What has happened to my motorcycle blog? Eek! It's been hijacked by life, school and piddling cats. There hasn't been much mention of motorcycling lately. What a travesty. Have I really done so little motorcycling of late?
The answer, sadly, is YES, dammit. I know my mood has reflected the lack of bike therapy. Talk about miserable! I've been sadder than a snake on ice; more miserable than a microbe in a glass of Dettol; and more desperately despondent than a dieter in a chocolate factory.
You know, a lot of people seem to think that it's just a throwaway line when I say that I need to ride in order to stay sane. They just don't 'get' how deadly serious I am, coz they don't 'get' motorcycling in general, and what motorcycling has meant to me in particular. It was just about the only thing that kept me from going under at a very dark time in my life, and all it takes is a few days of bikelessness to push me into a mindset where I feel out of control and downright depressed. Hopping on the bike and heading out of town to far-flung destinations is the ultimate medicine.
The lack of bike time is in fact one of the reasons I've found the adjustment to school life so difficult.
A couple of weekends ago, on a glorious Sunday, in an attempt to regain some equilibrium I chased 6 Ducatis and an R1 around the Southern Tablelands, with absolutely no hope of catching any of them. I ride like a nanna, and they rode like - well, Ducati riders... A lovely day, but I was a little (read: a LOT!) outside my comfort zone, and my day began and ended at my house. I prefer rides that take me away from home.
So anyway - last weekend I was Desperate and Determined Betty: desperate to ride, and determined to get out of town.
After doing my democratic duty, and voting in Australia's most boring election, I saddled up the Bomber and headed to Cowra with my lovely friend Mark (Mark, friend of Miffy the Geriatric Cat, remember?) He's also had a long period of enforced bikelessness, and was suffering a bit of cabin fever.
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Cowra's a nice little town. I've stayed there before, and at only about 200kms from Canberra it's an easy ride over a weekend if you have a shitload of schoolwork to do (which, of course, I did)..
Saturday was cold, grey and showery. Did I care? Not a bit - I have heated hand grips on the Bomber, and quilted winter liners inside my jacket and pants. (Heated socks would've been nice though...) The Bomber was just glad to get out of the shed and to go somewhere besides the school car-park for a change!
Since the last time I was in Cowra, the main street seems to have shrunk. There are lots of empty shops. I don't know if it's the drought or the GFC, or perhaps a sign of the general malaise that afflicts so many small towns in Australia. Are the youngsters upping and leaving, seeing no future on the land? I don't know - but it was sad to see such a lovely little town struggling.
Cowra was the setting for the 'Cowra Breakout' in WWII, when a bunch of Japanese POWs staged a mass breakout. There was a bloodbath, and now the little township of Cowra (population 9,500) is an avid supporter of world peace. It's a nice town.
After exploring a bit, it was back to the motel to mark many many essays before dinner. We had the blandest fried rice in the universe, and drank lots of wine to make up for it while we watched the election results on the telly. Sigh.
Sunday dawned chilly but golden, and with a hung parliament likely. Boo hiss. At least the weather was good, and a great relief after the iron-grey bleakness of Saturday. Rather than riding straight home, I wanted to make my annual trip to Wyangala Dam to take a photo of the water levels. To check out the water levels over the last couple of years, have a look at a previous post - Spring Riding and Bug-Splats - from September 2009.
Here's what it all looks like now, after the wet wet winter we have had:
The condition of the Frogmore Road, after that very same wet winter, was atrocious! Pot-holes galore, bits of road surface missing, shockingly bad 'patch' jobs - and after having ridden that road about a dozen times, I was really surprised to ride through a couple of inches of water on the causeways - water! Amazing! The area's been a bloody dustbowl for the last gawd-knows how many years!
Last weekend I discovered a few things, the most important of which was this:
when it comes to motorcycling, you lose skills fast if you don't ride a lot. My recent riding has overwhelmingly been nothing more than commuting. I have developed a stiffness in my shoulders, and don't look far enough ahead at the moment. Too used to looking at traffic and side-streets, and traffic coming OUT of side streets, I suppose. Grrrrr.
Must get out on the open road more! Hurry up Spring!
The final verdict? Great weekend - shit weather, nice riding, great company! Wheeeeeeeeee!