Australian Wing Riders Association (Qld) Inc

A club for riders of Honda GoldWing and Valkyrie motorcycles


Saturday 19th November 2011 and we woke up to ‘a typical Melbourne morning’ – cloudy, raining and a cool 14 degrees! However, the company of Ken and Christine was very cheery despite my mobile phone alarm had rudely woken them up at 5 am as I had left my phone on their kitchen bench!

(Sound familiar Bevan and Therese?) During our mainland trip, I had my mobile on charge outside the camper, and it duly started ringing at 5 am and I had to scramble out of the camper to rescue my phone – only after waking the Bradfords up of course!!

Anyway, back to Melbourne – and Ken had given Thommo the directions for us to get onto the Western Freeway, and we duly said goodbye and left at 8 am. However, we promptly missed the turn off – bad start with pouring rain and equally heavy traffic even for a Saturday morning. We were heading for the City – yuk – we took the earliest exit we could negotiate – Coburg and ignored our GPS which was continually ‘re-calculating’ and followed the signs for the Western Freeway – not to mention I had to ignore Thommo’s heated narrative as he made U turns, and crossing lanes of traffic in this heavy rain. Not pleasant, then we spied a wing cruising the other way- waah – hope we were going the right way? We were, there we saw Craig and Julie on the ramp to a BP Station – yippee – they flagged us onto the next BP Station which was open, and we met the rest of the Victorian clan. Steve and Karen, John and Margaret, Tony and Robyn (the wing going the other way) and newest members Dean and Jenny. Much needed coffee and the 6 wings set off in the rain and a very cool 13 degrees.

We had a pleasant ride through the hills even in the rain, and we met Helen and Col in Bunnyong for smoko in another quaint Coffee Shop amongst the local Saturday Markets – someone went shopping too (not me)! Our ride was lovely now, the rain had eased, and we followed the fabulous mountain range to a town called Dunnekeld for lunch. No badge, but a lovely lunch, and then it was an interesting ride through Snake Gully and heavy cloud and very cool.

Arrived in Halls Gap at 4pm – wow – the Grampians are amazing, and so busy. People everywhere – there was a film festival being held in town, as well as a cycling competition being held over the week-end. Apart from the cyclists there were a lot of hikers as well. They have to be serious walkers and climbers when you look at the range!

Due to this busy week-end we had been very lucky to book accommodation at all. So, we booked into our Mountain View Motel – just down the road, had a cuppa and rode back into town and met up with our Victorian members for pre-drinks and a chat ‘as we do’.

Tea has been reserved in the Country Comfort Motel – next door, so we strolled down altogether and had a very elegant meal in the restaurant. All cosy and good fun, delightful company and to make it extra special Craig presented HelenandI with our Guardian Angel on a motorbike Pin – how sweet is that?!

Rather reluctantly we called it a night at 9.30 pm. It had been a fabulous day, and as much as we would have liked to ‘rage on’ we really had to get an early start tomorrow for our ride back to Brisbane. Thanks to the Victorians for a very special ride, and it really was great to see faces to the names at last, Thommo and I hope we can do more rides with you – retirement is great!

Would you believe it – fine and sunny in the morning? We rode into Halls Gap at 7 am and Thommo took a quick video of the Grampians bathed in sunlight. We had a lovely ride through the Pyrennies Range, and had our picnic smoko in the sleepy town of Avoca (no badge), Lunch in Bendigo – big smoke and a badge, and we made good time in to Deniliquin. Overnight in a delightful Motel with a balcony view onto the Murray River. Great to see blue sky and feeling warm at last. 420 km today.

Destination Dubbo today, and we took an alternate route to Jerilderie (Ute Muster Town), we were warned the road works were a big hold-up but it turned out that our diversion via Conargo (town of Kelpies) was worse!! We travelled an extra 68km and that included a gravel road. Jerilderie never looked so good, and we had our picnic smoko in a park – noice! Staying on the highway now we lunched in West Wyalong (Badge). More badges today, Nerrandera and Forbes, I will be sewing on my camp coat for a long time! Started to rain at Peak Hill only 50 km to Dubbo – nice motel called Green Gable, and it was no bother for us now to take a walk in the rain to find a great Fish-n-Chip café just down the road. 680 km today.

Destination home today, and it is all familiar territory. We had smoko in Coonabarabran, lunch in Moree, then we stopped in Goondiwindi and here we changed our route from going onto Warwick we decided to go on to Toowoomba. It worked out to be a good choice as the Gore Highway was certainly quieter from heavy transport and a reasonable road. Fuel for the wing, and coffee for us in Withcott. Home stretch, sunshine all the way and we rode into our driveway at 6.30 pm. 850 km today!!

Well that is it folks, the travelling Thomas’ are home, for a little while anyway. Happy holidays to you all, stay well and safe and see you next year.

Valerie and Thommo.
December 2011.