Australian Wing Riders Association (Qld) Inc

A club for riders of Honda GoldWing and Valkyrie motorcycles

AWRA Victorian Ride to 2011 AGM

There were 7 of us travelling up to Chinchilla this year. Ken and Christine, John B, John G, Julie and I left from the Shell at KalKallo on Wednesday morning. Steve made his own way up on Thursday.

We took the Hume Freeway to Seymour then veered off towards Shepparton and our first stop at Tocumwal. After refuelling for the bikes and ourselves, we headed off on the Newell Highway (a road we have all ridden too many times - very boring) to Narrandera for lunch, then on to Forbes for our overnight stop. It was a bit cool to start the day, but just got better as the day went on.The most interesting part of the trip was the sheer number of oversize load vehicles we saw. None of us could recall having seen so many on a single day before. One of these, which after much discussion we decided was part of a bridge, had two prime movers at the front and another one pushing it from the rear, as well as multiple Police and RTA escort vehicles. Not sure how this got through some places as the stretch of road we encountered it on was three lanes wide and the B Double in front of us had to drive on to the grass to get out of the way.

After our ride that day I had a heap of bugs on the bike so thought I would give it a good clean with a high pressure cleaner. Found a DIY car wash in the local Yellow Pages, only to get there and see a vacant block of land with a sign saying the place was going to be built! Found another one that was out of order and decided it was back to the motel to do it the hard way. We all enjoyed a meal at the local pub, then retired early for our 7.30 start the next day.

We got away on time the next morning and headed for our first stop at Dubbo for more fuel and a coffee. At Gilgandra we turned off the Newell on to the Castlereagh Highway. Today we started to really see the damage on the roads from the recent floods, however the usual standard of the roads was obviously quite good. A stop at Walgett for fuel at a fairly derelict service station (and the owners matched it). I decided we would stop in town for a break however the sight of virtually every store being barricaded with steel grilles made me reconsider this. I must say that I rode away from Walgett feeling rather depressed there are places that crime ridden in our country. We past Lightning Ridge as I did not want to take the 5 km side road to get there and stopped at Hebel for a break. We had a good break here with us chatting with the hotel proprietor and the owner of the store/restaurant. All feeling refreshed we headed off on our final leg for the day to Dirrabandi. This was where the road had been really damaged. One large pot hole would have completely taken the bike, and we were fortunate that the water level had dropped enough so we could actually see this hole. Whilst the authorities must be commended for all the work they were doing to repair the roads, there was a glaring issue here that had no signs of the potential danger with this hole. The motel owner later told us that cars had been getting pulled out of that hole all week.

Fortunately we had all managed to secure accommodation at the motel that night as the cotton pickers were in town. One of these small towns that have seen their heyday, and are now just a servo, pub, motel and a handful of vacant shops. The restaurant at the motel gave us a good meal and we all had a good rest for our final part of the ride. Friday morning saw us head off around 8am to another glorious day. A stop at St George for coffee and fuel, then on to the Moonie Highway. A short stop at the cleanest public toilets I have seen in a long time at Westmar saw a very strange happening. John B got off his bike with waltz music blaring from the speakers. It was obviously a moving tune as John B and Ken stood there dancing together. Unfortunately none of us got a quick photo of this disturbing moment. We turned off on to some back roads here which we all agreed were actually better than the highway. A stop for lunch at Meandarra which was quite good, then we went to have a look at the military museum. These people need to learn a bit about marketing. Nobody is going to pay to go in when you can stand inside the front door and see every exhibit.

We then took our final leg into Chinchilla and enjoyed catching up with Larry, Annette, Cam, Kate, Trevor, Lee and others as they arrived. Once again it was a fantastic weekend, fully enjoyed by all us Southerners. One of the highlights of our year is the annual pilgrimage to the AGM, and this year was no exception.

Last year I had earned the nickname of Mr Markets, which I hoped by this year everyone would have forgotten about. Thanks to Larry they did not, and I again had lots of "helpful" suggestions of markets I could take Julie to. What a shame we just didn't have enough time.....

Three Bikes Two Bikes
Many Bikes Markets
Click any photo for larger version

After two very enjoyable days it was time to head home on Sunday. Ken and Christine joined us for our ride back, with Steve heading straight home and the two John's taking a diversion via the Gold Coast.

We headed down to Dalby early Sunday morning, where we refuelled. This was shortly after an oncoming truck diver, who appeared half asleep, decided he liked the side of the road Ken and Christine were on better than his. Luckily he veered back again quick enough.

We had decided to try some new roads home (anything to avoid the Newell ....again). Heading south we made our way down to Texas for our morning coffee. There was a coffee shop there which was only opening for a group of bike riders that had booked in. Upon finding out we were not part of that group, he wandered back inside leaving us to find his competitor down the road - and we wonder why some businesses close down. We had enjoyed the ride through to here - and the roads were better than expected - certainly in better condition than what we had come up on.

After a very good coffee and free bikkies at the other place, we headed down towards Inverell, again on a good set of roads, then down to Uralla to join the New England Highway. We stopped in for a coffee just outside Tamworth.

I was quite happy that I had managed to avoid any markets this year, however..... As we were enjoying our coffee, the "Mobile Markets" truck arrived. You can see Julie showing off this wonderful improvement for market lovers.. I was thinking I could save all those market visits just by getting this guy to call in at our place......

Our stop for that night was Scone which took a little longer than we would have liked, arriving after dusk, in what was then drizzling rain. We were all ready for an easy meal at the motel, however the restaurant was not open for Sunday nights. We walked into town and had some pizzas at the pub.

The plan from Scone was to head over to Mudgee and then Bathurst for the great road from there down to Goulburn for that night. The rain on Sunday evening had made us have a look at some alternate plans. The heavy rain overnight made us decide to give the back roads a miss. We then headed down the New England Highway to Newcastle, and yes, we actually went via Sydney. The freeways of recent years have made this a very easy run, and we were only 100k's from Goulburn by lunchtime. We cancelled our Goulburn accommodation and planned to get as far as Gundagai for the evening. Mid afternoon it became quite cold, as we headed to our coffee and fuel stop at Yass. My suggestion upon pulling up at Yass that maybe we call it a day there was very warmly received. A quick fuel fill then around to the first motel we found, which met our main criteria - meals available on site as none of us wanted to go out again. A very enjoyable evening.

Ken and Christine headed off for Melbourne the next morning, as Julie and I only had to get to Albury that day. We stopped off at Gundagai for a coffee, then the rain set in before we reached Holbrook, where we found an old servo that was now a restaurant and we managed to find a spot for the bike under cover out the back. This place had the heaters going flat out - and it was much appreciated!! An easy ride into Albury for the night, then safely home to Melbourne the next day.

Once again another great AGM ride, with a great bunch of people. Thanks to everyone for what is always one of the highlights of our year.

All the best - and remember to shop at your local market!

Regards Craig "Mr Markets"

Ride safe