With Ron up to his elbows in excrement, a dapper young(ish) gentleman named Mark Mitchell volunteered to be Ron’s number two. And a great number two he was too, taking the time to explain to us several times where we were going to go on the ride (well, we weren’t all listening at the same time). And then he did it twice more for the latecomers.
Hiding any exasperation beneath his customary consummate calmness and his carefully crafted wing-commander moustache, Mark led us out of the servo and onto the Monaro Highway and onwards towards Tharwa. For us northerners, though, the journey through Canberra’s nether extremities was like a scene from the 1981 movie “Fort Apache The Bronx” in which South Bronx's main police precinct was nicknamed Fort Apache by its cops, who felt like troopers surrounded by hostiles in an isolated wild west outpost.
But Mark obviously knew the right people and the right routes because we made it all the way to Tharwa unmolested. By now the temperature was pushing +6° degrees after a –7° dawn, and the sun was shining brightly but weakly on this small band of adventurers. We turned right onto Tidbinbilla Road and headed into the hills, arriving at the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station just in time to take a couple of photos and head to the Moonrock Café for lunch.
Imagine our shock when we got inside the café to find that they no longer had meat pies on the menu! The checkout chick said it was because they had had endless complaints about how bad the pies were so they decided to ditch them. “They were so hard you could have thrown one at the window and it would have smashed its way through,” she explained, taking the ditching thing a bit too literally.
Grateful to be spared such a diabolical dinner, we ordered quiche Lorraines, sausage rolls, lasagnes, ham & cheese croissants – anything but pies – all of which were served with several cubic metres of chips and weak lukewarm coffee.
My end of the table had a reasoned discussion about whether unemployed single mums should be given guns to bump off age pensioners or if the pensioners should be given guns as well, to make the whole exercise a bit more sporting. All in the name of reducing the federal welfare bill, of course.
We failed to reach a consensus but, well fortified with chips and weighing a couple of kilos more than we did before lunch, we clambered back onto our bikes and made our way home.
Chas and I rode via Uriarra Crossing and Coppins Crossing Road, which is now being ruined from the northern end as the ACT’s all-knowing, all-wise Big Brother works to transform it into a sweeping divided highway with no fun bends at all.
- Mark Mitchell Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
- Neil McRitchie Kawasaki GTR1400
- Andrew Campbell Yamaha FJR1300
- Mike Kelly BMW R1200RT
- Chad Towie Honda ST1300
- Ian Paterson Honda GL1800
- Genelle Mills BMW F700GS
- Gary McDonald BMW R100S
- George Attard Triumph Sprint ST1050