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Wild West Mystery Ride

Well, where do we start for this ride. Like a good book, let’s flick to the end to see how it turns out, David is alive but injured. His bike has superficial damage and everyone had a great day, by all accounts.

Ulysses National Website has a saying “Riding is about the journey, not the destination. Come riding with us”. I suppose this day was summed up by that.

It started out like most ride days. We met in front of RT Edwards at Browns Plains. Jethro had a revised ride for us today. One that still had us doing over 400 kms but as he had hurt his ribs earlier in the week, he wanted to cut it short. Our destination was … unknown but we knew we were headed west.

Earlier, as the boys were chatting, someone noticed that the back tyre of Chuckles’ Trumpy was starting to shred. It is all the torque that those wonderful machines have, or it was Chuckles doing burnouts with the oldies at Wongaburra Nursing Home the day before. Pony was so looking forward to the comfort of the Trumpy but Chuckles had to head off to get the ever-reliable Harley for the day.

We also found out that Kimberlee got her licence based on the 3 rides she had done. She was unlicenced for her second ride on the Pomona ride on 21st June and licenced today.

We had another great turnout with Jethro, Coco, Popeye, Chilli, Kimberlee, Chuckles, Pony, Brian, David, Maureen, Mr Doo Bee, Cackles, Highbeam, Digit, Stoney and Happy Feet. Stoney and Happy Feet were in the convertible and were our Tail End Charlies for the day.

Jethro took us off down the Logan Motorway towards Ipswich, onto the Ipswich Motorway and then onto the Warrego Highway. We took the turnoff onto Brisbane Valley Highway towards Wivenhoe and up past Fernvale, Esk and Toogoolawah. At Toogoolawah, we stopped for a coffee at the BP Service Station.

On our way again, up past the Harlin Hotel, where the Somerset Branch have their meetings and then left onto the D’Auilar Highway. Up the mountain, through beautiful country, straight through Blackbutt and onto Yarraman for our next stop. His one was a toilet break and a rest. After about 15 minutes, we headed off.

It was a bit of an unusual restart, Jethro took the lead, turned left onto New England Highway and headed off again. I was about 5 bikes back in the pack. By the time I got about 500 metres up the road, there was no one in the mirror. I pulled over and Cackles said that someone dropped or couldn’t find their gloves on the restart. The bikes in front of me headed off into the distance. I waited about a minute or so and as they appeared in the mirror, we re-joined and headed off again.

About 10 kms from the Yarraman turn, our pack saw a rider coming in the other direction. He saw us, slowed down and edged onto the grass and proceeded to do an acrobatic somersault as the bike just spat him off. He wasn’t speeding at all, probably only doing about 15 k/h. We pulled over to discover it was David, who had doubled back to check on us. He was on his knees and wasn’t moving. All of us pulled over on the small grass shoulder and rushed to his side.

He knew he had done his left shoulder and probably some ribs given it was obviously painful to laugh at the jokes made at his expense. Stoney and Happy Feet parked the convertible and put on the hazard lights to let the traffic know something was up. It didn’t stop some lunatics from still passing our group at speed. They wouldn’t do it again if they had heard the abuse that Happy Feet was throwing their way.

Popeye called Jethro to let him know what had happened as the first group was still up the road, stopped, waiting for us. They headed back to our position. In the meantime, Kimberlee’s bike just stopped on the side of the road and wouldn’t start again when she tried to move it to a better parking position.

Whilst the girls looked after poor David, the boys sprang into action and started working on Kimberlee’s bike. Well not everyone, I know nothing about motorcycle mechanics, mostly Stoney & Jethro. Earlier in the day, before leaving home, Stoney just remarked to Happy Feet “I might take some tools today, just in case”. Stoney had the seat off, the side panels off, tightening battery connections and pulling at fuses etc. As Loz can testify, he got that bike going again.

Popeye called the ambulance for David which came from Yarraman so was there in a flash. David was a trooper though. A few grimaces here and there but stood strong. If it were me, I would be a mess. He was happy when the Ambulance arrived and even wanted Popeye to help him get his jacket off so it didn’t have to be cut off him. Brave.

He only had a dislocated collarbone, broken collarbone (in 3 places), the collarbone had come free from the sternum (so obviously they are meant to be joined – who knew) and 3 broken ribs. It was noted that Jack Miller came off in practice, a couple of weeks earlier, at the French MotoGP at over 200 k/h, flipping over the handle bars and landing heavily, but he was uninjured. David had this at about 15 k/h.

At the start of the day, we complete a Ride Sheet with all of our contact numbers and emergency numbers. It was introduced this year and it has been a roaring success. We have used it heaps of times this year, normally to contact people on their mobiles. This is the first time we have had to use an emergency contact. We used it again today to contact David’s brother to let him know what was going on.

When it was time to head off, a shuffle was required. Stoney pulled his helmet and jacket out of the convertible (another brainwave early this morning), Cackles went from Trumpy pillion to Convertible driver and David went from motorcycle rider to ambulance patient. Off we head again.

At about 20 kms from Crows Nest, David’s bike ridden by Stoney started to splatter and spirt as we headed up a rather steep hill. He pulled over to check the fuel. That split the pack again. When we got going again, we re-joined a bit further on. After a little ways, Stoney could be seen trying to throw fuel from one side of the tank to the other using a flicking motion. Eventually that was the end of that. Fuel was needed so we sent the convertible on a mission to Crows Nest to get more.

As we were waiting, Chuckles and Stoney had a little conversation:

Chuckles – “Umm, did you check the reserve?”

Stoney – “What reserve?”

Stoney – “This is a modern bike, why does it still have a carby?”

Reserve on – bike fires up first try. Now we have a mission. Stop the girls from getting us the spare fuel we sent them off for. We tried to call them but no answer.

Finally into Crows Nest, Stoney heads down to the petrol station and catches the girls as they are just about to fill a fuel can. Phew.

Back to the Grand Old Crow Hotel for lunch. Relax and talk about the day so far. Lots of fun at David’s expense but all in good fun. Many fines coming his way if I am not mistaken.

Once lunch was finished, we headed down to our usual ice-cream spot at BP Gatton (the highway one) and said our goodbyes. My final job was to follow Stoney home and pick up the wife and head home. We started at 7:30am this morning and got home just about 6:30pm.

It was a long tiring day but at the end, I just thought back and felt it was such a great day, for us, not David. We all came together to help each other. Riding is about the journey, not the destination.

Thanks to Jethro and Coco for ride leader, Stoney & Happy Feet for Tail End Charlie. Stoney for mechanic duties and relief rider duties and everyone that came. See ya next time.

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