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.


  1. I know the feeling when starting out for a ride and things just don't feel right. It is weird riding when things feel off. I am glad you got your head in the game and had a great dy.

    That dish is huge. When you were talking about some fictional things and the moon landing I thought you were going to say the moon landing was fictional. Here in the USA there is all kinds of controversy over whether it really happened or not.

    Beautiful pictures. You must have been in awe standing so close to the dish.

    I am glad hubby took your picture on the bike. If cameras add 10 lbs, then pics of us in full gear add 30 lbs I say. I don't think I've ever liked any pictures of me in full gear. Makes me look too chunky.

    Beautiful cloud shots too, so vibrant. Very cool.

    Thanks for sharing your day.

    1. Thanks Brandy it was a fantastic day in the end. That dish is amazing, yes and I spent a lot of time just looking at it, specially when it started moving! Oh and I found a better web site about the dish here ..

      I have heard all about the conspiracy theory surrounding the moon landing and think that's all bull. It was just rammed home how silly that all is when I saw all the work that this one telescope put in to transmitting the images from the moon, to be a hoax or fake they would have to have had the parkes crew (who were from CSIRO and NASA) as well as the same amount of people at Canberra and one in the states somewhere too. And that's just the telescope crews, what about all the other people involved .. ya just cant keep a secret with that many people knowing the truth.

  2. Brenda,

    I'm with Brandy about your cloud shots too - just beautiful, but I also love the close up photos of the dish components - you've got a great set of eyes.

    How nice to get out for a run like that on a winter's day. We actually had a slight frost this morning.....brrrrrr...

    1. Thanks Geoff and Brandy for the kudos for the cloud shots ... but they were so amazing I dont think anyone could have got a bad shot of them. On the way home we were riding into some even more awsome clouds, with rain and complete with rainbow! I was excited cause I havent seen a rainbow in ages, we dont get much rain out here normally.

      We do get frosts though, and yesterday was one of the warmer days we've had in a couple of weeks, dont let the photos fool you, it was still cold, but worth it cause it's all so lovely out there at the moment

    2. Oh yeah and those closeups are my favourite shots too Geoff :)

  3. Beautiful crisp photography. It looks beautiful in your neck of the woods. But you call that 'winter'? Everything is green, and there is not white stuff on the ground, and your temperatures certainly are not below zero...

    I also get those days, when I can't feel the bike, and don't get my Zen. Sometimes it is better to get off before something unforeseen happens.

    1. Thanks Sonja, nah we only get below zero temperatures overnight, we do get some frosts but it never snows here. Even though it feels cold enough to, Terry said it's cause we arent high enough, yay!!

      Yeah I was amazed at the green, it's not normally like that but we've had a rainy year so the crops are doing what they are supposed to do.

      I guess it wasnt really that I wasnt in my zen, I just wasnt interested in the ride I think, it was business. When it turned into play I was suddenly very happy to be on the bike :)

      I understand what you mean though, I have had days where I've just turned around and gone home.

  4. Great travel story. Very nice pics. It's it wonderful how two-wheeled adventure can add dimension to our lives?!

    Found your blog through your comment on Fuzzy's and am enjoying your earlier posts. You write really well.

    1. Thanks Shybiker, nice to meet you. I'm glad you are enjoying the posts and the pics :)

      Yep, I'm still new to the two wheeled adventures and it's all very shiny and exciting still, tho I reckon it will be like that for a long time to come yet :)

  5. Brenda

    I am glad your ride turned out to be great! I have had rides like that where nothing felt like it was gelling at all. You feel uncomfortable, almost twitchy and nothing seems to feel or fit right. On one occasion I was out riding with a friend and signaled to pull over and decided to call it a day and went home. Sometimes though you can ride it out and then you find these treasures and treats at the end of the ride like your gorgeous pictures. The dish is very cool, I am surprised that they actually let you get anywhere near it to take pictures. Here it would be fenced off with barbed wire and there would be no getting near it. I like the picture of you on your bike. I think we all feel the same in our riding gear, I am short and look like an Oompa Loompa dressed in black.

    1. Hahaha Dar, I like your Oompa Loompa analogy, fits perfectly, I'm short, round (in riding gear) and my face is usually red after riding a few km's (almost orange) .... maybe I should dye my hair green :D

  6. Nice photos Brenda. Looks like you were visiting my old stomping ground. I lived out in Forbes for 28 years. It has lots of beautiful victorian style buildings. You can usually get a good counter meal at the Vandenberg Hotel across from the park and town hall.

    By the way your blog is coming along nicely in just a few short months. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Chiller :)

      I've always liked the look of forbes, they've preserved some lovely old buildings there very well. Yep we had lunch at the Vandenberg, not a bad counter lunch still. I reckon we'll have to go back to meet with the client we missed sometime, so I'll get a proper chance to look around.