cold is not a good enough reason to avoid travelling on a motorbike in the middle of winter

cold is not a good enough reason to avoid travelling on a motorbike in the middle of winter.

I am serious , it really isn’t.

I ring Dad from Melbourne after finding out that he was whisked off to hospital in the middle of the night.

I  mention the huge frost at our place on the day we left and he says I told you you would be better off in the car.

but dad that is not the point.

we are our own bike club me and John ,Rebecca and Gemma .

what shall we call ourselves? asks Gemma.

None of us wanting to be in a club we don’t come up with a name.

We stop at Eden for petrol and a wee break,

me and Gemma and Bec are laughing in the toilets

as we fumble thru our  many layers of clothing to access zips and buttons

with hands that wont follow direction.

it is worse when you are busting,

imagine the time needed  to access first my leathers, buttons, then my RM Williams, zip, then 2 pairs of long johns and the undies. then try doing all that up again while maneuvering over the bulk of jumpers scarves and jackets.

point being don’t wait till you need to go.

a woman came out of a cubicle and said ‘you are all mad its freezing’

yes it is and we  laughed again.

further along the road we stopped for elevenses,

gem had made a thermos of coffee  but it was only lukewarm, the date cake was good though and

so was huddling around the bike warming our hands on the cylinders that are so conveniently exposed on the BMW.

we stayed the night at lakes  and the next day was warmer and drizzling.

by Sale the drizzle was determined to be rain

so I stopped off to buy wet weather pants

add another layer

by now I cannot walk well , more of a waddle.

the weather progressed its way into me, my boots my  gloves  and then my hands  started to hurt.

the visor was totally fogged up so my view was like the day grey clouded with beads of rain.

so on day two wet was added to cold and I almost stopped enjoying myself but before that could happen

John turned off the expressway and took us  direct to Springvale , a largely Vietnamese suburb for a very large bowl of pho as in soup.

I squelched into the cafe and that soup of vege  beef and noodle warmed us enough to get the  rest of the way to Zoes.

after we got up from the table there was puddles of water on the floor.

I read later that this was the coldest day in Melbourne for 2 decades only reaching 9.9 degrees.

Zoe took me straight to her drying cupboard to hang up my sodden gear .

she went back out  to her dad who was getting our gear out of the panniers and yes my backpack had got wet too

do you want to have a hot shower first or hop in the cupboard with Sans.??

he joined me in the cupboard , it was quite roomy and so very very warm.

aah the joy of a brand new house with ducted heating .

It was the next day  that I got the call about Dad

he is still there in Waikato Hospital waiting for the bypass surgery

the one where they nick veins out of your legs and stitch them into your chest creating new pathways for the blood to flow.

Jess  Greg and Kingston now in their third week in NZ are staying in his house driving his car and visiting him every day.

yesterday they took him a bike magazine.

he sounds great and seems to be enjoying the attention.

if I tell him about the cold he thinks it is all about coming up with ways to avoid it and on some level he is right.

I do dress with the view of staying warm on the bike , getting rugged up as much as possible and mostly I am snug,

mostly .

It is not about not doing it because it is cold more about being prepared as much as possible and then enjoying it .

the feeling of being alive,John says

he also  says it is about adventure.

and where he goes adventure often of the extreme kind follows or leads or they go hand in hand.

mostly I am up for it though sometimes…

the day we left Melbourne was sunny a clear blue sky and we sailed up the highway to Moe

thinking tomorrow we will be home.

pea and ham soup with Donna the queen of  mosaic making art happen in schools and shopping centres

shaking up the world in Moe until one day recently the earth shook and things fell off the shelves.

the power of art  transforming our lives.

we sailed on up the highway to Stratford-on-Avon,

the turkish shop called us in to see their mosaic world in tiles  plates and carpets

patterns unbelievably rich and vibrant  in colour and complexity.

We stayed the night in The Old Hotel in Paynesville on the shore of McMillans Strait

next to lake King watching the car ferry go back and forwards to Raymond Island which the hotelier tells us is overrun with koalas.

fancy that while here on the south coast people jump up and down if a scat is found.

we ride off into another sunny day and find ourselves face to face with Ra the Sun God

hiding out in a little slab hut behind the Mingling Waters  cafe at Nowa Nowa.

Ra is a wood  sculpture from the  roots of a messmate obliqua  that blew over in a storm. Once 66 metres tall and somewhere between 200 -300 years old the root is  7 metres across and 4 metres high.It  took J. E. Ramsdell 12 months to bring Ra out of the roots into a high gloss shining state.

From the presence of Ra the Sun God  to the Royal Cave at  Buchan this is no just getting on home trip this is something else some other map being followed, we walk underground thru limestone formations of  stalactites and stalagmites along slippery wet paths and metal fences to stop us touching these calcite deposits.

It is after three when we stop at Orbost for fuel and John suggests another side trip.

The Buchan Cave was not enough and lets face it we were still two hours off dark just time enough to go up the Bonang Highway .

to where? I asked .

It’s a beautiful road a bit of gravel.

to where?

well we could get to Bombala.

funny I had never thought of going there and obviously we were not getting home this night anyway.

so  we went along the Bonang a narrow forested road where the sun only visits in passing getting dimmer and dimmer and more and more windy.

I stopped looking at the wriggly road sign telling the story of more twists and turns  and more..

logging trucks passed us scurrying away with some cut off beauty.

the road pitted and rutted with still much debris from fallen trees that had been mostly cleared off.

it was slow going and getting colder. Beautiful  towering giants,  tree ferns bubbling creeks  and very isolated.

my visor kept fogging so I had to have it open even though the chill factor was extreme.

dark came and we were miles from anywhere.

mist curled over creek flats, wallabies bounced on the edge of the road now gravel .

bunnies ran out in front of us and thank goddess we didn’t know that deer were in that neck of the woods.

fingers frozen,  existing on one toasted sandwich at Nowa Nowa and a few sips of water before it blew out of Johns jacket and disappeared.

nothing at Bonang.

Delegate looking abandoned except for the Carlton Draught sign

We pulled up and asked a chap coming out does this pub have rooms? yep he says.

we were off that bike and into that bar very quickly.

the barmaid threw more logs on the fire and all the locals wanted to know where we had come from and where we were going.

a couple of shots of brandy, a toast by the fire, a few chats  and the promise of a meal and a room and we were restored fortified and thankful.

and so when we leave the next very frosty morning for home what can happen the sun is shining again ,the day is glorious and yes it is frosty  but

there is ice on the roads

and there are all those lovely yellow signs that show a car careening off the slippery road.

not sure about that as a spell.

but  Mt Darragh Road is beautiful and John takes his time and I pray

and then we are here,.home

everything as it is

starting up stanley

for a real cup of tea with pot and leaves


Oh and what did we get up to in Melbourne ?


in Melbourne we go to hang  out with family and eat;

we eat pho at Springvale, we eat dumplings at Box Hill, we eat suckling pig in China town,  we eat lentils and lamb Ethiopian style in Footscray, we eat cheese pies and baklava in Dandenong and pizza on Lygon street.

and when not eating we go to the movies a Chekhov morality tale called ‘the duel’

catch a matinée performance of circus oz going now for 30 years

to witness the enormously clever contortions and movements of the human bodies at play.

we buy merino thermal underwear ,help Zoe buy a couple of leather sofas catch trains trams and buses

and well it is nice to be home again.

the faerie embassy welcomes your thoughts ideas comments..

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