Feb 23, 2016 - Posted by: Prickle

Overnighter to the Lunatic Bar

An invite came our way, to go for a ride and spend the night at a little country town called Drake and stay at the Lunatic Bar, with a name like that how could anyone resist.The invite came a few weeks before the set date, but like life it come around very quick and we all meet up at the Celtic Warlocks clubhouse.

You couldn’t ask for better weather it was overcast and a light breeze, after the last few extremely hot days this was very welcome. The last of the riders turned up and the head count was at eleven.

The usual greetings and shaking of hands took place and the 5 minute call rang in our ears. Engines warmed and we headed out the gate bound for the lunatic bar, first stop Aratula as we had a 48er and V-Rods with us, which most of you might know have a rather small fuel capacitys, but no one’s complaining it’s always good to have a break every hour or so. The traffic was typical of a Saturday morning, as everyone that is not at work, is out and about at 10.30 in the morning.

But before we knew it we were at the Aratula Shell Garage, while the blokes that needed fuel did there thing, the others grabbed a snack and other supplies, myself I took a few shots of the blokes and the catch up began. Half an hour went by and the time to mount the bikes and make some miles was upon us, and we were all headed for Cunningham Gap and onto Warwick. We had a great run up the range, the traffic seems to be dissipating the further we traveled from the big smoke.

The scenery was great as always, haven’t been out this way for a while, by now we are all getting comfortable of where we were positioned in the pack. Out in the distance I could see the Caltex symbol we all pulled in and toped up the tanks and got some liquid refreshments and some hot box food, food on a stick, nutrient rich nope, but it hit the spot, yep, sure did. Sat in the shade looking at the sights that come and go at a truck stop. A nice pillarless Impala pulled in to get some gas, the girl that got out of that had everyones attention nice shorts is all I can say.

Any way the call went out lets ride and seeing we were all finished what we were doing we headed to the next stop further up, the road which is the Stanthorpe which we all know as the Granite Belt for that exact reason there is granite out crops everywhere and it’s also renowned for its stone fruit. We were about 20 Ks into this stint and I noticed one of the straps on Snatches bag becoming rather loose and just then, it flew off,  I couldn’t catch it as it was on my throttle hand and as you know, take hand off throttle, bike slows quick, and the person following you runs up the back of you , so I speed up beside him and let him know to pull over, which we all did, explained to him what had happened, he went back and told the rest of them he will catch up, all good he repositioned his strap and caught us up. Always something falling off these Harleys…. oh did I say that out loud. It was a short run of about 60 kilometers to Stanthorpe you know when you are getting closer, you start to see the change in the landscape, the granite springing up here and there, it was quiet green which means they have been getting the afternoon thunder storms that is why most of the orchards are covered by hail netting. They receive tons of hail stones at times. Any way took the turn off and headed into the township of Stanthorpe, surprised the main street was blocked off, ok what’s going on surely they were not told we were headed to town, so we continued to do left turns which brought us to the back entrance of the Omara’s Hotel, parked up and ventured to the pubs back door about fifty meters away. The ceiling fans were on full speed, as the day was heating up, let me tell you old Stanthorpe can be a funny place, it can be as hot as hades and as cold as a witches tit at any time of the year, today was one of the hot dry days. But we managed to get our refreshments and a mate and myself found a nice spot were the breeze was finding a way to us both.

Oh and by the way we found out why the main street was closed there was a hot rod and car show on, but lucky us. So after refreshment I went for a quick walk and took a few shots of the cars, while the others were eating their lunch. When I got back, a mate that had just purchased a silver V-Rod and put an aftermarket set of pipes on and the computer setting was little rich by the looks of the fuel stains on the rear axle nut, so he headed down town to try and buy some jewelers screwdrivers to make the adjustment, he found a place and for two bucks he was in business, so a few of us went and watch him make said adjustment. Nothing like working on bikes while on a road trip. But these new fuel injected bikes are something else, old blokes like me, still have carbys… oh well you live and learn.

After everyone had, had their fill we rode out and said goodbye to Stanthorpe and onto Tenterfield, jumped off the New England highway and onto the Bruxner Hwy, which is a great bit of road plenty to get your swing into, as we all  found our pace and place in the pack and lost ourselves in the road, a short 100 odd k’s and we were pulling into the well awaited, Lunatic Bar at Drake we didn’t muck around getting parked up and we were in the bar ordering drinks before paying for the bed for the night, priority’s, drink first, sleep when ya get it. One thing a few noticed and spread quickly, was our phones had no signal, that meant only one thing we would spend our time communicating, in a way of the old and ancient, in the way of our forefathers,  hooray I thought we would have to actually talk to each other and we knew it would be good. Bullshit could be spoken and not corrected by the google god of correctivnous, yes that word is made up, I just made it up, but google wasn’t present to correct it, what a relaxing feeling.

After we had washed the road out of our throats, we all paid for our beds, wait for it… 25 bucks each, man,   you don’t hear that very often these days, but you heard right. We moved our bikes to where they will be out of the weather and right beside out digs. The accommodation is a bunk house made out of shipping containers, plenty comfortable and with heaps of hot water for the 3 showers and we had a place to make a cuppa, yep all for 25 dollars for the night.  The accommodation and amenities were sparkling, bedding and towels were all supplied. Grabbed what we needed off of the bikes and picked a bunk. Once that was done, back to the bar for some light refreshments and have a look at what’s on for tea, the menu was extensive. Well it wasn’t long, until what we were looking at on the menu got to us all and we started to order, I had bangers & mash a good country meal, there were T Bones coming quick and fast and fish and chips, even a steak the size of your head… wait for it…. half a kilo steak…. oh boy… we weren’t going hungry that’s for sure, the meals were all big meals for very reasonable prices. There wasn’t one complaint, all the meals were cooked to perfection. The only moans was from the blokes trying to digest what they’d just eaten. There were even the old timers who know how to pace themselves that after their main, ordered desert, saw one gentleman and I use that term lightly, no names mentioned he knows who he is and so do we, with a slab of cheesecake the size of your hand and two huge scoops of ice cream and he must be a bit of a magician cause he made it all disappear, real quick. Well by all the contented looks on us all, you could see we were very contented with full bellies so we slowly moved outside to catch a light breeze and shoot the breeze about the day we have had.

The conversation were on all subjects but seemed to always be bikes mentioned somewhere in amongst the laughter and tears. The stories grew taller as the alcohol level increased but we were all enthralled by the BS, we could all manage to wade through but as with blokes we enjoyed ourselves with minimum of movement, as the only movement was back and forth to get oneself and others another cold one or in my case a coffee. But there comes a time where I knew I had to get some shut eye and trotted off to my bunk, didn’t need any rocking that’s for sure, noticed a few times, some blokes make as much noise and may I say make as much sense a sleep as they do awake with their snoring and before we knew it, it was that time again to get up and into it.

Any day above ground is a good day and it looked as if we all were above ground, the sky was blue and the grass was dry, that’s always a bonus for us that ride,  so we washed and like a herd of two legged bovine, slowly, made our way to the feed trough and ordered brekkie, again the variety was mind boggling, to a point to try and think was hard enough without making important decision like what are we going to devour, from the humble toasted sandwich to the mega mixed grill, you name it, they had it, and the coffee also was, so, so welcoming, from the looks of the blokes there was all kinds of levels of sobriety, we were witnessing. Once fed and watered a few went to get 40 winks, while the rest of us reminisced of the night we had just had, and allow ourselves the time to digest. Also can’t recommend this place called the Lunatic Bar at Drake highly enough, it is definitely biker friendly, it’s a great place to come and they really look after you, nothing is a problem. So when you are looking for a place, give them a try it’s well worth it.

We all as if sublimely messaged started to strap the gear back on the bikes and repack the saddlebags and ready ourselves of what awaits us on the road. Push off slowly out of the drive way, the usual meander along, get the pace, no rush as we are only about 3 hours from home, wasn’t long and before long the fatality’s from last night were springing up on the road, when you ride in Australia we have wildlife and it is dangerous both alive or dead, on one crest the hand signal from the lead riders were shown, so we knew to be cautious, sure enough, a good sized kangaroo dead in the middle of the road and there were a couple more further down the road. About half an hour into this stint we were once again settling into our lines and corners were so majestically taken it was so enjoyable again the Bruxner Hwy was rewarding to ride. The scenery was hard not to look at but you had to keep your eyes on where you were going especially doing the speed we were sitting on , which was the speed limit trust me lol. Any way the speed was dropping so as we knew we were heading into the town of Casino, and time to fuel up, it’s funny how a few of us went to one independent garage, a few more went to the Shell a little further down the road and hey I spotted the Caltex 500 meters further on so that’s where I pulled in, and they call us organized crime yeah right. Anyway im getting my gear off I noticed police car go past, down to the roundabout, by the time I opened my fuel tank he drives past again, looking at me so curiously, so I give the nod, and a smile, finished fueling and go pay for fuel, come back out and he is heading back down to said roundabout, so I make sure I go down and round the roundabout and not just straight out of the garage and over double lines, cause that may have got his attention, so I head back to where we all ended up which was at the Shell, while Mr Plod just kept doing laps like a hungry shark looking for its next kill. So once we are already, we left the town of Casino and proceeded to our next stop.

Once out of town we got back up to speed and we left the Bruxner Hwy behind, we were now on Summerland Way another nice stretch of road full of flowing curves nothing to get your pegs scraping, yet unbelievably enjoyable with the mind so clear of all the mundane clutter, no one could not enjoy what we were doing, nothing to think of except the black track in front of you. The smells of the fallen wildlife were getting stronger as the heat of the day rose, which brought a thought forward, of how do people fall asleep at the wheel, maybe that’s because their locked up in an air-conditioned car, cause man, when you’re on a bike you smell everything from the rain to the change of seasonal flowers, to the dead wildlife the stench is better than any smelling salts, it makes you shake your head and breath out forcefully through your nose as if blowing your nose without a tissue lol and you can see others in the pack doing the exact same thing. All to quickly we were entering the outskirts of Kyogle slowing down having a stretch, looking to see if anything has changed since you were last in town, slowly we make your way down the main street and choose which pub to stop at, it was the Exchange Hotel this time, we parked up and went inside to get some cold refreshments and wait for a mate that was riding out from Brisbane to do the ride back with us. So a few of us went and grabbed a snack, good ol Aussie sausage rolls and pies were on order just a light snack. Ol mate showed up and the ones that needed to top up their tanks went and did that, once they were back, we were already warmed up and headed out of town. It was decided at the stop we would continue on the Summerland Way up to Mt Lindsay and leave the Lions Rd for another day.

The Summerland Way going north from Kyogle takes on a feel all its own, the corners are meandering but when on a crest take on an excitement to be experienced then some good straights leading you to that next sweeper, to then a 30 k corner a mixed bag so to speak and just as you are getting the feel you come to the T intersection left to Woodenbong and right to Mt Lindsay, we turned right and continued at a good pace, I was thinking of what lay in front of us as the way down Mt Lindsay is so enjoyable and I’ve ridden it that often I have it burned in my mind. As we start at the 30kph switchbacks, we come up on a couple of cars, one with a car on a trailer fully loaded, the mood dropped, but in saying that, they normally pull over when they can to let us blokes on two wheels get going out of their road. Well one did pull over for us and was thanked by our waves, yet the one with the car trailer just keep going, didn’t give a damn about any other road user, so we all labored down the range at a speed more accustom to a skateboard and you could smell his brakes, so you know he should off for safety sake, just pulled over and let us past but no, cause not, anyway we weren’t going to let one inconsiderate fool spoil it for us, might I add I wasn’t the only one, I feel, that gave the fool the one finger wave once we could got past him. Disappointed well of cause, but no worries as we knew we had more roads in front of us and away we went, after that slow train to china jaunt down the range, once back up to speed felt like we were flying, and as tradition we opened the throttles as we pass the Palen Creek Prison Farm, just in case some that are at her majesty’s pleasure are missing the sounds of their  rides and before you could blink, we were slowing to enter the town of Rathdowny to the waves of a few of the locals that were on the verandah of the local watering hole, always a friendly mob there, and we continued our way knowing our journey was getting closer to its end. So after a few more sweepers and some dry country we entered Beaudesert topped up our tanks, said our good byes, as we were all heading in different directions from here on in. The Sinners Motorcycle Club would like to put a big thanks out to the Celtic Warlocks Motorcycle Club for the invite, on this journey and made memories we will be talking about for a life time.

Write-up & Photos

By Steve Prickle Clancy

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