"Oh, a storm is threat'ning, My very life today
If I don't get some shelter, Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away"
Gimme Shelter – Jagger/Richards – The Rolling Stones
Saturday August 3 dawned dull and gloomy. I checked the forecast and it indicated the first half of the day wouldn't be too bad. I went outside and double checked. It was still misty and I wondered how many would turn up at Civic Park Modbury for the 10am departure.
About 8.30 the sun broke through and the skies cleared. Things were starting to look optimistic.
At 9.30 I arrived at Civic Park and David M and Tony W were already there, so I went to fuel up and returned. At that stage Marsupial Pete had arrived and I was feeling more optimistic.
At 10am seven of us headed off to Gawler via Golden Grove Road and then onto the Humbug Scrub Road for some winding sections that were still damp in patches, so as ride leader I proceeded with some caution. Then we hit the Gawler Scenic Route and were able to open up the taps a little as the roads were mainly dry, due to the strong easterly wind. Everywhere looked green and lush, and the scenery was a joy to see. At Gawler South we stopped at the bakery for morning tea.
After our replenishment we avoided the main drag at Gawler, which is exactly that – a real drag. Instead we headed via the overway bridge and out onto the bypass. I remember my first encounter with the overway bridge on a motorcycle, it was a Yamaha DS6 250 and it went over the bridge (which is essentially a suspended u-turn for those unfamiliar with it) like it was hinged in the middle. I reckon I took a half a dozen lines on that section on the old DS6. In comparison the Bandit handled it with aplomb - Japanese motorcycles and tyres sure have come a long way.
From the bypass we headed off towards Roseworthy College and then onto the Mallala Road. The side winds were not pleasant, but at least the sun was out, and the wheat and canola crops were looking very happy with the recent rain. The wheat was already over a foot high, so let's cross our fingers for the cockies and hope they have a bumper crop and the Aussie dollar stays below $1 US so they can bank some decent farm income.
Through Mallala we headed north towards Balaklava. Pretty straight running, this for some of the less sporty bikes was a welcome change from the regular diet of Hills running. Heading east off the Balaklava Road we headed to Owen and then Hamley Bridge. Passing the Hamley Oval I noted that the Two Wells Roosters were in battle against HB, so I gave a toot for the Roosters, Two Wells being my footy club for many years. The road to Stockport and then to Tarlee is a much overlooked stretch and well worth exploring, and we opened up the throttles a bit as we proceeded to Tarlee for a quick pit stop. The Marsupial left us then, courtesy of an alleged phone call requiring his presence back at work due to some network problem (so he said), but none of us believed him. General opinion was that he looked at the sky and decided to shoot through while the going was good. Be ready for some good-natured character assassination when you get a group of motorcyclists travelling together!
I'd forgotten how good the Tarlee to Kapunda road is, particularly the first half, and the rest of us swooped through enthusiastically ignoring the advisory speeds and getting into it a bit. Good fun.
A quick check with the boys at Kapunda to make sure everyone was good fuel-wise and then we headed south towards Gawler and then off to the left on the Greenock Road. It's an interesting road that one, as it has all these short runs joined by brief lateral sections. Odd. Makes you wonder if the surveyor was on the turps the week they did that one.......
It was still clear as we threaded through Greenock and waved to some happy looking kids on bicycles. Cruising along Stonewell Road we entered Tanunda from the west and scored some parks right in front of the chicken shop. Just as we started getting out of our gear the heavens opened up.
After stopping at the lolly shop for some fine Murray Valley Breweries cordial, we headed for the Tanunda Hotel for some good quality pub food and light refreshment.
Returning to our bikes Fred decided that the short walk had triggered the need for a pit stop, so whilst the rest of us waited for him to deal with that we donned our wet weather gear and headed home via Lyndoch. The roads were fully wet but well washed, so comparatively good grip was available as we left Lyndoch behind and headed around the reservoir towards Kersbrook. The plan was to fuel up there and then head to Caffe Buongiorno near TTP. Good plans spoiled by one simple complication – the pumps were all "out of order". So we pressed west on over the hills, hitting very heavy rain and foggy conditions, slowing our pace a bit.
At this point I figured some would be marginal for fuel, so I made the decision to deviate from the planned route and head back the One Tree Hill Road to Greenwith, where a servo sits.
Fuelling up, Fred's V-Max won the prize for least fuel left – he topped up with less than half a litre in the tank. A close run thing, but it all worked out in the end. The bloke in the servo thought we were bloody crazy to be out in the conditions, but it had been a good ride and we were all still dry inside our wet weather gear.
Off to the award winning Caffe Buongiorno for some warming liquids and cake, and then we all said our farewells with many of us planning to go to the farewell bash being thrown for (and by) Tony and Gill Mace, two club stalwarts who I will miss both personally, and also as great contributors to the fabric of the club.