Well the trip North, to Pinevale, started from my place, at a VERY chilly 7:00am,
with only TWO SEQ Members going (Ray and myself).
Cold and Foggy
We both had wet weather gear on, not for rain, but the bloody COLD weather. Taking off we headed, up the Highway, towards Fernvale, and just before there we hit some serious FOG, which with condensation on the INSIDE and OUTSIDE of my glasses and TINTED visor, made it almost impossible to see, so we reduced our speed dramatically. We stopped at the Esk Bakery, for some breakfast, and hoping that the fog might lift while we were there. Anyway it DIDN'T and we continued on our way, but at a greatly reduced speed.
We stopped at Monto, for lunch, and to check it out, as we'd planned to stay there overnight on the way back. When we arrived at Dululu, and instead of going straight ahead (the way I had gone last time) we turned right and headed to Rocky, via Mt. Morgan. Unfortunately for us, there were roadworks, on the way DOWN the range, and one lane was blocked off (with a stop/go guy there), so it spoiled the great lot of little twisties on the way down into Rocky.
We arrived, and checked into, the Criterion Hotel, in Rocky (our usual overnight stop), just before 5pm, which is a great time to finish a ride off for the day.....not TOO early, so you get bored there (read into that, too pissed and hungover) and early enough to be off the road, to avoid the wildlife.
We had a fairly early night, after a great feed of ribs, and woke up early (but not too early) and headed for Marlborough, where we stopped for breakfast. Again it was cold, but nowhere near as chilly as yesterday morning (well we were further North).
After refuelling at Sarina, Ray unintentionally took us on a VERY scenic route, through the canefields, towards the Rally Site (supposedly). We EVENTUALLY went PAST the Rally turn off, so we finally knew where we were, and proceeded into Mirani for lunch, at the Pub.
We arrived at the Rally Site about 2pm and quickly staked out our (and the NQ Members) campsite and set up (in virtually the same spot as last time I was there), and I had my FIRST (of many) beers.
The central Coast Motorcycling Touring Club have cleared a bit more land, up on the slope at the end of the site, which makes the area about 25% bigger than last year. They also have improved the Bar area, with RED carpet behind it, and a larger awning over the top of it.
The NQ boys (and Di) arrived about 5pm, after a LONG ride from Cairns. There were FIVE Z900s (and Di's Z1000) which looked (and sounded) great as they rode down the hill, and into the Rally Site.
So, after a great feed, we spent the night, on the piss, and catching up with old friends and acquaintances. The drinking and bullshitting (I mean story telling) went on well into the night, which because it was so clear was BLOODY cold!!
The next morning, after breakfast, we all (minus Dave & Di) went for a ride up to The Chalet, at Eungella (which has some very impressive views down the valley, very much like Binna Burra, here in the Hinterland) and had smoko there. We stopped at the Pinnacle Hotel, for a feed and a couple of beers.
After some geographical embarrassment, both going up there and back, we arrived back at the Rally Site just in time for the start of the Gymkhana Events. So it was into it AGAIN, but with a lot more gutso (and burn out smoke). I WON'T say what happened to Ray that night, but he can tell you that himself, but it did attract some serious piss taking from the rest of us.
We took the trophy for the BEST REPRESENTED CLUB, after pulling in a couple of ring ins (they WERE on Zeds, and the bikes and them had SOME Z Owners Club history). Mark, the defending GO SLOW Race Champion, was pipped at the post and took second place in that race. No Z Owner was silly enough to go into the Burn Out Comp.... after all we had a long way to get home, but I think a few really, really wanted to, especially after a few cans of Bravery Juice??
We awoke Sunday morning, after another bloody FREEZING COLD night, had some breakfast and packed up ready to leave. As we rode towards the Bar/Fire Area, to say farewell to some people, I noticed I had a FLAT back tyre. After a lot of cursing, and assistance from every man and his dog, I limped the bike up to the Farm Shed and pumped it back up. I couldn't find the leak, for all the dirt and cow shit, but it held air, so off we went.
Ray and I had decided to head up to Airlie Beach, to check the place out and stay there overnight, so we ALL headed North, from the Rally. We had organised to meet up with John Harris (Haz) at Proserpine (who for Medical reasons, that only he should tell you about, couldn't ride, so he drove down from Townsville), where we all stopped for breakfast, and to refuel (and me checking my tyre pressure, which was only down about 5psi).
After breakfast we bid farewell to the NQ Members, and headed to Airlie Beach, via the Gregory Cannon Valley Road, North of Proserpine. We had booked into Magnums, which is a Backpackers type Resort, right in the MIDDLE of town and CHEAP!!
Christ the Airlie Beach area had changed dramatically, since I was last there....bloody hell traffic lights, roundabouts and ONE WAY streets, a HUGE Marina and new buildings ( both residential and industrial) everywhere!!!
In Airlie we met up with another old Army mate, who lives there, and I hadn't seen since 1981 (so we worked out). We left our bikes at his place, which was a lot safer and handy if I needed help with my tyre in the morning, and walked into town (about 500 metres) for a feed. Probably boring Ray to tears, we ate and drank, and talked about our old Army days, trying to include Ray as much as we could.
We woke to rain (but not TOO heavy) and after pumping my tyre up (which had dropped to 25psi), we headed to Proserpine, to fuel up and have breakfast. After breakfast (and pumping up my tyre AGAIN) we farewelled Haz and headed South, via Mt. Morgan again, to Monto.
We only hit a FEW showery patches, and after stopping every couple of hundred K's (to pump my tyre up) we got to Monto about 5pm (again, about the right time of day). On a Monday night Monto was GOING OFF.....NOT really.....and after a big feed and an early night, we were ready for an early start, to get us home the next day.
It was raining when we got up, so we rode through patches of RAIN and drizzle the whole way home, but still managed to set a reasonable pace and arrived home safely....BUT VERY water logged....wet weather gear my arse!!!
So ended another incident free (well major ones, anyway) Halfway Run North, the FOURTH (in a row) for Ray and my THIRD (out of four years). Maybe we'll see a few more of you on next year's trip????
In hindsight I probably should have stopped somewhere (maybe Mackay or Rocky) and at least had my tyre puncture repaired, but in true Beno style (read...tight arse) I thought it would last till I got home (it was getting really LOW on tread) and replace it anyway. It only slightly inconvenienced us, but the "regular" stops were a welcome stretch of the legs, a feed or drink stop anyway, and of course Ray didn't complain one little bit ( he just took it in his stride).