NATIONAL RUN 2015 Report
by Ian Bailey
Friday 23rd – A small group of us left Perth at a very civilized time to get to Pinjarra in time for a nice morning tea. The destination was Busselton so there was no hurry. Pinjarra Bakery supplied the usual coffee plus a range of delicacies, and investigation revealed that their jam doughnuts contained a good quantity of jam. Suitably refreshed, five of us set off for Busselton. A brief rest stop out of Bunbury and then we hit the town. The town was bustling. It was almost as if it were holiday time. Where did all these people come from? Why weren’t they somewhere earning a living? Because of the crowds it was difficult even for bikes to find a parking space, but eventually with perseverance we found something and wandered into the shopping centre to find something for lunch. It will not be revealed what the various adventurers chose to satisfy themselves with but we can say they ran the risk of mortifying the health gurus. Nothing much can be said about the trip to the campsite, so we’ve said it all. The evening was spent catching up with old mates or reflecting on the mysteries of the universe, punctuated with a three course meal. There had been no mishaps and nobody had got lost, so this was a good start.
Saturday 24th – No activities were allocated for the morning except for the unfortunates who had meetings to go to. So for the rest it was a time for relaxation and catching up with old friends or making new ones. Hopefully the old or new friends who travelled from the far untamed lands in other States appreciated a time when they could get over the rigours of their long journey and recover their gusto. Mind you, there was plenty of gusto in evidence so maybe it wasn’t a good idea to accumulate any more. The fresh-baked muffins provided for morning tea were well received. At lunch time everyone was forced to make up their own meal with a bun and a selection of meats, cheese and salads. Somehow even the less accomplished managed to complete this task and nobody starved. After lunch, there was a choice of three rides. Colin and Bruce had a trip that somehow managed to include a chocolate factory. Peter lead a longer ride through Balingup, Nannup and Bridgetown that sought scenic delights and included a number of corners, some more challenging than others. You may not be surprised that the majority of the group chose a ride that included a chocolate factory. Apparently CMA members do not have any fears about the increase in body mass announced in the papers. Just ten went on the scenic trip, including yours truly, who was keen to revisit the Bridgetown-Nannup road, that hadn’t been traversed since the honey moon, and was remembered as being very scenic. We are happy to report that is was suitable scenic. Now for Tasmanians, the roads were practically straight, but for WA riders a number of the bends were challenging. Somehow one rider took it to heart to make it even more challenging and took a cross-country route to avoid one bend. The bike did not fare well in this venture. He parted company with the bike and ended in a ditch, into which someone had thoughtfully placed a deep layer of leaf litter that eased his contact with the ground. The saddest thing about this incident was that the group stayed there to help out so had to forgo the opportunity for a sumptuous afternoon tea at Nannup. But there was a nice meal waiting at the campsite on our return so the afternoon concluded satisfactorily. It was even better when our fellow rider returned later with only bruises and an acute case of embarrassment to tell for his adventure. In the evening, the States gave State reports. The accounts of the work that was being done were very impressive. It looks like there is serious danger for the community – contact with these people could change your lives. Following the reports there was a splendid concert centred on John Callaghan, thoroughly enjoyed by all. Bruce joined in with John for a few numbers, and some were heard to say he had an inkling of talent, but we will refrain from making such wild statements. The concert kept a number up beyond their normal bedtime, so most got a good sleep with a number of the sleepers providing acoustic accompaniment.
Sunday25th . There was nothing remarkable before breakfast. Come to think of it, there was nothing remarkable during breakfast either. Snaggers, beans and tomato provided a very satisfying repast. This ensured that everyone was internally prepared for the forthcoming service. Music was provided by the Mount Pleasant Baptist church worship team. Fortunately, this was by plan and not because the group had lost their way getting to the church. Ramon delivered a heartwarming address on loving one another, not omitting to mention the greatest love of all. The offering was destined for the Bikes for pastors, and the memory of the scribe recorded this came to a total of $1855. There are serious doubts about the accuracy of this memory, so it could have been some other number. Whatever it might have been it means there is another bike for a pastor somewhere. The afternoon was wonderfully quiet. An afternoon tea was provided or all those who had managed to remain awake, which means that those in the hall were able to indulge at will. However, they didn’t manage to eat all the cake, but thoughtfully left a few slices for the kitchen staff. Theo was seen to drop a (large) crumb and he claimed he caught it with his boot before it reached the floor. This claim was met with considerable doubt. Thinus had borrowed Peter’s bike for a ride. Peter claimed he didn’t have the slightest worry when Thinus called to say they would be late back. Was that a drop of sweat on his brow? It appears there should be some test devised to check the validity of claims. Several awards were made in the evening, for the longest travelled, the hardest hard luck story and the worst breakdown. No names will be recorded here. Ramon was presented with an award for something but the significance of the dissertation for the award escaped the comprehension of the recorder. So it remains shrouded in mystery, with possibly deep theological indications. Post Run Tour
Monday26th . Thirty or so diehards lined up for the post-run tour. All assembled on the basketball court to receive general instructions that were there to be ignored, as you would. Morning tea followed at Dunsborough after a tiring trip of about 8 km. After the caffeine replenishment the group headed south, with the first top Yallingup. All headed to the beach to gaze at the surfers. The surf was not up but the surfers were there, and perhaps these were the ones whose intelligence was insufficient to notice the surf was not up. Then there was a nice ride down Caves Road to Augusta where we found lunch at the bakery. The night’s accommodation was waiting at Walpole so eventually all were roused to get back on the bikes and headed east. Somehow this was not accomplished by all by the same route or the same time. Allocation of billets at the campsite was done by the traditional method of general chaos. Somehow everyone eventually managed to find a spot to park their gear. Dinner had been arranged with the local pub, and a few left early so that they could refuel before refreshment. A good plan, doomed to failure when it transpired that all the petrol stations had closed. Oh well, maybe there will be enough left in the tanks to get to the browsers in the morning. We could have mentioned that there was a brief break in Pemberton during the day’s trip. Well, we have mentioned it now but you have probably gathered that it wasn’t worth mentioning.
Tuesday27th . In the normal boring order of things, Tuesday followed Monday. Breakfast was celebrated at the bakery in Walpole, and fortunately everybody had enough fuel to get there. After both riders and bikes were refueled, we just had to go to the Valley of the Giants. All admired the Giants as a good tourist should. The majority decided to take the treetop walk so they could admire the Giants from above as well as below, and nobody fell off the walk so it looked like it was going to be a good day. The pie bakery in Denmark was the next destination. The bakery had grandiose claims about the quality of its pies and backed up these claims with a large number of certificates and newspaper clippings glued to a wall or two. The pies were in fact quite reasonable, although Jacqui let the side down by being the only one to forgo a pie and hopped into a salad for lunch instead. Suitable fortified, we had the strength to continue on towards Albany. We took the devious route to Albany, stopping first at Anvil Beach. This is on the Nullaki Peninsula, that is of such significance that nobody has bothered to include it on the map. Note how we slip in these boring and useless bits of information in order to encourage some ambulation. This was a very pretty spot (and it was decided that in Victoria it would be labelled as spectacular) where there was a large block of land up for sale for someone with a stack of cash who would put up a salubrious residence to detract from the pristine appearance of the area. There was a number of notices adjuring all to protect the red hooded plover. This was taken seriously and all did everything they could to protect the red hooded plover. While on the beach we looked up to the hill and saw a flock of black jacketed tourists, not worth protecting. On the beach there was espied a ringed bald biker, and there was some doubt about the need for protection of this species. Lisa was observed to bring down Jacqui on the beach with a flying tackle. Maybe this was in retaliation for Jacqui letting the side down with that salad. After decided that we could do nothing further to protect the red hooded plover, all returned to the bikes and headed off towards Albany to be installed in the Kalgan River chalets. This was not quite in the wilderness, but sufficiently remote to be the home for a herd of kangaroos. Don’t bother telling me this is not the collective name for a conglomeration of kangaroos. Look it up for yourself. Of course the best collective name would be a jumper of kangaroos but we’ll leave this up to the experts. Then we headed off to the Due South restaurant in Albany where a large number of inconsiderate patrons had gathered trying to drown out our conversations.
Wednesday28th . This was a free day for everyone to do what they wanted. It transpired that the majority opinion was to do something leisurely. A number headed into Albany to see the run of vintage motorcycles. On arrival at the meeting point, all that could be found was a marshal, who wasn’t even riding a vintage motorcycle. We surmised that it being a drizzly day, the vintage motorcycle riders were terrified that their machines might get dirty. But all was not lost. There was a ride scheduled for vintage motorcycles in the afternoon to a coffee spot. So off to the meeting point, to find? Yes, a marshal. The terror of vintage motorcycle riders of getting their machines dirty had extended into the afternoon. The one thing gleaned from the marshal was that a good spot for lunch would be Whale World, as there was a magnificent view across the harbour, and you could take time to admire God’s creation. All was as promised, and for additional effect the magnificent view was covered with a thick mist. But the lunch was fine. You can’t have everything. The evening meal was a barbecue and Johann did his best to avoid burning the sausages and was generally successful. As a special treat, he included a couple of boerewors. Don’t bother to ask your scribe to pronounce this. It must have been all right as nobody suffered any ill effects from its consumption, suspicious as it may have looked. So everyone retired well fed.
Thursday29th. This was the day to head off for Esperance, so departure was early. We can comment on the scenery as we went along, the first half is best described as boring. Someone was heard to say the second half was excruciatingly boring, but at least there was the occasional sight along the way. Moring tea was somewhere and lunch was somewhere else. If your scribe was diligent, he would have taken the trouble to look up the names of these places, but being lazy, leaves it up to you to think of something suitable. As it turns out, lunch was quite nice and if we go that way again we might take the trouble to look up the name. During the afternoon we had a ride around the bay to admire the sights. The sights were indeed admirable. Ramon garnered the urban flicker prize, recorded as having his indicator on for a distance of 5.1 km. (The rural flicker prize had previously been awarded to Noel.) He got away with it, and you have to wonder if this is done as a matter of course in South Africa. In Esperance, we installed in the caravan park, and then found time to slip down to a salubrious restaurant called McDonalds. Colin had a couple of hash browns, that were entirely inappropriate for afternoon tea, but he wanted to show off. Ian took the last chocolate doughnut in an effort to save the remainder of the group from the sin of gluttony, but the others found alternatives so the effort was in vain. This gave everyone the energy to head off to the barbecue arranged by the Esperance CMA members, who also provided a testimony and introductions to various dignitaries. We must record that it was an excellent show and the Esperance group can be commended on their efforts.
Friday30th. During the tour all had been educating Ramon in Australian ways. He seemed to be catching on fast – he was heard to remark, “Terry, we didn’t see you all day yesterday. We had a marvellous time.” He could get himself in trouble when he gets back home if he isn’t careful. We had a day to look around Esperance. It all started with a gathering at the whale tail on the foreshore. We had been given dispensation to park our bikes under the whale tail for a group photograph. All tried to adopt a nonchalant pose. After a sufficiently nonchalant photograph had been rerecorded, we headed off for a run around the bay. The bay took all this admiration quite nonchalantly. This accomplished, we followed Wazza off to the Section Glass gallery. Wazza hasn’t appeared previously in this journal. No doubt he had a real name in a previous life, but now he is just plain Wazza. Despite this lack of suitable nomenclature, he found the way to the gallery. A high point there was that they provided a most delectable brownie to be consumed with a cup of coffee. We were also treated to a description of how these glass items were created. One of the methods used was smashing sliding glass door panels. No reason was given why this was restrained to just sliding door panels, but it did sound like a lot of fun. The glass creations were very fancy, and all felt more educated after this expedition. Next we were off to Mermaid Leather. It was disappointing that there was not a single mermaid available for viewing, just a couple of pictures. The factory made leather out of fish skins, and boasted that it was the only place in Australia to do this and was one of only a small number of places around the world to carry out this manufacturing process. It was truly impressive leather. All leathered up, all headed off to Katy’s Kitchen for lunch. Yours truly succumbed to the temptation of a second breakfast, and it wasn’t half bad. Suitably refreshed, we headed off to Lucky Bay. The outstanding feature of Lucky bay is that it has a beach of sand so firm that vehicles can be driven on to it, Even motorcycles. Naturally nobody could resist temptation so on to the beach we went. When we got there, there was a group of teenagers gaily frolicking on the beach. When they saw us coming they frantically packed up and ran off the beach. We had no idea we presented such a frightening appearance. Johann then decided to test his skill and took a ride along the beach. This was too much for Ramon, who had to do likewise. He can be led astray so easily. Everybody did their own thing for tea. We had a desire for fish and chips so went off to the recommended shop, revelling in the name of Top End Takeaway. We were astonished to discover that it would take an hour and a half to cook the chips. They sure do things differently in the country. This did give the opportunity to take a nice long stroll along the beachfront. When the tucker eventually appeared, it was all right, but there was a general feeling that we should have run across the road to McDonalds to get the chips. Clearly we must have misread the name of the establishment, as it surely must have been the Top End Wait-away. We sat on a street corner to eat our meal. Ramon didn’t turn a hair about this – perhaps this is the way it is done at home.
Saturday31st. Some lunatic decided that we needed to get away early to get back to Perth so all arose at 4.30. All managed to get themselves ambulant although some were not necessarily awake. For those sleeping on the floor, arisal was a wise move as it avoided being trampled on. Fortunately there was time to fit in breakfast and a cup or two of coffee and all were at their bikes at the scheduled time of 0600. One of the stops on the way home was Hyden, it was thought incumbent to introduce Ramon and Natalie to the flies at Wave Rock. The Rock was not quite obscured by the cloud of flies and frequent application of the great Australian salute was called upon. For some reason we didn’t stay there too long and we repaired into town for a bit of lunch. It was gracious of Neil and Wendy to travel from their farm to come and meet with us for lunch. So after replenishment, all headed off home, looking forward to a nice shower and our very own familiar beds. All in all, the national run and post run tour was a great time of fellowship with old friends and new friends. It took a while to recover from the rigours of travelling but the memories have not been erased. We were refreshed by the experience and in good condition to resume normal life.