Aug 30, 2017 - Posted by: Prickle

“Hell is Empty, All the Daredevils Are Here.”

This story started a few months back on a night I was at the Celtic Warlocks clubhouse having a hot cup of coffee and catch up with the blokes. During the course of the evening, I received an invite to go along with them on their annual three-day run...

I did not hesitate with my answer that I responded with, “yeah that sounds terrific”. Feeling really privileged to have been asked to go on their annual run…

So over the coming weeks in-between all the other events, I had been attending I found time to do a full service on the Trumpy. Then I needed to fit my new saddle bags, which I mentioned I had to do this in a past blog told you all I would get around to doing.

This time round instead of throw overs, I hard mounted the new set of saddle bags which are bigger than my last set and lockable, also fitted a sissy bar for long trips and can be taken off when not needed. While doing all this, I had booked her in with my mechanic Pat from Pats Motorcycles for new sprockets and chain and also to replace the cush drive in the rear hub while the wheel was off. Pat mentioned to me we would replace the chain from a 525 to a heavier duty chain of 530 which we both thought that it may not come with a joining link, so I said I would have to get him to do it, as I haven't the tools for peening over the link. As it turned out the 530 did come with a joiner. A couple of hours spent at Pat's doing the job, and then a few more hours of galloping the gums with him and other mates that congregate there and the bike was all ready for the journey.

Well, that was done at Pat's on Monday time flew for the rest of the week before I knew it it was Friday leave day is here. With the extra days that I will be on the road, I packed my RJays expandable bag. It just makes things so easy as you put it over the sissy bar as it has a section for that and two clips and belts wrapped around sissy for added security, no more occy straps, even thou I still carry them just in case they are needed. Met up with Chris a member of the Celtic Warlocks along the Logan motorway and headed to north Maclean where we both topped up our tanks at the BP and continued on to their clubhouse just a little way down the road at Jimboomba.

A few of the lads were there already as we arrive, so the obligatory G’days and shaking of hands took place and the laughter echoed between the buildings. We awaited a couple more to come before getting under way. Wasn’t long and we moved out to the road, so the gates could be locked, just then Abbo was turning the corner. So on that count, we were all accounted for, so made our way onto the Mt Lindsay Highway and headed to our first stop the Aratula pub, oh didn’t I mention this was going to be a pub crawl as we like to call it here in Australia.

The traffic wasn’t that bad for a Friday morning when getting close to our first stop a few shortcut back roads were taken. I do remember having to do this u-turn at one point, which I do believe is good to keep up with the skills of all number of competency based skills such as slow riding manoeuvres while doing a tight turn. Well, that sounds better than saying somebody stuffed up…. A couple more gravel covered corners and we were at the Aratula Pub to have a refreshing drink and to pick up the last of the crew. After a few shots were taken, it wasn’t long, and we were under way to our lunch stop. First things first up that beautiful range called the Gap which by the way is part of the great dividing range. Which runs for miles from the north to south of this great land we call Australia. The road improvements were well worth waiting for, let me tell you. The meandering snaking of bitumen is so so awesome and mixed with the glimpses one can steal from time to time of the great expanse out across the valley as we keep climbing. We do live in a beautiful country if we only took more time to stop and smell the flowers so to speak. As we climbed, you could feel the temperature falling, and when we crested the top of the range, it was a little colder also as this part is usually always in the shade. As we continued towards our fuel stop, we travelled across some open expanse of land, and the roads are rather straight with bends only placed there to as needed to change our direction. It wasn’t long when I could see the Caltex garage in the distance which we were going to stop at to top up with fuel before heading into Warwick for lunch at the Stockyard Hotel. The Pub knew we were coming, so all hands were at the ready as we all ordered our meals and grab our refreshments before heading out to the beer garden. As we sat, we spoke of bits and pieces of our journey so far and of what had been seen, also caught up a little more on what’s been happening in our lives.

After we had eaten, we stretched our legs and walk around a bit to settle our food. By the way, if you're ever up this way on the south side of Warwick and in need of a meal or drink drop into the Stockyard Hotel they are a hospitable lot.  Back to the journey, we needed to make some miles not that we were in a hurry, but it was planned to get to our destination for the first night before dark. As I settled back in and we got back up to that speed we all seem to like sitting on.

One's mind sometimes wanders, you know, what you are doing, but are thinking of something else. As I look out as far as one can, you start to appreciate just how big this country is. When folks are heard saying, “we are over populated” well while I am heading west through all this vacant land you have to ask yourself, how on earth could we be too populated? It is just that we all want to live on the coast the very edge around Australia. While we made our way further west, the road kill was becoming more noticeable. We approached our turn off,  we had to take the Stanthorpe turn off. We were going to make a stop at the pub in town, but the sun was low on the horizon, and we still had a hundred kilometres to go to make it to Texas, so we gave this Pub stop in Stanthorpe a miss this time.

This road we were about to travel on is another road renowned for wildlife. As we travelled it, weaving through many poor souls that had been hit the night before if not longer, we also saw live kangaroos as well. One of which all be it a small one in comparison to some other kangaroos out there, come dashing out at the lead rider. He then noticed there were machines making noise and decided to turn back scratching with all fours a way back off the road to safety. I was seeing more of them as we continued, some quite large just in a little way, more than just off the road, feeding their bellies as it was that time for them to do so. Chris lead the pack then Snatch who was off his left shoulder then Abbo and then myself as we travelled this gradually narrowing road. The light was filtering through the trees and scrub as to make it like an old movie on film when you can see the shutter of light and dark flickering at a great speed.  As we continued the carcasses of many kangaroos and some rather large pigs were strewn all over the place. We were still keeping a good pace, all the while dodging and weaving our way through all this carnage. The unwritten way of communicating for us riders is with hand and foot signals. So whoever is first rider points with either a hand or foot depending what is available at the time as to show any dangerous road conditions or dead animals or anything else he may feel is important enough to let us know about. These same series of hand and foot signals is repeated by us all. As we come across what we have had brought to our attention. A few more kilometres down the road, Chris pointed, and next Snatch stuck his boot out to warn of the impending lump of who knows at this time, except his boot went a bit too low and proceeded to make its way into this offending pile of muck. Well, picture this if you may?  All this is happening at a good rate of speed,  I am, as I’m sure Abbo was looking at what Snatch was pointing at. Just then, his boot slips into this lump like a shovel and launches god only knows at this point of time what it was, but for me, it was like a matrix of what I imagined rotting kangaroo corpse, arms, legs, skin and guts. As it flung to a height which took in from your boot height to the top of one's helmet. By this time we were on our brakes, but one could not escape. There was nowhere to go to avoid this ever growing morphing matrix mass of crap. So just then splat,  all over poor old Abbo, I could only imagine the look on his face and the words out of his mouth as this hit him. I kept looking as without thought we were instinctively back up to speed all the while Abbo looking at his left jacket sleeve that was covered in this muck and shaking it repeatedly to get off what he could. I must admit for me it was challenging riding for a while, trying to see through the tears of laughter and the relief also that I had only gotten hit with a couple of spots of said UFO kicked up by good ol’ Snatch.

As we were settling back down, all the while sun setting, shadows growing longer, dodging more corpses as we rode along. Just then Chris at the lead pointed at a what looked like quite a sizable lump of dead roo. I looked, and by the road position of Snatches bike he had not seen it and wasn’t going to miss it,  as I see him hit this bloated carcass, at full speed,  it explodes all the while I'm saying watch out Abbo watch out, not that he could see nor hear me…  Then I see  Snatches back wheel of his V-Rod was at least a foot and a half off the road.  He hung onto his bike well,  as we behind braked, swerved and to the best of our ability missed the spray that comes from that rotten carcass, with a great Amen,  I reckon as well, not that I’m a religious man. You see by the heading of this story a variant of a Shakespearean quote, “Hell is empty, all the Daredevils are here”… Well, they are on this trip after what had just happened.

A little bit up the road after all the excitement we have just had in the last 100 kilometres, the welcomed sight of the small country town of Texas come into view.  Looked forward to a nice cold drink as at this pub your first drink is free for riders, yes Texas is motorcycle friendly, and they advertise it just that way.

The jocularity or the way we do it the Aussie way is the piss taking started, as we stretched and checked our bikes for UFO droppings. Good ol’Snatch was the flavour of the day as you would understand. I said it was a roo,  Snatch said no no it was a mega fresh cow pat, just then he points to his boot and sure as the bottom of his trousers and his boot remnants of what he shovelled up. All the time this is going on Abbo is looking at what else was covered in this mega fresh cow pat. His bike had a fair bit on it as well on his jacket and sleeve and all over his left jeans leg. I heard Abbo say in jest, Snatch I understand we are in the same room, well sir, sleep with one eye open son and watch out for pillows, well after that, there was an eruption of laughter.

Luckily enough Abbo was able to borrow the publican’s small gerni and proceeded to clean his bike and himself for the next hour and a half let's say, but they both come up a treat. While that was going on the wafting smell of rotten kangaroo was emanating out from Snatches bike, and Chris was giving him heaps about it. I mentioned it’s a tuff life being president in their club when they tried twice to get Abbo, and this is the first day they all laughed and laughed.  After a few drinks, we got our rooms settled in, and all went to tea around 7 or so. Well priced and a great assortment meals to be had from home made rissoles and mash to 500-gram steaks and desserts, well some of the boys just love their desserts. The conversation was on a broad scope but seemed to some how come back on occasion to the day's events and the mega morphing matrix of cow pats and dead roo on bikes ha ha ha ha.

Some of the blokes looked like they were settling in for the night. For me, it was time for a nice hot shower and hit the sack, as it is usually early starts when I am on the road.

Next morning was beautiful and fresh but nowhere near as cold as it was just last week the locals were saying it was zero and minus degrees last week. So a leisurely walk through the quiet town as it was still earlier than the opening times of the shops we looked through the shop windows and looked at real estate prices and what was on around the place on the notice boards and was taught some history from the talking boards strategically put around town. Which told a story of some hard times and how the rabbit fur industry helps this town and those that lived in it.

When we got back to the pub a few more of the sore and sorry headed brigade were doing impressive impersonations of the walking dead, so as per usual all the clear headed ones started talking a little louder.  The Café was open now, so we made our way to order breaky. Some had a full mixed grill because it seems sleeping gives one an appetite. Simple toasted sandwich one round and coffee was the call of the day for me. No rush, after breakfast had finished, we took our time to get the gear back on the bikes and how easy it is now for me with the set up I now have. One bloke said will my bag stay there, yep sure will and if my R-Jay bag comes off, it means I am in one hell of a predicament, I replied.

A little run down of where we stayed, it was the Stockman Hotel Texas Qld. It is clean, comfortable beds and hospitality was flowing, nothing was a hassle, not even organising a gerni and a rack of bike cleaning products provided. The proprietor would not take money for the cleaning products when offered. Meals there was a huge selection of all types of meals, and for those that need gluten free, the menu was marked with GF for gluten free. Drinks service well I didn’t hear a complaint, all over service was second to none. One other thing which stood out to me, they had diet Bunderberg Ginger Beer which to me means I can drink it to my heart's content and not many pubs cater for the patron that looks out for sugars, so thank you for that as well. Parking for us with bikes there is fully covered off street parking. I would recommend the Stock Man Hotel out at Texas Qld to anyone travelling in this part of Qld. See you next time we are through…

Don’t know what time we left as time isn't really important out here. We knew we were headed to Inglewood then through to Millmeran and onto Pittsworth for lunch. For our first pub stop for the day was the Royal Hotel Inglewood Qld a quaint country pub corrugated iron walls you know your in Australia. Few of the boys had some cold refreshments, I had a ginger beer. It looked as though Alby was having problems with charging the battery on his ride. Doesn’t seem to be charging or holding a charge. So its was agreed to disconnect the headlight to save some power and luckily Rob had brought his bump starter which worked a treat.

So when we were about to leave, the five-minute call went out. While some of us geared up Alby, Rokket and Rob started Albys bike and then reconstructed it as the seat, and other parts must come off to get to the battery, the fellas rigged a way to make it a whole lot easier. We all rode out together, in the direction of Millmeran some of the roads out this way are long and straight with scrub either side, but when cresting some of the hills, you get to see for miles. Again it shows the vast expanse, and picturesque and forever changing landscape our great land from down under really is when you pay it some attention.

We rode like the wind and Alby was up in the pack now with his charging problems, so we knew if he was having any problems, no more cattle dog end charlie for now. We rode around, through and beside each other each other, let's just say we got our money's worth of our regos on these roads. You know how it is, some of the stuff that happens on the road stays on the road. Those that partook know what we were up to.

Through Millmerran and towards our lunch stop we only had 40 k’s to go so it wasn’t all that long and we were in air conditioning comfort ordering our lunch at the Pittsworth Hotel. The boys put the feed bag on, as did I. There were hamburgers, huge they were, BLT’s that were even larger, Roast of the day, and I had a caesar salad with chicken which was delicious. As most times with fueling up in small towns, most have one pump or a couple of pumps, but we all want the same fuel, so we do it in dribs and drabs, two at a time so then we are not all lining up. By the time everyone had fueled, Chris and I being last as the servo was shutting their doors, we were all headed for Cooyar yep you guessed it, to the pub. Albys bike was started again, and we were off like scolded cats on a hot tin roof. After a few turns, we were up sitting on our speed again, taking in the scenery, all the while digesting yet another meal, hungry work this travelling, well so it seems lol.

Must say I enjoyed this road we were riding, there are times on a road trip that seem to be the right roads at the right time with some good tunes smashing out in my head the hour and a bit just flew by and before I knew it we were parking up at the Cooyar Hotel. For me, it was that time of the afternoon to grab a bottle of water, go and give the face a wash to wake one's self up.  To also take in the atmosphere you get from being out in the country the noise of the occasional vehicle and all the sounds of the bush and the feathered friends hearing their tunes. As we were about to leave Albys bikes wasn’t starting this time as the jump starter pack had run out of power. We even tried a push start this behemoth of a thing, but no luck. So Abbo tracked one down from one of the campers at the back of the pub, but it was just too small to do the job. People that stop at the bar were asked if they had jumper leads, nope not a one. The publican was asked, and she didn’t think she had any jumper leads, but went and had a good look and found a set. The boys used her car it was to no avail.

So, it was decided Alby, Rocket, Snatch, and Rob were going to stay and put the battery on the charger at the Cooyar hotel, and once they could start the bike, they would meet us at the Hotel Radnor at Blackbutt where we were staying the night.  We headed off as the sun was really very low on the horizon, as we rode to the very end of the New England highway once there turned right onto the D’Auguilar Highway and followed that right to Hotel Radnor. It was just on dusk when we got there, so we unpacked grab our rooms and got to checking the place out and talking with the publican and his wife. It was a little while later we ordered our dinner which I had bangers and mash and veggies. The meals were huge, and the atmosphere can only be described as great as, all there were happy as Larry as the night went on. Wasn’t too long after we finished eating the boys rumbled into the Hotel parking lot which was great to have us all under one roof again and off these dark and kangaroo ridden roads. After we caught up on what had happened on the run to here Sean the publican was kind enough to have a charger that could be used over night to keep the battery up to the maximum.

Chris and I had a bit of a walk around town and back to the pub where a night of Karaoke was getting under way. We stepped into the dining room where most of the blokes were eating by this time they were on their desserts, just then the Birthday cake was brought in, we could see it was a huge surprise to Abbo. It was his birthday, Ronny had organised for a cake to be on hand for this occasion. We all wished him a happy birthday, and we all shared his chocolate plus cake with him to celebrate this grand occasion.

As the evening progressed the strained karaoke voices become louder and more off key to us sober ones. Another night that I was very thankful to have been offered and took him up on some ear plugs. Not that I was going to get all that much sleep as it turned out, as I was awakened in the very early morning with sinus pain in my face that felt like I had been kicked. After swallowing some panadol, I noticed that the place was in silence. It was a long night of broken sleep, but it was warm and dry so one must be thankful for small mercies. Again we were up early and having a cuppa and getting all the morning jobs out of the road. Chris and I grabbed breakfast at the pie shop across the road from the Pub, as the blokes got stuck into their enormous bacon, and egg rolls freshly made the publicans wife.

After breakfast had settled, and a few had gone to top up on fuel, I then took my turn and pulled into the service station to be met by a young local asking all kinds of questions and knowing a lot more of what we were doing in town than I did I reckon. Friendly mob these country folk and as he paid attention to my bike and what was happening and full of enthusiastic question which I was more than happy to answer, I welcome his inquisitiveness. Paid for my fuel, shook his hand and hope to see him next time I was through here. Maybe this young bloke might get into bikes for himself because of a few friendly words off an old rider like myself, you never know. I still remember being treated respectfully by the old bikers of my neighbourhood and my father which got me hooked on these two wheeled contraptions. Back to the hotel, I rode, as I was walking past Snatches bike I noticed, as did others I’m sure, a patch of oil. It seemed that dead kangaroo did get his revenge after all for being run over, as it had dislodged a wire and its grommet from the side casing allowing the oil to drip. So it was looked at, and laughter was heard as it always is on the faint sufferings of others when the jokes start and the digs in the ribs continue. Snatch checked it out he wasn't that worried by the looks and would sort it once he was home. We said our goodbyes to our hosts which had been so hospitable to us all. Nothing was any trouble, and we were treated like kings. I would recommend the Radnor Hotel to anyone passing this way. Food was just like mum makes, and the refreshments were cold, and the coffee was delicious. The publican himself is a rider and has a few bikes of his own as I witnessed an old knuckle the night before. It was time to leave, and we did leave but reluctantly, as we knew we are on the last leg of our journey. We stayed on the D’Auguilar Highway but took a back road just outside Kilcoy that takes you past Mount Archer and past the Woodford prison, so the blokes in there got a treat to hear what freedom sounds like. This road joins back up to the Highway just down from the centre of Woodford. Through the small township of Woodford we rode, then onto and past the D’Aguilar Hotel, just a little further we were back onto the motorway and down into the BP South it would be our last stop, so we said our good byes and thanks as we were not be stopping again until we all reached home. Once back onto the highway, Alby was first to exit, waves were given, then it was my turn after going over the gateway bridge, I took my exit with a wave and a thumbs up to the blokes that were left. Ten minutes later I was pulling into my driveway totally refreshed and buggered at the same time as the journey was over for this moment in time, but there will be more adventures to come. When the Daredevils continue what generations of riders have done before us and will do after we have ridden on, feel the breeze on the knees and the freedom of the road, that only a bikers and dogs know only too well.

So, until we meet again, may the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, ride well and watch out for those damn cars.

Write-up & Photos & Video

By Steve Prickle

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