Monday, 14 January 2013

12 months later and the courage is building

A bit over 12 months ago I bought a bike. The first time I rode it I got all worried and nervous that I would never be able to keep it upright. I had some drama's trying to keep my baby bike on her wheels when I taking it slowly on her. I decided to take her to Newcastle for Christmas that year. That was a long ride and huge adventure for me which you can read all about here. This year we did pretty much the same kilometres on a trip somewhere else for Christmas and I couldn't help comparing this trip to the one we did 12 months ago.

My confidence has come along in huge leaps and bounds. And I think that my riding skills have improved out of mind since that ride to Newcastle. With the first trip everything was so new to me, just travelling at speeds over 60km/h (town speed limits) was something so new to me that I felt uncomfortable, and things like bumps in the road and trucks passing me were an adversity that I had to overcome. This trip I didn't worry about those things, I have a whole new set of things that I have to learn about. But I did think about that first trip a few times and even smiled proudly at myself a few times about how I have learnt since then.

We did the first trip in small stretches, and that hasn't changed much yet, I still find it more comfortable to ride for no more than about 100km's before getting off the bike and moving stiff joints. It helps that Terry needs to stop often for petrol, I always go pay so I can move my body around a bit.

The trip this year was to Wagga Wagga to visit family and meet some new people too, about 400km again, but this time I was riding the whole way on my own instead of getting to jump in the car and let Terry take over when I got too tired.

Here's a map ....

View Larger Map

We took the less well travelled route through Molong, Canowindra, Cowra, Young then Junee, which is not far from the farm we were staying at for the next few days. First stop was Molong and there was nothing open except the petrol station so I broke out the water and a chocolate bar and we sat on a bench on the main street to eat it before we headed on our way. I turned on the GoPro then, to photo, I much prefer photo to video at the moment. It has taken me three weeks to get all the photos downloaded, sorted and edited, I still haven't looked at much more than the first five minutes of video that I took.

On the Christmas 2011 trip I took a couple of photo's from the car while I was driving, of Terry riding, I have to admit tis much easier and safer to take pic's of my hubby on a bike using the GoPro.

And I love that I can catch pictures of the rustic old bridges that we cross sometimes while we are on the go.

As soon as we got onto the highway out of Molong one of the first things that struck me was how open this country is and how far I can see!

We stopped at Cowra for our next stop and bite to eat, I also took the socks and boots off for a while for my poor little feet to catch a breath of fresh air. It was hot and getting hotter as the day went on.

There are some trees on the side of the road here and there now, but the things that are really catching our eyes are the huge storm clouds that are ahead of us.

We watched them closely and had just decided that we were going to skirt them when the road turned and we were facing this ...

On that first trip for Christmas last year Terry got caught unprepared in the rain, and it's something that I do dread. But we are better prepared for it now with wet weather gear in the saddlebags all ready to go. My jacket is supposed to be all weather, with vents for hot days which you can close to waterproof the whole shabang. The waterproof stuff works as we found out on the trip to Canberra a couple of months ago, but the temperature today was heading towards the 40's by the feel of it so I kept my vents open.

Then yep, we hit the rain, or it hit us. And it was hard! This was the hardest rain I've experienced so far, and even though I asked Terry if it was actually hailing (I think I got hit by drops through the vents though and it wasn't hail) it wasn't really that bad. I'm feeling a lot better about riding in the rain, I know what it feels like now I guess and knowing what to expect and how to cope with it is most of the battle won eh.

See that blue sky ahead of us, it taunted us for a while then we finally broke out of the rain to it and our gear was dry within minutes. All but the patch under my butt where it had pooled then spread out when my bum left the seat with a particularly awesome bump in the road.

We stopped at little place called Cootamundra for fuel not long after that and my butt got a chance to dry off.

After a little sidetrack where I got Terry lost, he really should just follow me not listen to my directions cause he still hasn't worked out that when I say turn right I mean the other right (left). Anyway we did finally get to the farm we were staying at after about 7 long hours, we were both pretty melted by the time we arrived at the top of the driveway, and I came pretty close to letting Roxy lie down when Terry stopped in front of me .. I'm pretty happy, and very proud, to say I didn't let her, for the first time I managed to hold my baby up when she was feeling determined to take a rest.

The first thing I did was take off as many clothes as I decently could then told Terry to pose for a shot of him, the bikes and the view. I don't think he really felt like posing, but he did. Then his son took his bike and Terry took Roxy, up to the parking area near where we were staying while I walked off the sweat and took in the surrounds.

It is a lovely farm, and they run a function center and theatre restaurant and other things there. They have an old stable that has been converted into accommodation which is where we stayed.

The view from our windows was so peaceful ...

Oh I got this pic of Terry's big boy that I love so I had to add it somewhere, I figured this was a good time for a bike pic.

Terry checking out the view from the house, this house used to be a convent apparently. You wouldn't know that now, it just seems to be one of those awesome big farm houses that has been added onto endlessly til it becomes a bit of a maze and has veranda's and doors everywhere.

We sat on one of those veranda's for dinner that night, which was cooked by our hostess for the weekend whom we'd met that day, wow what a wonderful cook! And a lovely person that we were glad to finally meet. So after a scorcher of a day, we found out later that it was 39°C when we arrived at about 3pm (no wonder we were melting!!), there was a spectacular lightening storm that started just after we finished our meal. We sat in the darkness and watched natures show for about an hour then headed for our beds early. It had been a long day.

The next day we explored our surroundings a bit before brekky .. we found some roses, the rose garden is stunning and these are old fashioned roses that have a scent. There weren't many still blooming but I bet when they all are it's heavenly out here.

Terry checked out the view from one of the veranda's.

Then after brekky, cooked by Terry's son we headed to the old chapel...

Which not only has more stunning views ..

 It has also been turned into a coffee shop type affair .. we finally got some awsome coffee made by Ben ...Thank you Ben :D

After a relaxing morning we needed to head into Wagga for some emergency Christmas eve shopping. We had planned to get some presents for the new acquaintances when we got there because we needed hints from people who knew them, plus we didn't have a lot of room in the saddlebags. A trip to the shops was needed and we were luckily able to beg a car to take. All we had to do was let the car owner take the black shadow for a little ride ... easy we can do that :)

That's Terry's son in front of us, and no I wasn't taking pics while driving, Terry took the pics while I drove.

We went under this viaduct and I just had to stop on the way home to see if I could get a pic of it.

We got home just as the sky's were opening up for a repeat performance of the storms, this time it was a bit earlier in the day and they weren't as close but I did manage to catch one flash of three bolts stretching across the sky on the GoPro.

Then I got some nice pics of the sun trying to break through afterwards.

That night we went for some Christmas drinks in a Daimler limo....

Wow this has been a pretty fantastic chrissy and is gonna be hard to top. We had a bit of a sleep in Christmas day and then had a lovely breakfast with fresh fruit and yogurt and paté and ham and all sorts of amazing food served with a smile and a wonderful Christmas feeling that I have rarely had the joy to feel ... not having children of my own means I have missed out on that part of the festivities. I liked to visit it, we had a lovely time, but we decided nearly as soon as we woke that morning that we were going to head home a day earlier. The weather was playing nice for once and we decided to take advantage of the cooler day to get home.

This is the driveway out of the property, and I was pretty proud to have gotten off the very loose gravel in the car park and pointed in this direction. Most of the trip home was video on the GoPro but as I said I haven't looked at much of it yet let alone decided if it's worth editing for here, if it is I might post it up later, or I may just rip some pics from it.

It wasn't as long a trip to get home, even though we stopped at Cowra for about an hour during the hottest part of the day it still took us less time to come home. What a wonderful Christmas it ended up being, not just the great ride, but also spending time with special people. There were times when I honestly thought I'd taken on too much with such a long ride in the heat, and I had a bit of a melt down at Cowra where I felt that if I didn't get off the bike I was gonna just cry or scream or both. I got off, had my melt down then got back on and we made it home on Christmas day in time to catch some chrissy left overs.

By the end of it all I was more than ready to get off the bike, the last leg we rode straight through from Cowra to Dubbo, about 200km. We were both tired and glad to be home, but it was still nice to come home to a house full of people and more children celebrating Christmas. Perfect.


  1. Wow, what an awesome trip. Riding in the heat, the rain and you had such a beautiful view from the ranch.

    I am glad you are feeling more confident with your riding. More miles will do that and trusting you muscle memory. The more you repeat the actions the more your body will shift and brake and automatically do what needs to be done in any situation.

    And what is up with us ladies and our directions? Brad always has to ask me twice if I mean the real left or my other left. I tell him go where I point. Don't listen.

    1. That's exactly what's happening with my riding Brandy, I really noticed the difference with this trip and the one after it too. It's awsome!

      I have so many things I really want to do a post on about how my riding has changed, just need to find the time to sit at the computer and do it ...

      Tis not us ladies with the directions, tis the blokes who need to remember the way we do it is always the right way ... and not to actually listen to what comes out of our mouths but to read the body language :-D

  2. Confidence is building up as you continue to rack up the miles (or kilometers as we say in the rest of the world...), and best of all you have a great partner to ride with.

    I hope that you don't take offense but your pictures totally remind me of a certain cheesy 80's mini series called "The Thornbirds". The rolling hills, the vistas, and the roses... only the sheep are missing in your little slide show.

    Nice catch of the lightning bolts.

    Thanks for sharing your trip. There are places where I will likely never go so I really appreciate you sharing your neck of the woods.

    1. No offence at all Sonja, I'm pretty sure part of the Thornbirds was set in central western NSW (the area those photos are taken in) so it's kinda nice that it looks similar, tho I was surprised to find that it was actually film in America. There are sheep in my pics too .. look closly at the one with Terry on his bike, in the background is a shearing shed and there are sheep milling round it (waiting for a haircut :), so I guess I got it all on that one wonderful christmas.

      I'm glad you enjoyed sharing it with me :)

  3. Nice post Brenda. I really like the picture of the lighning. There's lots of straight roads out that way that can be pretty boring to ride on at times, but some of the views can be quite nice as well.

    Your riding skills and confidence will increase the more you ride hopefully as much as your enjoyment levels.

    1. Thanks Steve, ya know I actually really like those straight roads and the rolling vistas are facintaing to a girl who grew up in a coastal area where you can't see past the next bend, trees or mountains.

      Really can my enjoyment get any more ... yep :D

  4. Brenda:

    The more you ride, the more confident you become and the more you will enjoy riding. That is a nice Ranch, I could see myself staying there and just relax for a few days.

    I can't imagine riding in that heat. 30°c seems too hot for me already. over that and I would just take the car and turn up the A/C. Thanks for your photos, I love photos

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. Oh I love you way you guys call it a ranch .. sounds so grand. It's a farm and not a large one .. more a hobby farm with only about 150 sheep or so .. dont ask me how much land I'm not good with that sorta thing. But 'ranch' sounds exciting!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the photos Bob .. I love pics too :)

      Oh that heat was just the start of it .. we're in real heat wave stuff this last week or so .. 40ºC plus on a daily basis. Its not pretty here at the moment and causing a few fires :(

  5. Brenda - Look how far you have come in a year! It is amazing! Your confidence is building you are taking on bigger trips and enjoying your bike! You ROCK! Sounds like your Christmas was lovely.

    1. Dar .. thank you so much! Your reply made me smile, then it made me feel all fuzzy inside and proud of myself. And then I got all squishy and giggly happy .... oh I love life at the moment!! :-D

  6. Brenda - I know exactly how you are feeling! When I look back on my Moto journey I can hardly believe I ave only been riding for 2 years after sitting on the back for 30 years. I never in my wildest dreams though I would have learn to ride a scooter or motorcycle, particularly after the rough rocky start on the scooter, with a crash on the test drive. I must be crazy because most people would have given up and walked away, but I got back on and rode. Little did I know at the time I dd hurt myself & have permanent injuries, but despite all of that I have found the love of riding and the confidence and sense of freedom & strength it gives me. I think sometimes people who have ridden for a long time don't remember the fear, the joy and exhilaration riding gives. I also get a kick out of when I take my helmet off and the look of surprise on some people's faces. Ride on Sista!! Just think how amazing you will feel on your 2nd riding anniversary!

    1. Can it really get any better Dar!!

      Ya know the reason I started this blog was as a way to remember exactly how I felt from the begining.

  7. Wow...can't imagine it being so hot on Christmas Day! Is 39 C the normal temperature for that time of year there?

    What do you wear for motorcycle gear when you are dealing with those temps? I feel like I am melting when it hits 30 C in the summer where I live. (Right now, it is -18 C on a winter morning!)

    I love your pictures, it's terrific to see where other people live around the world when you realize that the scenery is kind of the same as your own! Have a good one...Suzu

    1. Hey Suzu :)

      Yeah it's normally hot here at Christmas time, this year has had more hot days than normal but you do get those kinds of temps in summer.

      The gear I was wearing was just the jacket in this post with one of those wet neck tye thingys that I kept wetting when we stopped. I guess if I was going to ride a lot in the middle of summer I would think about getting one of those cooling vests but since I can get away with not riding most of the time I will make do with what I have. Oh and normal jeans not kevlars (but that's got more to do with the fact they dont fit since I gave up smoking than the heat :-D)

      Tis amazing to think that the scenery could be the same on different sides of the world.