Inclement skies and a rather pessimistic weather forecast probably kept some away but seven hardy or perhaps foolhardy souls turned up at the Magill supermarket car park for the start of our ride to Mannum via Tailem Bend and two ferry trips.
Riders and their machines were:- Graham Riley 2017 Indian Scout, Wayne Williams 2008 Yamaha XVS650, George Elovaris 1981 BMW R65, Kym Miller 1978 Suzuki SP370, David Saint 2012 BMW RT900, Allan Morris 2016 Triumph Speedmaster 865cc & Alan Kernich 1985 BMW R80.
The beginning of the ride up Old Norton Summit Road was dry (for the first kilometre or so) but further up into the hills the weather was gloomy, cold and rainy. Most had trouble with visors misting up and let’s face it, we are not used to this sort of weather! We arrived safely at Cafe Littlehampton – warm with good food and coffee and with off street parking. Thankfully the rain had stopped at Balhannah and now we even saw glimpses of blue sky.
After refreshment we headed off through Nairne (where we noted very cheap fuel prices at the United servo) and on to the outskirts of Murray Bridge. A right turn on the Old Swanport Road bypassed the town and led on to the Jervois road southward along the river and our first ferry crossing. Into Tailem Bend and a fuel stop for the Suzuki which can just about make it from one pump to the next! Then a new route for us north through the Mallee – still pretty dry out there – across the Karoonda Highway and then back towards the river and our second ferry crossing into Mannum and the Pretoria Hotel for lunch. The Sunday special, roast lamb, was excellent value!
The ride broke up into several small groups for the trip home. My own route through Birdwood and Houghton was uneventful although the cold and intermittently drizzly weather made it rather unpleasant.
This route covered about 200km and was somewhat shorter than those of previous years which included Milang or Walkers Flat or both. The variety of available river crossings will allow a variety of rides in future years.
Alan Kernich, Club Captain