The last of the post-Australia washing has been put away (I'm not that much of a domestic slattern, honest, it's just that stuff tends to linger on the drying rack until I need to clear it to hang the next load up). So now there is no evidence that I have been on an amazing trip. I've shown the photos to my dad, and that's my worry of the day. There's so much more to travelling than the pictures we take - even if you're me, who takes a lot of pictures. And yes, they do all have the bike in. How do I stop the memories fading into those 475 frozen moments? I have my map, and things I picked up on the way, and my journal. I have often wished that it was possible to download memories onto some sort of brain chip. It would be great for two reasons: it would be possible to definitively check who was right in those domestics that start "but of course I told you." And I wouldn't have to rely on a rickety configuration of neurones to recall the red earth and the blue sky and the line where the oceans meet.
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Friday, 27 January 2012
Something dreadful has happened to me. I have become a bus commuter. I was spoilt by riding the beautiful hot roads of South West Australia and since I came home the prospect of breaking 2Moos out of the garage, riding to work in the wet and the cold and the slime, and repeating the operation in reverse at the end of the day just hasn't appealed. As I lamented before Christmas, in the absence of any parking spaces at work my only alternative is to get the Guided Bus. There are severe limitations to this as a mode of transport, not least that the cheap one (Whippet - I wonder if the Tight Fisted Northerner stereotype was deliberate?) ends at 5 to 8, when the night is yet young. But it turns out I do quite enjoy the 2-mile cycle to and from the bus stop. I have my "Now's the Time" hi-viz jacket and a pair of robust boots. Except last Friday when I had my Now's the Time hi-viz and a pair of 7-inch heels with flames down the side. And I pay £12.50 for the week. I had to take 2Moos to the office yesterday and - quelle horreur - I didn't enjoy it. What on earth is going on? Have I been abducted and replaced by an imposter?
Posted by Highwaylass at 13:48 PERMALINK
Monday, 16 January 2012
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Sunday, 8 January 2012
I am staying in a motel getting ready for a long day tomorrow getting my hire bike back to Rockingham. It's very exciting, i've never stayed in a motel before. The bike is parked outside my door, as is correct form. I have a fridge and a toaster. Sadly I don't have my preferred wash kit - as I headed towards the Stirling Range I started to wonder why I could see yellow in my mirror when my jacket, the bike and the panniers come in black, white and blue. The answer, as I'm sure you've figured out quicker than me, is that the pannier lid has come open and was wantonly displaying my exped drybag. And no longer carrying a Cath Kidston wash bag with a rather nice Clarins moisturiser in it. I left the mountains looking mysterious in the distance and rode back to see if I could find it, but I think the roos have made off with it. So I am abluting, under a shower of frankly awesome power, with the best that the Coles Express can offer. Which actually isn't too bad. And my VB stubby is chilling in the fridge. I am eating junk food and watching Neil Oliver on the telly. It has been a great trip, and I am ready to go home now.
Posted by Highwaylass at 12:18 PERMALINK
Saturday, 7 January 2012
Posted by Highwaylass at 07:39 PERMALINK
Thursday, 5 January 2012
Wednesday, 4 January 2012
Posted by Highwaylass at 07:56 PERMALINK
Sunday, 1 January 2012
Rental bikes don't come cheap. In order to get my money's worth, I need to have around £100-worth of fun every day. What does that look like? About 25 pints of beer? I have downed that many in a day, but it was a long time ago and I'm not sure it was fun even then. Maybe it's more like a ticket to a West End show, a meal before it with friends and a couple of drinks in the interval. Every day for the next ten days. I can live with that ;)
This Bandit is a sweet, sweet bike. I feel rather closer to the ground than normal, but I can finally do all those things I've practised on Norfolk airfields including the feet-up U turn, though I have not yet ventured one on full lock. No point tempting fate, and I've already heard the expensive crunchy sound of plastic on tarmac twice this trip, both times my camera slipping off the bike seat and hitting the deck. Why so many U-turns? Because this bike doesn't have a GPS. I have a good map and the number of roads available to choose from is closer to Caithness than Camden, so I think I will be OK - and in a slightly Spartan way I think it's good for me to practise the discipline of looking at maps and trying to remember them rather than just blind following.
For New Year's Day I rode up the coast, past the dog-walkers, joggers and surfers who were out and about. I'd say "making the most of the sunshine' but this is one of the big things you have to know about Australia. You probably know already, but it's different when you're feeling it for yourself. It's always sunny. Every day. This creates a very different head-space. If this were a summer morning in Blighty I'd be thinking, "Oh, sunny again, great! Wonder how long it will last?" Like hungry people or binge drinkers, there would be a feeling of needing to grab it all before it's gone. Here there's none of that panic. The sun shines, you put on your protection and go out and have a ball, and you can do the same again the next day. It creates relaxation.
The other thing about Australia that you might know in your head but not in your spine is how big it is, and how thinly spread the people are. I followed the coast to Yanchep, where there's a National Park with koala bears. Tourist photos in the bag, I headed back into farming country to New Norcia via Mogumber, These towns are marked on the map....Mogumber is a railway crossing and a tavern. New Norcia is a very odd collection of Benedictine monastic buildings. Between them were miles of warm, well-kept tarmac roads with bugger-all other traffic. I realised that carrying water isn't necessary for comfort and feeling a bit thirsty. It's because if I have a problem in a place with no mobile reception I'll be waiting a very long time for someone to come along.
So: New Year's Day was all about hot, red roads, the brilliant colours of the roadside flowers, flashes of bright red and green from the parrots as I scared them up from the verge, and one-horse towns. I stopped into the Mogumber Tavern for a cold drink. A cattle dog inspected me on the porch - I passed and got a wag of the tail. Inside an old guy with legs as leathery as his thongs said "G'day! How ya going." It's a fantastically warm greeting and "Very well thank you, how do you do?" seems inadequately British in response. He wished me an increase in happiness and I sat at the bar in my un-natural fibre mesh jacket feeling very out of place. I'll do better next time...I'll leave the jacket on the bike! (and I'll practice "How do you do? " in my best Betty and Phil voice. I'm a tourist, I might as well sound like one!)
Today I start south :)