Day 1 - Canberra - Balranald
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The weather wasn't looking great. In fact, there was fog at my front door... But hey, when your destination is hundreds of kilometres away, the local weather isn't all that relevant, right?
50kms later, as the fog thickens and becomes even colder, I wonder about that...
The fog thins and I am delighted, but then a pathetic half-rain situation emerges. My dilemma - to don or not to don the wetties??? The rain looks a bit pathetic and I figure Gundagai's not that far - so I do not don... and I live to regret it as the rain intensifies. 100kms in the grand scheme of things is not really very far... but rain can go from a spit to a shit in about 50 metres... (lesson learnt!!!)
So - quite a day really. Canberra to Balranald is around 600kms in a westerly direction. I didn't get a glimpse of blue sky till Hay...
Interesting footnotes re Day 1:
3 cop sightings -
(1) McDonalds, South Gundagai
(2) Service station, Narrandera
(3) Sturt Highway between Hay and Balranald - a Highway patrol car caught an unsuspecting sucker on the Hay Plains....that's really cruel! The Hay plains must be one of the longest, straightest, best visibility hoon-spots on the planet!
You have to remember to watch out for stock on the road, though...
There's a weird thing about stock on the road - it never seems to have any road sense, and critters never behave the same way! The humungous mob of sheep I encountered was a cack. I reckon there must've been at least 500 sheep, with a combined IQ of about 20. The ones with a modicum of intelligence stayed off the road as I passed. The really dumb attention-seekers saw me coming and leapt onto the road in front of my bike, grinning stupidly. All it took was a beep, and they went "Duh, oh, yup, ok...." and bolted.
Sheep aside, though - the weather on the Hay plains was the Big Ticket item on Day One of my Wintersun Adventure. The clouds were just MEGA!
Try and picture a tiny little motorcycle on a tiny road going across a vast empty space. The terrain is truly nearly empty - saltbush here and there... grey earth, red earth, yellow earth... saltbush... that's about it. It's absolutely dead flat, and nothing is more than about a metre tall.
The sky, however, appears to be less than 20 metres above you, and it looks very very pissed off. There are banks of flat-bottomed iron grey clouds hanging over your head like giant anvils. They look so heavy that you wonder how the hell they stay up there, and expect them to come crashing down around you at any second. It's spooky.
I have this weird feeling that the Finger of God is about to poke out of the clouds. Charlton Heston's voice will boom something meaningful at me, and I will be taken up... but I have a rally to go to, so I increase my speed (no doubt, to just under the speed limit *giggle*) and eventually I arrive at the Shamrock Motel in Balranald.
My cartons of longlife milk have exploded somehow (perhaps they were touched by the Finger of God?) and my entire bike smells of milk. Shit. That means in about 3 days my entire bike will smell of yoghurt. Aaaaaaarggh!
I do what I can to rinse the offending dairy product off, and contact the Captain (we met last time I was out this way in about November of last year). It's lovely to catch up and have Chinese down at Balranald RSL.
It's been a big day - no, a huge one!