John’s January Jaunt (with on-road riparian entertainments!)

John’s January Jaunt (with on-road riparian entertainments!)

A January Jaunt with John

by John M

This ride report was originally published in the February 2011 issue of the Motorcycle Tourers club magazine, ‘Chain Lube’.

Friday saw flooding rains of biblical proportion across Victoria. Panicked phone calls from the first time ride leader John M to our esteemed Convener David who calmly felt that we should go ahead with planned ride, BBQ and camp out in Musk as the forecast still looked promising. “We can always change things if we need to.” Feeling calmed and now able to leave the property as the flood water had subsided enough to get into town to get provisions I felt reassured that all would be ok…

Saturday morning dawned with a brilliant blue sky, a gentle Central Victorian zephyr (of the wind variety not the Ford kind) and a beautiful ride to town from Musk Central. Sadly the text message sent by Gary VDD saying he would join the ride and wait for me as usual under the Bridge on the freeway at Woodend remained in the ether and he was left waiting for me whilst I was riding with gay abandon to South Yarra! Sorry Gary!

Charged with a couple of coffees and met by Adam, Rolf, H, David P and Darren at South Yarra we departed with John M forging confidently ahead and feeling terribly important. I seem to remember I had the circa 1964 song by the Shangri las “Leader of the Pack” running through my mind…vvrroom vvrroom.
I also remember Mofflehoff saying, “so we’re heading out over the Bolte Bridge onto the Calder?”. “That’s right Moff” says I…

As we’re atop the Westgate Bridge mild panic starts to set in as “The Leader of the Pack” realizes he was in the wrong lane a few Km’s back and we’re now on a clear trajectory for Geelong. We are not blessed with such a big choice of lanes in Musk you should understand and one can become quite overwhelmed when faced with so many….

Our esteemed Convener again rescues the ride as he senses that perhaps all is not well and we are indeed on the wrong bridge. He rides past and signals for me to follow him. David, you will always be my knight in shining armour….leather…whatever…

What a marvelous thing that Ring Road is. Before you know it we’re riding past the airport turnoff and I’m again in familiar territory. Once again “The Leader of the Pack”, we ride into Sunbury for the second pickup with minutes and minutes to spare. Waiting to meet us were Tim, Pete, David W, Brett, John and Phil. After a short run-down of the planned ride we head off for Heathcote via the Kerrie Valley, Hanging Rock and Lancefield. Victoria at it’s pastoral best with the farms still green from the recent rains. Refreshed after morning coffee and cake from the Heathcote Bakery we make our way to Redesdale and onto Lake Epalock to see the now overflowing lake after being waterless for the past few years. So full in fact, the picnic tables and BBQ sheds that lined the shore line the previous week were now hazards for the water skiers! The Campaspe river was actually a raging river and not it’s usual poor excuse for a dry creek bed even!

From Lake Epalock we set off for lunch at Maldon via Sutton Grange, Mt Alexander (don’t mention the u turn) and Harcourt. Passed many water ways that 24 hours previously had been running across the roads and some quite severe road damage.

Lunch at Maldon doesn’t usually present a challenge… unless they are setting up for a food fair in the evening or some of the locals have the audacity to close their cafes due to their houses being flooded the day before. Where is the commitment to good service these days people? Rolf saw the pub and we all felt that lunch had been saved….if only they hadn’t just closed the kitchen and “Chef” hadn’t just gone home it would have been great. Rolf was positively salivating at the thought of a chicken parma after being subjected to the Haute’ Cuisine of Qantas the night before. So, a pie it was from the nearly depleted bakery while others decided fish and chips was the go. From Maldon it was on to Daylesford to pick up some bevies for the BBQ and then on to Musk. From Daylesford Phil and H headed back to Melbourne town. Michael V, Ian and Chloe Van Darrington (the super model of much recent media controversy and gossip) drove into town with tents and camping necessities and joined the group for a night of merriment and near riparian camping.

Tents were raised, beverages poured and the BBQ sizzled. Thanks to John 2 (he really does exist) for seeing to the cooking of the meat. Darren was enthralled at the idea of being able to pick a lettuce from the garden and actually turn it into a salad. Such simple pleasures….   Max W also arrived on his bike to join us for the evening.

All went well until that Chloe Van Darrington seduced the geriatric and bewildered Whippet Ben with her smoldering beauty and sophistication. On ya Ben… good to see you can still get the pink pencil out of it’s case even if she did reject your advances! Meanwhile the young, blond and very delinquent Lucy also had her sites set on gaining Van Darrington’s affections. Sadly her constant appeals for attention were lost and Lucy was forced to direct herself upon everybody else. The strumpet!

Around the time of advanced darkness Max, Rolf, Adam and John H set out back for Melbourne while the rest of us settled down to ponder the meaning of life with a few more drinks and a couple of rounds of Kumbaya before heading off to our respective accommodation. David W spent the night trying to escape Lucy’s cold, wet nose as it searched for games and all things pertaining to puppy pleasure in his sleeping bag as he tried to get some sleep on the couch. Brett meanwhile battled marauding venomous snakes that may have potentially entered his tent from the broken zipper and Peter Ho dreamed about the builder…I feel a workshop at the very least, perhaps an intervention may be called for quite soon! All seemed quiet from the back of the Patrol where Van Darrington and her minders retired for the night and not a whisper was heard from Darren and Ian’s tent. Clearly no issues with snakes there.

A hearty Sunday breakfast was consumed at Chowder House in Hepburn Springs before the camp was packed up and the remaining tourers departed Musk to return to Melbourne. Thanks to all for joining us for the night… we had a blast!

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