This year wasn’t going to be the year we set records for numbers, but we are sure our dedication to the task and our desire to do something wonderful for a special group of people contributed, once again, to a very successful event. If you think those words sound familiar that’s because they were used to begin last months article. From many points of view the good news is that they turned out to be 100% correct.
We did have a smaller group of volunteers this time but under the circumstances we did astonishingly well. This year’s guests for the family programme featured an unusually high number (indeed there were fifteen – Ed) of little people (children under eight years old) and this meant that the sidecars were in demand for the main riding day (Friday). We had four sidecars for Friday with another one arriving Friday night to help with the Mass Ride.
I am pleased to report also that the shiny new helmets in extra small (a recent donation from Monza Imports) were just what we needed to get this group into the sidecars and out riding! Just on that note, we need to acknowledge our Ride Leader Greg for his hard work and diligence in bringing about that donation. It had been a “nice to have “ rather than a “must have” from the Cooma organisers that host the family programme but Greg saw that as a direct order and as you know he likes to see things through to ensure a positive outcome. As a consequence six brightly coloured Bell open face helmets in kiddie sizes arrived in Cooma just before the event and they were an enormous help in organising all those small children for riding.
As mentioned earlier our numbers were down a little on previous years but that didn’t stop us from meeting all our commitments for the organisers. We had a visit at Lambie St Kindergarten in Cooma on Thursday morning, VIP rides for local radio station people in Jindabyne Thursday lunchtime and a visit to Jindy Kindy on Thursday afternoon. Friday was the usual full riding day for all our participants with children, parents, carers etc. travelling from Thredbo to Charlotte’s Pass and then back to Lake Crackenback resort. On Saturday morning Greg and a small team of solo motorcyclists did some VIP rides out of Thredbo for us and then of course everybody went to the lodge on Saturday afternoon to load up for the Mass Ride. As you can see we were all pretty busy and Greg’s influence while staying in the Caravan Park at Jindabyne payed off very nicely with him being able to recruit (actually he volunteered) one of our very low profile members Eddie (by that I mean someone we hadn’t heard from much) and two of his Goldwing riding mates to help make up numbers of bikes for parents in the Mass Ride. Thanks a lot Eddie, your thoughtfulness is appreciated and made the day just that much better for some delighted parents!
Indeed we want to say a big “Thank You” to all of our participants. We rather think that it says something about what you get from the event that you choose to return and volunteer for a great cause! Sheriff Dan, Jasol and Les travelled the longest distances. (Jasol did well, imagine travelling from Pt Lincoln to Thredbo on a tractor and still being able to smile about it!) and Dan and Les you certainly qualify as “repeat offenders!” Your committee can plan, organise and co-ordinate but without all of you guys and gals we wouldn’t have anything to work with.
By way of a sad footnote, 2013 will be the year that is remembered because there were some motorcycle fatalities in the area on that same weekend. One was on the day of the event itself, the rider apparently on his way to join friends and participate in the ride. Any loss of life is tragic, but the media just couldn’t help themselves and wasted no time reporting: “Charity motorcycle event marred by three deaths”; “Horror Motorcycling weekend” etc, etc.. All of which, doesn’t help. The Police who were in the area for the event said that they were happy with the behaviour of motorcyclists this year and the number of offences committed was down on previous years.
The media pursued Sue Walter and Allan McGuirk (the two main organisers for the Snowy Ride) who both made very responsible and empathetic statements expressing great sadness at the loss of life but pointing out that motorcycling is an inherently dangerous activity and that the Foundation emphasises the ride is not a competition or race and that indeed the instructions in the starting pack sent to every entrant just prior to the weekend contain safety messages and road condition alerts. Let us all hope that the future of this great event is not adversely affected
Anyway, that’s another successful Snowy Ride completed. Thanks once again for your support. We hope your experience has proved the accuracy of our slogan: “The Snowy Ride, the best thing you’ll ever do with your Goldwing!”
The Snowy Ride Committee wishes to extend the compliments of the season to everyone. We look forward to a happy, prosperous and safe 2014.
Graham & Christine Merrick and Greg O’Loughlin
Another Snowy Ride has come and gone and from our AGA perspective, 2012 was a very successful and rewarding year. As your organising committee, we can proudly report that we were able to respond to every request that was made of us. As has become the custom in recent years, that meant getting reasonable numbers of bikes and riders involved in promotional activities as early as Thursday, and then backing up again for an early start Friday. Friday has certainly become the main riding day for the children and families.
We were able to start on Friday morning with 23 bikes including 3 outfits which were loaded to the max with 2 and often 3 small children and an adult. The families that look after the guests of the “Family Programme” coordinate the supply of helmets and safety vests to all guests. There are 30 sets- and for most of the weekend everything was in use! On Saturday we even used a few extra helmets that we always have at the ready in the outfits! Once again the weather looked to be of concern approaching the event, and it was certainly cold on Friday morning, but the sun was shining and it turned into a fantastic day. There was a lot of excitement this year because there was more snow around than any of us can remember. Once we got the children to the resort at Charlottes Pass, they were then taken by bus up to the summit and everybody had a great time throwing snowballs and making snowmen. I’m sure there will be some wonderful photos available on u-tube etc.
Later in the day we transported our guests to Crackenback Resort and more serious play ensued. There were canoes and paddle boards for paddling and falling off. Segway personal transporters to get the hang of, archery equipment to experiment with, AND, for some very special people and their Mums, A Navy Helicopter!! The helicopter made several trips and everybody was suitably impressed!
The fact that the Snowy Ride Family Programme can pull an Operational Navy Helicopter surely gives some indication of the credibility and legitimacy of the event and the people who organise it.
Saturday was a great day weatherwise and a great day for soaking up the atmosphere of The Snowy Ride. Our contingent had the greater part of the day off with our only commitment being to pick up every guest we could from the lodge in Thredbo at 3pm, so that everyone got to enjoy the Mass Ride.
We’re pleased to report it all worked very well and we had at least 26 bikes (maybe 1 or 2 more depending on which video you’re studying) heading up the Mass Ride. This meant over 30 enthusiastic passengers (although some of the younger children in the sidecars seem to go to sleep very readily) and everybody seemed to enjoy the experience thoroughly. Once we had delivered our precious cargo back to the lodge in Thredbo we said our goodbyes and our 2012 Snowy Ride experience was over.
As each year goes by we get to know the organisers and other volunteers a little better (and they get to know us) and as that familiarity grows it becomes more like saying goodbye to family- a bit like the AGA –“Friends and Family”….. you know what we’re saying, and of course each year there are new children and parents who enjoy what we do for them and give us so much back in return. There is sure to be a bumper crop of wonderful photos from this year and we’re all looking forward to seeing them.
This report is being prepared only a week or so after the event and already we’ve received several e-mails conveying the gratitude of the organisers and from individuals who really do appreciate what we were able to do.
Speaking of gratitude, your committee, as always, would like to thank all of our participants for a job well done. To the riders, thank you, we are always complimented on our appearance, our machinery, and, on the responsible manner in which we conduct ourselves. To the passengers, pillions and other halves the same applies and also so many of the guests enjoy meeting you and value your help with fastening helmets etc , not to mention the fact that they realise you’re giving up your seat for them.
As we’ve said before, your committee can make arrangements and plan things but without a willing group of volunteers we wouldn’t have much to work with. We hope you enjoyed the 2012 Snowy Ride and the special part we played in it!
Graham, Chris and Greg would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe 2013
Snowy Ride: “The best thing you’ll ever do with your GoldWing”
“Thank You” –is just two small words. It expresses what your committee wants to say to each and every one of you who participated, but unfortunately in many other respects doesn’t adequately convey our gratitude to you all for a job well done !
As we approached this year’s event we knew some things would be a little different. We also felt it was almost certain there would be changes as we went along. Both considerations proved to be 100% correct and once again (as anticipated) we traded heavily on everybody’s good will and good humour! Thank you for your patience and good humour.
Your committee does worry about “messing everybody around so much”. We were pleased and relieved that on so many occasions the sentiment expressed by you guys and gals (our participants) was simply “It doesn’t matter, we’re here for the kids and families, just tell us what you want us to do.” Thank you for your dedication.
Now that we’ve filled in a small amount of detail about our “Thank You”, we can share some other details and celebrate what in fact turned out to be a very good year. The event this year attracted 3115 entrants. While this doesn’t quite surpass the total from last years’ 10th anniversary event the organisers were very pleased and consider the event to have been very successful. From our perspective, everything we were involved in went very well. The organisers and the people we work with were delighted with the outcome and impressed by our dedication. While some of the public relations type tasks we do on the Thursday seem perhaps a little removed from the “Snowy Ride Family Programme” brief, we have been assured that they really make a difference in promoting the event.
Another factor which certainly contributed towards the success of the event was the weather which by “Snowy Ride Standards” was perfect. Ah yes, some of our long term attendees will say “about flaming time!” Seriously, it does demonstrate what a fantastic event the Snowy Ride is, having superb weather to enjoy some of the best roads in Austalia. It doesn’t get any better than that!
As has become our custom, we adequately demonstrated the “Friendship and Family Across Australia” aspect of our association with our participants coming from a range of chapters. Once again this year the distance award goes to a sizeable contingent from South Australia and also to Les “Big Daddy” Sorensen (now a shadow of his former self!) from Brisbane. Thank you all for making the trip and being such a regular part of our contingent. (Graham calls all of you “repeat offenders”- he means it in the nicest possible way!) Needless to say, to the rest of you who made up our 26 bike contingent (who may not have travelled quite as far) your efforts in attending are equally appreciated, and, it’s the contribution made by everyone that brings about the fantastic result, which is something we can all be very proud of.
The other important news announced at this years event is that there is going to be another Around Australia Ride in 2013. The organisers are looking for expressions of interest, so if the idea appeals to you, then have a look at the Snowy Ride website (www.snowyride.org.au) to see where to send your e-mail response.
Well, that’s it for the Snowy Ride for another 12 months! Normally, there are a few of you who write a report about the ride for the current year and we hope that continues because it gives a personal insight into participating and always adds all the news and gossip. Of course photos will be in demand and add so much to any report so please consider it your duty to send something along to the editor. He’ll be very grateful (Indeed I will – Ed) and so will everybody else!
In conclusion your committee would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Wonderful Christmas and Happy and Prosperous 2012.
Please remember, wherever you ride, ride safely
This year’s Snowy Ride was an enormous success for a whole heap of reasons. Yes, 2010 was quite a year for the Snowy Ride and for the Steven Walter Foundation, the organisation that runs it. 2010 was the year of the tenth annual Snowy Ride and as a celebratory activity we had the inaugural “Around Australia Ride”- Yet another first for the Snowy Ride Organisers!-
52 bikes (10 pillions ) and 4 support vehicles, a total of 800,000km covered and everyone made it to the finish in Thredbo (even the guy who unfortunately broke his leg in what could only be described as a “freak” accident) AND, over $300,000 raised for the Foundation! What a curtain raiser for this year’s Snowy Ride!
Preliminary figures indicate approx. $250,000 from this years ride. (3,281 paid up entrants, the biggest year ever) This brings the total amount raised over the ten years the event has been running to approx. 4 million dollars.
All of that money has gone toward research into effective treatment and development of treatment programmes and options to bring about improved outcomes in the treatment of childhood cancer.
Our AGA contingent had a big year as well with six bikes in the AAR and then being able to provide over 30 fabulous Goldwings to head up the 2010 Mass Ride. We again experienced the wonderfully variable weather conditions the Snowy Mountains area can throw at motorcycle riders and everyone coped admirably.
I hope there’ll be some articles from some of our members which will give an individual perspective and more details (and of course, some pictures) about this year’s ride and our contingent’s activities.
I know from Greg’s, Chris’ and my perspective we can only say “Thanks” to all our participants for coming along and doing the fantastic job you always do. You all need to know that what we do is really appreciated and does make an amazing difference to some very special people. At the risk of repeating ourselves we reckon you all now have an understanding of why we describe the Snowy Ride as “The best thing you’ll ever do with your Goldwing”.
We hope you’re all planning to return to this great event next year.
In the absence of Graham Merrick leading up to this years Snowy Ride, because he was riding around Australia with a heap of other like-minded souls, I was in a position to “fill his shoes” (and big shoes they are) when it came to the final organising for the AGA. We had the biggest show of GoldWings ever at the Snowy Ride and I want to sincerely thank all those who attended and worked together to make the weekend a huge success. One player cannot win a rugby league grand final. It takes an entire team, and we had a winning weekend with everyone working as one. In particular, the ladies ... our snow bunnies ... so graciously give up their pillion seats for the Snowy Ride kids and travel in the comfort of a bus to and from the various destinations in the company of parents and helpers.
Thanks again to everybody for working together so well. It made my job so much easier.
Dave and I left home at 6:00am on Thursday heading for Oberon where we picked up Bob Burden before continuing on our way to Goulburn then to Sutton for a quick fuel stop.
We headed for Canberra Motorcycles new workshop where we were to meet up with Steve Eslick. After getting lost we passed the old site and after reading the message on the door we proceeded to the new store. We then passed Steve going the other way but he missed us making a left turn and as we pulled up in the parking lot Steve scooted down the road looking for us. We tried to contact him via the CB but Steve had his turned off.
After talking with Jamie at the new store we where invited to tour the premises. Hey what a great workshop and showroom, it looks fantastic. We finally said our goodbyes to the guys at Canberra Motorcycles and headed off to Jindabyne. As we where nearing the dam wall Bob called out that he thought he spotted Steve and sure enough here was Steve pulling over to the side of the road on the outskirts of Jindabyne. He had been chasing us down since he left Canberra, managed to have some Maccas for lunch and to refuel his bike before we caught him!
Thursday afternoon saw the bikes at the Jindy Kindy for all the pre-school kids to look at our bikes and to have a sit on them. One of our members had the keys in his bike with ignition on so that the kids could blow the horn and his ingenious charge actually started his bike.
We all met up with the rest of the members who had arrived on Thursday or prior to for a trip up to Thredbo to meet the kids and families but due to the weather it was decided that the usual evening ride for the kids would not take place so we headed for the gear shop. After spending our money we all headed back to Jindabyne for dinner.
Friday was an early start, heading up to Thredbo before 8:00am. This year was a first for the families as a second lodge has been donated for use it meant that double the families could attend and the two groups were given separate tasks to do, so while the original lodge went for a ride out to Charlottes Pass the new lodge stayed at Thredbo and visited the different activities around there.
My pillion for the day was Heather who is a volunteer from Jindabyne that helps out every year but had never been on a GoldWing prior to this. She thoroughly enjoyed here ride, including the temperature reports coming over the CB which got down to 1 degree. We had quite a bit of snow falling whilst on our trip around the snowy mountains.
We all headed back to Thredbo to greet the Around Australia Snowy Ride participants arrive at Thredbo especially our own members Graham, Christine, Paul, Maria, Lewis, Missy, Ken, Melinda, Peter and Les. All had a fantastic time and would have done it again. (I heard it mentioned that they could have been in Alice Springs by Tuesday if they leave now by one of the riders)
After all the presentations (each rider/pillion received a medallion) we headed back to Jindabyne. Dave, Bob and I decided to go to the pub beside the Bowling Club for dinner and we were joined by Mark, Cecily, David, Michael and Sandra. It was $10.00 cook it yourself steak night with all you could eat salad bar. Whilst cooking our steaks we dined plentifully on king prawns.
Saturday we were off again to pick up our passengers from the second lodge for our ride to Eucumbene Dam. As we were waiting out side the lodge for our passengers Madeleine, my passenger from last year walked past and said “Don’t give away my seat, I’ll be back in five minutes.”
We left Thredbo and headed down the hill to Jindabyne stopping at East Jindabyne whilst we waited for those bikes (trikes and sidecars) that would not make the full trip to re-fuel and then off again. It was a very enjoyable ride along this part of the country side and we had a bit of excitement when a small kangaroo wanted to cross the road just missing Greg O’ in front of me and a couple of bikes behind me.
After lunch we headed to Crackenback Resort via Berridale where we pulled over for a small break (fuel and rest rooms, Andy even got out his thermos and biscuits and had some afternoon tea). When we arrived at the resort the kids all went and looked at all the attractions.
We all saddled up for the Mass Ride heading out to the Ski Tube car park via the back entrance making it a lot easier than having to come out onto the main road. The parade was great again this year but not long after we dropped off our pillions the heavens opened up.
The saying that goes with this weekend truly says it all “this has to be ultimately the best thing that you’ll ever do with your Wing.”
I believe a big thankyou must go again to the AGA Snowy Ride organisers Graham and Christine Merrick and Greg O’Loughlin for all the hard work they put in through out the year. Also to our quiet achievers, the hard working Snow Bunnies, our wives and partners who help dress our charges and make them feel comfortable.
The Snowy Ride was very special too. It was the tenth anniversary – which isn’t bad for an event that was to be a “one off”! And, it was the culmination of the “Around Australia Ride” for seventy or so people.
I was fortunate enough to be at the Snowy Ride on my newly acquired GL1500 with sidecar (some of you also seen it at the Sanity Rally) which made it very special to be able to carry three Snowy Ride Kids on board – thanks to Cec for giving up her seat and travelling in the comfort of a heated coach.
The kids really do get a kick out of riding on the GoldWings and they talk about it for months afterward. Thanks to Greg O’Loughlin and an interview some parents did with the press, I carried them and their 21 month boy, Benjamin in second position (following Greg) on the Mass Ride into Thredbo. What a privilege and an honour it was. It was all too much for young Ben and he fell asleep in the sidecar beside his dad, Keith. Many people who passed by the outfit will never forget that sight. It was truly beautiful. Ben’s mum and dad were almost speechless at Thredbo, amid the thousands of motorcyclists that rode in behind us and literally swamped the place. And when I said it was all for children like their son ... well, you can imagine the outcome.
A small contingent from the newly formed New England Chapter of the Australian Gold Wing Association answered the call and made the journey to the 2010 Snowy Ride.
The enjoyable ride down was made even more pleasant with a overnight stop at Hotel Shirley in Bethungra, an old railway town. This old pub is now a B&B and is certainly worth a visit if in the area.
On arrival in Jindabyne we first had to find our accommodation and even more importantly find out what our roll was in the proceedings for the next few days. With nervous anticipation we headed for Thredbo Village in weather that could only be described as fair to ordinary .
Once we had been introduced to our pillion passenger and had all the required warm clothing on we set off for Charlottes Pass for lunch, which apart from riding in the snow, (a new experience) was very enjoyable. A huge lunch was provided and the children were presented with backpacks and merchandise from local business houses.
As this was our first Snowy Ride I think we all found it to be a roller coaster of emotions, from the smiles looking out of the helmet to thinking of the circumstances that put these kids here.
We found the experience to be very rewarding but also very humbling knowing the trust and confidence that these children and parents put in the riders of The Australian Gold Wing Association.
A very enjoyable weekend, and our accommodation is booked for next year, with a larger contingent.
Sandra and I met Mark and Cecily at the Caltex in Beresfield at 5:20am on Thursday so that we could meet David Partridge at Brooklyn at 6:30. It wasn’t raining so Cecily decided to ride with the roof off the sidecar however, that was probably not the best decision as not far down the F3 it started to rain very heavily. We made it to the twin Caltex servos to put on wet weather gear only to be told that there had been an accident and the freeway was closed. We could not get David on the phone so we decided to keep going to be informed by freeway signs that only one lane was blocked and expect heavy traffic.
Getting closer to the Gosford on ramp I decided to try David on the CB and was pleasantly surprised when he answered saying that he had just got onto the freeway which made him about a kilometre in front. Due to the heavy traffic it wasn’t too long before we caught up with David. Although the traffic was heavy it was moving and it wasn’t that long before we were on the M2 then the M7 heading south against the traffic. We stopped at McDonalds for coffee before having lunch at Cooma, arriving in Jindabyne early afternoon. We unpacked and relaxed for an hour or so before meeting the others and making the trip up the mountain to Thredbo to meet the kids and their families. The families were busy in the merchandise shop when we arrived and as such it was decided to head back down to Jindabyne and catch up with the families in the morning.
The weather Friday morning was not brilliant and it rained on the way up to Thredbo where we met the kids and their families. The kids picked their bikes and those who had spare seats were taken by mums, dads and helpers. The trip up to Charlottes Pass was cold and wet and then the moisture on the wind screen froze. It wasn’t long before someone announced that it was one degree and had started snowing. While at Charlottes Pass we had a bit more snow which wasn’t heavy enough to settle. The trip down from Charlottes Pass was uneventful with the weather warming up and the roads drying out.
We returned to Thredbo to greet the Around Australia Riders on their arrival. After a few speeches we headed back to Jindabyne before heading out to the local pub for a $10 steak.
On Saturday a few of the bikes took some of the families out to Lake Eucumbene while the others again headed for Thredbo to have lunch with the remaining families and transport them to Lake Crackenback Resort. The Navy were again on hand to provide helicopter rides for the families while the Resort put on other activities. By 3:30pm it was time to mount up again for the mass ride which we lead into Thredbo to the cheers of well wishers on our arrival. Many of us did not stay for the speeches and headed back to Jindabyne for a night in at the lodge and to get a good nights sleep in preparation for the long trip home in the morning. Ken and Bev, our hosts at the lodge, presented us with a cake for the 10th anniversary of the Snowy Ride with Graham and Christine doing the honours of blowing out the candles.
We left around about 8am stopping at Sutton then Peasant Nest where David, Sandra and I said goodbyes to Mark and Cecily who were planning to stop the night at Peter and Dot’s house. Sandra and I arrived home just before 4pm absolutely stuffed, but knowing we had a great weekend and supported a very worthwhile event. We will definitely being making the return trip next year.
What can I say, I will leave the official report to Greg and Graham. I would like to say however that Greg did a stirling job of organising us. A couple of points need to be made however. Andy gets the gong this year again however. His selfless attitude to all and sundry and in keeping with the Adelaide Chapter ethos meant that all of our bikes and trikes were in tip top running order.
However poor Andy had a stroke of bad luck while we were on the job. I would like to point out that this is the second year that Andy has had a mechanical mishap (please refer to last years report). A stretch of road in the national park we all decided (okay fellow 1800 owner Dan Hassell and myself) should be named Akbar Alternator Avenue in honour of Andy's alternator with gave up the ghost at an inopportune moment.
Ashley gets the gong for riding skill on his 1500. He says he rides like the bike is stolen. I couldn't catch him on my 1800 which points to my lack of riding skill but as Peter Cherry pointed out that since my 1800 has done 80,000 km my standard front springs are probably worn out which slowed me down around corners. That’s my excuse anyway.
All the funny stories that we can relate, including Barb Jones writing her name in the snow, can be put aside as we all remember why we do this. The image of the little boy asleep in the side car will stay with us. The image that you see is what drives us to repeat the snowy trip again and again.
On a personal note those of us who are still gainfully employed would understand the level of support given to me by my employer ChemSupply Pty Ltd in Adelaide who not only released me from a busy workload to attend the snowy ride but who were moved enough to make a donation to a children's cancer charity in our local area
We are pleased and very happy to report that everything went very, very well at this years Snowy Ride. The event itself was well attended and well subscribed with a little over 3200 paid up entrants (exact figures are not available at the present moment), but this number of entrants will probably be the largest in the nine year history of the event. So, all things considered, an outstanding result!
Our contingent of participants had a big year as well. We had quite a few of our previous participants (Graham calls them “Repeat Offenders”) and 8 newcomers (in terms of applications for accreditation). It was definitely the biggest program of activities that we have ever undertaken in connection with this event. Once again we had to rely on everyone’s patience and good humour, but, we got there and we’re sure our entire team would feel it was indeed worth the effort!!
At this point we won’t actually go into the detail of our particular program in relation to this year’s event (that is, however, an excellent idea for a monthly update at some point in the future!) but, we can quote some numbers and details which give an insight into the level of activity. On Thursday evening we had 18 Goldwings travel up to Thredbo for meet &greet. Friday morning we started with 20 GoldWings & picked up another 2 during the day. We commenced Saturday with 23 GoldWings and our spies on the bridge at Thredbo tell us we completed leading the Mass ride with 27 GoldWings which was pretty impressive and made for some great photos!
We certainly were very busy, aside from the bikes travelling with this year’s Kids we managed to do a couple of official visits and squeeze in 28 VIP and guest rides. The largest being 14 GoldWings travelling to Cooma on the Saturday morning. The average distance travelled by our participants in the course of our activities would be approx. 500km (based in Jindabyne ) so you can see we did quite a lot of riding!
We are sure our participants would view this year as our most successful. The weather was the most consistent we can remember having in recent years and that was probably another contributing factor. Once again we have all come away convinced that we can make a difference in the lives of some very special people. It means being able to allocate some time and effort (and some money too!) but, Hey, It’s a break away from home and we all have a great time! AND, it just proves our slogan “The Snowy Ride, the best thing you’ll ever do with your GoldWing.”
Your Snowy ride committee would like to thank all our participants and Supporters for the fantastic job everybody did to make this year’s event our best ever. As we said to so many of you “It’s one thing for us to plan, anticipate and organize but without you turning up and doing the great job you do, we wouldn’t have a lot to work with.”
Our attendance at the Snowy Ride is very much a combined or group effort. However, it would be remiss not to acknowledge a number of members for the reasons outlined. Largest Chapter attendance: our South Australian members (9 bikes, 10 people) - Thanks Guys we couldn’t have done it without you.- Longest distance : Dan from Ceduna S.A. & 2nd longest to Les from metro Brisbane. (This is not the first time these guys have done this- we think they’re hooked) Ok, so now you want pictures, no problem. By being our busiest members while we out and about Craig & Joanne have a fantastic selection of photos which are available for everyone to look at, download and print just by going to……….
Something else to keep in mind; if you’re going to get caught up in a snowball fight, make sure Jo is on your side!
Anyway, that’s it for now, there is a lot more to say and do and hopefully we’ll provide more info in the coming months to keep you all interested and motivated: if you think 2009 was big you wait until we start telling you about 2010!!
I left home about 6.30am on Thursday 5th November. After a quick fuel stop at Lithgow I headed for Jindabyne via Hampton, Oberon, Shooter Hill, and Taralga arriving at Goulburn at approximately 8.40am, then onto the outskirts of the Nations Capital on towards Cooma where I took a break to add much needed fuel to the petrol tank (408kms/23lit, approx 5.6 litres per 100 kms). After a short stretch I was back on the road headed for Jindabyne, arriving at the Pie Shop where I met up with our members from SA (9 bikes in total and 10 members) Graham, Christine, Greg O’ and Greg Maher who where having a quick lunch (I can not say what anybody else had but I really enjoyed my pie for lunch). After lunch was over we where greeted with our first pillions, members from the Jindabyne Radio Station. Once everyone had picked themselves a bike we headed of for a short ride to Sawpit Creek. We stopped for a small break before heading back to the radio station.
After dropping my gear off at the Enzian Lodge and catching up with Ron & Barb Avon again it was time to head back to the meeting point and then we headed off to the Jindy Kindy to show our bikes to the Pre-Schoolers that attend. There were plenty of takers to sit on the bikes, trikes and in the side cars.
After a small rest we headed up to Thredbo (about 20 bikes in total) to meet with the Snowy Ride Kids (9 kids this year), their families and the people who look after the group for the weekend. After all the normal speeches telling the families what to expect for the coming days the kids and parents where told to go outside and to pick a bike so that they could go for a small ride which would end at the gear shop where they could get some merchandise. After we had finished we headed back to our respected digs for the weekend where Paul had organised the courtesy bus to pick us up and take us to the Banjo Patterson Hotel for dinner.
We met up at the meeting point the next morning at 8.00am and headed up to Thredbo. I along with five other members was asked to take six of the Snowy Ride Kids down to the Jindabyne Primary School where they where presented with the banner that the children from two schools had sewn for them.
After the presentation we headed off again heading towards Charlottes Pass. Whilst we where on our way we could hear Greg O’ on the CB and after we realised that he was behind us, we slowed down so that we let them catch up.
After arriving at the Charlottes Pass ski resort the kids got to show off the banner to their family and carers and the Snowy Ride Organisers were presented with a cheque for $15,000.00 from the Snowy Hydro Limited.
After the small presentation the group was told that the chair lifts were available to take them up to play in the snow. I was then asked if I would take the CEO of the Snowy Hydro Scheme for a ride back to Sawpit Creek where he would be picked up.
After lunch we again saddled up with our respective passengers and headed to the Saw Pit Creek Education Centre to allow the kids to wonder through and check out the facility. We then took our passengers back to Thredbo.
On the way back to Jindabyne I was privileged to take David Partridge’s side car for a ride. Apart from a small incident going into a tight left hand corner which scared the living daylights out of me we made safe and sound back to Jindabyne.
Saturday morning Greg Maher and myself were asked to take two reporters from the radio station down to Cooma so that they could report on the Cooma Hospital’s Nurses Rally which was in protest to the governments down sizing of the hospital. After they had finished we headed back to Jindabyne re-fuelled and headed to Thredbo.
Greg and I took our passengers (mother & son) down to the Crackenback Resort where the kids got to use the facilities and a few of the kids got to ride in a Navy Helicopter. After we had our photo’s taken we where again told to head to bikes so that the kids and their families could pick a bike to ride on. My passenger from Friday Madeleine asked could she ride on my bike again which upset her brother Dylan who had come down with me. Madeleine won.
Then it was time to head off to the start of the massed ride. What a buzz doing this ride, some of the feelings that you experience because you are their participating with these kids and their families is unreal, to hear the speech of the parent telling you what emotions that they have gone through with their child touches deep inside you, tugging at your heart strings. The smiles of enjoyment that the kids and their families get from the small gesture of us allowing them to ride on the back of our bikes, trikes and side cars can only be seen first hand.
The saying that goes with this weekend truly says it all “this has to be ultimately the best thing that you’ll ever do with your Wing.”
I believe a big thankyou must go again to the AGA Snowy Ride organisers Graham & Christine Merrick and Greg O’Loughlin for all the hard work they put in through out the year. Also to our quiet achievers, the hard working Snow Bunnies, our wives and partners who help dress our charges and make them feel comfortable.
This was two weeks after Cowra and the last weekend of my holidays. This year Sandra and myself wanted to see a bit more of the country and decided to have a leisurely ride down to Jindabyne leaving on Melbourne Cup Tuesday. We left early again to beat the traffic through Sydney arriving at our first overnight stop Goulburn, where we planned to find a nice air conditioned club or pub to watch the Melbourne Cup. After a pleasant afternoon (but not successful with our bets) we had an early night before heading off to Tumut where we planned to stay the following night.
We left Goulburn Wednesday morning heading along the highway to Gundagai then onto Tumut. We stopped to see the dog on the tucker box and while there were given a survey about the 5 mile area and whether the dog should be moved. The trip between Goulburn and Tumut is relatively short so it gave us plenty of time to look around on our way.
Thursday saw us head over the mountains to Jindabyne, again in perfect weather. We arrived at the lodge and were greeted by Ken and Bev who informed us that a few AGA members had already arrived.
Thursday afternoon saw us visit Jindy Kindy, where lots of little people had a chance to look and sit on the bikes, before we headed up the mountain to Thredbo to introduce ourselves to the Snowy Kids and their families. We took the kids and family members for a quick ride while Sandra went to the merchandise store with our credit card which was very dangerous! Then we had a lovely meal with the SA contingent at the pub before calling it a night.
Friday we were up early so that we could be with the kids by 8:30am. We took the kids, family and support people up to Charlottes Pass for lunch before taking them back to Thredbo. Dinner that night was again at the pub before a few quiet drinks back at the lodge.
Saturday, again with perfect weather, saw AGA members go in all sorts of directions, looking after kids and dignitaries, before meeting up at Crackenback Resort in readiness for the mass ride. We left the resort with our special guests to make our way to the Ski Tube car park which is the start of the mass ride. We must have had close to 30 Wings lead the parade into Thredbo, where speeches and raffle prizes were drawn. Although no one from the AGA won, it is always great to participate for a very worthy cause. Saturday night was at the lodge where Bev had cooked up a hearty meal for the crowd.
Sunday was again sunny, however this did not last all the way home. We struck rain as we got onto the motorway that lasted to the twin service stations on the F3 where we had a break. We arrived home mid afternoon absolutely buggered, must have been a great trip.
We would like to congratulate, Graham, Christine and Greg for all their hard work and organisation of the whole weekend. Without them the weekend would not be so successful.
This month was dominated by the Snowy Ride 2009. Ashley and Peter were admirably replaced by debutants Bronte, Stuart, Rick and Trevor, who joined Andy, Paul, Jerry, Graham and Helen. Special mention again goes to the entire Ceduna Chapter (Dan) who made the trek for the second year. The stories varied again from stone chips to scratches and side stand failures to “caught it just in time” but Andy eclipsed everyone by demolishing a universal joint on the trike so badly that the bits are only fit to be chromed, block mounted and put over the mantelpiece.
The day began quietly enough with Andy still complaining of an annoying rattle that had haunted him for months. He left Adelaide, met up with Stuart, Jerry, Paul and Dan. They travelled to Ray Symonds, just out of Renmark and, after a brief stopover, the Riverland Rays (2) with wives, joined in so the 5 trikes and one solo would have been something to see. The Rays peeled off at Mildura as the others continued on some 80ks to Euston. A panicky phone call was received that saw Big Ray do a 400 k trip home and back with a replacement universal joint for Andy to go on for the kids at Thredbo. A huge effort so a big bouquet to you and your campsite is booked for next year. Ironically, Ray had carried a spare in his boot till about two weeks ago (as you do). Also if Andy had bent forward 2 weeks ago when the back of the trike was off and being mega-braced, he’d have changed the shaft, and found the source of the rattle he discovered during the replacement exercise. Made the early start into an 11.00pm finish so it was a huge day but it was uphill from there and plain sailing. Andy’s only comment was that while lying in the dust and prickles, the assistants were more interested in cameras than handing him the spanners. You get that.
Helen and Graham left early and took the scenic trip via the Great Ocean Road. What a ride!! The coastline was spectacular, as was the trip through the Otway Ranges, but the fickle weather saw changes from wets to summer gear so fast we thought we were in Superman’s phone box. The road from Wodonga to Corryong, Khancoban, and over the Alpine Way to Thredbo was also great with sensational scenery, topped off by the snow-capped mountains. Dan and Paul got to see it after they stopped at Tumut to refuel and a local suggested it was “a better way”. It was but it added some hours to their trip and zeros to their speedometers, for Dan 4800 in all. Great effort.
The Snowy Ride this year turned on weather for that can only be termed “Sound of Music” stuff. Green paddocks like billiard tables, blue skies with little puffy clouds occasionally, snow-capped mountains for the kids to have snowball fights and the blue water of Lake Jindabyne like polished glass, reflecting all above and surrounding it.
The customary activities for us at the Jindy Kindy and the “meet and Greet” with the 2009 families at Thredbo on Thursday went well and re-kindled the emotions of why we all do this with Graham Merrick and Grupenfuhrer Greg O who barks orders like “saddle up folks!” The age range again went to teenager to toddler and the ride from Thredbo to Charlotte Pass was better than last year. The snow fights had to be called off after Paul’s ALL BLACK aggression came to the fore. He didn’t realize he was being “baited” by the duty photographer’s assistant. It will all be on the website we’re told. The COOMA Motorfest was a new outing venue this year and was an extraordinary array of cars, motorcycles, trucks, and even a Sherman Tank. The items varied from Valiants to Cosworth Sierras and Monaros to Ford GT’s and MGs to Cossack motorcycles of WW2 vintage. The Crackenback activities again tired out the kids and carers. Some riders also had a siesta under the trees while the helicopter flew the kids over the national park. The Mass ride apparently comprised 3,500 registered riders but was estimated more like 5,000 which was an awesome sight. Saturday night was the Hudu Guru’s show for the kids. To those who went, we hope it was fun and the stories will last till next year, just as ours have done in the past.
The additional warm jacket Andy took for Bronte who lives in his leather waistcoat wasn’t needed and Bronte reckons he can get away with a couple of extra t-shirts next year. (You hold that thought because it sounds a really good one). We have to get over the 40 degree culture shock of coming back across the Hay Plains first, change oils and rationalize how easy it is to rack up 3,500 + kilometres in just over a week. Also how a leisurely weekend in the mountains can be so full-on and hectic. Rick voiced his disappointment that when his trike was like a shag on a rock, to check his universal and tailshaft alignment, the only thing to come out were spanners. Graham and Helen’s flat tyre on the camper did bring them out again though. So they still live!!
Having said that, plans are already underway for our return next year to SNOWY RIDE No.10, with more numbers than this year. This promises to be a memorable anniversary. That is conditional upon there not being any snow here at the same time. (Our spotters are already briefed and ready). Peter and Graham M (or will it be Luigi?) have decided to do the Round Australia lead-up event for Snowy Ride 10. Good luck boys.
On the local front, those who didn’t go to the Snowy Ride occupied themselves by venturing to Blanchetown where we were well received and the “not the snowy ride” was a group to Port Elliot on the south coast about 70 kilometres from Adelaide where the world’s problems were solved and some neck lubrication was consumed. Robert and Lesley Anderson are the proud parents of a blue 1800 but go the white ones anyway!
Well, that’s it for another twelve months, another Snowy Ride, some new benchmarks set and more importantly some wide-eyed children and adults who really enjoyed having “a GoldWing experience”. The weather wasn’t brilliant but by “Snowy Ride standards “ it wasn’t bad either!
This year we set precedents that we hope
we’ll be able to continue. We had our largest ever Friday crew (the
regulation 15 bikes on Friday morning). This worked really well because the
visitor’s programme is evolving year by year and Friday is becoming the day
for the majority of the rides for children and guests.
Six additional bikes increased our numbers for Saturday so we had lots of seats to offer when it was time to move the party to the helicopter (parked in another part of Thredbo) and then on to Crackenback Resort for activities before staging for the Mass Ride.
Final financial figures aren’t available at this stage, but the organizers are confident that in excess of $250,000 will be attained easily and that’s fantastic! This year there were 2,984 paid up entrants (growth from last year) and just like last year, a lady won the top of the line GoldWing, the main prize donated by Honda. Speaking of things donated by Honda, the custom painted Fireblade – the prize in this year’s fund raising raffle- was on display in Thredbo and generated a lot of interest. This raffle will be drawn at the Sydney Motorcycle show on 23rd November - Good Luck Everyone!!
For your organizing committee (Graham, Greg and Christine) this year will be one we’ll long regard as “the year of change”- we had lots and lots of changes to plans, some due to weather, but others for a whole range of reasons. In any event we ended up relying heavily on everyone’s good will and good humour and for that we thank all of you.
Myself, Craig and Jo made the trip down to Jindabyne to participate in this years Snowy Ride. This is my fifth trip to the Snowy for the extremely worthwhile event, which is one of the best things you can do with your GoldWing. I left Thornton at 5:30am on Thursday and was planning to meet up with David Partridge and Les Sorensen at Mooney Mooney. Les had travelled down from Brisbane for the event and had stayed over at the Bumble Bees.
I arrived at Mooney about 6:40am and was greeted by David. We waited about 15 minutes for Les before deciding to take off as we had a reasonably long ride in front of us. We stopped in Pennant Hills to top up with petrol before heading for our next stop at Goulburn where we planned to meet Craig and Jo who had left the day before to pick up a trailer he purchased on eBay from Bathurst. The plan was to be at Goulburn by 9:30am arriving just a few minutes before to be greeted by Craig and Jo. Craig was trying to wash down his bike after being given some directions from a Bathurst local who forgot to tell him that there was approx 70klm of dirt road. We decided to go to Maccas for breakfast and while we were there Mal turned up to say hello. While breakfasting Les turned up to refuel and joined us for the trip as far as Canberra where he left us to visit a friend.
The rest of the trip was uneventful arriving at the lodge just before 3pm. We were greeted by Ken and Bev the owners of the lodge, who make us so welcome every year, it’s just like you are going to see family. All of the SA members had already arrived and had participated in some activities and promotional rides. That afternoon we made the trip to Thredbo to visit the kids, take them and their families on a short ride before heading back down the mountain to the lodge. Dinner was organised at one of the local pubs before a quiet night with a few drinks and conversation was had back at the lodge.
We were back up the mountain on Friday to take the kids to Charlottes Pass before lunch at Sawpit Creek then back to Thredbo. The kids and their families have a great time supported by the many businesses in the area. While at Charlottes Pass we caught the lift up to the top where the kids and some rather big kids managed to play in the snow.
On Saturday Craig, Jo, Ken, Steve and myself went to Berridale to get our cards stamped before heading back to Crackenback Resort where I met up with Andy from SA to give some VIP rides to Jo from Snowy Tourism and her husband. Jo wanted to check out some of the checkpoints, so it was back down to Dalgety and Berridale before heading back to the Resort where we met up with the families to take them on the mass ride into Thredbo. After the mass ride, speeches and the drawing on the new GoldWing (which was not won by any of our members), it was back down to Jindabyne for dinner. Ken and Bev put on a lovely BBQ dinner before a relatively early night in preparation for the journey home.
We took off just before 8:30am, arriving at home just before 4:30pm and travelling over 600klms. You might see that I have not put any photos in for this ride, unfortunately my camera broke so I will have to participate next year to grab some good photos.
I left home at 6:30am for the trek to Jindabyne travelling through Oberon & Taralga to Goulburn, Canberra to Cooma, arriving at 11:45. I met up with Andy and the boys from Adelaide at the bakery. A certain Western Districts Chapter member was seen riding a white 1500 trike from the top car park to the bottom car park and then also seen sitting on a Harley! Who was it?
Thursday afternoon saw the start of the fun, taking our bikes down to Jindy Kindy to let the pre schoolers have a look at our bikes and have a sit on them. The look on their faces is amazing. Later we headed up to Thredbo to greet the families who would be using our services over the next couple of days. After meeting up with everyone we saddled up and took the kids and their parents for a small ride finishing at the gear shop.
After leaving Thredbo we all headed back to Jindabyne refuelled and then headed to the pub for a few quiet ales and a well deserved meal.
Friday morning saw us heading back to Thredbo, meeting up with the kids and taking them to Charlottes Pass Resort where morning tea was provided. We where all invited to take the chair lift up to the top of the mountain to take part in playing with the snow, tobogganing etc.
Whilst the kids went playing in the snow Greg O’s and my bike went for a trip back up to Perisher Village with Peter Wallace (Cootamundra Police Officer) and Jack Nott (Cooma Ambo Officer) at the controls. It was a very nervous time, but not as nervous as Jerry was when Peter took his yellow GL1800 trike for a small ride.
Once everyone was back from having fun in the snow we saddled up once again and headed to Saw Pit Creek Education Centre for lunch. After lunch we took our passengers back to Thredbo and then headed back to Jindabyne.
Saturday had three different rides on at different times I happened to be on VIP duty with a few members which involved picking up at the Thredbo lodge and the ride was to go to Jindabyne, Dalgety, Berridale and return to Thredbo, but after we had arrived at Jindabyne part of the group said that they would like to return to Thredbo as they had prior commitments to attend to. After dropping off our pillions we had some spare time before lunch so a few of us headed down to the gear shop where we saw some of the photo’s on this years CD. After lunch we again mounted up to take the group down to the RAAF helicopter where the kids and their families got to look over the aircraft followed by a photo shoot. We then took our pillions to the Crackenback Resort where they had full use of the facilities, golf, archery and canoeing to name a few.
At 3:30pm we again saddled up to head to the Ski Tube car park for the massed ride back to the Thredbo village. What a blast.
I have already booked both my accommodation and holidays for next year’s event as I would not miss it for any reason. The dates for next year are 6th & 7th November 2009. Hope to see you all there.
I believe a big thankyou must go to the AGA Snowy Ride organisers Graham & Christine Merrick and Greg O’Loughlin for all the hard work they put in through out the year. Also to our quiet achievers, the hard working Snow Bunnies, our wives and partners who help dress our charges & make them feel comfortable.
The gratitude of the children and their parents and the smiles on their faces all weekend was something that you have to experience. It is absolutely awesome.
As they say this has to be ultimately the best thing that you’ll ever do with your Wing.
The Snowy Ride was well supported this year with quite a large group travelling over from South Australia and Les Sorensen from Queensland. The numbers of Children were down this year due to ill health. Those who were able to make the trip were given plenty to do over the weekend.
The weather was kinder to us this year, the days were cold and windy, it raining over overnight on Friday so a small group decided to eat in at the Sonnblick Lodge…Pizza was on the menu.
Saturday, for those not assigned to special duties, there was time to ride to the check points to get their cards stamped and enjoy the country side of the Snowy Mountains meeting up with the group at the Sydney Lodge in Thredbo by midday where all present enjoyed a BBQ lunch. On behalf of the members of our chapter I thank the organisers for the invitation.
From here the children, parents and carers took seats on the bikes to the bottom of the hill to where the Navy Helicopter was waiting to give some of the children a ride.
Of cause this was a golden opportunity for another photo.
The sun shone at Lake Crackenback and this was the warmest part of the day. We then took our passengers on board and headed off for the ski tube (the assembly point for the Mass ride).
It was mentioned in the speeches that the participants of the weekend were well behaved other than some overtaking over double white lines and there was only one reported accident where a rider was thrown off his bike by the strong wind, breaking his leg. (Not a GoldWing rider). We were also told that the community would rather have the motorcyclists there than many other groups due our behaviour.
We had a good trip home on the Sunday. It was 10 degrees when leaving Jindabyne and 28 degrees when we arrived back home.
Thank you to Graham, Christine and Greg for their untiring efforts for makes everything run smooth over the weekend. Job well done!
It’s Hay Fever time again, 35 degrees, and another year is nearly gone. November in South Australia is a time of mixed emotions. The sun is beginning to shine and the birds are beginning to sing but NO SNOW has been seen since this time last year. That’s not good for this part of the world, but some of us coped by gate-crashing the Snowy Ride again.
With the NO, NO, NO snow came the YES, YES, YES, we’re coming back to the high country in greater numbers than last year. The GT gophers were well represented when Andy collected Gerry from Nuriootpa and Paul from Berri. The solos of Graham and Helen, Peter, joined the mix with Dan 2 from Ceduna, who became a serious contender for the long ride, brown lemonade award. Ashley, a mate of Andy’s, was another debutante and we hope he had fun. He must have been a Black Sorrows music fan because he brought his rose coloured thing called Harley (The Electra-glide tractor). Sadly, and conspicuous by his absence this year was Stefan, due to work commitments that saw him miss out on the Rocky Road. We’ll work on him and others for next year.
Back to the 2008 Snowy Ride. With the trip-meter tumblers rolling over towards 1,280 and the GPS showing a straight line across the flatlands, minds wandered back to Alice. We didn’t expect to see her this trip, but we were sure she would come up in conversation.
The trip ground rules were laid down at the outset. Ashley had to wait till everyone else had fired up so we knew ours were running. Ray and Sharon provided a welcomed break at Monash before we headed on to Naranderra. The caravan park was a fine stop although apparently some walls vibrated through the night even though nobody snored. None of our guys would do that, not us they said. Day two was through to Jindabyne which is a beautiful spot and here we split with some in the caravan park overlooking the lake, some in the pub and some in nearby lodges where Bev, Barb and Ron were again great hosts. We did meet for nightly neck oils, meals and banter about the events of the day and outlines for the next. We were only networking you understand.
The 60k’s of Gorge Road was fun. You get to know how your bike handles after that.
This event is all about the kids, but their parents and siblings were not forgotten. Unfortunately, five families couldn’t make it this year because the medical conditions of their kids would not allow it, but those that attended were as appreciative as those who attended last year. Bobsleds, chair lifts, flights, were all on the kid’s agenda with Gold Wings to get there.
A mother on my bike told me of her daughter being diagnosed at birth and having undergone Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy for 18 months. At 2yrs old now her daughter was okay but needed 3 monthly checks into her 20’s. Makes you appreciate your own healthy ones doesn’t it.
There were many who had similar stories to tell but she was “gob smacked” to have a weekend away with her entire family, have others do the chores, and be chauffeured through spectacular scenery on the back of a Wing. Thredbo, Jindabyne and Charlotte’s Pass at the base of Mt Kosciusko were the main venues with the Navy Helicopter rides for the kids and Crackenback Resort also happening.
GroupenFurher Greg and Graham Merrick need to again be congratulated for their hard work and dedication to this event. Graham does the back room liaison bit while Greg keeps things happening on time. Things change as the event proceeds with the kids’ condition and the weather being dominant factors. Greg’s now famous phrase is – “If you don’t like the weather – just wait 5 minutes”. He’s right because we wore it all during the weekend and even on the way home when it went from 15°c to 9°c and back as we came back across the top. The weather was great with the only rain being the regular Friday night shower when we were insulated behind the glass at the rubbidy. Same as last year coincidentally.
It was said that “what happens on the mountain should stay on the mountain” but then this article wouldn’t be written and a few of the standouts that need to be shared, would be lost in time. Helen’s comment for instance, about the reason for the sunburn and “chapped lips” was because we were closer to the sun seemed fair. Wasn’t that what happened to Icarus? Dan 2 for the clean shirt and shave that saw hotel staff serve him last and deliver his meal first. Making us wait so long Gerry almost went to sleep at the table really wasn’t nice. We’ll fix that next year. And from now on Andy will have “hungry boards” fitted to his breakfast plate to keep the pile in one place.
During this weekend it was noted that Groupenfurher Greg achieved all of his bike riding fantasies. After a brilliant radio interview, he was seen pedalling a GT gopher round the car park and even mounted the black sorrow. The other “H” word is too hard to say, sorry.
The challenge for you east-coasters is to halt this downward spiral and return him to the sanity of his 1800. Don’t let him turn to the dark side.
“Ashley and the tractor” now there is a chapter all by itself. For a guy who spent 2 years getting pavers away from his shed to get his bike out, he did a mighty job. He travelled all the way over there, and even did a side trip to Canberra the next day till ASIO ran him out thinking he was a terrorist or something. Kevin wasn’t home for a beer anyway. Ashley, or “Tractor Boy” as he will forever be known, volunteered for some “duties on the fringe” that saw him travel where we did, but at a distance so we could maintain the tranquillity and not scare the wildlife. He was as moved by the experience as we were.
Thanks Ashley for helping out, but we’ll have to check with Stefan before bestowing honorary membership. Sure he won’t mind.
One slightly sad moment related to Peter Wallace, a NSW police bike rider, who has led the mass ride of about 3,000 bikes every year for 7 years. This year his son was in the program, and he’s had some knee surgery preventing him from riding. He became part of the “in-crowd” so our thoughts and best wishes go out to him and his family for a double dose of luck in the months to come. He did get to ride an 1800 solo and a trike, so I hope his wife has plenty of spare room under the Xmas tree because he now wants one of each.
Apparently the numbers this year were about 4,000 bikes which was great. Not that we saw much of them because we were doing things with the kids. A lady in the crowd won the Wing so we’ll have to buy more tickets and polish up the steeds for next year.
We’re all further from the sun and the washing line looks like the flags at the UN building. Now Paul can put heated grips on the trike after the minus 2 trip across the mountain. May we suggest kiwi lambswool to make ewe feel at home. Dan 2 will have taken “Dinky” the Dingo home for cerebral re-alignment. The poor guy experienced dizziness after so many bends and curves, upgrades and descents. He’ll be re-trained after the operation to run in straight lines on the flat surfaces for which Ceduna is renowned. Four thousand k’s for the entire Ceduna Chapter is a great effort, well done.
The Snowy ride might be over for another year, but the groundswell of interest from here already suggests we’ll be back in larger numbers next year although our scouts are out, as we speak. As soon as it snows in Adelaide in November we’ll do our own event so Greg and GM don’t change addresses because the invitations have already been printed and we’ve purchased the stamps.
My name is Lindy Kingsford, I was one of the parents of the kids at The Snowy Ride last month. We were fortunate enough to attend last year as well. I'm writing to thank you all ENORMOUSLY for what you do at the Snowy Ride.
Our little boy, Alexander, completed 2 years chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia just before we went.
I was able to make a speech in Thredbo on the Saturday afternoon, and I want to repeat what I said at the time: that you guys have hearts bigger than your motorbikes.
The kids and the parents have such a buzz getting away for a weekend and having a ride on your bikes - an experience most of us don't have every day.
You were all so patient and kind - it seemed every time I turned my head I noticed that the bikes were there and kids were being carefully put into a helmet. You focussed on all the kids, which was great. Siblings have such a hard time and you made sure that they were all treated specially as well.
I took the final ride this year on the back of Greg O’Loughlin's bike. It was quite emotional at the end and I blubbered into the helmet and microphone as we got into Thredbo. Thanks Greg, for putting up with it, and for such a great experience.
Thank you to all of you. Your involvement at the Snowy Ride makes it not just a wonderful weekend, but a spectacular one.
It also helps attract other riders and ensure that the Steven Walter Fund can raise more money to aid children's cancer research.
Best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy and safe Christmas.
A big thank you to all our participants.
happy and pleased to report that the 2007 Snowy ride
This year, once again, records were broken and new benchmarks created. A record number of 2813 registered entrants (and a lady from Melbourne won the Brand New GoldWing - this year’s major prize) and apparently a record number of ticket sales for the fund raising raffle (The CBR1000RR was won by a lady from Queensland).
Our AGA contingent set it’s own records too! This year we had our largest number of participants. This meant our biggest ever Friday interaction with the Kids and their families. There is a record of this in the form of a really unique official photo which our participants will remember was taken just after lunch at Sawpit Creek (thanks for your patience while we messed about setting up for the photo, we believe the result will prove worth it.)
Having had a big Friday we of course had a big Saturday and Mass Ride as well and again this is exactly what we wanted to be able to do in assisting the organizers to look after this special group of families that they bring to Thredbo for a holiday and some fun family activities that happen to include motorcycling. ( By GoldWing of course!!)
So, once again a big thank you for coming along and being a part of something that we hope you found satisfying and very rewarding. In fact we hope you’ll now understand our slogan a little better – “The Snowy Ride, the best thing you’ll ever do with your GoldWing”
There are a couple of very necessary acknowledgements that need to be made:
This year we had participants from seven different chapters which reflects our dedication and commitment as a National organization.
Certainly the “longest distance” award goes to our intrepid crew from the Adelaide chapter who made the big trip. Thanks Peter & Sue, Stefan, Graham and Adrian - special mention For Adrian & Graham who did a wonderful job with some local radio personalities on Friday– another triumph for cake mixes! (White Wings)
This year we ended up going that extra mile by helping to fix “The Bus From Hell”- seriously, it was a shocker! Thanks to Stefan, Rowland and Greg (Maher) for participating in resuscitating the electrical system. (Greg ended up with the dirtiest hands – that’s important for distributing credit and /or blame!!)
Thanks also to Greg O’Plexus, Bob Carmody, Peter Spillet and David Partridge who were our team for V.I.P. transport – This year we looked after senior executives from C.C.I.A.- Very Important People indeed!
In conclusion we’d like to thank those of you who we hope have submitted an article and/or photos and details about this year’s great event. Our committee members were somewhat busy over the weekend and so we’re relying on some of you to provide more details.
This year I was the only one from the Central Coast who was attending the Snowy Ride so I managed to get a couple of days off and left early Thursday morning. The plan was to try and meet up with Graham Merrick and Greg O’Plexis somewhere along the way as they were meeting at Pheasants Nest at 6am. I set the alarm, but as usual woke before it went off. With the bike packed I managed to get away just before 4am in the rain. Travelling down the expressway the rain just got heavier and lasted to just outside Goulburn. I finally met up with Graham, Greg and Ian Hurley at Sutton and had company for the rest of the trip. The remainder of the trip was in fine weather, arriving at Jindabyne just after 11.30am. On Thursday afternoon we had a tour of the local radio station that was followed up by giving some of the employees a ride up to Sawpit Creek and return. On Thursday evening we had a meet and greet with the Snowy Kids and their families at Thredbo before being provided an evening BBQ meal. After eating we made the trip back down to Jindabyne for a few after dinner refreshments and an early night.
Friday dawned without a cloud in the sky. Bev cooked us a hearty breakfast and by the time we had finished the clouds had closed in and the weather was looking a little dicky. Our first port of call was the local kindergarten where the kids thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
We then met up with the Snowy Kids for a trip up to Charlotte Pass before having lunch at Sawpit Creek. On the way up to Charlottes Pass we had the full extreme of weather with sun, hail, sleet and freezing cold temperatures.
There was plenty of snow still on the hilltops with some still visible close to the road. It was good to get back down the mountain to Sawpit Creek where it had fined up with temperatures fairly comfortable in a t-shirt.
After lunch we took the kids back to their lodge at Thredbo before heading back to Jindabyne. Friday night saw most of the AGA members at the local Bowling Club for a meal and a few light refreshments. After the meal and a few drinks it was back to the pub to kick on before heading back to the lodge for some well earned nightcaps.
Saturday was another great day, so after a short trip around the various check points to get our entry cards stamped it was time to get back to Thredbo to meet the kids at noon. We took the kids from Thredbo to the Crackenback Resort where they enjoyed helicopter rides provided by the Navy.
Some of the parents and helpers took advantage of the bikes and also had short rides. We again had lunch with the kids and their families before saddling up for the mass ride that leaves the Ski Tube parking area at 4pm.
The GoldWings lead the mass ride into Thredbo before the thankyou speeches and raffle draws. Unfortunately (to Donna Harvey’s disgust) I did not win the GL1800 that was the entry prize this year.
Sunday saw me head back home in the company of Rowland, Cheryl, David Partridge, Graham and Christine. I arrived home just after 5pm after travelling 612 klms.
It was great to see a good contingent from SA make the long trip and hope to see everyone back next year. Mark the weekend of the 8 November in your diaries next year for the Snowy Ride 2008. It is one of the best things you can do with your Wing.
Our last major outing was the Snowy Ride and the Coasties showed up in good numbers despite the forecast weather. And what about those South Aussie boys and girls, what an effort to ride from SA to be apart of the Snowy Ride, hats off to you guys.
As for Donna and myself we enjoyed ourselves and it was very pleasing to be apart of the ride and see the kids and their carers with big smiles from the activities programmed for them and didn’t they look after us, with drinks, meals and great conversations. Congratulations to the AGA Snowy Ride co-ordinators for the effort and planning they put in, well done.
The only comment I will make is that I feel there needs to be more of a Police presence especially for purpose of older ones (see below)
The thing that will last long in my memory about the Snowy Ride and the kids is even though we where in conditions of 2 – 5 °C with rain, sleet and even small hail at times those kids and carers just wanted to get on the back of those Wings and go for a ride and enjoy the journey regardless to the conditions, something that I personally have been taken for granted and the level of their excitement was very inspiring. We look forward to going next year.
I left Windsor at 2.00pm on Wednesday 7th November heading for Cooma. I had three and a half hours of rain out of a four hour trip arriving in Cooma at approximately 6.05pm.
The next morning I went to the Cooma Correctional Centre to tour the Textiles Workshop.
I left Cooma about 10.30am for a leisurely ride into Jindabyne, where after arriving and fuelling up I met up with Peter & Sue Cherry and Andy Akbar outside the bakery. After having a quick bite to eat (a low fat pie) I headed off to book into the Enzian Lodge
At 1pm we headed down the local radio station where we took a tour of the station and then took three of the radio personalities for a ride to Sawpit Creek. They really appreciated the chance to go for a ride. At 3pm we all headed down to Jindikindi where the little ones got to sit on some of our bikes.
Thursday evening we went to Thredbo where we met the families for the first time and after going to the gear shop we took those that wanted for small ride whilst the BBQ meal was being cooked.
Friday morning we headed back to Thredbo to take any one that was left up to Charlottes Pass. On this ride we experienced all the elements, Rain, Hail, sleet and shine. What a morning!
From here we again saddled the kids back onto our vehicles and headed down the mountain to Sawpit Creek for lunch. All the children received a backpack full of goodies donated from the local businesses and were asked to tour the education centre. After lunch I took a little fellow called Tanner back to Thredbo, he thoroughly enjoyed his ride even though he started to fall asleep a few times.
Friday evening saw everyone gather at the pub before heading to the Bowling Club across the road for a great meal and a few golden amber refreshments to wash it down with. After tea those that lived up the hill headed back to gather in the Sunblick Lodge to partake of a little more soft drink, told a few stories before retiring for the night.
Saturday morning saw some of the keen members heading out for a ride to get cards stamped, whilst others had a lazy morning, cleaning bikes and getting ready to head back to Thredbo for the 12.00 pick-up to Crackenback Resort where the kids were given the opportunity to ride in a Naval Helicopter.
After a small spit of rain/hail four bikes, Greg O, Robert Carmody, David Partridge and myself headed back to Thredbo to pick up some special guests, A professor, her husband, their daughter and also someone high up in the promotional side of fundraising for children’s cancer. These lovely people loved their opportunity to go for a ride back to Crackenback Resort and to lead the mass parade.
Yours truly had a fantastic weekend with special thankyou going to Graham & Christine Merrick and Greg O’Loughlin for all the effort that they put into the organizational side of the Snowy Ride. I must also thank Karen for allowing me to go on the trip this year with out her as I know how much enjoyment she got out of the weekend last year.
The weekend reminds me of a small verse I saw many years ago when I was teaching music:
If you see a little one with out a smile give them one of yours!
The gratitude of the children and their parents and the smiles on their faces all weekend was something that you have to experience. It is absolutely awesome
Thursday 8th November, Cheryl and I meet David Partridge at Pheasants Nest at Mid-day. We rode to Cooma that day staying there overnight. Friday 9th we joined other members of the association at Jindabyne to ride to Thredbo. We departed Thredbo for the trip to Charlottes’ the Children had previously been taken there by bus to be given four wheel drive rides up onto Mt Kosciuszko.
On the ride there we rode thorough some unusual weather it rained, sleet fell, it hailed, and the sun shone!
At 12.30pm we departed Charlottes Pass car park with the children on board riding to the visitors centre at Sawpit Creek.
The children were presented with back packs which were generously filled by the local businesses. Unfortunately both Cheryl and I got quite wet on our ride out of town, to our accommodation and we did not make it back to the Banjo for drinks or dinner with the group.
On Saturday, Peter and Sue Cherry, Michael Howard, David Partridge, Greg Maher and his nephew Darrel, Cheryl and I, took a leisurely morning ride to the checkpoints in Dalgety and Berridale and in Jindabyne, where we pick up the Snowy Kids for the ride to Crackenback Resort.
I would like, on behalf of Cheryl and myself to personally thank the Snowy organisers for the BBQ lunch - how unfortunate it hailed!! and a number of males and females had to stand in the doorway of the men’s toilets laughing - this certainly looked very funny, after which bikes were selected for Mass ride by the Children and others, most of the time I was privileged to have a sweet little girl named Lilly on the back of my bike.
Both Cheryl and I were very pleased to be able to participate in a worthwhile event, giving so much pleasure to the children and the parents. There were 2,813 people registered, the Fire Blade raffle went to a lady in QLD and the Goldwing to a lady in VIC.
A very big thanks go to the Organisers of the Snowy Ride, Honda, as well as Graham Christine Merrick and Greg O’Loughan for a wonderful moving experience.
The big topic this month revolves round the Snowy Ride at Thredbo that saw Andy and Peter & Sue arrive Wednesday while Stefan and I arrived Thursday in Jindabyne, about lunchtime. Things were ‘full – on” almost from the outset when we were ushered along the 36 kilometres or so to Thredbo to meet the kids who got one big shock when they were told they could be pillion on any one of them, anytime, solos, trikes or sidecars. The sick kids didn’t know where they were going when they left home that morning, but had brought their families with them so by the end of the weekend every family member and the carers were able to join in the fun. It didn’t go unnoticed that only one red 1500 was brave enough to come out of hiding to face the white ones. The kids even went over Mt Kosciusko in a Navy helicopter.
The kids ranged in age from about 6 to 12 so some of them looked like Dr Who’s Daleks in ankle-length bike jackets with drag-on-the-ground sleeves. I’m sure one of them raised an arm and said EX-TERM-IN-ATE through the visor of his crash helmet that was 10 sizes too big.
The back room organisation by Group-en-Führer, Greg, and his Loitenands was first rate and they should be congratulated on their efforts. It needs be stressed though that there was not very much loitering about done by anyone all weekend and the image of the “GoldWinger’s” should be enhanced as a result. Some of the local radio station staff were taken for a ride by the Sydney crew with Andy and I following up next day with two more. A live radio cross to the station gave us, the machines, and the event a big rap. Thanks to them for that.
Of the 2800 + registered motor cyclists that attended, there was only one reported road accident and that occurred under freakish circumstances, so that in itself was a standout. Another standout, “Poor Bugga” was his name, even came over from W.A.
With all things such as this, there are highs and lows, moments of humour and more humour. The S.A. contingent provided some positive suggestion for the sub-committee to ponder for future events, while providing the mirth to break the flow when things seemed to get just a bit too serious.
A dove took on my front end on the way over, much to its own detriment and allowed me to scatter feathers all through the high country. Group-en- Führer, Greg didn’t just stand on a duck, he made an 18 out of it and almost completed the trifecta by stumps on Saturday.
Sue became a conservationist by encouraging Andy not to use his power in the caravan park for the electric kettle when the caravan park’s power was only metres away.
Andy snuck out of NSW on a Sunday after the bridge at Tocumwal had markers put on it to show the strongest part of it, and the Narrandera Bridge had to be pulled down altogether, along with half a kilometre of highway. Maybe it was that tub of Rocky Road that did the damage. Surely the green stuff you were grazing on all weekend wouldn’t have done it, but just in case we’ll go another way next time.
Andy’s other ups and downs included him buying the deli opposite Dick Smith’s in WAGGA. (I hope Brenda knows about this new venture.) At $12.00 for a toasted ham and cheese sandwich he figures he has 51% share in it so if you’re ever in the neighbourhood, drop in and share in the experience. (I guess double the name means double the price.) Just a thought. Oh!, and if you see a kangaroo somewhere between Hay and Balranald with a big, black and furry condom, that will be Andy’s armrest cover and he’d appreciate it if you could ask for its return on his behalf.
I digress, sorry. The weather was weird. We had 3 or 4 seasons in less than half a day from 24 degrees of sunshine to 14 degrees and hailstones. Sue had snowflakes on the bus window at one stage, so if you go next year take it all because you will get to wear it at some stage during the weekend.
A low point was the state of the bus provided for the kids, but a high point was that the dead bus was given new life by Peter and Stefan. Liaison then occurred between SA and NSW “boys in blue” so that the bus made it to the Gov’t garage pit for a closer look. Brakes, exhaust and electricals are all cheap to fix so it will be back with us by the next millennium, I’m sure.
The Honda guru giving the speeches was so impressed he even did a “Derrin Hinch” on it to the masses when a Port Melbourne woman (not present) won the Wing, and the rider of a GoldWing Ducati from Brisbane claimed her Fire blade from the cheering crowd. (Sorry Trevor, I hope the bus company gives refunds for your ticket.)
High point was that Graeme Merrick and his lovely wife, fronted up this weekend. He was quick to inform us that it was his identical twin brother, Luigi, who had been at Cobdogla with the Piaggio. Luigi was apparently at home in the family business this weekend, doing clinical trials on his latest version of RY-SOL-EUM to cure the Equine flu.
An impromptu light show (contest) on Saturday night between the “east –coasters” and the “flatlanders” went to us. Purely an unbiased opinion, but it would have been no contest if Trevor had been there, or Adrian had dazzled them with his 24 carats. The upshot of all of this is that you shouldn’t be surprised if the Piaggio is “pimped up” and Luigi leads the next Mardi Gras.
The hosts, Barb and Ron at Enzian, Bev and Ken at Sonneblik looked after us exceptionally well and there is no truth to the rumours about Stefan and I. We’re only good friends. The other lodge however, had some very, very, VERY, friendly pairings although it was a pity about the pair who must have had a tiff resulting in one of them sleeping on the couch. The next episode will tell us who got the house and who got the kids. Peter Spillet showed his prowess with Origami using GoldWing carry bags and it could make a great stage show in future. He just needs to keep in mind the GST for the Taxman, who is one hell of a photographer by the way in his spare time, and has his own plans for an exhibition. Stay tuned for that.
On a slightly more serious note, the 1280 kilometres is a big couple of days so we’ll need to train for it over the next 12 months. The bit that sits on the bike as much as anything else. Some in-depth thought has been applied already by those who went this time, and, in line with the Alice ride, we reckon we can do it better here.
We have spoken with the Group-en-Führer, Greg and we have his consent for staging our own event, just as soon as it snows here in November.
On a local note, the “Upright Ride” as it is now known, was had by a few who travelled through the Barossa Valley where Leslie forgot the 1100 doesn’t have the back of the 1500. Leaning back is not such a good idea and the “paws and claws” have left Robert’s jacket scarred for life as she scrambled to return to upright. The highways guys added to the occasion by recently re-surfacing nearly every road travelled and leaving lots of gravel on the corners. No leaning there. Hey!! It could become an annual event so we’ll have to see what it’s like when it snows.
We can all settle down and look forward to the Christmas festivities. All the best whether you’re north, south, east or west, keep the black side down. Safe riding and see you in the new year with new instalments and snow reports.