HEAD WEST on ye olde chopper, son, and ye shall find blues and other delights… and head west we did—400 km west of Sydney, through the blistering frame-cracking heat we travelled. Noisy sleepless country pubs did not deter us as Skol, Grainne, Charley, Mary, and Wasko—good Ozbikers all—rode to our destination: the Junee Poker Run and Blues night.

But before we arrived at the pub on the morning of the run, we had to fuel up. That’s where we got our first taste of the local drawl—from a 12-year-old girl, no less. No, this is not a piss-take, this girl was bloody brilliant. I didn’t realise how different the Aussie accent would be just a few hundred clicks from Sydney. But this little girl really drew out the vowels and had me smiling from ear to ear:

Girl: “Geeeez, that’s a wiiild-lookin’ machiiine.”

Wasko: “Thanks.”

Girl: “She’d be a rough riiide, that one.”

Wasko: “Ha ha! Sometimes, yeah.”

Girl: “Are youuuuse blokes goin’ to the bike show?”

Wasko: “Yep.”

Girl: “They reckon there’s gunna be three ‘undred bikes there!”

You get the picture. She was a bloody classic. You’d never get a 12-year-old come up for a chat at a petrol station in Sydney. Everyone’s bloody terrified of each other. It was refreshing to get away from all that, and the attitudes of the Junee people were the same all day and night—plain old friendly.

“A few ‘undred bikes” had indeed turned up at the Locomotive Hotel in the morning where the heat was already making itself felt. After travelling about the local surrounds at breakneck speed, stopping off at a few country pubs, and having some minor breakdowns, the heat pretty much defeated the Ozbike crew. The Olympic pool across from the pub looked way too tempting, and we ditched the poker run a bit early to cool off.

The first band kicked off in the late afternoon, and lounging around the pool as the sun went down is about as good as it gets. But they didn’t serve beer at the pool, so as darkness fell we moved over to the pub to listen to the next two bands.

As had happened all day, the locals were great. Not just Junee people, but people from all around made the trip to Junee for the night. People came from as far as the NSW North Coast and Victoria, some riders even riding 900 km before the event.

Everyone was easy to talk to, and I coulda stayed there all night chatting to people. The crew were spent after a long day though and we headed back to the hotel to try and get some shuteye before the long ride back the next day.

Organisers dubbed the day a great success. Even though it was stinking hot, $7000 was raised for CanAssist, a voluntary group whose aim is to raise money to assist people and their families who are suffering from cancer with assistance for the cost of travelling to treatment, accommodation and equipment in their fight against the illness.

Well done guys, and see you all again some time soon!

words by Wasko; pics by Wasko & Grainne