Wednesday, 29 August 2012

What I've been Busy Not Doing

Well I've been pretty quiet lately. I haven't been riding to work and until last weekend I hadn't even got on the bike since the last post. Why? Tis cold!! But it is warming up and a visit to Melbourne a couple of weekends ago proved to me that Dubbo isn't really as cold as I thought ... ugh Melbourne is cold!!!

So why did we go to Melbourne. Well first let me fill you in on the adventure. First there was a gruelling 6 hour drive to Sydney from Dubbo.

I managed to get the Thursday off so we could drive down in daylight hours instead of driving down after work. That never works because after I get home from work the plan is always to just chuck luggage in the car and take off straight away. What normally happens is that 3 hours after I get home we are finally ready to leave, and we were to get on a plane for Melbourne on Friday morning at 7:45am. So we were both very happy to get to Sydney at 6pm instead of what would have ended up being at least midnight if we'd tried the after work trick. We got to Melbourne at just after 10am on Friday morning and we had a full day of shopping ahead of us ... yay !!!

So we found somewhere for dinner, and sorry I didn't get any photos of the shopping frenzy that followed. We had decided to just shop for normal stuff instead of checking out Elizabeth Street and the bike shops cause it was not as far to walk. Imagine our surprise when we thought we had had enough and decided to head back to the hotel only to find ourselves in Elizabeth Street. One thing I love about Melbourne is that it's nearly impossible to get lost in this city, you always end up somewhere you know when you are wandering around it's streets and alleys.

As we wandered round we also had plenty of opportunity to check out bikes and scooters of all shapes and sizes.

The cutest little bike I've seen yet. I saw this little baby being ridden down the footpath later that night .. not sure I think that's such a great idea.

We found a bike shop called Peter Stevens Motorcycles not far along the road and we went in to check out bikes (Brenda) and look for some new gear (Terry). Upstairs, we went ,after I pointed out a couple of bikes I liked and Terry wasn't the least bit impressed with (they weren't Shadows) and Terry found walls and walls of helmets. You have to understand .... in Dubbo the biggest bike accessory shop has maybe half a wall of helmets ... hmmm maybe 3/8th's of a wall, and the rest of the wall is taken up with motocross stuff. So this was like motorcycling utopia for us. I think I may have even let out a little squeal of delight but I'll never admit it, it was my shoes squeaking on the tile floor I told Terry.

We looked at helmets, then we went to another wall and looked at more helmets, then went into the back corner and looked at helmets. It was all getting a bit overwhelming so I checked out the neck and face warmer things I'd spotted and Terry soon followed. I was starting to think it was going to be like all the small bike shops I'd been in, the service seemed to be a non event so far. Then a nice man came up and talked to Terry, he took him off to look at helmets so I went to check out the boots, I've been dying to try on some decent boots and see if they will fit me.

In smaller shops you ask for women's riding boots and they look at you like you just started growing a new head. So I headed off towards the wall with boots on it and found about 6 different boots labelled women. Oh I was really starting to love this place, the first pair of boots I spotted was pair of Alpinestars that I'd seen online a few times and liked the look of, now to see if they fit and then buy them online. That was the plan, I headed over to the counter where Terry was looking pretty chuffed with a Arai helmet that was on sale and the man was just saying that he would send it Dubbo for us so we didn't have to try to take it on the plane as carry on. I asked to try on the boots and he was just so nice that when I found the size that fit me perfectly I bought them. They were also mailed home to us. What a great shop, I'll certainly go back!

So we then headed back to out motel room for rest before we had to get a bite to eat for dinner then head out for the night of adventure that was the real reason for our visit south. Normally when we hit Melbourne there's a stage show involved somewhere, this time it was all for Terry (although I have to admit that I did kinda start enjoying myself towards the end). This time we were in Melbourne to see Terry's football team play. Terry lived in Victoria for a while a few years before he met me and he became inevitably addicted to the game they play down that way, Aussie Rules. I grew up with Rugby league and really wasn't that keen on football because of it, it's a silly game to me with a bunch of big blokes pushing each other around to try and get a little ball. But I have to admit I kinda like Aussie Rules after watching a few games on telly. I don't watch much anymore cause when ever I watch Terry's team, it normally loses, I'm sure I'm a jinx. I was hoping they wouldn't lose if I was at the game, but was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and go and wait outside the stadium if it started going pear shaped.

So we bought some Geelong scarves and headed with the crowd towards the stadium in the cold drizzling rain, at least it wasn't windy too.

Going across the train line towards the stadium, Melbourne is always well lit up.
I got a few pics of the crowd but none of them really turned out because I couldn't stop to take a picture with the crowd pushing past me in all directions.

Terry and I looking like proper Cat's fans.
The ground was so much bigger than it looks on the TV. And the stadium was huge and it filled up pretty good for a cold miserable Friday night.

Some football shots .. not real good with my little point and shoot camera, I saw a guy there with a lens that had to have been at least 3 feet long .... wow I want one!! Well to make a long story short the Cats eventually won. It's fun watching them in real life and you get to see stuff you would normally miss on telly, like the fans around you yelling abuse at the ref and the half time entertainment of the little tikes under five playing their own little games. And the guy sitting next to me who started out with a chant of ' GO Saints, GO Saints' .. which was the other team of course, then cheering louder than anyone round us when the Cats scored the first goal .. everyone looked at him and he just laughed .. oh such fun :)

So I reckon Aussie Rules is heaps better than Rugby League, it seems to be so much more fun and yeah the fans get a bit wild but I didn't see any of the violence I've witnessed at other football games so it was a blast. And yes I'm now saying I'm a Cat's supporter which gets me weird looks when I say it at home.

That was day one of our whirlwind visit south, day two dawned still wet, but now it was a drizzle interspersed with the occasional downpour, cold and windy. Ahh that's the Melbourne I've come to love :) We grabbed breaky then headed to South Melbourne markets to meet with a local who is also a member of the Shadow Riders Australia and his family. We had a lovely morning sitting and chatting with them, and their kids were just gorgeous even if one of them was getting cranky cause he wasn't allowed out of his stroller to go be with Dad while he was getting coffee. We didn't get to see much of the markets, which wasn't really that bad cause I'd have had to try to work out how I could carry on everything if I was allowed to shop. To tell the truth I had such a nice time chatting I didn't mind not shopping, but next time we are in Melbourne had better be with the car so we can come back and do some serious shopping.

That was pretty well it, we wandered back to the airport after lunch and got a plane back to Sydney arriving at about 5pm. Jumped in the car and drove straight back home. We made it by about 11pm and even though we were tired I was glad to be home and to have another day of weekend left to relax and do housework with.

One other thing I haven't done lately, I promised to get a photo of a galah to show you all what they look like, there are normally at least 100 or so of them hanging out on the street power lines or rummaging in the grass in the empty lot beside us. But of course since I said I'd get a pic of them they haven't been there. Must be a winter thing I'm sure they'll show up pretty soon, but because I promised blogger Bob over at Riding The Wet Coast that I'd show him a pic of the pinkest bird we have .. here's one from Wikipedia Wikipedia Galah Facts

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Two Eight Two Eight

I've been a bit slack the last couple of weeks, both with blogging and biking (not to mention any other online stuff as well). So Friday I decided to do something about that this weekend. I asked at work, where's a good place to go for a goodly sort of ride and end up somewhere to get a decent lunch and coffee? 2828 was the first answer I got. It's the postcode of a small town about 112 km from Dubbo called Gulargambone here's the map . The next answer was the little cafe in the nursery in Gilgandra, about 60km from Dubbo. Both kinda interested me so I mentioned them both to Terry on Friday night to see what kind of reaction I would get. Ahh he said 'if we go to Gilgandra we can do that measuring that I've needed to do for the last two weeks', well that put me straight off the Gilgandra trip, I don't mind helping him with measuring or going for work related trips with him, but he's been working so hard lately and we haven't really had much time together, I just wanted this trip to be about us. I decided to be totally selfish and told Terry I'd rather a longer ride and I wanted to see what this 2828 thing was about.

As I always do when I'm after an answer to a question, I googled Gulagambone. This is what I found 2828 Gulargambone website . What an interesting little outback town, going the way a lot of those small communities seem to be when the big companies decide they aren't making enough money out of them. First they lost their banks then the post office declared they were pulling out when the community stood up and said nope we wont be beaten. They took over the post office and made a little tourism mecca in the middle of nowhere. I loved the story on the website and became interested in having a look at this place for myself. Before we make any trip to somewhere I haven't been before I like to have a look at Google maps and also check out the street view to get my bearings. When I checked out Gulargambone in street view though, one of the views went from highway to this ....

I'm pretty sure most National Highways don't duck down the back alley behind the houses like this, I reckon the man in the Google truck musta ducked down there to have a quick smoko and forgot to turn the camera off.

So Terry watched my little sub-adventure on Google maps with amusement then told me I'd been through Gular before. Well it was years ago sheesh, how was I gonna remember that, I do remember the Galahs though. I imagine someone thought of making these icons for the town as a play on the fact that Gulargambone is usually shortened to Gular by the locals, and it sounds awfully similar to Galah eh. Plus there's heaps of Galahs round this part of the country, just like anywhere else in Australia. So they have these huge Galahs made out of old bits of corrugated tin as you come into town, and now they have popped up everywhere round the town as well. I loved them because they just look so natural, how do you get a depth of field out of something made out of an old she roof?

It was all planned then, as long as it wasn't blowing a gale we were off to Gular on Saturday. We woke up early on Saturday, as we often do, and stayed in bed for a couple of hours waking up properly. This isn't normal, usually I stay in bed and Terry gets up and potters around while he has some peace without me bugging him to get ready to go somewhere. Today was different, we were both lazy. So at about 9:30 we decided to get up, if we were going to get to this cafe in time to get something to eat we'd have to move. Small country towns aren't renowned for staying open late, specially on weekends. We finally left Dubbo after getting petrol at about 11am, maybe 10 past but once we got onto the highway it was awesome!!

I couldn't actually believe how good it felt to be on the bike again! After two weeks off her I really thought I would be rusty, and I was ready to feel like a noob again, you know ... feeling every little bump, and the wind at 80km/h feeling like it was going to blow you off the bike. None of that, it felt wonderful, the bike between my legs felt wonderful, the wind in my face felt wonderful (until the whistling of the visor up made me think I would go crazy and I put it down), the long sweeping bends were just giving me a buzz that I haven't felt before. That was one thing I really noticed, I have heard a few people talk about those long sweeping bends and how much they enjoy them, and I've kind of agreed with them inside, but I've also been a bit scared of them. I always used to slow down a lot before taking on any bend and the long sweeping ones were a bit awkward to me, I would often lose my line on them and either go really wide or almost cut them. Saturday ... those bends were perfect, and for the first time I really enjoyed them ... wheeeeeeeeee!!!!

We made it to Gilgandra, and stopped for a bite at the side of the road, that is where I forgot to do up the lock on my saddlebag and lost it somewhere between there and Gular (the lock, not the saddlebag). After Gilgandra the road got worse, it looked fine but it was one of those deceptive roads that dips and bumps like a country track when you are on the bike, in a car I'm you wouldn't have even felt them but I was leaving my seat more than I have on any trip and I hit one invisible hole that thumped my front down so hard that I checked my front tire when we stopped. Not a great road and not one I want to do again in a hurry. Thing is, that's the way to get to Lightening Ridge, which is a place I want to visit before the weather gets hot this year, so I'll have to travel it again soon.

The National Highway to Gular

Some of the Galahs that you pass as you make your way into to Gular.

Wish I had a picture of some real Galahs but I guess they're so common that they aren't something I've thought to photograph, I'll rectify that next time I see them. Probably later today when I go out the front yard. One thing bout being on this straight stretch of mainly unused bit of road on the bike that I hadn't thought of, was the Galahs. I've thought of hitting a kangaroo and reckon that would be nasty on a bike, but I hadn't thought of hitting a Galah, and I think that's more likely than a kangaroo. The Galahs were flying round the roads like they owned them and they are so unpredictable, they just swoop and loop round like mad things, I'm sure even they don't know where they're going to end up. I had a couple come close but didn't hit any of them, that was pure luck I'm sure.

Our destination for the day, 2828 Cafe, Gallery and Tourist Information Centre.
Roxy looking sexy in front of 2828.
Roxy with a Galah.
We walked into this old building that has been restored by the locals, it appears to have once been the community hall. It wasn't huge and there really wasn't much to their gallery but the first thing I noticed was the Piliga Pottery near the front of the shop. Something I've been dying to see out here since I moved here is the Piliga Pottery and it's something we passed but didn't visit when we did our trip to Queensland, I've been raving to Terry bout it since then and when he finally saw some he agreed that it's awesome stuff. I may be a step closer to getting to the Pottery. We talked to a lovely country lady who was running the Cafe and Info Centre that day and it was revealed to me that Terry had rang her earlier to be sure they were open. She went on to tell us that this is a favourite stopping spot for bikers from the surrounding areas like Gilgandra and Coonabarrabran. Cool, if bikers like it cant be that bad. She then went on to tell us what food they had run out of ... sheesh I wasn't interested in that, I wanted to know what we could have. So when she took a breath and said there were cheese, ham and tomato toasted sandwiches we stopped her and said that will do, we'll have three!! And coffee!!

Well we went to their little outdoor sitting area, which was nice but obviously already packed up for the day so we sat on a park bench and soaked up the sun out of the breeze that had started up. Oh yeah the breeze, all the way to Gular I could see my P Plate flapping against the back of my backrest and was amazed when I got to the Cafe to see it was still attached. I proudly pointed it out to Terry just as it flapped in a little gust of wind and fluttered to the ground. Awwwww.

They had mentioned on the web site about a landscaped garden area, well it wasn't that obvious, but I think I kinda found something.

More Galahs, yep these ones are fake too, kinda cute tho.
Through a little arbour you find an old tin shed.

Little outback tin shed ... restored.
I went and explored that shed and it's definitely been restored to all it's former glory, including the hand planed bare timber window frames, incredible really that someone cared enough to do it and it's actually very interesting to look at a bygone era like this. The other thing with this shed is ... I think it's haunted, I took a bunch of close up photos of it, they all turned out with a huge sun glare over them bleaching half the color and detail out of them, then when I tried to upload them to Photobucket to see if I could edit out some of the problems they wouldn't upload. I reckon there's someone who doesn't want something to be seen in those pics, I might have to have another go when I get round to buying Paintshop.

The little garden we ate lunch in.

We hung around a bit and found the most awesome roosters in the shop, made out of tin again, but the colors in these roosters were amazing and I'm sure if I could have fitted one in my saddlebags we'd own one now, unfortunately they wouldn't have fitted so they stayed. They were also selling the corrugated tin Galahs in large and small, again they wouldn't fit :( We'll have to come back with the car one day.

The trip home was the same as the trip there except for the wind that had started to pick up. I got some pics of the Canola fields which is in bloom at the moment with the most amazing yellow fields.

Canola fields.
I really wanted to get at least one shot of some canola but it was hard to find a safe place to stop at the side of the road that also didn't have weeds so high that you couldn't even see the fields. We found a spot but I wasn't terribly happy about where Roxy was perched, neither was Terry so they were rushed pics.

We stopped for the worst coffee in the world at Gilgandra then just went home. My back and my left shoulder are sore this morning, I'm sure it's from the trip home battling the wind as well as the poor condition of the road between Gil and Gular, but it was worth it, I had the best ride I've had in a long time and it's just reminded me why I want to ride.