Saturday, 27 April 2013

Trying Out Some New Stuff

Thursday was Anzac Day, yet again I thought I really should try to get up early and go to the dawn service, and yet again I couldn't drag my sorry carcass out of bed before 9. So no dawn service this year, hopefully it will happen next year. So Terry and I decided we were going for a ride that day anyway. I had half an idea that we would catch a march in a little town somewhere but really both of us just wanted to ride.

I had a couple of other motives to go riding too, I hadn't been on the bike in a while since my neck started playing up (it's all better now) so I was starting to get a bit antsy. I had my seat modified last week too and I wanted to try that out.

It wasn't a huge modification, I found a bloke in Dubbo who does motorbike seats in his back yard. All I wanted was a bit of foam shaved off the top of the seat and the sides a touch so that I could get my feet more squarely on the ground when I'm moving the bike around to park, especially when I'm backing her. I told him what I wanted and also that I found the seat very comfortable at the moment and I didn't want to lose that. He fixed it up a treat!

When I got on the bike in the morning I immediately noticed the difference. While I'm backing her I still use mostly my toes but I can get more foot on the ground and more leverage to push, which made everything I did that day so much easier. I backed the bike out by myself that morning which is something I have never done without Terry standing by to catch me. I was pretty chuffed with that! Then every time I had to back into a park I found it easier and easier, oh why didn't I do this ages ago! The one thing I did notice was that it effected was my centre of gravity. I felt a little off balance at first and the first round about I went around I kinda jigged around it like I used to when I first started riding, I felt so much closer to the road. But I soon got used to that and my dodgey cornering got smother by the end of the day too. I love the seat as it is, it's still comfy enough for me even though I think I lost about an inch of foam, and the leg position for me while riding is so much better. That's something I didn't think I needed to change but I found that I can now reach the pegs without stretching out so much and that's a whole lot better.

So the first new thing I tested out that day was fantastic!! I was also trying out a bit more with the GoPro mounted in the new position on my highway bar. I love this perspective and got some great shots of Terry.

Another reason for this ride was to see if we could find some Autumn. The competition on the SRA Forums is themed Autumn, I figured I should be able to find some Autumn leaves outback style.

But alas the only shot that had anything like Autumn colours was this one, and it's not as good as I'd like it to be.

We crossed from Mendoran to Gilgandra using a road that neither of us has been on before.

It was a pretty country road, with a few bridges, some bush ...

And even some cows in fields who watched us go past .. I waved :-D

They didn't wave back.

The shots from the GoPro make it look like we were riding into the sun all day, but actually it wasn't that bad, it was about midday. I think it must be because of the low perspective that the sun looks so low to the horizon.

One  more shot that I really like ...

Then the interesting shot ...

I'm calling these the Wobbly Boot shots. I got a bunch of photos like this and think it must have been caused by the vibration of the GoPro, I did notice early in the day that the whole thing vibrates like crazy just while I was sitting idling. I'm not sure why all of the photos didn't turn out like this though.

We got to Gilgandra and were going to go down the main street to check it out but decided not to as it was a public holiday so there wouldn't have been anywhere open to grab lunch and it was too late to try to catch a march. So we headed straight for the truck stop just outside of town to get coffee and sandwiches. We did spot a young girl and her boyfriend fuelling up their very loaded bikes while were there. What's so exciting about that I hear you ask, well the girl was tiny, and they were obviously touring .. her touring bike was .. a posty bike! Sorry I didn't get pics but that loaded 100cc Honda in posty red loaded up with camping gear in a milk crate tied to the back rack just made my day ... what fun she must have had!! We had fun too.

Oh and the other thing I tested out ... contact lenses. I've used them in the past but they started irritating my eyes after about a month of use. After a bit of a chat with my optometrist a few weeks ago he said I should try just using daily ones for when I go riding as my glasses are just a pain under my helmet .. almost literally sometimes. So I tried them and they worked great .. yay. What a wonderful success that day out was.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Up, Up and Away

Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon
Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon
We could float among the stars together, you and I
For we can fly we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon

The world's a nicer place in my beautiful balloon
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon
We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky
For we can fly we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon

Suspended under a twilight canopy
We'll search the clouds for a star to guide us
If by some chance you find yourself loving me
We'll find a cloud to hide us
We'll keep the moon beside us

 Love is waiting there in my beautiful balloon
Way up in the air in my beautiful balloon
If you'll hold my hand we'll chase your dream across the sky
For we can fly we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
Up, up, and away.....

 As you can probably tell, we went to see some balloons. Canowindra (pronounced Ca-noun-dra) is the ballooning capital of Australia and for good reason. The reason is that it is in a crater so there are no thermals and little wind to take the balloons off course. The best thing about this is that the national Ballooning Challenge is held only a 2 hour drive from us every year, how lucky can you get!!

I've never been this close to a balloon before so obviously haven't been up in one yet, but that will have to wait til next year I think. I didn't want to miss out on the excitement though so we headed to Canowindra to go check out the Balloon Glow and night markets.

The markets were buzzing with people everywhere. We met up with a friend of mine from work and her family.

She's a good sport, clinks Kristie!
 We found a spot close to the ground where the balloons were going up, right behind all the cars and trailers with baskets packed on them.

It was pretty cool getting to see all the balloons getting ready to set up right from the start. That's some fascinating equipment.

Before too long the sun was ready to set ...

And the balloons started to move into position ...

Now we had an unobstructed view ...

We were so close to the excitement that I was wishing that I'd brought along my shorter lens, I'd left it in the car in favour of the longer one thinking that I'd be miles from the action.

This balloon was setting up just meters from our feet.

The balloons were starting to take shape, and lighting up as they were inflated, giving us a taste of the light show to come.

A lot of hard work went into getting these floating beauties off the ground.

It seemed you had to check what was going on inside the balloon as well as outside ...

Really, he was the only one holding onto that rope ... it went to ...

Soon a few of them started to lift off the ground.

And light up ...

They just needed to be kept on the ground for this show.

Then the lights went out on the field and they showed their true colours.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Terry Went Bush

Terry went for an adventure the other day. Because my neck still isn't 100% I didn't ride to work this week at all, I'm trying to get it better for riding this weekend, so Terry decided to ride his bike out to a property where he had to measure up a job. He was going bush, and I was worried about him on dirt roads but he promised to be good and take it easy and he even took photos for me!

The views from this property are truly amazing.

He found lots of dirt, but assured me that it wasn't quite as scary as it looks, 'cept the time the car was coming the other way and he had to pull off the road. Gave him the opportunity to take more pics for me though :)

Although the thought of riding on that scares me, I'm a bit jealous that he got to go visit this lovely place, I might even be convinced to go with him next time he has to go out there .. just maybe not on the bike.

This is the old stable that is going to be converted ... it's such a great little building with so much character.

I'm terribly impressed with the pics .. even though they are really only pics he took to remind him of what the place looked like while he's drawing plans .. he took some that turned out very arty.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Lunch and Flowers

Easter weekend I had bugged Terry til he agreed to come for a ride with me to the Cheese Factory in Mudgee. We'd decided that Saturday or Sunday would be the best days to take to the roads as that would be the times when there would be less crazies on the road. Saturday got busy so we didn't make that then Sunday rolled around with the pitter patter of rain on the roof in the morning. No trip last weekend but really I didn't mind that much, you just have to watch the news on Easter weekend to be scared off the roads, I don't understand why people cant learn and stay alive on these long weekends.

So this week I have Sunday and Monday off, we'd decided to go to Mudgee on Sunday, the weather was perfect for riding and I had a hankering for some cheese!! Unfortunately I also had a bit of a sore neck that I'd been nursing all week, it was getting better but I wasn't sure about riding about and hour each way with a heavy helmet on it. So ... we stayed at home.

But don't despair, we did get to ride ... it was such a lovely day, cool and sunny but the forecast was for showers in the afternoon, so a ride for lunch locally seemed like just the ticket. I'd gotten a new bracket for the GoPro last week and wanted to test that out too, this one puts it on my handlebars or highway bar. I wanted it for the highway bar, to try some shots from close to the road. So I attached that and before too long we were ready to ride.

I got a lot of shots of the town and traffic which was surprisingly busy for a Sunday morning in Dubbo. I wont share those they really aren't that interesting. I found one of Terry in front of me that gives the idea of the close to road thingy, as well as a nice shot of my front wheel, I like this perspective.

We had a lovely lunch at Old Ganarin, actually the cafe there is called Elements, but Old Ganarin is a lovely nursery about a kilometre out of town. I'm not sure what it used to be but it's got some history that I really should find out about one day.

Terry pointed out the Old Building

I was pretty proud of myself for parking in the finest and slipperiest dirt car park that I've come across yet, and I did it all myself first getting into the parking spot then getting myself out of it again!

That dirt was like powder with a few nice round pebbles thrown in for good measure.

Lunch was under an umbrella sitting surrounded by some amazing trees, with tables underneath on the grass and butterflies and Wrens playing all around us. I spotted one tree just near us that I liked and Terry asked what it was.

It was a Weeping Oak, and behind it was a Weeping Mulberry, just like ours at home 'cept ours is bigger.

 While we were waiting for lunch we saw this weird little bug on the table, I had to try to snap a pic of it with the phone camera but even though the bug didn't turn out that clear, I do like the effect of the glass table.

After a pleasant lunch we wandered around through the nursery for a while I wanted to look at some pots for a plant I was given from a friend that is getting very pot bound, I don't think Terry was looking at anything in particular, just browsing. I spotted a plant that I really do have to have, if only I can remember the name of it .. I know it was a chocolate something because amazingly the flowers smell like chocolate!!

At least I have a photo of it to show when I go back with the car to buy things. After finding the pots and putting in my order with Terry, we headed home. I was so nervous about backing the bike on that soft dirt but did it fairly easily in the end. Before we took off I carefully turned on the GoPro to video, I wanted to see how the lower perspective looked.

We took a more back road route home to make it more interesting for the video and it was more interesting. Just as we started to get into town again Terry chased a huge eagle off the road, it swerved away from him and then did a U-turn and headed back down towards the road before realising that I was there behind Terry, that bird had a wing span that was nearly as wide as my bike is long and he missed me by about two feet. I don't think there was any danger of him hitting me but it was exciting to get so close to him!!

Oh I couldn't wait to get home and look at the video. And when I got home and went to turn the GoPro off, yep you guessed it, I found it wasn't on. Ugh .. oh well I have the memory :)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Concept to Reality

From: SRA forums

Someone posted this photo on the Shadow Riders forums the other day. My first thought was 'eek that looks uncomfortable!'. Then someone posted up some links that he found to this bike online here and here. So I looked at them and thought, OK this is a bit more interesting. I Googled it to see what else I could find, the articles didn't really tell you that much about it, just enough to make me want to learn more. I found a youtube that he had made here. Well that told me more.

I thought it was facinating that this bloke had found something that was just a concept then wanted to live the dream so much that he spent a lot of time putting it all together. He overcame a few hurdles and now rides his dream to work. How amazing is that?!?! While I dont really like the bike itself, it still looks uncomfortable to me (it has it's good points, there's plenty of shiny stuff). The idea that this man had his dream and made it come true is the real reason that I love this bike.

What do you think of the bike? Have you ever made a dream come true?

Edit: Oh and I just found a Youtube of him actually riding the bike, it's just him taking off from a driveway but gives you a better idea of how you sit on it and how it moves .... See it here