got glimpse of the amazing mountain backdrop that surrounds Halls Gap - what a beautiful place it is - especially at this time of year when visitor numbers are low and the winter sun casts those beautiful shadows over the mountain peaks that straddle the village.

Everyone quickly found their cabins and got the heater going - it was starting to get a bit cold and with no clouds in sight it was gonna be a chilly night.

A few of us headed out on a resturaunt finding exhibition - we wanted to find somewhere different than the pub this time where we could walk instead of getting taxis. After a few enquiries we came across the Mountain Deer - we were more than welcome and plenty of room for us all. It was a good night and food wasn't bad either - lots of garlic bread ordered by Pete - enough to feed an army! We gave them a nightmare when it came to paying...
Next morning was an early rise and breakfast at 9am at the usual little cafe spot in Halls Gap - some had to hang on to their sausages - the kookaburras love to kill a sausage or tow and aren't frightened to take it form your plate!

After breakie we regrouped and Janey tried out the riding position on Judy's CBR600F4i - yeah it's a Honda but it looks great - I think Janey's found her next bike - that's until she sees the new Street Triple due later this year!
The girls rode on to Dunkeld while the rest of use took a quick burn over to Zumstein up over that twisting road that cuts up through the mountain. A quick stop and back down the mountain to Halls Gap and onward towards Dunkeld - its a great road and its hard to keep your eyes of the spectacular scenary.
The pub in Dunkeld has a welcoming open fire and we all rested & had lunch - with dreaded thoughts of the boring road ahead on everyones mind. As we left Dunkeld we were getting flashing lights from oncoming cars telling us there was a speed camera ahead - sure enough there he was - a Bracks revenue collector in the middle of nowhere - what a farse - as if this was a dangerous black spot - just an easy place to collect money!

We are all cruising comfortably and there were a few old classic cars on the road doing the Great Ocean Road Escape run for charity. I had just passed one when I saw it... the white commodore with blue & red lights on the roof approaching from behind - he's passed 3-4 of the bikes behind me and then pulled in in front of me & told me to pull over! Out of all the bikes he picks me... I couldn't believe it - but then again I was easy to spot as I was the only only one with a pillion!

He accused me of speeding and told me I was doing 122km/hr - impossible I said... there'sd was no way I could remember getting up to that speed and on top of that the Sprint is shows 5km/hr less on the speedo and the radar has a tolerance of 3km/hr which would have made my speed around 130 km/hr - no way! I told him I would dispute it... he was a tough nut - the sort that you agree with even when you know he's wrong - he showed me the radar and gave me a talk on why motorcyclist riding in groups shouldn't think they are safe from the mighty radar... I thanked the good officer for his advice and he said the magic words - Take this as a Caution"... it could have been a longer ride home thinking about that fine! The worst thing was my back tyre was on its last legs - so first thing Monday it went into Road & River for a new one...

We regrouped at Skipton & I shared my story of my encounter with the law - gave everyone the news on the mighty radar pinging everyone and then it was on to Geelong via the worst, boring road I have ever ridden to Shelford and then on to Geelong via the Hamilton Hwy.
It was a great week-end and too many laughs to mention - looking forward to doing it all again next year - without meeting Sgt Tacklebury!

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