18th May 2023: Schmokin At Berrima

Schmokin’ Merde de Vache

It looked like only three of us; The Colonel, Jim and myself until Martin turned up on the death to make it a four-hander. The advertised destination was Schmokin’ at Berrima and so we stuck with that on a no-frills basis – i.e., no exotic deviations or side journeys. The route was fairly straightforward: old highway to Bulli Tops; Appin & Broughton Pass; down the motorway to Avon Dam Rd and then down through the Y-towns to Old South Road; down Old South Road to the extent you’re legally entitled these days and then a right turn into the road across to Braemar (Whoops! A bit of sideways there on the dirt for me but managed to reel it in); then through Mittagong and out along the Wombeyan Caves Road in what would be the only bit worthy of the term “deviation”. Nearly stuffed that up thinking I might have overshot the last left-turn to Berrima but good old Jim sensed my uncertainty and saved the day by shooting to the front and taking us to the correct left turn further down the track. At this point I managed another bit of tail-out on the loose stuff but nothing spectacular. Halfway down this road back to Berrima, my brain decided we must be close to the right turn onto the old Hume at Berrima, so on went the right blinker ready for a turn into a non-existent road. Bike in 5 th, brain in neutral.

We arrived at Schmokin’ pretty much at the planned time to be greeted with the usual array of bikes and four-wheeled relics and exotica. A ’57 Vee Dub with the little rear window (I used to own one of these as a lad); a later VW; an Austin 1800 (!); a very schmick red Morgan looking like it just came out of the showroom and a Clubman that looked very Lotus at the front but was probably just one of the many knock-offs getting around. Amongst the bikes, there was an ancient Velocette – but you couldn’t describe it as “original” because there were no discernible oil leaks.

While we were dealing with our various beverages and victuals, there was the ominous rumble of a big banger V8, as in came a real brute. A Ford GT40 in full le Mans team livery and sponsor decals. (A replica, I’d assume – there were only ever about 150 built and Steve McQueen’s own one went for a cool $US11 million.) Trivia: Called the GT40 because the height measured at the windshield was 40 inches, the minimum allowed under le Mans rules.

From Berrima, it was down to Moss Vale and out to Robertson where Jim gassed up before we took the run out past the showground to East Kangaloon and on to Tourist Road. This section lived up to its reputation as Cowshit Corridor. I copped a splattering from the ute in front of us; Martin copped my stinky rooster tail; The Colonel copped Martin’s and poor old TEC Jim was condemned to eat everyone’s s##t. To make up for this, the run down the pass was remarkably tin-top free until quite near the bottom. From there, a bog-standard and uneventful run to the Lime Leaf at the ‘burgh for further refreshments and farewells before scattering.

A very pleasant outing. Thanks to Jim for looking after the rear, even though there was little sheep-dogging required with only three in front.

Craig Bernie