Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The First Day of Summer...

...was wet. But it was the least wet day of the week according to the Bureau of Meteorology, from among the days I have free.

And so I put myself out there, stretching my body across time and place under a cobalt sky, cornering through rivers of spilled rain.

I rode the Burke and Wills Track north-west of Lancefield to Golden Point, past rivers that had flooded, and broken bridges.

I made a friend on the way.

Eventually I came to a marker of Major Mitchell's visit at a place which hasn't changed since.

At Chewton I had lunch before riding to Newstead and making for Dayelsford.

At Shepherds Flat I came across a house which I shared with you a month ago. It is deteriorating quickly.

Riding through Hepburn Springs I followed a small sign to a tourist attraction, which turned out to be a "blow hole". It was in a small national park, potted with old mine shafts and diggings, and the hole was dug through a hill so that a stream flowed through

and came gushing out the other side.

With the recent rain it was a crashing of water.

As I walked through the forest back to the carpark the bush was populated with visions of nineteenth century diggers, ambling past and acknowledging me as though this were an everyday event, which of course it was. So spying my motorcycle among the trees was an incongruent sensation. What is that? A replacement for the horse, you say?

I rode on through Daylesford and via Trentham to Woodend. There I found my indicator had broken off and was hanging by its wires, so I sticky-taped it in place and, with the day darkening, decided to ride up Mount Macedon to the soldier's memorial cross. Those roads are especially twisty in the wet, but I entered English-Gentleman-mode and plodded along on my big single, dodging fallen trees through the mist.

Once again I encountered the left-behinds of Major Mitchell.

From the cross I could see Melbourne.

And to continue the theme of incongruity, a neo-classical garden amidst Mitchell's bush.

I rode home down the Calder Freeway from Gisborne. The bike sat comfortably on 95kph - it is the perfect motorcycling for having a great ride while keeping your license. The characteristics of its engine were a thrill all day, as I rolled on and off in a crescendo and decrescendo drum-roll that made braking unnecessary. And at idle, "Pup pup pup pup pup pup". The truth is that our days are numbered. And this was a day well-lived.

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