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A medal, a cross and a Kangaroo

A medal,  a cross and a Kangaroo - Peter H
I had to visit my folks in Gippsland and had a week to do it. Thanks to 6 feet of snow on Mount Hotham I knew a trip over the mountains was definitely not on.
Should I take the car?

Crikey, the way members are dropping their bikes lately weighed heavily on my mind! That old Chestnut - FEAR.

The weather looked ordinary as well. Plenty of reasons to drive. My great mate Peter C summed it up over the phone, ‘ you gotta ride mate, go for it!’

With a tail wind straight out of hell I did the 250 miles to Bendigo. No problems! The next day looked a bit more challenging, rain and hail predicted. A text message and I had a bed on the Dividing Range for the following night. Would my bike get wet for the first time?

An old bloke in pyjamas came out of his motel room next morning and  told me to turn the big twin off as I warmed it up. No way, I was nearly ready to go! When you’re riding a 30 year old bike you treat it with love and care.

Arriving at the farm at Turip Turip I had experienced a few drops of rain and saw big black clouds full of snow racing over the high ranges. I negotiated the farm track and as my exhaust announced my arrival a garage door went up and the Harley had still never been in the rain.

That afternoon I split wood in the dryness of a shed while hail and rain and rainbows went past. Leaving at a reasonable hour next day I followed in the Chapter Six traditional run from the Black Spur to Healesville, Yarra Junction and over to Warragul. Because I live a long way from here I can’t do the Over the Mountains rides these days. Maybe a good thing, I took it pretty slow on the okd Harley over the Spur!!

Plenty if people at cafes and stops commenting on the bike and its chrome. Why not, its never been dirty! Catching up with my folks and also going to the AA steps meeting in Sale was a highlight of the trip. Hey, I havn’t been in a car yet! Yeah I’m a member of Chapter Six.

My Dad is 92 and is one of 4 surviving Victorians who were in France when it was liberated 70 years ago. The French Prime Minister gave him a medal for that this year, it was their highest honour -  The Medal of Honour. Not receiving one myself, but I have been sober a long time thanks to the miracle of AA. This is the best way I can repay my family for the hell I put them through in active alcoholism.

Planning to go home on freeways was a no brainer as rain was predicted until I got back in the wide open plains of the Mallee. I hate wearing wet weather gear and looking at the radar it was only showers with sunny breaks! Surely the Old bike would stay dry?

Halfway to Melbourne a dude pulled up in the lane next to me on a brand new Electra Glide. He had all the options, big leather cases, hard panniers, windscreen etc. he roared off after checking my classic naked cruiser. Only luggage I had was an old sailbag of clothes held on to the rack with occy straps!

Just down the road it started raining. And then it got heavy! Damn. My jeans were getting wet but I soldiered on. Up ahead the big twin cam, God knows how big the engine is on them 2017 Harleys, was slowing down. As I passed him with all his wet weather gear on I gave my old  Harley a good squirt and noticed he was taking the exit to get out of the rain!!!

Heading home the next day I was wearing my new Harley Heaven T Shirt that Ronny from Ky had admired so much. It has a Kangaroo riding a Harley on the front. It commemorates 100 years of HD down under and I felt safe to wear it now.

God Bless everyone.


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