We’re safely home, in one piece and tidied away already.
I was looking back and trying to work out when we’d last done a big trip like this, and was horrified to discover that the last long ride we did was back in October 2016, when we went up to Far North Queensland. Since that time there’s been knee surgery and the purchase of our caravan, both of which have tended to reduce the long distance motorbike travel. We did go to last year’s national rally, a much longer journey, but towed Miss Scarlett on a trailer behind the car rather than riding down.
Neither of us is getting any younger, a fact underlined by our ambitious travel program. The 500+km trip down took longer than we’d hoped, and we started late (the Husband was on night shift and got home at 5.30am, so we didn’t start out till 10.30am). The last hour of the journey was done in the chilly dark, with both of us vigilantly scanning the roadside left and right for the guided missiles also known as kangaroos. It’s a bike rider’s worst nightmare, a large kangaroo appearing out of the darkness and deciding that this precise moment is the one when he wants to cross the road. We were spared, but cold, tired and a bit tense by the time we arrived!
Our accommodation was the nice old 1920s colonial-style Albert Hotel in Monto, with the pub downstairs and the rooms upstairs, off a deep, shady verandah. State of the art it was not, but it did have heaps of comfort, period features, a large bedroom next to the bathroom, and really good plain home cooking. Up briskly the next morning, and another 250km ride to catch up with our club friends.
Out the front of the Goomeri Bakery (which richly deserves its outstanding reputation!), the bikes were all lined up, and once the cakes and pies were eaten, and the coffees were drunk, we gathered in the sunshine to admire, tell tales, commiserate and do a spot of gentle bike-bragging. It’s such fun to gather with a nice bunch of people with similar interests and absolutely no axe to grind. As you can see, the weather smiled on us – in fact, it smiled the whole trip.
We didn’t make the mistake of starting late on the journey home. We’d come back to the Albert for a second night, and this time, we set out 3 hours earlier. Despite taking a slightly longer (and possibly less roo-prone) route, we were home before dusk. The trick, I find, is to stop frequently for a short time. It wasn’t the back or the knees that were giving me trouble, but lack of blood flow to my backside!
Kms covered: 1700+. Satisfaction rating: 8/10 (we’ll get the timing right next time!)