Australian Wing Riders Association (Qld) Inc

A club for riders of Honda GoldWing and Valkyrie motorcycles

Christmas Capers in Stanthorpe - July, 2011

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Wow what a week-end we had. We started off lonely enough as we arrived at Aratula 3.05pm on Friday afternoon, not a wing in sight - so we set off with Thommo stating ‘looks like I will be drinking on my own tonight!’ He could not have been more wrong!!

The usual pleasant ride over the Gap, and after a quick cuppa at the Service Station we did a short detour in Warwick to find my badge at the Information Centre. NB: Temperature 18 degrees and falling! Then it was next stop Top of the Town Motel, Stanthorpe, and we arrived at 5pm and 12 degrees, and falling fast.

Hooray – more wings, were we pleased to see Morag and Kevin, Deb and Eric, Carolyn and David, Annette and Larry, Mr and Mrs Bribie (sorry – Rosemary and David), and Annie and Paul (friends of the Keels). Thommo and I had to hustle now as a bus had been arranged to pick-up the group to take us to tea at the Stanthorpe R.S.L. We had a frustrating and chilly wait as it ran rather late, but it was worth the wait as the venue was friendly, warm and my dinner of Baked Ham was delicious. Apparently the Rissoles looked a lot more yummy than they tasted, but it was all good. Annette earned ‘piglet award’ as we all watched her devour a gorgeous looking pavlova dessert!

Then to add to our festive evening our dear Stanthorpian friends arrived, Gwenda and John although they were whisked away by Morag and Kevin as they had some serious cooking plans to finalise. So the remainder of us duly caught the courtesy bus back to the motel to start our Friday night festivities. Our social area was a very large comfortable lounge, complete with sofas, huge coffee tables that we all wanted to hi-jack home, and a cosy fire. It did not take us long to settle in, and once the others rejoined us the party began. Thommo and ‘the-boy-from-the-bush’ (John) were making short work of the bottle of scotch so I had to be firm and remind them that we were going on a ride in the morning! With Gwenda’s help we said goodnight at midnight!

Frosty morning – what frosty morning? We were on the wings by 8.30 am and we rode down town where Deb and Eric guided us to a delightful coffee shop for breakfast. A group of local mums were having their social morning too and took great pleasure in joking with us. The bacon-n-eggs were great as well, and then it was back to the motel to meet our Stanthorpe guides, Gwenda and John and Hans (no Georgie who had a prior commitment helping daughter with house renovations). So, on the road for a scenic ride and of course a couple of wineries. Stanthorpe had put on glorious weather for us, and I had promised Deb I would try some sweet white wines. As well as my favourite red, and port of course. We had an added surprise too, our dear friends Bear and Jane joined us at The Caves winery, then Clint and Charleen arrived after having a nasty drama with a tyre valve. We waved to Winston and Jan as they cruised by. The ‘boy-from-the-bush’ is also responsible for telling me about the Gift Shop, and I have blown the budget – again!

Much to Thommo's dismay a found THE purse and I had to have the matching handbag – it is gorgeous and it is also my early Christmas present. Rather fitting on this particular occasion.

We met up with the group again at Vincenzos – with more gastronomic delights. I am running out of superlatives or perhaps the brain is just blurry after all the wine tastings? Thommo resorted to hiding my wallet as I wanted to spend more – there were such treasures all around. But it was time to get back to our motel and do what we do best – party.

Back to our very welcome lounge, and Kevin and Morag had been very busy little elves and the dining room was set-up and decorated in truly festive manner. Saucepans were bubbling on the stoves and the motel owners had added a Christmas tree and bows to our lounge décor. Our Christmas dinner was scrumptious and super credit and thanks to Morag and Kevin and Gwenda and John for their super effort on the result. Special mention for Annies Christmas Puddings too, a micro-wave recipe worth stealing.

Well and truly stuffed we were hustled back into the lounge to meet Santa for our presents. Well I will be looking at Santa in the future with very different eyes after this evening! Our Santa had to be seen/heard to be believed, and what a highlight to our evening she – whoops he was. Our Secret Santa gifts were presented with added humour and such attitude we were all laughing for quite a while into the evening. Gwenda you are a star!! We do not want the evening to end, so we moved into our room with the Zanatta’s and Harriss’s and we reluctantly said good-night at 1 am.

Frost – frost – we had the remnants on our bike cover Sunday morning as we were roused by a serious dinner gong to remind us that our B.B.Q. breakfast was underway at 7.30 am. Again Morag and Kevin were working their super skills for us, and bacon and eggs, sausages and hash browns were sizzling away (with some helpers) on the grills. It smelt fabulous, and feeling rather guilty at not being up early enough to help with the clean-up, I slaved over a toaster with good assistant Deb!

So, a hearty breakfast in the crisp Stanthorpe air – how good is that? Still marvelling at what a fabulous week-end we had, John and Hans were volunteering to give us a scenic ride out of town or was it to make sure we left?!

Of course not, we just want to delay the good-byes, and so we rode through the scenic roads, avoiding the highway as much as possible – wonderful. We pulled up at the historic Maryvale Hotel for lunch. Historic as it was the first steel frame builing in Australia built to Cyclonic standards. Our lunch orders were rather slow, but we were duly entertained by the publicans mum, and Hans tried to resurrect the fire only to put it out completely!

Then it was time to say good-bye to our Stanthorpe members, and we took to the highway for the last time. We cruised back over the Gap, into our warm sunshine still soaking up our wonderful views. We said our final good-bye over the C.B. and turned into our driveway at 3.30 pm.

Wow what a fabulous week-end. Thanks to you all for giving us such a fun time, thanks to our Stanthorpe members for adding to our enjoyment, and finally a huge thank you to the organisers – Morag and Kevin – a most memorable time, and a super effort on your part – we congratulate you on a wonderful Christmas in July celebration.

Thommo and Valerie