Club Ride March 1 0 th 201 3 Peter Hubach The long weekend ride to Donnelly River did not have the support of club members and was cancelled. This left little time to plan the club ride for March. Kim suggested that I help him put together a route the weekend before the ride was due. The late summer weather was perfect and Geoff volunteered to come along and record the ride details on his fondleslab. It’s challenging to find destinations and roads within a day’s ride of Perth that have not been visited by the club. I think we managed it with this ride to Wickepin. The name is supposed to be of aboriginal origin, but no one knows what it means. The pre-ride took place in clear sunny conditions. The wheat belt country desiccated and crunchy-brown after a long, hot summer. There was a grass fire starting on the edge of Narrogin as we approached. This quickly escalated with flames reaching about three metres high before the local fire teams got it under control. The day of the ride was cool and wet, a complete change of weather from the previous few weeks. The inclement conditions and the the general lack of interest for the Donnelly River ride did not bode well for a good turn out for this ride and only six were prepared to face the drizzle at Kelmscott. Well done Kim, Geoff, Nick K, Craig and Fred. As the Beatles put it in Rubber Sole... If the rain comes they run and hide their heads. They might as well be dead. If the rain comes, if the rain comes. When the sun shines they slip into the shade (When the sun shines down.) And sip their lemonade. (When the sun shines down.) When the sun shines, when the sun shines. Rain, I don't mind. Shine, the world looks fine. I can show you that when it starts to rain, (When the Rain comes down.) Everything’s the same.
The dark clouds lurked over the Darling Scarp as we ascended into the Jarrah forest. Up past the charcoal scarred slopes and re-built homes of the tree-changers. The forest looked grim and grey in this weather, like something out of a fairy tale, wolves leering from behind the blackened trunks. It was a relief when the Brookton Highway broke through to the wheat belt. It rained, not enough to warrant the wet weather gear. Anyway, it wasn’t cold and the humidity meant that riders were just as wet inside their rubberised nylon as those brave souls who had eschewed protective clothing.
At the turnoff to Pingelly, we stopped to adjust clothing and empty bladders, it was important to get that order right. In Pingelly city centre there was no one on the street. The only activity was the local SES, sweating in yellow rubber trousers as they attempted to break in to the high school for some emergency exercise. Maybe that’s why there was no one on the streets, they had all been told to stay in doors? The road from Pingelly to Wickepin is rather scenic and has some lovely stretches where some people could ride motorcycles much faster than what is legally allowed. It would be possible, for example, to test the top speed of your new Kawasaki rocket, wouldn’t it Nick? There was also about three kilometres of road work gravel road. This was all straight and had a hard packed under surface, interestingly topped by drifts of ball bearing sized gravel. I took Craig’s advice and rode it faster than I would normally and it felt much better.
The Wickepin café provided a friendly venue for morning tea. The young ladies were very apologetic that the espresso coffee machine had broken since our visit on the pre-ride. Geoff took the opportunity to reassure them, for quite a long time. After instant coffee we took solace in wandering around Albert Facey’s house across the road. It was moved here in 2000. Young Albert lived in it with his family from 1 922 to 1 934. When we departed Wickepin, it was raining. A few kilometres west of Wickepin is Tarling Well. This was built about 1 905 and is a stone lined construction near a water course. The area is much degraded and it would have looked very different a hundred years ago. Then, the water would have been clear and fresh, not like the murky green muck that it contains today. Despite the rain, the much eroded creek beside the well was not running. Somehow, the water level in the well appeared higher than in the creek. It stopped raining and that was the last rain we had on this trip, though the weather remained determinedly grey.
As we approached Narrogin, the burnt paddock from the previous week’s fire looked bleak and from another time. The damp stubble certainly wouldn’t burn today. The country from here to Quindanning appeared to be exhausted from a long hot summer. It was resting, enjoying the change of season in quiet repose. Soon there would be winter and real, rejuvenating rain.
There were few motorcycles outside the Quindanning pub, probably the result of the weather. At least this meant that our meals arrived pretty quick. Fred, Nick and Craig, all living in the affluent western suburbs, decided that they didn’t want to continue with the ride which was heading back east. They chose the Dwellingup route back to the South West Highway. Unfortunately there was road works on Dell Park Road which, because of the rain, was rather muddy. Fred’s new Fire Blade and Nick’s new Kawasaki got covered in brown gunk.
The next day, Nick put the soiled Kawasaki on front and rear paddock stands to give it a thorough wash. When he removed the rear stand, the bike rolled forwards and lay down on its right side, scraping the now nicely clean exhausts on the driveway. For some reason, Nick didn’t take a photo of the event.
Kim, Geoff and I, the remaining members of the club ride, followed the planned, roadwork and mud free route through Boddington and then east, back to Pingelly, where there were still no people on the street. Up to Brookton and along the Avon Valley through Beverley and then the top road to York. It was late afternoon when we pulled in to The Lakes for the end of the trip. We had ridden over 500km that day through some sombre landscapes but generally it was good riding weather. Craig had remarked that this was the best sort of weather for motorcycling, not hot, not cold, not windy and not very wet. We enjoyed our ride. It would have been good to have more company but, as the Beatles sang in the rest of the song... I can show you, I can show you. Rain, I don't mind. Shine, the world looks fine. Can you hear me, that when it rains and shines, (When it Rains and shines.) It's just a state of mind? (When it rains and shines.) Can you hear me, can you hear me? If the rain comes they run and hide their heads. (Rain)