A couple of years ago my boss at the time asked if I was interested in going for a bike ride south to Bundaberg. Yep. So we sailed off one sunny mid-week morning (the joys of shift work!) on the Bruce Highway.
The weather was great, and the old KLE was pumping along quite nicely. This was the first big ride I’d done on the bike since the rebuild, and I was keen to see how she’d go. My last run ‘down the road’ resulted in my discovering that the engine was getting a little tired, just short of 100 000 klms. No worries, some money changed hands, and a local mechanic ripped it to pieces and put it all back together again with some mods, and a couple of tweaks.
After a careful running in period, and a couple of oil changes I was ready for a slightly longer run, and the 400 – 500 klm round trip was just what the Doctor ordered. We pulled up at the Apple Tree Creek Pub, where I checked the engine oil, and chain before enjoying a cold beer. Afterwards we turned back North on the Bundy road, and slid between the lines of sugar cane on each side of the highway.
My boss made a sudden turn onto an old road, so I followed him. We ended up at the Cordalba pub. A hotel in the middle of nowhere, with great service, great views and a friendly barmaid. We had the one beer, a bit of a look round at the old photos, and spent some time patting a friendly dog. Back on the bikes we hit Bundaberg town.
While cruising down the main street I noted a bloke wearing bikie colours look up as I rumbled by. The note on my bike is fairly prominent (just ask my neighbours when I do my early morning starts), so I thought he was just having a bit of a look. Instead he started pointing at me and indicating to pull over. Now… in the past, I’ve run into trouble in Bundy. It’s a nice place, but geez, I’ve had some aggro there. It seems like every time I visit I run into some nutjob. So I ignored him and his mate, and rode on.
Lunch was just up the street at another pub. As I ordered the beers while we waited, I saw my boss being confronted by the two bikies, and I heard one of them say, “You the bloke on the KLE?” My boss, pointed straight at me and said, “Nah, mate, you want Greg.”
Yeah, ‘Thanks ‘mate’!’ I thought, and putting the beer back on the bar, braced myself for the confrontation.
“You riding the KLE mate?” asked the taller of the two.
“Yep,” I said keeping my face neutral.
“I’ve got some shit at home for you if you want it,” he said, and put his hand out and introduced himself. I breathed a sigh of relief, ordered some more beers and we talked turkey.
It turned out that he had a complete exhaust system, an unused bash plate and some other bits and pieces, and was asking bugger all for them. All I had to do was arrange to pick them up next time I was down. How good was that. I had a complete rethink about Bundaberg and its’ people…
After lunch, we cruised northwards, and took another unsigned turnoff. This time, after much backtracking, head (well, helmet) scratching, and some swearing we fetched up at Bucca pub. It’s a beautiful place, nestled on a small hill overlooking a clean running creek, surrounded by fields of small crops, and the odd cattle farm. I regretted not having my camping gear with me, as it would have been too easy to settle in for the afternoon, and a pleasant evening of eating, drinking and chatting with the friendly locals.
Instead we saddled up, and hit the road, eventually finding our way back to the old highway. A quick top up at the Avondale Tavern (or the Avvy Tavvy as we have come to know it!) and we pushed on home as the shadows from the overhanging trees covered the highway.
The bike ran well, and had plenty of punch when I needed it, so it was with a large smile on my face that I slid into my driveway and slipped the kickstand down.
Why am I posting this today? Well, this afternoon, I was refitting my new exhaust and I recalled the day I came across the bloke who owned all the parts now sitting on my bike.
Life is full of chance meetings, sometimes they’re good ones 🙂 And as I fired the old girl up I thought, ‘Time for another ride.’ You never know who you might meet, or where you may end up…. and that’s half the fun.