WITH THE prospect of a 500 km plus day in the saddle, and some of Queensland’s most unpredictable weather in history, there was an abundance of crossed fingers from both the organisers and ourselves as we headed out onto the Bruce Highway for the 170 km trek to the departure point at the old Cooyar Hotel. We made great time and arrived just in time for the doors to open for a cold beer and the ride briefing. All were asked to take it easy, keep the pack fairly tight and enjoy the day. Too easy!
At 10.30 am sharp and we were on the bikes and headed for the first stop of the day, the Grand Old Crow Hotel, at, where else, Crows Nest.
The roads this way are awesome and can only be appreciated fully from the seat of a motorcycle. The 100-or-so pack stayed together and sat at a moderate pace which worked well as we sped up alongside a few of the riders and Jo snapped off a few ride shots.
In no time flat we rolled into Crows Nest and parked up in the pub’s drive-through area which had been reserved for bike parking only; good foresight by the organisers as a huge carnival was on in town and every man and his dog had crowded into town to check out the festivities.
I must have missed the five minute call as I washed down the dregs of my third beer. I was casually making my way out the back of the pub to find the elusive dunny as the bikes were leaving the parking lot which caught a few of us unaware. This resulted in a flurry of helmets, gloves and sunnys, a loud roar as the bikes fired into life, and a painfully slow 60 km/h ride to the edge of town under the ever watchful eye of the highway patrol car that cruised around menacingly during our brief stop at the pub.
Once we were out on the open road again, it was on the gas and a mad dash to try and catch up to the pack. We hooked up with the riders as they started the decent of the Hampton Range. Here we got to kick back for a while and enjoy the scenery. After two weeks of solid rain the countryside was greened up nicely and the ride was very picturesque to say the least.
At about the half-way point, I remembered my full bladder, and trying as much as I could to think of other things, I finally succumbed to nature’s call and pulled into a clearing to bleed the lizard. Of course I wasn’t the only one, and within seconds we had the company of about 20 other riding companions, including the back-up vehicle, pulled over in the same clearing to help me poison the Lantana. Note to all Ozbikers: We need to come up with a hand signal for poker runs to let other riders know that a piss stop is required and to carry on with the scheduled ride regardless. This will help eliminate any delays, confusion and embarrassment for the pisser and his (or her) good hearted fellow riders.
The Club Hotel at Esk was the next port of call and the lunch stop. Sausages on bread with onions and sauce was the meal (nice and simple) and a welcome beer to wash it all down. I won’t mention my poker hand at the time but the missus was looking like she was in with a good chance.
The next stop was Harlin; we opted to ride straight on to Yarraman which was the last stop before returning to Cooyar. This served us well— first spot at the bar, an ideal photo opportunity as the bikes rolled in off the highway, and to make sure I watered the horses before the pub toilet got packed by the run-goers.
The trip back to Cooyar was very subdued, due to heads-up from a couple of the locals that the boys-in-blue had planned a couple of impromptu welcoming committees along the last leg of the run. I turned out that the cops had bigger fish to fry and we made it to the final stop unhindered.
Time for a few beers, relax and enjoy the afternoon. The poker hands were drawn (didn’t do any good there!) and the monster raffles were drawn with some great prizes on offer.
Food was available, and for $15, the mixed grill was a meal fit for a king. The outside bar was up and running by 6.30 pm, and Zak and Duffy, the two man band known as Jester, had the place rocking as the stayers partied on into the night.
The whole day went off without a hitch and all those who took part had an absolute ball.
The VVMC West Queensland Chapter would like to thank all their valued sponsors, the Cooyar Hotel, Wazza and the members of the Brothers In Arms MMSC, and to all the riders who took part on the day. Our thanks go to Ike and his brothers from the VVMC West for the invite, their kind hospitality and a great day out on the bike.
Pics by Jo; words by Chuck U Farley.