Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nowhere in particular....

I went riding yesterday afternoon.

The Eastern Freeway was wide and empty, five lanes of concrete in the sun. When, further on, the road narrowed into curves I was still alone, with a confident engine and a mind absorbed by the clipped, smooth lines I made through the corners. On days like this the tar from St Andrews to King Lake is a work of art. My machine was tight, smooth and powerful. I was in perfect rhythm. Coming behind four trucks and their frustrated gaggle of cars after King Lake, I dropped down a gear and opened the throttle, snapping my arms straight and head backwards as the bike lunged and I was again alone.

I coasted through the roads from Yea to Longwood, via Highlands and Ruffy. At times experimenting with dirt roads, the Hornet was most happy leaning through the sealed twists and turns. Never mind, there was plenty of gravel in these corners to slide about on. Above Longwood it was like ball-bearings piled at the entry and exit of old bridges, whose surfaces in turn were uneven wooden planks. Otherwise the roads were solid and straight, with a view through gums to summer-coloured paddocks.

The town of Murchison is built around the Goulburn River. Under the hot sun you need only walk fifty meters off the main street to find shade by the wide, brown water.

Onwards I rode to Heathecote, realising I’d gone the long way even though I was ready for home. This afforded the chance, however, to enjoy one of my favourite roads with the day’s light at its most intense angle and colour. On this stretch from Tooborac to Lancefield I maintained a speed of 80kph in case of wildlife. I didn’t vary my speed even as I entered tight corners, so again the bike smoothly banked left, then right, as my hand sat steady on the throttle, and the turns came and went with a slight blur. I met Melbourne at dusk, flowing fast on the northern freeways in the warm air.

The Goulburn River near Yea

Caveat-Dropmore Road

North of Ruffy

Between Longwood and Murchison

Goulburn River, from the main street of Murchison

Day's end, just prior to Tooborac

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