That tedious writing job was finally finished. Just in time for our imminent road trip Marysville 100 km or so outside Melbourne. We didn’t manage to leave that evening. Just as well, as it was raining!
We just set off early the next morning instead. Sadly this meant we’d be leaving our awesome house share in Petersham again. The guys whose room we were renting were coming back from their holiday….
So we packed up all our possessions and loaded them up on the bikes. We were ready to go when Aidan suddenly jumped back off the bike fighting with the head cam cable. A spider had crawled out of Pippa’s instrument panel, grumpy at having been woken from her deep slumber!
It was going to be a long journey of 900 and something kilometers so we were just going to take the straight, boring roads to get there in time without actually going on the motorways. Lea felt like a ship all loaded up and with that famously crappy suspension. But it was great to be free and on the road again 🙂
When the Sydney morning rush hour traffic released us we climbed up into the Blue Mountains.
The road was wide and winding and I totally had to re-learn how to ride this little bike up the twisties. Lea reached her power limit a lot and I had to switch down the gears on the steeper bits. She simply couldn’t keep up with Pippa and I just had to giggle so much, shouting “Come on! You can do it!” inside my helmet.
Then it started raining. Luckily I had insisted on putting my so not sexy rain gear on earlier so I stayed dry, even if I looked like I was wearing adult size Pampers. Aidan just got soaked.
The landscape turned into flat farm land, mostly fenced in and with gravel roads leading to all the fields. The trees lining them gave the false impression that there was a light forest to camp in further along.
In the end we simply parked up in an unused field under some trees.
The people from the house across the fence saw us when they tended to their horses but didn’t come over so we cheffed up some dinner and settled into the tent as it got dark.
Around 10pm I woke with a start to a couple of torches approaching. “What the fuck?!” “Police! Could you come out for a minute please?” So Aidan put his jeans and T-shirt back on as the waited impatiently and went to speak to them. They were quite friendly though.
Turns out there are some fugitives on the loose and our horsy neighbours had called the cops just in case we were them! Hm… on travel bikes with tent and long purple hair?!? Oh well, now that it was established that we are just some sleepy travelers, we were welcome to stay on their land. The next couple of days we were warned by many people who stopped for a chat: be careful wildcamping. There are fugitives around!
The next day it rained again and we continued through the sodden landscape of flat corn fields. Just as I was getting really bored, Aidan pulled over in a bend, smoke rising from Pippa. Shit! Coolant had exploded all over the front end and was steaming off the exhaust. This looked very familiar! Remember that towing saga in Greece anyone?
We were hoping that it was just a loose cooler cap so I rode off to fetch coolant from the town where we’d just filled up while Aidan let the bike cool down. When I got back, the coolant pipes were almost cold so we topped up and let the bike run hot again.
But the pipes just didn’t warm up. That meant either the water pump wasn’t pumping the coolant round or the thermostat was stuck closed. We hoped for the former as we had a set of spares with us. Removing the outlet and finding that the pump wasn’t squirting coolant out confirmed we were in luck. Just as well I had insisted Aidan take the spares with him when we were sat in the cellar in Berlin, sorting what to leave behind to lighten the load…
This was going to be a huge job! But at least we’d done it so many times before, we knew what we were doing! Aidan got going taking the bike apart by the roadside and I went off once more to fetch more coolant and oil (you have to drain the engine oil) and some cold coffees. The petrol station guy was starting to wonder…
As we were working away a couple of people pulled over and offered help. Then a guy stopped by on an ATV. They were going to be herding some sheep past in a moment…
(What is it with shepherds turning up when we have water pump issues?!? Remember this guy?)
They did an excellent job of keeping the sheep well away from us as we were struggling to get the clutch cover back on without tearing the gasket. All the while we were quite aware that we were supposed to be in a rush to the HU meeting. Just as well we’d got up so bloomin early!
Five hours later we were all done and ready to go 🙂 I was super proud of us for managing such a big repair just by the roadside. We really are getting better at this!
The sun came out as we set off and the landscape opened up into a vast yellow plain with nothing to break the side wind. Lea was really struggling to even stay at 90kmh. Huge trucks were overtaking me and I had lots of fun hitching a lift in their slip wind. Aidan and I worked as a team. He would ride in front of the truck, slowing it enough so I could keep up with it but stayed just fast enough so they wouldn’t overtake him and escape. Mean maybe but tons of fun on my suddenly super-fast little bike 🙂
By 7pm we decided that we’d done enough miles. We were tired and hadn’t got round to stocking up on supplies. A small shop in a village made us some yummy chicken schnitzel burgers. We found a pretty shepherding field a short stretch off the road to pitch the tent and munch or burgers watching the sunset.
We woke to a cold, dewy sunrise. The thermos had hot coffee waiting for us and soon we were back on the road. As we got closer, the road started climbing up into the Yarra mountain range then dropped us in the rolling hills and the landscape was really pretty.