Rusjel's 2016 memorial run


Premier Member
I was entirely sure that this ride this year would be huge. We were thanking Davo and remembering all of the riders who had left us, but it was saying goodbye to Pat too and that was going to be special. My friend Nico had posted up a powerful ride report that I have personally found helpful in the lead up, but you never quite know what is going to happen.

Well the first thing, as always, was a horrible slog down the ‘Doom to Wagga. Glen and I always dread this bit, the drudgery, the homicidal early morning motorists ( the trucks are normally fine) and the fighting to stay awake.

Normally this evaporates on the run the Narrandera as we relax and get into the ride. Bah Bow. We fought our way across the Hay plain with only a distracting game of wets on wets off for relief. I don’t know what was going through Glen’s mind apart from audio books, but my usual mental disciplines deserted me and my thoughts kept turning to how hard the going was.

I caught myself thinking at one stage “the country has never been so beautiful and here you are, out on a bike being a miserable old coot” Quite, but between fighting the wind and being buggered it was hard to be anything else.

We caught up with a couple of blokes on a Harley and an old Cali at Buronga heading out to the Ulysses meet at Silverton. We leapfrogged each other all the way to Busted Mountain, including a brief catch up at Coombah where we all took a break from the wind. This leg had some of the most beautiful skies of the trip as well as the appearance of some amazing wildflowers. Both of us were feeling more positive at the Hill, despite the slog we were making good time and we steeled ourselves for smashing into the wind again for the run west to the Gutter.

The section to Yunta didn’t disappoint, both bikes using 7L+/100K and the riders looking at each other thinking ‘really’? When do we cut a break? Thoughts of how good it was to be not working and being out with Glen were starting to assert themselves but I had a bit more sooking to do before the wind dropped as we snuck under the protection of the Southern Flinders Ranges sailing into Peterborough.

I’m used to the emerald winter greens in the ranges, but this year the creeks are running and it is spectacular. We called in at the pub to say gidday and pick up our room keys before heading to Whyalla to make up the Ks. Somehow Horrocks had avoided the rain enough for us to have some fun before hitting the top of Spencer’s gulf and the run down to Whyalla.

The wind was gone, the critters were busy elsewhere and we could breathe easily and just roll to and from the fuel stop. A couple of Whyalla Norrie ferals at the servo reminded me of when Jeltje and I ran a youth hostel here. Those kids bought us despair, joy and some of the most rewarding times of our lives. Whyalla taught us that community is more important to happiness than how pretty a town is and I still bristle when the ignorant put the place down. “Happiness is a steel mill on the right” the locals used to say as they drove out of Whyalla. But Glen is just enjoying playing the tourist and the HMAS Whyalla. Maybe I’ll come back for a few days sometime…

We run out of luck and into a squall on the way back up Horrocks, but we have 1690ks in the bank and a comfy bed for the night. I don’t think I’ve slept so well in years.

Saturday morning and I’m treated to a scene of 19th century buildings, deserted streets and a slow sunrise. I’m sitting on a chair on the pub’s veranda, the eroding foam and vinal crackling underneath me as I enjoy my ‘drinking for effect’ blend 43. Marls and Glen join me while Gags surveys the scene in the street below. The four of us look out across the town and each other. I think it’s the combo of the space between us, the companionship and the irony of the empty street that makes us smile.

Later Glen, Tele and I take a constitutional around the town before breakfast and enjoy one of my favourite moments as the faithful gather. People are being sledged and greeted with equal gusto and we prod and poke at each other’s setups.

Down for the service and Nico tells us of the two Galahs he saw on the fence at the plaque this morning. Obvious parallels are drawn and we enjoy the best of memorials, full of melancholy, laughter, meaning and a clear emotional path out.

A few of us decide to ride to Quorn for a brew. There’s a little excitement as Henk tries to throw himself under a ute at the servo, but Tele and I have swapped bikes and I’m really looking forward to trying the Beemer. I restrain myself for a few kilometres but have to blast past the group to see what the big girl can do. A lot as it turns out, brilliant handling and that engine! In line 6s in a bike is a glorious thing. It’s a shame they mated it with a gearbox out of a Massy Ferguson, but overall the bike is amazing, probably the first big tourer I’ve had a genuine lust for.

Someone found a good coffee shop in Quorn which gave us time for a break and Phil time to do some surgery on his tough-as-nails-can’t–kill-it-with-an-axe-more reliable-than-a-KTM Kwaka.

After sorting out the Kawasaki disgrace a few of us headed back down the Quorn road. Riding enthusiastically Glen and I were fortunate to not make a contribution to consolidated revenue. This was followed by another law abiding run up Horrocks and a trip out to Hancock’s lookout, where the ZX14 Adventure R tried its hand at some more mud and water crossings. Just mucking around with glen looking out over Spencers Gulf, hundreds of miles from home at sunset. Brilliant

The evening went as you’d expect, lots of fun, bullshit and banter until about 9 when all the revellers just disappeared to bed! Gatey and I hung around for a bit solving the world’s problems and buying the most expensive glass of Baileys in the southern hemisphere. We don’t get to talk enough mate.

Everyone had their eye on getting away early Sunday morning and there was a constant stream of people easing out of the hotel at dark o’clock.

It was good being part of the group having a fairly lazy getaway for a bacon and egg sarny at Melrose at 8 or so. Looxery. Reg and Daisy followed me over to Peterborough top the motorcycle museum which is well worth the trip. Ian is another one of those blokes who bought motorcycles and never sold them. Amazing collection, beautifully presented by a knowledgeable host

Being followed by a 7 foot tall red head on a GTR. What, me worry?

After bidding farewell to Reg and Daisy I took myself off down a couple of backroads to explore some station ruins. I’m fascinated by the endeavour of the owners of these doomed agricultural projects, walking around the old homesteads you try and get a sense of what it was like to try and grind out a living north of the Goyder line. The isolation must have been intimidating; maybe that’s what some of those folk were going for?

Back to civilisation and a beaut lunch surrounded by wildflowers in Morgan and a trip across the river on the ferry. A lazy days riding, finishing up at an old mate’s place in Mildura.

Monday morning and another lazy getaway. I could get used to this slow touring thing. I stopped for a few minutes at JRA’s cross. We don’t necessarily want crash sites to be the places we remember our mates, but it was good spending a moment focusing on what I remember of him.

What I was really looking forward to was catching up with Mel at her home base at Urana. It was great to see her, but with one eye on the light Mel kicked me out so I could do the water crossings between there and Lockhart before dark. So glad she did, there were a couple of deep ones there. There was another 6 water hazards between Lockhart and the highway and it is hard to judge the depth of water once the sun goes down. Fantastic for the country though.

Rolling home after the obligatory Maccas at Gundagai my thoughts turned to work the following day and reengaging life as a responsible adult again. Of all the gifts Pat left us, I think the freedom to clown around and fully enjoy our riding and break from normal responsibilities has to be the most precious. It takes a special man to be wise, but an even more special one who is willing to be seen as a fool in order to open the eyes of those he cares about. Thanks mate.


Thanks for sharing your ride Russ and the photographs, the one paragraph that stands out is the last one.......Thanks Pat


Premier Member
Really enjoyed the read and colourful pics but some of those clouds were a bit ordinary looking Russ!

A powerful ride, 7l/100 K's is a little ordinary and can knock planning around.

Great stuff!


Well-known Member. Moderator
Thanks Russ for the great read and the photos.
As I said, you turned an ordinary start for you into a very nice weekend!
Great to catch up a little longer too.


Premier Member
A most readable, enjoyable and engage-able report there Russ. So damn good that I felt almost part of the whole weekend :D:D