Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Fabulousness of Friends and the Kindness of Strangers – Part 2.

The last time I rode the Black Spur was with Clem and Leon from Brisbane, on the way to Phillip Island last year. The light was failing after my spill near Khancoban had delayed us by a couple of hours, and it was a bit like peak hour. We shared the magnificent twisty road with a bunch of commuters in cars who were all in a hurry, overtaking on corners etc and scaring me half to death. I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I could have, although I could appreciate the beauty of the road and the tall trees through which it winds.

Yesterday, though, was different. The Black Spur at first light, after a rainy night, came close to my idea of heaven. Everything smelled fresh and earthy and just-washed. Patches of mist wafted through the trees, and the best bit was that I pretty much had the place all to myself!
The sky became bluer, the sun warmer, and when I got close to Alexandra I just had to pull over to get a pic of the unbelieveable view. The Acheron Valley was filled with a creamy soup of fog, and treetops appeared to be bobbing about in it like a sort of ghostly broccoli. From my vantage point in brilliant sunshine above the fog, it would make a stunning photo.

And then my bike rolled off its side stand (or had a near miss with a kangaroo – pick whichever scenario is least embarrassing and believe it to be true.)

I said one or two bad words - hard to believe, I know – and started to unload the bike so I could try to pick it up. No luck, until a Guardian Angel in the form of a country girl called Megan appeared. Between us we picked up the fallen bike to survey the damage.

More bad words. Another clutch lever snapped.

Enter Guardian Angel #2 – a tradie called Dean, from the nearby town of Alexandra. An absolute mine of information, he called the local motorbike shop, and a short time later, Guardian Angel #3 – Chris, the mechanic from Alexandra motorcycle shop, appeared with a new clutch lever. When it turned out not to be compatible with my fussy Suzuki, he headed back into Alex. We said goodbye to Dean, who headed off to work, and Megan waited with me for the return of Chris – who brought the boss, Trevor (Guardian Angel #4) with him - and a van to ferry the bike into town.

Chris, Megan and Dean - Guardian Angels. You guys rock!

The lovely Megan (by this stage rather late for work) followed the van and dropped me in Alex.
Alexandra Motorcycles

What a fantastic group of total strangers, willing to put themselves out for a stranded ninny!

Chris worked some electrickery, some unbendage of bent bits and did some judicious taping of a broken indicator, and pretty soon I was ready to bid farewell to my new friends and head, rather late, for home.

The helmet from hell has a tinted visor, and I wasn’t carrying a spare clear one, so it was important to get back to Canberra before nightfall (country driving at night with a tinted visor – not a great idea!) I contemplated riding all the way home on the Hume Highway. That foolish notion lasted about 30 seconds. The road between Merton and Euroa is a beauty, and the brief stretch on the M31 from Euroa to Wangaratta made me realise that taking the freeway all the way home would bore me to death, so I came back home the way I went, through all those places with amazing names.

No time to stop for anything but fuel, and by Tumut I was starting to feel a bit queasy with hunger. At the fuel pump I shovelled in a handful of fruit and nuts, and had a swig of water before continuing into rainy weather.

The Canberra sky was a bit Armageddon-ish by the time I got home at 6.30. A hot bath and a glass of wine finished my day in style, before the rain started in for real. Bewdiful!

So – yet another road has broken bits of my bloody bike on it, and yet another country town has played host to the disaster area that is Betty. Once again I have been extremely fortunate to meet some of the kindest people ever. The bug population of south-eastern Australia has been reduced by 4 million (they were all on my visor!) and unfortunately, the crimson rosella population was reduced by one when a suicidal specimen flew into the side of my boot just outside Yackandandah. Erk (not to mention ouch!) Along the way I noticed that the recent dust storms have turned local sheep an interesting shade of red, and what a lovely contrast that is against the brilliant fuzzy-felt green that this part of the world has turned just recently. As a motorcyclist, I'm not a huge fan of rain - but what a difference it's made to the landscape!

It’s a bit of an anticlimax to have to go back to work today… And I’m absolutely knackered!


lemmiwinks said...

You never have a dull ride do you Betty? There must be an easier way to meet people :-P

I splatted a crimson rosella on the way to Moonan Flat once. Poor thing hit the top edge of the bash plate and left a bloody smear.

Sue said...

Is it the time of year, do you think? Birds have started 'playing chicken' with me just recently, and I'm sure they do it every year. I'm probably lucky it was only a poor little crimson rosella that hit me, and not one of the whopping great sulphur-crested cockies that tried it on a little later! A cocky whacking into your helmet at speed would REALLY cause some problems!

Any plans to venture down this way now that the weather might start to warm up sometime soonish?

lemmiwinks said...

I cleaned up my rosella in February so maybe not the time of year. I've also cleaned the clock of a sulphur crested cockatoo! I was on my RF900 (back in the day, when I were a lad) scooting along at 160kph, night, caught a flash of white in the headlight at the side of the road, shut the throttle and lifted my head above the screen just in time to receive the cockatoo as it was deflected.

It was like getting punched in the chin but the cockatoo came off much worse all things considered!

I honestly don't know when my next visit to the mighty 'bra will be. I'll have a wee bairn to help look after sometime around the 18th of this month. Scary stuff eh?!

I am toying with the idea of a quick run down the main drag all the way to the next Unaugural then back the next day but as you can imagine I've not got any firm plans :-)

Sue said...

Omigosh! A little lemmiwinkle??? I didn't know - crikey, that's very grown up :-) Congratulations! I suppose L is kind of over the pregnant thing now, right? and just wishing the little one would put in an appearance.

That's so exciting! Keep me posted!

lemmiwinks said...

Thanks! :-) Yep, I think she'll be glad when it's on the outside (personally that's the bit that's got me terrified, that and the next, what, 25, 30 years?)

Will keep you informed.