Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Three-day Ride: Friday, the first day

For no reason other than the fact that I had no reason not to, I rode this weekend. Three days of riding.


That day I had nowhere to go but Nyah by nightfall. I fell in from the Calder to towns with their regions like a patch-work. Gisbourne. Woodend. Tracing paths behind the freeway. Tylden. Trentham. Daylesford.

A Spring day, sunshine, warmth. Accelerating skyward up a hill at Shepherd's Flat the air smelt of honey: pollen thickened the world.

Many details insisted on themselves. One was the colour of fields: everywhere so thick with green, but spread with top sheets of yellow canola or purple lavender. This drought-ill land grew these colours as an experiment in seeing itself differently, hoping to catch in my response a glimpse of what it might be.

My machine sang a single note. Four thousand, five hundred R.P.M. Smooth. Powerful. The sweet spot newly discovered and other purposes now imagined, this SR500 proved it can tour.

And I thought at different moments over those days: this moment, now, will be a fond memory when I am somewhere up ahead. With body and machine in motion, my mind paused  to enjoy the present-moment's ride, but that experience was flavoured with a sense of the future remembered-ride into which it will pass, retold and enshrined. Let me now tell you its story.


At Shepherd’s Flat I stopped at a long-abandoned home. For a moment something spilled out of the folds of time just beyond the periphery of my vision. It was at first comforting.  I pushed myself forward into the space.

Moving on, the distance divided by a bee sting to my wrist, I came to Newstead and lunch. I walked the town and was tempted in my vintagent nature by the wares of an antique store. I have been hungry for ‘old things’ ever since childhood. My father’s source of income was his one-man business - pulling down old houses to sell the timber - and I was the amateur archaeologist and imaginative re-constructer of hidden lives, made out of the things they left behind. Jam tins. A hat. A baby’s pin. The racing magazines found beneath pantry floorboards. All the small ordinary stuff that accumulates from living and in time takes on new significance. From them we can almost smell and perhaps touch the other person of so many decades ago.

A truck out the front of the antique store.

Beyond Maldon the road-sides were flooded.

Above Rheola and I rode through a National Park to the Melville Caves. It was hot, silent, and I was alone. I enjoyed this solitude.

Through Wedderburn I continued to Boort on low petrol. In Boort I was the lone patron at a café, and had a good conversation with the owner and her assistant. She mentioned the predicted thunder-storm and that I was on a bike, and I described of the joy of riding through the emotions of the weather, that feeling of being absorbed into the sky.

Above Boort.

Friends along the way.

It was a long day. I only did 455km but I took my time. The roads were increasingly straight, which added to my weariness toward the day's end. At Swan Hill I stopped to visit Grandma for a quick chat on the porch, then made for Nyah where my family welcomed me.

1 comment:

  1. Love the photos but the last one is my favorite. You got your ride on, keep the wheels a turning...