So there you are, waiting for ages for a new blog update and I present you with a boring post about engine repairs! Sorry about that. It is a big part of this trip you know. I’m still hearing this scary engine noise and that. Been to Eric’s several times now and he’s doing his best to allay my fears: “It’s an old bike. They are bullet proof. You’ll be fine!”
I ride off reassured, and then it all starts again. It’s a real head fuck. I think I’m suffering from MSS (Mechanical Sympathy Syndrome) as Noel Thom puts it, and so far there is no known cure. He’s written ‘Big Little Bike Adventure’ published in the same issue of Overland Magazine our Himalaya story got published in.
Anyways, enough of engines already! Here’s all the stuff we’ve been up to in those few moments when we were not working, tinkering on the bikes or horizontal with exhaustion.
Christmas stretched out this year as most prezzies were taking their sweet time in the international post. So too the huge parcel of German sweeties and goodies (that you can’t get Down Under) my dad sent for Christmas. It arrived some time in the new year keeping us well supplied through the January diet.
On my delivery rides and our walkies around Sydney we kept spotting all those strangely wonderful things that make this city so scrumptious to us, including awesome new old-style bikes (there seem to be a lot of these in this usually sunny country), beautiful flora and blossoming trees everywhere and architecturally interesting old facades left intact with the new buildings cleverly constructed behind them. And then just odd things of course.
We finally met up with Mennan, who we’d met in Turkey buying hose tires in Izmir. Remember the guys that promptly ordered food and invited us to eat with them in their shop on a makeshift table of tires and a wooden board? Mennan has come to Australia for a while and we’ve been meaning to meet up with him. He is a super nice, thought-provoking character with lots of interesting stuff to say and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening, staying much longer than we should have.
Of course we are making lots of use of our beautiful garden, drinking wine and playing the monopoly card game with housies.
Then Aidan tried his hand at hairdressing.
And as usual I had to tidy up his mess.
We went on a little two-up trip on Pippa, shopping for extra fuel solutions for Lea. She only has a 200km range with her little 9Ltr tank so we found a small army surplus store… We had to seriously restrain ourselves not to buy all those camping and survival goodies. And I think we found what we were looking for in the form of two medical kit bags. I am yet to try it, but if it works, they’ll be flung over the tank, each holding a spare petrol can…
Of course my Deliveroo job continued. The business just started up so we often get a few quiet hours with hardly any deliveries. Which seems to cause some riders to climb trees in order to play Tetres (or whatever it is) with a lofty view. Since then we have got a lot busier though and I hardly get a chance to read my book anymore.
Every now and again we would come home to find that someone has drunk all our wine!
And I finally found out who is munching all the lettuce, spinach and even mint and basil we’ve been growing in our garden. These possums are quite tame and I find them really cute. But my housies seem to treat them more like rats that carry diseases and fleas. I don’t know, surely they are too cute?
Then Aidan’s sister and her friend came over for a week. They busied themselves visiting Sydney while we were working and they have now seen more of the sights than us, giving us recommendations as to what to see and what to give a miss. Whoops! When we were free we spent the evenings together of course. It all started very civilised in the local pub.
But when we got home our house mate Evan had a good head-start on us.
So we tucked in too chatting about this and that and putting the world to rights as you do. (If only we could remember how we were going to achieve that the next morning!)
Eventually it was time to put Evan to bed, as we did actually need the sofa to sleep on. But that proved harder tan expected: Every time Aidan lifted him, Evan just folded up and fell through Aidan’s arms back onto the sofa. Eventually (after about seven attempts) Evan woke up enough to be sleep-walked up the stairs!
Before we knew it, the girls were gone again and we were left wishing we’d had more time to spend with them. Damn city working life! We knew there was a reason we’d given it up all that time ago in London! The next free afternoon was spent trying out a new pub for it’s rather yummy food, meeting friends and playing Monoply.
Josh, who we’d met in Kochi in India, was playing a gig at the Duck Inn in Chippendale. So what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than catching up with him, listening to good music and sipping a bloody mary?
Apparently the fly thought so too!
Of course Australia Day arrived and many people were dressing up crazy, getting far too drunk and waving flags about. But we, and our housies too, had our reservations about the national holiday. Why be proud of stealing the continent from the Aborigines and treating them rather awful in the process? There is nothing wrong with celebrating your nation. But sadly here that still is very synonymous with white Australians only. We haven’t come across much of it. But it is in fact white Australians that have educated us about the many racism problems still rife in this young nation.
I won’t go into much detail here as it is more a topic for discussion that for this travel blog. Suffice to say then, that Australia day brought up mixed feelings. And to the credit of many, they did celebrate all aspects of this varied country and all its peoples in it. And for some it was simply an excuse to party. I spotted a small lorry in Bondi Beach which had been turned into a pool. They put a big plastic sheet in the back, then filled it with water and parked it outside the house where the party was going on in the front yard, people sitting in the ‘pool’ sipping cocktails.
So we didn’t go to the pub, but enjoyed a yummy BBQ at home instead.
Ever since the Christmas party, some of Aidan’s colleagues and us had planned a ride out. And last weekend it finally happened. I had just managed to put Lea back together and I was praying that she’d last.
We met at a 7Eleven that seems to be the meeting and starting point for many rides as there were bikers zooming in and out all the time.
Then we went north on the Pacific Highway, taking the scenic route and stopping here and there for a break and refreshing drink.
The guys rode the twisties much faster than I usually do, so it was a bit of a challenge for me and had my adrenaline pumping. It was exhilarating, scary and heaps of fun all at the same time. Not to mention the awesome scenery when I did get a chance to look up from the road.
We circled round to Wisemans Ferry, which you reach on a quaint little ferry boat. A nice little touch to an awesome ride.
Ending in a great little pub for a well deserved lunch of course. And Lea did just fine! But I swear the engine is still making all sorts of unseemly noises. Eric says it’s the valve clearances. I know they are a little on the big side. But Eric said I should be fine for another 10-15000 kilometers…. watch this space!