Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cootamundra - 24 November 2013

Have you ever ridden the big dipper?  Or how about a never ending right hand curve on a one lane road where the forward view is limited to tens of metres?  Perhaps with a decreasing radius?  Then again, how about riding at the tail of a group where, on a straight road,  one by one, the leading members just disappear.  For the first rider in this group it was a total leap of faith that the road was there as he went over the crest.

Five members of the Canberra club  who were unable to participate in the club ride to Echuca, experienced this and more as they made the most of the beautiful Sunday weather and roads to visit Coota.

In the fresh morning light at Caltex Nicholls the nearly unanimous Honda group gathered:
Andrew Campbell     - ZX14R (Democratic ride leader)
Peter Horday        - ST1300
Neil Goldfinch    - Blackbird
Garry McCurley    - VFR 1200
Darryl Palin        - GL1800
Larry Greetham    - XL650

Barney’s of Bookham

At 9am sharp this group departed for Bookham.  Now as everyone knows,
when you’re not the ride leader, you only follow the bike ahead of you.  So the route to Bookham might have been via Burley Griffin Way then Illalong rd.   Any way, the tea/coffee/muffins/other sweets at Barney’s were all excellent and provided an opportunity for this group of elder statesmen to discuss serious matters while attempting to keep at bay more frigging bush flies than I’ve ever seen in one location.  Also, we all learned the secret combination to the loo.  Should you need it, ever, it is 1302.

Much discussion took place about a route to Coota and after a great deal of consultation of google maps, other maps that didn’t quite cover the area and the faithful GPS we were off.  One member decided that his ride was done so now we were down to five.  Actually, he had indicated at Nicholls that he was only doing part of the ride.  His preference right from the get-go was to do the last half.

To give details of the route we followed I have absolutely no idea.  I just tried to stay in contact with the bike ahead.  I think that of the probable 67 routes available around Jugiong, Coota, Junee, & Wallendbeen, we probably rode 59 of them.  Many were only one lane wide, rolling and winding.  We managed to see, or had pointed out to us some interesting landscape features including a dead tree, rocks piled on top of one another, a dead tree decorated with interesting artistic objects, and even a lizard scampering across the road.  As well, because we are such an altruistic group we assisted a local on an ATV with a young Kelpie.   He was moving a mob of merino ewes and lambs.  To the best of my recollection we only met one vehicle from the time we left the Hume highway and that was only on the outskirts of Coota.  

Lunch in Coota was yummy, even if we were relegated to the tool shed out back.  Some of the members made the hearts flutter of the golden girls who were dining inside.  Over lunch serious discussions took place; this time concerning such topics as conjugal rights for people on death row, bikie gangs, flat tyres, split rims and such.  Two of the groups sharing our outdoor space seemed offended by our discussions.  One left shortly after we arrived and the other left before even ordering.  Why would a small group of hard bitten senior bikies put people off?

After setting most of the wrongs of the world to right during the approximate two hour conference, it was refuel and off to Harden.  Oh yeah, I didn’t mention that, our direct route run from Canberra to Coota used a tank of fuel.   From here on we were on the main roads in traffic.

Well, you know the rest, 20 minutes later, maybe only 15, we pulled into Harden, in serious need of a coffee.  Again, discussions were held, solving many diplomatic problems, delving into the nasty business of spying, mostly ancient history, the exploits of certain naval vessels, bikie gangs, and the joys of being ride leader or tail end Charlie.

And so, being deeply impressed by the B-doubles who were so conscientiously observing the speed limit in Harden, we once again mounted up for the gruel of that ride home amongst all the cages with no prospect of stopping for refreshment.  That was the point where I was “volunteered” to write the ride report and realized that I should have been paying more attention earlier.  The ride home only required a quarter of a tank of petrol, so you can deduce the extent of the meanderings that took place in the morning.

Cheers and thanks for a very enjoyable day.  The weather was perfect and the choice of roads were ideal for a ride.  It surely makes me wish I could attend club rides more frequently.   I do expect PM&C to contact Andrew shortly so that the group can be organized to assist government with major issues.

One outstanding thing that really impressed me was the safety consciousness I observed.  Always performing head checks when changing lanes and buffering on crests and with approaching vehicles.  As a recent graduate of Stay Upright where those activities are repeatedly hammered into the trainees, I was impressed to see them in common and obviously habitual use by people in our group.