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.
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.