“GEORGE, you wanna come for a ride tomorrow?” Keith, a member of Life & Death MC, asked me on the phone.
“Where to, mate?” I inquired.
“To the pub around the corner,” he said. “Are you coming?”
“Yeah, mate, for sure,” I replied.
He disconnected and I was left pondering which pub he’d been referring to because, in Life & Death MC terminology, ‘around the corner’ could mean the other side of Australia.
I started looking for my sleeping bag which I found in the possession of my Bull Mastiff. After applying the first aid kit, I added it to my tent.
We met up early the next morning and before long we were off to the pub — although as we passed through Tamworth, I was beginning to wonder if we were heading to Darwin.
Not long after, we rode into a storm that would accompany us to the Ashford Hotel, 50 km north of Inverell. This is a biker friendly pub where the steak is larger than the plate it comes on. After the long ride, I opted for sleeping in an upstairs room rather than my tent.
We spent most of the next day drinking at the pub and preparing for the party that was scheduled to start early that evening at Grub’s place. I was gratefully sucking on my bottle of rum as I couldn’t find it the previous night.
In the arvo, the Rotten Dogs from Brisbane started playing some really decent blues. Later, they handed the stage to some of the younger generation who played in the same style as the seniors. I suppose their name had to be the Rotten Puppies.
Later, we transferred ourselves to Grub’s and the party continued. It was a celebration of Grub’s 65th birthday.
Now there are a few things you have to know about Grub. He is the oldest member of club, joined it in early ’80s, and known for his good looks (which is where he got his name). In 1997 Grub became a Life Member and moved from Sydney to Ashford where he installed himself as the unofficial mayor of the town. At the time he joined the club, he was riding an old Cossack. One day, on the way to a party at Gerzurgan, his front wheel got badly buckled so into the camp fire it went. After getting it red hot, Grub hammered the buckle out and refitted it to his bike. Grub is a decorated Vietnam War Veteran taking part in the infamous Battle of Long Tan and surviving it.
The Rotten Dogs and Puppies followed us to Grub’s and continued to entertain us till early morning. I was busy all night taking pics and looking after my bottle of rum.
Next morning we had brekky before all the chapters split heading to different locations.
On the way back to Sydney we were followed by a spam can and some of us were forced to count from one to 10 into some device by the side of the road. I was told that some of the guys from another chapter were body searched just an hour before us.
We got some rain later but it didn’t slow us down, and eventually we stopped at Scone for the night to continue celebrating Grub’s birthday. Admittedly, Grub wasn’t there but what the heck.
words & pics by George