Friday, February 4, 2011

Hidden in the Storm

As I prepared to ride yesterday the rain came down. I knew thunderstorms were forecast but didn't care - I needed to spend a day lost in 'the zone' on my motorcycle. The need was not due to some difficulty in coping with anything; rather, it was like the body's need to drink water. A healthy need of the soul.

I went up the Tullamarine Freeway out to Lancefield, then to Lake Eppalock. The road from Redesdale to the lake is constant sweepers, beautifully matched to my single cylinder motorcycle, and I overtook the one truck with ease, leaning down on the tank as the engine continued it's low rumble like a 1950s machine.

Lake Eppalock was almost empty a year ago. You could not see the water from the picnic tables. Now it is filled to capacity.

I rode into Bendigo where my Mum is staying. Fifteen minutes into the visit a great storm came: very heavy winds and lightning and thunder that were low and loud, crashing above the house. I was forced to stay for an hour before it eased enough for me to head off into the rain.

I rode toward Maldon over flooded and storm-damaged roads, and detoured to Cairn Curran, another body of water that was almost dead a year ago and which is now at capacity.

From Maldon I made to Castlemaine, again meeting only one other vehicle, which I easily overtook in the 50's racing style. Then at the Freeway entrance I turned off early into Elphington, on to the old abandoned Calder Highway. There are few things I love so much as an abandoned freeway, especially one that sweeps and rises through mountains.

Eventually the old freeway rejoined the new one, and I jumped off again just before, on to back roads outside Kyneton. Bushland and mountains gave way to civilised sheep country and pines. By now it was dusk.

It was dark by the time I hit the Freeway. The closer I got to Melbourne the more it stormed and the worse visibility became for all of us. I wondered as I rode, at why people stared at me with strange looks, or why when I overtook and moved in front of somebody, they made a point of overtaking me again. Such behaviour is not too unusual, and has different causes usually, or so I speculate, from fanscination with motorcyclists braving a storm, to contempt for difference and for being over-taken. However, as I discovered when finally at home, my rear tail-light had blown! I was completely invisible from behind in a pitch black night of blinding rainfall, and had ridden all the way home in real danger without knowing! The sad thing is that nobody made the effort to shout out a warning to me as they passed, as I certainly would have done for another, something which is particularly easy to do on a freeway.   I had, however, enjoyed the feeling of being lost in the night as I rode down that road.

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful and different your part of the world is. It is nice to visit. Thanks for taking me along on your ride.