Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The best laid plans...

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So there was some bike racing at Broadford in Victoria. My mate Kat and I planned to camp at the track and watch some racing, and maybe drum up some business for her leather repair business (Kat Kando), hand out some business cards, that sort of thing. It would be An Adventure. I loaded up my camping gear (I’m getting quite good at that) and off I went.

The first leg of said adventure took me through the Snowies – Adaminaby, Kiandra, Cabramurra - to Khancoban. I love that ride! First time I did it, a couple of years back, I was so terrified I almost cried, but now I just love it, especially on a weekday in decent weather.

I met my friend Stewie at Khancoban and followed him home to Albury. He’s very fast, but good to ride with because he occasionally slows down enough for me not to get lost. Stopped at roadworks just outside Albury, we were in danger of melting inside our riding gear, but eventually got to our destination about 5 minutes after my concentration span finally dissolved, and I found my melted brain taking me onto the wrong side of the road.

Thank goodness for paintstripper cleanskin (which was actually very tasty) as a restorer of equilibrium!

So – Saturday morning – off to Broadford. A boring highway ride followed by several instances of getting lost that took me about 30kms out of my way. A mix-up with mobile phones and numbers, and guess who didn’t end up getting to see any bike racing? My path and Kat’s didn’t cross, I left my ticket at the front gate for her (yes, I finally found the state motorcycle centre at Broadford!), and in the end I begged another night of accommodation at Stewie’s.

While I was having a fuel and Red Bull stop I met a crazy young Pommie adventurer called Paul at the Avenel Roadhouse. His R1 was loaded to the gills, and this Pommie adventurer had been across the Nullarbor 3 times (on an R1 – take that, Charley Boorman!) been sandblasted in a dust-storm, and ridden thousands and thousands of kilometres around Australia, including trips to Perth, Uluru, Phillip Island and Canberra. His enthusiasm was highly infectious, and I really enjoyed the half hour we spent chatting. You meet the nicest people on the road.

I had all Sunday to get from Albury to Canberra, so took the long way (no, not via the Nullarbor, that would be the sort of thing mad Pom Paul would do!) I went over Granya Gap to Walwa and Corryong, then thought I’d have a go at the scary road – the one that snakes up from Khancoban through Thredbo to Jindabyne.

What a wild, wildlife-filled ride – a wallaby hopped in front of me on Granya Gap, and a young wombat was wandering on the road near Walwa. A flock of willy-wagtails with a death-wish fluttered up in front of me near Corryong, and a large Eastern Grey roo bounded across the road near Tom Groggin. (Roos are tricky – where there’s one, there are usually more, so I kept a wary eye on the bush for more of the little buggers.) Add to that the hordes of youngsters who use that fine, twisty road as a Sunday race track, flinging their performance cars around the twisties with glee, and you’ll understand why I was absolutely buggered by the time I got back home, bug-covered but alive, on Sunday afternoon.

No racing, no camping, no Kat – it wasn’t quite what I’d planned, but hey – it was quite an adventure, all 1550kms of it. My new rear tyre is now officially 'scrubbed in'!

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