Friday, 29 June 2012

The Accidental Tourist

The plan today wasn't terribly exciting, besides the fact that it involved riding together and that's something we haven't done for a while. Terry had a client to see in Forbes, we'd planned to go there last weekend on the bikes but it rained and it got called off. So it was rescheduled for today. We would ride there together, Terry would see his client, I'd go off and explore a bit in Forbes while he was working, we'd have some lunch there somewhere then head back home. A nice easy ride on highway all the way, just the ticket to get us on the bikes without too much stress. Here's  THE MAP if you're interested.

After only about half an hour of riding we were both feeling the need to stop. I'm not sure how Terry was going but everything felt uncomfortable today, my glasses kept going skewiff on my face, the gloves felt uncomfortable too, I got used to them by the end of the day, but to start with I couldn't get my cramp buster in the right position and I was getting cramps in my right hand. So we stopped at Tomingley, repositioned stuff and I took the opportunity to have a smoke and try to get into the zone while Terry waited patiently.

And of course I got the camera out to play with.

It was slightly overcast all day, the weather reports said chance of showers so we rode and prayed. It was a good trip and we got to Forbes early enough to go for lunch before we were to meet Terry's client. Had a good counter lunch at the local pub then headed round the corner to the job site. Terry had rang the guy a couple of times since we got into town to let him know what was going on, but there'd been no sign of him, didnt answer his phone or ring back. Hmm ... we were standing round at a job site, I noticed there was some nice old architecture in Forbes and was making plans to wander round taking photos while Terry was busy. Terry tried him again then one last time then said 'Right he's not going to show up, lets go see The Dish'. No arguments from me!!

The Dish is a radio telescope in Parkes, about 30km's back up the road towards Dubbo. It was the telescope that was used to relay the film of the moon landing, read about it here  if you are interested in learning more about its involvement. It was also the subject of a movie made in 2000 depicting fairly faithfully the story of how it happened (there was a disclaimer at the information center that said that some of it was pure fiction such as the relations between the Americans and Australians involved, the movie added some conflict there to spice it up but in reality they got along like a house on fire). I'd been to see the dish when I was a wee kid with a school excursion, but it was so long ago I didnt remember it at all and whenever we drove through Parkes I'd see it from the highway and want to go look. I just never did, we were always on our way somewhere else. Today was the day.

We turned off the highway and could see the Dish in the distance, all very intriguing and Terry suggested we stop somewhere along here to get some distance pics of it. Great idea, we pulled over once and decided it wasnt really safe enough, a bit further up the road and I stopped and jumped quickly off the bike and took pics fully geared up still.

The thing that really struck me was how beautiful it is out here at the moment. Winter crops are starting to poke their heads up and the fields are so green, its hard to believe it's the middle of winter.

Terry waited patiently again while I snapped, that dead looking grass at the side of the road is what I was expecting to see on this trip, instead I got those lush fields. I feel so lucky today.

I jumped back on Roxy and lead the way up the road to the Dish, about 20 meters up the road was a pull over area with signs with a camera on them ... oooh look, a special photo taking place, opps :) We pulled into the parking area at the dish visitor center and were greeted by the awsome view of the Dish towering over the visitor centre.

By the time I'd got my bag unpacked we were surrounded by some curious birds. I've seen these birds around a lot since I moved inland but never when I was growing up on the coast. They are always curious of people and completly unafraid of them.

So of course I Googled them when I got home, they are Apostlebirds. And they are pretty cool in my book, even if I have heard farmers descibe them as pests. They are just so much fun to watch poking about doing their thing.

We went in and had a look at the visitor centre, then found a little cafe to have cake and coffee in, and of course it had a full view of the Dish. Wow it's big!!

After we ordered coffee I snuck out for a smoke and as I was standing near the fence I heard a sound. Motors whiring, the dish started to move ... oh my day couldn't get better!

I snapped a bunch of pics and wished I had a video camera to film this, then remembered the signs everywhere saying not to use a video camera near the dish (I wonder why). I went over to inspect the little thing that kinda looked like it might have been part of the moon landing and found out it was an old part of the dish itself. That box thingy on the end of the three arms is something pretty important that is sometimes manned (it had a better explanation on the sign, but I have a rotten memory), the one on the ground would hold one person and was replaced with the current one which will take three (I think that's what it was about).

There were buttons in there ... I love buttons!!

We had our snacks then went out for more pics.

We tried to do an auto shot of us together in front of the dish but a bloke and a bunch of kids ran in front of the camera just at the vital moment, t'was OK really because I hadn't set it properly and it didn't go off. But the brother of the bloke offered to take a pic of us anyway .. nice of him. I was watching him like a hawk but I didn't really think he'd run with my camera, his was better anyway.

We headed home as the shadows were starting to lengthen, but as we rode past the little photo taking spot we decided to take advantage of it.

Terry said I had to have a photo taken on Roxy cause he never gets to take photos of me on the bike, so I reluctantly agreed, I'm sorry I did, all that gear makes me look fat!! But at least I have the memory :)

It was getting late and I couldnt resist a sun shot, I love this time of the day.

We didnt get rained on all day, even though the roads were pretty wet when we got close to Dubbo, we almost would have liked some rain to wash off the road spray that we copped from the passing trucks.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Retail Therapy Online

There's just something that I don't like about shopping online. Actually there's a few things I don't like about it. The first one is an innate distrust of giving my financial details out online. Yes they are supposed to be safe websites, and I guess they cant be hacked ... hmmm I just find that hard to swallow.

Then there's the impulse buyer in me. I'm a terrible impulse buyer. I'm the woman who the chocolate bars are placed for at the checkouts. I'm the woman who they put all the bright pretty pictures in cook books for. I'm the woman they dress up the shop windows with colourful dresses in spring for. I'm an impulse buyer and one thing about me is, if I see something I just have to buy, then I have to buy it now! Then I want to take it home and play with it, that's why I eat a chocolate bar on the way home from doing the grocery shopping, I have a huge library of cook books that have only ever supplied me with one dish then been relegated to being a dust collector, and I have quite a few lovely dresses that have only been worn once out for dinner just after I bought them, then I wear jeans for the rest of the time cause the dresses just aren't comfortable. I cant do that with online shopping, when I buy something online it takes weeks for me to get it and by the time I get the package I'm kinda over it.

I've gotten a couple of things delivered to me this week, I've come home from work and there's been a package waiting for me ... so exciting!! I open up the package and look at what I bought, yay it's finally arrived, then it sits on the kitchen table for 5 days til I get sick of seeing it and decide it has to be put away. It's just not as exciting when I haven't been able to play with my purchases as soon as the urge to buy has come on me, all the excitement abates over the ensuing weeks, and even though I try to be excited at opening my packages, it just doesn't give me the same buzz.

Then there's all the other reasons not to buy online, I'd never buy clothes or shoes online, how can you tell by looking at something that it's going to fit, and we all know that a size 8 on one label is a size 4 on another. I like to be able to touch things, turn them around and really look at them, they never give you a picture of the side you really want to look at online.

I have discovered that I have to bite the bullet and buy online. There are a bunch of things that aren't available where I am, not just in outback NSW, but not even available in Australia. I bought a couple of good (I hope) disc locks for Terry and I from eBay about a week ago, they are alarmed and they have the smaller pin that we need for our discs. There were none available in Australia that I could find, the only one I found in a shop didn't tell me what size pin it was, and the woman wasn't going to open the packaging to measure ... hmm that's one of the things I liked about buying in shops, you could measure, not always it seems. So these are coming from Hong Kong, I am sitting here today wondering where in the world they are, and how long until I see them and find out if they are as good as I'm hoping they are. At least this item was pointed out to me by someone who already has exactly the same thing, he seems happy with it.

I also bought myself those new gloves I mentioned a couple of posts ago from the Harley shop in Bathurst. Size X small, and having tried on the textile ones that fitted I had been assured that the leather ones would also fit. They came this week and that's what's been sitting on the kitchen table ever since. I tried them on and was disappointed to find they are too big :(  Even so I still had hope for them because they are such nice gloves, the leather is extremely soft and I was hoping that I wouldn't have the same trouble I have with the other too big gloves I own, I was hoping the pliability of the new gloves will give me some better flexibility and I'll be able to work out how the work the clutch even though they are too long in the fingers. I tried them out today, just a bit of a buzz round town and yay they are fantastic, the longer fingers don't annoy me at all and my fingers were toasty!!

So after having ordered the disc locks and getting my gloves sent to me, I got a bit more courageous later in the week and ordered something else online. An indicator relocator!! Yeah OK so not so exciting but I'm a bit more enthusiastic about this than any of the other purchases online so far. I've looked everywhere for the one that I want, and yep you guessed it the only one I could find was in America. They were really great though, it took about a week from order to my door.

Does my bum look big in this?
It's all part of the master plan, to fix up the things that have gone wrong so far. After buying the saddlebags and all the drama and cost involved with putting them on my bike I've become a bit more wary of buying online so the master plan has had it's setbacks, it's taken a while for me to build up the courage to buy even the smallest item I want online, and I'm almost desperately trying to find those things in shops.

 I needed to replace that relocator plate and the licence plate holder so that my bike doesn't look quite so much like she's trying to be a truck. It's all too wide and low, so I am hoping to get it all a bit more streamlined and to lift the blinkers up just a touch, there are times that I just miss scraping the blinkers on gutters when I'm parking.

So today I went out and bought a plastic rego label holder, I have heard that NSW will be getting rid of the rego labels soonish so I'm not going to lash out on a stainless or chrome one. Then I got down and started unbolting blinkers and number plate holders and other stuff. It wasn't too hard even though at one stage I was laying on the pavers with my head stuck up under the fender trying to loosen bolts with about 1/4 inch clearance to move the spanner. After only about an hour I had it done and Roxy is looking much sexier. I still have to get a pretty chrome or stainless frame for the number plate, and decide where to put the rego label, I'm actually thinking of putting it up where my blinkers used to be on the fender rail. I just looked at this photo and realised that the blinker bracket is further to the right, opps have to fix that tomorrow.

Hex Head or Socket Cap?
The other thing I still have to fix up is the bolts that are holding on the spacers for the saddlebags, yes I still have the black ones on there, and yes they are rusting. I need to get stainless steel ones. To get those (or even to find out if I can get them) I need to know the size of them, and the thread size. I had the thread size written down on a bit of paper but somehow in the frenzy of going on holidays I seem to have misplaced that. All good, the site I found to get my bolts from has a nifty thread and bolt measuring tool. Surely I can get one from the local bolt shop .. nope. Bunnings? .... nope. Sigh, I was going to just buy it online and pay twice the price for it when I included postage when Terry suggested I check Mitre 10. So I planned to shop for them today, but just before I went to all that trouble I decided to fiddle around this morning and check the length of them was available at all. So I took out the three different length bolts and measured the length, I tried to work out the diameter too but was a touch unsure about it .. is it 10 or 9? Well I sat and had a coffee then decided to try ringing Tony the amazing saddlebag fixer to see if he by any chance remembered what they were. He did!! So armed with all the information I needed I sat down to the computer and browsed Probolt Australia's Stainless Steel bolts it's a great website, so easy for a complete noob like me to work out. They didn't have the longest one I need in the right thread pitch with a hex head that I want, so I've ordered a slightly shorter one and I'll see how it goes. If it doesn't work I can get the right thread and length in a socket cap, it will look different to the other bolts on it, but at least it wont rust.

With all of this online excitement and the sad feeling that it's just not enough, yesterday on my way home from work I just had the need to do some old fashioned shopping. There's a jacket I've been eyeing off at the local Honda Dealership, it's a very gurly creamy white colour, I'd tried it on before we went on holidays and it fitted a lot better than the Dri Rider one I have. I walked into the shop with the intention to just buy it! It was still there, but it was behind another jacket I hadn't seen before. This one was black, but it has some white panels in it, one of the reasons I like the white gear is visibility, those white panels would stick out at night I thought. I compared them, the cream one had no water proofing, it was a lot shorter (similar to the one I already own) and it was essentially a summer jacket with a quilted liner. The black and white one is apparently water proof and vented for summer with the same quilted liner for winter, it is longer so it's not going to ride up my back like the one I have does and the sleeves come into a snug fit around the wrists with zippers there and around the hips if you need it. For only $40 more I decided on impulse to get the new one. And I'm glad I did, it fits beautifully, it kept me so warm in the near freezing temperatures I was riding in today that when I got where I was going I was almost sweating. And Terry said it looks great when I'm riding!! The only thing I noticed after getting it home was that there is no back protection in it, there's a pouch for it though so I may just see if I can fit in the one from my other jacket, or buy something to fit in there.

After getting my fix in the shops I came home and decided to bite the bullet and get the one other thing that I feel is a must have for the bike. Highway bars, for protection for me and my bike I've seen evidence on forums that these things help so I'm really keen to get some. Again it seems to be a case of not available in Australia so I have been shopping round for them online for a while now. I couldn't decide whether to get expensive ones that I really like the look of or just go for the cheaper ones from Hong Kong that still look OK. I ended up ordering the ones from Hong Kong mainly because I realised that dropping the bike is still a distinct possibility at my stage of riding noobness and I figure if I have to replace them then I'll cry less if they are the cheaper ones. They still look nice enough and if in a few years time I decide I really want the spiffy looking ones then I can.

So it's been a busy week, I've hardly been to the shops at all but I've shopped like a demon. It should keep my habit abated for a few weeks now. I have ridden the bike a few times to work this week, though when I was on morning shifts I chickened out and drove the car, that frost is too cold!! I've noticed a difference in my riding too, I'm becoming more confident, and I'm sure when I looked at my chicken strips the other day they look thinner!! I'm definitely more willing to do tight turns too, I haven't had to do a full on U-Turn for a while but I feel like I could without too many butterflies in my tummy. The other thing I've been working on is keeping my foot on the brake when stopped. I have always just used the front brake while stopped, it's a hangover from the days when I didn't use my foot for a brake on the scooter. I have realised how much easier it would be to do tricky things like hill starts if I used my foot brake after querying about hill starts on the forums, so I'm practising keeping the foot up there. I'm not doing too bad, I still get unsteady a lot of the time and have to put both feet down but there are also times that I don't put it down at all. It all comes with practise.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Roxette loves closeups

Unlike me, my baby bike is made for closeups, they do her justice!

The Shadow Riders Australia forum guys have been running a competition every month for the last few months, and this months competition was interesting. You have to take a photo of a part of your bike that is a closeup and hard to tell what the photo is actually of. I love those kinds of photos!!

So I had a go. Armed with my trusty point and click camera I went out to Roxy this morning and clicked away. It only took me a half hour or so to work out the manual focus and macro settings then she shined!

I could only enter one photo into the competition but there were a few that I quite liked. Some of them aren't really difficult to work out, but then some of them I think might be if you didn't ride bikes. There were two that Terry couldn't work out so I decided to choose between them.

Anyway's I thought I'd post it up here along with the ones that didn't make the cut, just cause I likes them so much. This might be something I'll play with a bit more.

And I discovered the joys of trying to shoot closeups on a shiny chrome filled bike ...

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Found something to do ...

Or something to do found me... I woke up this morning to Gizmo the amazing Staffy barking in my ear. That's not normal, she usually doesn't bark much, only if something spooks her or there's someone in our yard. Terry came in not long after and said, come see what Giz is barking at.

Terry first found him laying half under Roxy's cover, he thinks he may have slept under that last night. So we now have a bundle of joy to look after until we find his people. He's just gorgeous but wow he's noisy and he has sharp little teeth and claws ... and he just goes and goes !!

Gizmo isn't too keen either, I'm ashamed to say Giz hasn't been socialised very well, and she's a bit naughty with other dogs at times .. and she's so much bigger than this puppy. So after an initial introduction that started with tail wagging til the puppy got too energetic and ended with Giz looking like she was going to enjoy a snack, we've kept them separated. Poor Giz has been banished to outside while the puppy has had the run of the house. And our undivided attention.

Gizmo has had to watch at the back window while the puppy first took our attention, then after tiring himself out with one of her toys, taken a bit of a nap on her bed. Then when he was taken outside for toilets, Gizmo was brought inside and watched at the back window again as the puppy chewed on one of her bones .. even though the bone was nearly twice his size!!

He's needed watching, looking for tell tail signs that toileting is imminent, (I've missed that a couple of times and the puppy cleaning stuff was duly found in the cupboard where it's been since Giz got house trained) not to mention watching what goes in his mouth. A couple of Gizmo's smaller bits of bones have been removed from that mouth, but pretty well everything he sees seems to be potential food. Terry's amazed at his appetite, Giz has never been a food orientated dog, not even when she was a puppy, so Terry had never seen how voracious a puppy's appetite can be.

Gizmo's first day home

Her head was the only thing that had any substance
Gizmo was a rescued puppy, way back when she was only about 6 weeks old, or maybe less, we saved her. She was the last mongrel pup of a working farm dog and the owners weren't really that interested in finding homes for the pups, just wanted to get rid of them so the bitch could go back to work. When I heard about Giz she was going to be drowned the next day if a home wasn't found for her, of course she came home with me. She has always been a bundle of joy but I guess we didn't realise how good and gentle she really is. This puppy is really showing us the joys of puppy ownership!!!

Tonight we've changed the tables and after feeding both of them and toileting the puppy, Giz is inside (it's too cold out there at night in winter and we are softees) and the puppy is asleep in a puppy proofed laundry. There's been no noises from him since he went in so I think this may have been a normal thing for him, either that or he's found a way to destoy the things I thought I'd put out of his reach. Gizmo has finally settled down.

Anyway the posters have gone up all over the neighbourhood, and we've put an announcement on the local radio to find his people. I'm afraid though if we don't hear from someone soon we will just have to take him to the RSPCA in the hopes that they can either find his original people or some new ones for him.

As cute as he is, and he is kinda intelligent and I reckon he'd train pretty easily, he's also such a handful!! I don't think either me or Terry could go through the puppy training thing again, specially as Gizmo seems so keen to kill him with kindness one minute and have him for dinner the next.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Looking for something to do

I have exactly 4 days left of my holidays, and I've wasted the last week or so doing absolutely nothing. Well I did write up the adventure here, that was almost as epic as riding it. And I am busy making up a scrapbook of it too, that'll keep me busy for another couple of weeks yet. I'm new to scrapbooking, I did one a few years ago for my mother of our wedding it turned out OK but it's a lot more work than I'd originally thought. I have heaps of stuff left over from that and when we got pictures processed of the Queensland trip I decided it would be nice to personalise it with some of the story as well as pics, scrapbook time.

Here's some of my favourite pages so far ...

Yes I know it looks like there's 2012 bikes going to Indooroopilly, I looked at this pic then changed it to say '2 Bikes To Indooroopilly'
'Queensland 2012'

These two pages face each other, they look great together!!

These two are the same, my favourites so far!!!

So I'm filling in some time being creative, the rest of it has been just floating from my computer to the TV and a book. I've been haunting the motoblogs that I follow, and the Shadow Riders Forums. I did find a gem in the forums, a new member to the group who is unfortunately looking for a new owner for his Shadow, but his story is fascinating. He linked his blog called Motormoon .. sounds interesting, I wondered where the name came from. Seems he and his new wife bought their Shadow just to honeymoon on him from Geelong to Alice Springs !! It's a great story, you can find it here well worth a read!

I haven't really been on the bike much since we got back from Queensland, it rained for the first 4 or 5 days home, and since then Terry's been working solidly and I've not wanted to go riding on my own. How quickly I got used to riding with him and now it doesn't seem as exciting to go riding without him. We went for a short ride last Sunday to a local cafe for lunch, it was his birthday so I shouted him out, then ooops left my card in my handbag at home. The thought was there :) I enjoyed that ride, it felt good to get back on the bike and just ride a short distance instead of having to psych myself up for 300km or more. And the baby felt as light as a feather without all my luggage on her!!

Today it got the better of me though, I rattled around the house for a while then decided that the shadow needed petrol so out we went!! I got petrol, the guy at the petrol station was jealous when I told him I was on holidays and had nothing else to do but ride today :)

Then I wandered around to the local bolt shop to buy one of those thingys that you use to measure the size and thread of bolts. I need one to get some pretty stainless steel bolts. The bloke there just kinda looked at me at first ... perplexed, then he held one up and said .. 'one of these?' Yep that's the thing, do you sell them? Nope ... Hmm he suggested I just get the guy who put the bolts in that I wanted replaced (Tony of the saddlebag fame) to tell me the thread. Well yeah I could do that, but I want to do it myself, I don't want to have to go to someone else every time I want something for the bike. It cant be that hard, I'll order one online. I hate shopping online, I don't trust it, but I know that's just a resistance to change thing, the other thing though is that I'd like to support my community by buying locally. It's getting kinda hard since a lot of the time lately I just can't get things locally.

So I went to the local club for a cuppa and to kill some time, I pulled into the parking lot, which I hate as I'm still wobbly on the tight turns needed in a parking lot, but I couldn't get a park on the street. As I pulled in the first thing I noticed was a lovely Harley that I've seen around town, it's got a super wide back tire that Tony (of saddlebag fame) had helped to make fit, and he is white just like my baby. So I parked the White Shadow behind him and left them to make friends.

When I came out I was still at a lose end, I didn't want to go home yet. So I rode out of town a bit, thinking I would take a road that Terry had taken me on when I was first learning on my baby, I took a wrong turn and ended up on another road I've never been on, but it was a great road. Semi residential with a 60km/h limit but it's got a couple of sharp corners and one of those zig zag type ones. It was great and I'm thinking it'll be a great one to do to practise my cornering.

While I've been busy scouring blogs and forums looking for entertainment I've been thinking about my poor baby. A lot of people name their bikes, but I didn't think I ever would, I've certainly never thought of it with any car I've owned. But it's funny bikes are different and I can see how some of them just need to be named, the same way some of them have definite genders. The scooter I had was male, he was a little boy but he was definitely male. The Shadow is female, she's a solid girl but she's all female. So I have been thinking recently what would I name her? I didn't know, and for a while I've just been sitting on it, waiting for it to come to me. Tonight it did. I was thinking I was really getting sick of calling her the white shadow, she needed a name that suited her, she's big, she's brassy, she's all woman with a bit of bite, but she's feminine with it ... I thought of Blondie .. kinda suited, but the white shadow isn't quite as .. sultry as Deborah Harry could be. I continued along those lines and remembered a blonde singer that I loved from a band that appeared in the late 80's ... Roxette. That's it!! So now my baby has a name, I can see her getting it shortened to Roxy but that's OK. The minute I thought of it I just knew she'd love it .. she's been put to bed tonight so I haven't asked her, but I'm sure she'll approve :)

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Riding to Queensland: The ride home

We got up early on Wednesday morning, keen to get on the road, and like every holiday we've ever taken, exhausted and ready to be home. It's funny how we love holidays, always have such fond memories and fill them to the max with everything we possible can, then when it's time to be home we're just relived to finally get there and relax again .. .til next time!! This was no exception though this time we'd done so much riding to get here by the time we were ready to do the touristy thing we were too tired for it. But the best bit was still to come, riding home!!

Packing the bikes was becoming easy for us now, hard to believe the first time we did it took us about 2 hours, that morning it took us about half an hour and that's including a chat with the owner of the apartments too.

Let's Ride!!
This was just going to be a reverse of the trip up here, but we weren't going to take so long!! First stop for the day was to be Warwick for a bite, first we had to get through the mountians. Easy!! OK this time the real twisties were uphill so much easier for me. We got stuck behind a truck and I told Terry to overtake it, I think that's the 4th time I've ever overtaken, and on twisties too ... wheeee. I was dreading going down the other side but to tell the truth it wasn't that bad, I don't think they were as tight, but I also think I'm getting a bit better at cornering.

We stopped at a truck stop just before Warwick, we'd been seeing the day get gradually darker and when we stopped I got this shot of the clouds coming over.

That was behind us, I hadn't even noticed them while we were going through the mountains, but when we got back on the bikes you could really see them. We were riding straight at about 4 or 5 pockets of rain and I kept praying that the road would just go between them. It didn't. We got a short but heavy shower about halfway between Inglewood and Goondiwindi. No wet weather gear, it was packed away in our bags but by the time we'd found a safe place to stop and get it on the rain was stopped, for now.

We stopped anyway and the sun came out for a second, then it started to rain again ... we took that as a sign and made a dash for Goondiwindi. All the while watching the rain all around us, and ahead of us. When we got into Goonidiwindi the man at the motel asked if we'd got caught in that rain, apparently it had pelted down there just before we got there, somehow we missed that downpour. That evening the clouds cleared and put on a pretty sunset for us.

The next day was pretty uneventful. I lead the riding for a while and that felt pretty good, we set a good pace and this time we stopped at truck stops a lot of the time rather than in town. That seems to save a bit of time for some reason. We did have to stop in Narrabri for petrol, we discovered that the only petrol station for miles around there is the one Terry had gone back to last time. I had a bit of a moment there when I'd stopped next to puddle with a lovely oil slick on it and when I tried to lift the bike off the stand I realised if I stood in that to get the bike off the stand I was just going to slip, so my foot was too close to the bike for me to get purchase and I had to get Terry to give me a shove. He did it so nicely too, just nonchalantly leaned against the back of the bike enough for me to lift it without drawing everyone's attention to the fact I was a gurl :) It's only the second time he's had to do that on the trip, I'm normally much more careful about where I park the bike.

Just before Narrabri we got off the bikes and got some shots of the cotton fields.

And that was the last of the photos. We made it to Coonabarrabran that night, even though the roads close to Narrabri had tried their best to shake us to death. The only bad bit of road for the whole trip was the stretch either side of Narrabri. Coonabarrabran was our last stop before getting home, and to tell the truth I think we could have made it home that evening easily just after dark. I would have gone for it but I was damn tired, so tired that when Terry tried to get me to do a U-Turn in the middle of the main street in Coona I just froze. It was one of those horrible moments, I knew I could do it, was plenty of room, but I had an old man in a car on the other side of the road and I hadn't been prepared for a U-Turn I just froze and wished to old guy would just go away and let me take my time with this. I ended up just walking my baby around to the other side of the road, found a park, and sat on the side of the road and refused to move until I had coffee. I was tired and now stressed so we stayed the night in Coona.

The motel was bad ... really bad. We went to their restaurant for dinner but ended up just leaving when the guy who was serving and apparently cooking ducked out for a smoke and drink while we were waiting for him to take our order. Nope Terry managed to talk me out of that one, and I'm glad. We had dinner that night in the only restaurant in town, a Chinese one, and it was fantastic, if you're ever looking for food in Coona that's the place to go.

Friday morning, only the third day on the road, and we'd be home before lunch. Yay!!! We didnt leave too early because Coona is the coldest place on earth, so 9 am was still freezing but it looked like it was the best we were going to get. By the time we got to Mendooran my hands had stopped feeling anything so we tried to find coffee. No coffee but we did find a lovely couple who told us they were in the camper van around the corner and had stopped with the same thoughts, they were from Victoria. They used to jump on the back of his bike years ago but had traded it in on the camper van recently. I will never get sick of this!!

The final dash home was sweet, it's lovely getting to familiar sights. We got home at dead on 12 noon and we were freezing. We had a very happy puppy waiting to greet us and she liked the heater too!!

Well that's it, that's the whole trip in a nutshell, or not. We had a great time, I learnt a lot of stuff and got some very valuable experience. During those last few km's Terry and I were already planning our next trip, my only proviso is that I'm not doing it until I get something warmer for my hands!! But I don't think that will take long and we'll be on the road again. And off for more adventure!!!