Here in the Land Down Under, motorcyclists 40 years of age and preferably older can join a motor cycle club, sorry, a social club for mature motorcyclists. The club is called the Ulysses Club.
Why is it so called? That’s a question to be answered in a later blog.
There are many, many branches of the Ulysses Club across Australia with about 20,000 member motorcyclists, both male and female.
Some years back the Central Administration opened the door for the creation of overseas branches and now a few have sprung up in Europe, Vietnam and Great Britain.
Membership of the central body gives you automatic membership of all the Branches and that means you can participate in club rides, both long and short, to places of interest almost everywhere in Australia.
In keeping with the Ulysses theme, some Branches run what is known as an Odyssey, in keeping with the legend of Ulysses himself.
Last month, the Sydney Branch ran an Odyssey to Kempsey, a town in northern New South Wales located on the banks of the beautiful Macleay River and not far rom the coast.
Our motel for the weekend was situate right on the river bank with outside tables and benches from where we could enjoy a few coldies and observe the bird life flying up and down the river. I wonder why it’s called the Moon River Motel?
Just over eighty Ulyssians travelled from all over New South Wales, plus a few from Queensland and Victoria to the Kempsey Odyssey. For the first time in many, many years I observed more participants travelled on four wheels rather than on two, myself included.
The Odyssey organisers provided a range of activities for attendees but on this occasion the decision was taken my our own small group to ‘do our own thing.’
As a result, we ventured to some of the scenic spots not accessible by touring motorcycles and as a result had the scenic vantage points to ourselves. Here are a few of the images I made along the way.
This is the rear of the Moon River Motel in Kempsey on the banks of the mighty Macleay River.
Sitting on the bench outside our unit looking downstream on the Macleay we felt at peace with the world.
Then, as if by magic, the motelier accompanied by his Labrador dog arrived and paused in front of us. He appeared to be concentrating on his iPad but we were in for a real treat.
The Labrador picked up a stick and gave it to the Motelier who then threw it out into the river. The dog rushed down what appeared to be a slide near the little white pennant and swam out and collected the stick.
Successfully retrieved, the stick remained in the dog’s jaws until the whole process was repeated, again and again to our great amusement.
Later in the morning after a relaxing morning tea in we decided to go view the sights and headed north in our respective all wheel drives.
Our first point of call gave us a great view looking south along the South Pacific Ocean coastline towards Kempsey and Forster.
Perhaps the cropped version provides a stronger impression of the pleasing view.
Leaving this spot we travelled further north along the coast and finally made the climb to one of the districts highest points and were provided with another spectacular view.
Although the dirt access road was in great condition, large areas of loose gravel had been laid down and it would have been a challenging ride up on any bike, let alone my Harley Davidson cruiser or my mate’s pristine touring Beemer.
Our descent from the summit was easy going in the diesel Landrover, we just sat in high range second gear and never needed the brakes all the way down to the bitumen. Here we are at the beginning of the way down.
By the time we returned to our motel, it was time for afternoon tea on the river bank and we were joined by a very inquisitive Kookaburra who seemed to delight in being photographed as it sat on an adjacent table and feasted on one of our precious Monte Carlo biscuits.
As dusk arrived, many, many birds commenced their flight home to roost with a large number choosing to travel along the river and we were fortunate to observe quite a number of them in different formations as they made the trip. I particularly liked the ‘V’ formations with their pleasing reflections and this particular group seemed to be just skimming the river’s surface at quite a rate of knots.
A short time later, we were off to a local club to join up with our fellow Ulyssians for a sumptuous meal, the usual speeches and presentations.
After a few drinks, the usual exaggerated stories of daring do on motorcycles circulated around the assembled mob. It was great listening to yarns that had grown in degree of daring do over the years and it’s a sure thing that some of the riders will become Ulysses Club legends in the not too distant future. After all, isn’t that how the Ulysses legend began all those centuries ago?
The next day we rose just before dawn to get an early start on our return home journey of about 700 klms. I popped outside to get one more look at the mighty Macleay just as the sum appeared over the opposite bank. My camera was close by and I grabbed this shot almost instinctively. It hasn’t been photoshopped and I hope you like it just the way it is.
We all returned home refreshed and looking forward to the next Odyssey with a pledge to each other that next time it will be on two wheels and not four.
Hoo roo for now