Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Any Excuse for a Ride

The Red Devil.
Our local BMW motorcycle club's annual dinner (BMW Motorcycle Club of Western Australia), at the Mallard Duck, in the Swan Valley, provided the perfect opportunity to take our GS's out for two full days of riding. We left Safety Bay at 8:30am on Friday and rode around the city all day, dropping off this and buying that. We had lunch in Fremantle and then made haste to our favourite ice creamery in Scarborough, only to find the ice creamery closed and the noise, from the jackhammers renovating Observation City, spoiling our view. So we took the bikes a little further north and gazed out to sea on a bright, crisp, winter’s day, with a homemade brew and a Kit Kat; it doesn't get much better than that.

The last errand of the day involved dropping off our four man dome tent, for a minor repair, in Midland. To avoid the heavy city traffic, we made our way east along Gnangara Road. We successfully negotiated the worst oil spill we had ever encountered, found the Mallard Duck for future reference, and then suffered from complete brain failure on the exact location of the Great Northern Highway. This little excursion cost us half an hour, in heavy traffic, and reminded us that it was time to quit while we were still ahead.

By 4:30pm we had checked into the Park View Bed and Breakfast - only 3km from the Mallard Duck restaurant. We would definitely stay there again - There was secure parking for the bikes, nothing was missing from our well appointed room and breakfast was served in a guest dining room. At Park View, nothing was too much trouble; even a complimentary bottle of wine and a bowl of nougat awaited our arrival. They also offer a taxi service for only fifty cents per kilometre. This meant a trip to the restaurant cost only $3.

Our club dinner was great. The neat attire of the other guests made our white sneakers stand out like a pair of navigation beacons, but no one seemed to mind. Unfortunately we had worn ourselves out riding around the streets of Perth and we headed for bed before Lefty found his guitar and played a few tunes - maybe next time.

We were up and away early on Saturday. As soon as we turned north onto West Swan Road, an oncoming car warned us that there was some revenue raising going on up ahead. We eased off the throttle and found a large dog wandering around in the middle of the road. I said to Steve, "that guy must surely have been a biker" to which Steve replied, "or a dog owner - take your pick!"

As we headed through the Chittering Valley, the ambient temperature gauge, on the F650GS, plummeted until it started to flash at me. I mumbled to myself “what the hell is the Red Devil trying to tell me now?” Turns out I was being warned about the possibility of black ice on the road. Despite the cold, my heated grips kept me snug and warm - except for the index finger on my right hand!

We turned right onto Julimar Road and once we were rid of a menacing 1970's Ute, we relaxed and enjoyed a great ride to Toodyay. As we approached town another dog appeared in the road, a Rottweiler this time; nasty! We stretched our legs up and down the main street and then saddled up again for a glorious run to York via the Northam Toodyay Road and Spencers Brook Road. York was quiet for a Saturday lunch time; the Saints Diner motorcycle cafe completely empty. We joined the locals for a lamb kebab, made with real meat; the best we had tasted in a long time. We sat lounging in the winter sunshine like a couple of giant sloths. The bikes were parked on the other side of the road and we kept looking at them, as if we were minding a couple of children.

Don't you hate it when you're riding along, only to be broken from your reverie by a dog snapping at the heels of the bike in front? Rule number one, don't stop. I slowed down but the hound was already slinking away down a local driveway. Three dogs in one day - game over!

With the wind light and the temperature a comfortable 18degrees, we cruised comfortably through Beverley and then onto the Brookton Highway via Westdale Road. For afternoon tea, Steve decided to picnic at Christmas Tree Well. The potholed gravel track tested my patience at the end of a long day but I shouldn’t have worried, as the Red Devil made it in and out without a hitch. Then it was "Home James." The Brookton highway was a delight, as always, but the Freeway cars, relying on cruise control and driving in the outside lane, inspired me to create a new biker acronym - CAFE (Cars Are F****** Exasperating).


Time to hit the road again.
We pulled into our driveway at about 4pm on Saturday with 488km on the clock. We had enjoyed two great days on the bikes. Although it's always good to make it home safe and sound, sometimes, while I'm riding along, I think I could stay on the road forever.