Marysville to Eildon to Marysville… Are we there yet?

Marysville to Eildon to Marysville… Are we there yet?
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Yarra Ranges Branch claims a Tail End Charlie `first’

If this report had pictures they would probably embarrass everyone – Ed.

I rode in to Brunch to have a quiet breakfast, read the paper and mind my own business. Next minute I'm accosted by Kelvin Blair and Eric Crombie and told, 'Saddle up, you're coming to Marysville'. No breakfast for me, not even a coffee. To make matters worse, Ed Morris told me he didn't have my $100 note from last Saturday. He claimed someone called 'Liz' had it. A likely story!

We had a nice ride to Marysville under a cloudless sky, taking the most direct route along the Maroondah Hwy and over the Black Spur, arriving just before 11 am. The last 10 kilometres I spent dreaming of the lovely 'big breakfast' with eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns and avocado that I was about to order.

With the other two I pulled into the caravan park that is booked out by the club every Twin Spurs Rally weekend, eased off the bike and was told, 'Saddle up boys, you're coming to Eildon. Ride leaves in 5 minutes.' What?

There were bikes everywhere and the place looked really nice. It's amazing how it's bounced back so well from the fire, all the cabins were shaded by trees. I made a mental note that next year I will definitely be doing Twin Spurs... no excuses.

 

Well for starters it's always risky having Mick as Ride Leader because of his rascally identical twin brother John. As it turned out, John didn't appear to be there, so he was unable to infiltrate the ride and take a random turnoff followed by half the riders.

About 25 or so Ulyssians assembled for the ride to Eildon for lunch (I kissed the idea of breakfast goodbye) with an eclectic range of conveyances including all manner of motorbikes, a trike, someone in a car who seemed to later disappear and maybe someone on a horse, but I'm not willing to swear to it.

Okay, how hard can it be to ride from Marysville to Eildon as a cohesive group?  Well... just to be certain, the group had appointed a high powered 'Brains Trust' of Crofty and Fonzie to plan and execute the whole thing like a military exercise. Furthermore, we had a cunning plan. We appointed Phil to be Tail End Charlie on his trike, but also had Kelvin in a fluorescent exploding safety vest that made him look for all the world like a, well... Tail End Charlie. As Max would say, “The old double decoy trick, Ninety Nine.”

So the official positions were;

Ride leader: Crofty
Person who rides up and down overtaking people: Fonzie
Tail End Charlie: Phil
Person who looks like the Tail End Charlie but has no official position: Kelvin.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well for starters it's always risky having Mick as Ride Leader because of his rascally identical twin brother John. As it turned out, John didn't appear to be there, so he was unable to infiltrate the ride and take a random turnoff followed by half the riders.

Anyway, we got as far as maybe Alexandra and, to give Phil's version of events, “the corner marking system went tits up.” The crime scene re-enactment established that some corner marker thought Kelvin was TEC and took off after him, leaving the real TEC and a small group of unfortunates to guess (incorrectly) which way we'd gone. Others claimed that the corner marking system blew up at least twice, but anyway, once was enough.

We were also entertained by two U-turns which I'd assumed were due to wild camels blocking the road. However, I have since learnt that the ride leader became temporarily 'location challenged', or to put it another way, took the wrong road. A mean spirited person could have described it as something of a shemozzle, but the sun was shining, Fonzie's favourite Skyline Rd was a treat to ride and the view out over Eildon from the lookout was stunning. We stopped and took a few photos, and noted that Phil and several others were mysteriously absent.

As we cruised along I reflected on how you can really do a lot of decent thinking on rides and wondered if Plato and Aristotle were maybe motorcyclists? For about 15 minutes I thought about how my arse was getting a bit sore, then I became very interested in an insect that got inside my visor. Rides definitely stimulate the brain.

 

Eric then chimed in with a story about a bloke who had a cockatoo that swore. One day it swore at his guests so he grabbed it and stuck it in the freezer to chill out. After 15 minutes he took the avian miscreant out and the shivering bird promised never to swear again.

A new record!
When we got to the bakery at Eildon it became official. This was the first Yarra Ranges Ulysses ride where the Tail End Charlie arrived 20 minutes before the Ride Leader! A proud moment for us all.

Finally I got to order food and decided to have one large roll for breakfast and one large roll for lunch, simultaneously. A nice thing about these kind of events is that you get to know more about your fellow club members. I was at a table with Homer and he kindly told us about the valuable rare bird he hoped to purchase. It sounded like it's a Han's Macaw, a smaller version of the Macaw, presumably named after Han Solo, the intergalactic pirate who must have had one perched on his shoulder. I reckon if Homer got an eye patch and a wooden leg, with his own Macaw perched on his shoulder he'd cakewalk into the next 'Pirates of the Caribbean' as an extra. Apparently this bird was going to cost him thousands of dollars. As some wag pointed out, he could get a similar one for ten bucks at Coles, and already cooked.

Eric then chimed in with a story about a bloke who had a cockatoo that swore. One day it swore at his guests so he grabbed it and stuck it in the freezer to chill out. After 15 minutes he took the avian miscreant out and the shivering bird promised never to swear again. It then asked fearfully “What the hell did that frozen chook do?” Once you've heard that joke you can never un-hear it. Sorry folks.

Fonzie nominated me to write this ride report despite me not knowing how many riders were there, what roads we'd ridden on, and being basically clueless. The vote passed on a show of hands with one against. (Mine)

After my two rolls I felt a bit full, but to console myself about being ride reporter I ordered a large chocolate covered biscuit they called a 'wagon wheel', but it was twice the girth of the old Westons ones. I was a quarter way into it and making hard work of it when I heard the shout “Saddle up, we're heading back”. Just no luck... ever.

The ride back to Marysville was uneventful as far as I can tell, and despite the minor misadventures on the way to Eildon we all finished the ride butter side up, so it was declared a successful outing. Actually one Snake, who shall remain nameless, almost dropped his bike, allegedly for the first time in 30 years, right at the start of the ride, but caught it just in time to save his reputation.

Although I do occasionally take the piss a bit, sincere thanks to Mick Crofts and John Eckhardt for organising a very enjoyable ride and to Fabulous Phil Bellamy for agreeing to be TEC, even if he did arrive first through no fault of his own.

After some refreshments and good company back at the cabins, the three of us not staying overnight headed off with talk of an impending 'roast pig on spit' ringing in our ears. Kelvin was ride leader, Eric was the main bunch and I was Tail End Charlie and we didn't stuff it up once. Now that's how you do it!

Submitted by Henry Rokx #28636 on behalf of Guy West.  #62746

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

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