***Apologies if this pictorial ride-a-mentary takes a while to load on your PC***

It was all Phil's fault. In his wisdom he decided to ask several of the blokes from work to "come for a bit of a ride with the boys".

I will admit that as one of the new fellas, I was more than a little chuffed to be asked and promptly filed my permission to party form with my own personal Minister for War and Finace. She was more than happy to let me off for good behaviour in a weeks time (Woo-Hoo) and the scene was set folks......

Grab the Map here (opens in a new window)

8am at Big Jims service station and the fella's roll in one by one, by 8.15 we're ready to roll.

Well we were ready until a certain Triumph refused to start......

Mark had accidentally left his headlight on and after pushing the thing up and down the road for 10 minutes in a vain attempt to clutch start it, we decided to get a car and jumper leads to jump start the Triumph. Fuel injected bikes just don't want to clutch-start when they have a flat battery, the fuel pump doesn't supply enough fuel pressure to the injector rail you see...
Mick (who rides a wicked ZZR1100) lived nearby and promptly turned up in his daughters car.

Can you keep a Triumph rider down? Hell No!

We hit the road and shake down the bikes for the day ahead. From Stanford Merthyr we blasted West through the towns of Kurri Kurri, Cessnock, Bellbird (where we picked up another mate "Shakey"), Greta Main, Millfield and Wollombi. Once at Wollombi the boys turned South and attacked a wicked twisting mountain pass colloquially known as "Wiggles Way" after a local Kawasaki nut named Carl. Phil was impossible to keep up with on his Suzuki SV1000 but we all had a damn good time trying anyway.

The slicing and dicing up the mountain was thick and fast as the boys pulled out all the stops and every racers trick they had ever learned to claw a nose in front of someone else. The noise was glorious as seven bikes blasted along, the taps wide open and the horizon bursting wildly from one crazy lean angle to the next.

On and on we rode for around 1 1/2 hours until we stopped at the sleepy little town of Spencer on the shore of the Hawksburry River. I swear this little place has hardly changed in 30 years.

And the only shop in the place was a little old corner store that sold everything ...... including beer!

So we did what any thirsty red blooded Aussie bloke would do ... we bought one.

And the view from the jetty across the road was magnificent. The sheer majesty of the untouched Hawksberry river wilderness is enough to make even the most hardened road warrior catch his breath.

Onwards toward Wisemans Ferry where our mythical ferry ride awaited we went, enjoying the winding road and awesome scenery as the blacktop snaked around parallel with the river. Another 1/2 hour passed and just before the ferry terminal we discovered an old man with a large problem.

The boy's being the big hearted blokes they are just couldn't let the old fella struggle and his tyre was replaced pronto with Jeff swinging the spanners and laughing along as the boys poked good hearted fun at him with comments like; "Mate, you don't even work this hard at work........ Quick Richo get a photo of this because no-one will beleive us if you dont."

While we were helping the poor old digger our ferry pulled out and we had to wait a short while for another. Was it a boring wait? Nope, not with Jeff around.

Jeff again impressed the crowd with an impromptu burnout in the middle of the ferry queue on his very loud '03 fatboy (I was too slow with the camera), much to the delight of the boys and the horror of all the nice people in their cars. Over the ferry we went and on to the very old and very scenic sandstone Wisemans Ferry Hotel for lunch.

A couple of quick calls home for the lads and then hearty lunches all round, ranging from big open burgers, oyster kilpatrick and steak and mushroom pot pies, all washed down with a cold ale.

Itchy throttle hands saw us back on the road again in short order.

Another hour on the road saw us in North Western Sydney at Windsor Downs where there was (you guessed it) another great pub. Meet The Macquarie Arms:

It was a great old place too, and when I say old I really mean it... how does a front sandstone step with a wear groove 4" deep from people traffic grab ya? The beer was cold and the laughs were plenty as the boys did a little unwinding.

Funnily enough we also discovered that you meet the strangest people there...... this drunk, rich old skank decided she needed a "toy boy" for the night and here's what happened when she told him (to peels of laughter I might add):

We left the Maquarie Arms late in the afternoon and battled peak hour traffic and road works East across Sydney as we attempted to hit the Freeway to Newcastle. Things got pretty funky as the boys went bananas carving up traffic to speed up the frustratingly slow trip. Some of the boys got lost, got found again, got lost again and the pack got separated before we even hit Hornsby.

Mal ('93 softail custom), Mark (the Triumph TT600 rider) and Myself ('05 nightrain) blasted North for the F3 freeway, dodged a couple of police units pulling over random traffic and craftily hid a few hundred meters behind a police bike who was also heading North on the freeway. He was speeding and so were we.......

Things were going well along the Freeway until we were about 40km out of Newcastle. Mal and I had dropped off Mark at the Central Coast and were pushing on into the impending darkness. With the temperature starting to plummet we were making no bones about getting home fast.... well we were getting home fast until Mal flicked on his headlight and got an instant bad misfire...

Oh crap!

Not to be beaten at this late stage, Mal cleverly stuck to my rear quarter right side like glue, using my headlight to see the road ahead... it was like formation flying and I don't advocate doing this to anyone unless they are VERY experienced on a motorcycle. Mal and I have something like 50 years motorcycling experience between us.

I pulled into my driveway just after full dark, 400 kilometers after I started......... tired, dirty and a stupid grin plastered across my face.

Can't wait for next time!

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