Take The Long Way Home.
When I worked on the Gold Coast I was lucky enough to have an early knock off on a Friday, usually around 14:30.
This allowed me to take any one of a number of routes home through the Hinterland.
On average, a Friday run would take about 2 hours. Even during winter when the days were short, I’d still be home with plenty of daylight to spare.
The roads through the Gold Coast Hinterland were my therapy after a week of working in front of furnaces and belting the tripe out of lumps of steel.
Alas, in 1995, I had a career change which saw me working closer to home. My Friday therapy sessions came to an abrupt end and remained that way for the next 22 years.
Fast forward to present day.
On December 15 The Motocycnic, who I’ll refer to in this post as ‘Old Mate’* posted The Longer Way Home.
In that post he did two things: He spoke of a variation on a route he usually took on his daily commute, and, he gave me a damned ear worm I haven’t been able to shake for a month!
His post reminded me of my therapy sessions of years ago and made me realise that since 1995, I’d only had one therapy session.
Clearly this situation had to change!
I thought: “Why am I putting up with the push and shove of afternoon traffic on a Friday when I could be unwinding?”
After all, it’s the middle of summer, the sun doesn’t set until 19:00 and there’s this really nice stretch of black top only 10km (6 miles) west of the city.
A message, as if by
psychedelic psychic connection, appeared on my phone. It was from The Bar Tender:
He was on a rostered day off, and at first I thought he was trying to wind me up. So I fired back a smart arse reply fully expecting that would be the end of it.
Another message from The Bar Tender:
He was serious!
16:30 rolled around and I peered out of the window to see if The Bar Tender had indeed turned up. Sure enough there he was, sitting in the gutter… well maybe not in the gutter, he was actually sitting on the kerb waiting for me.
I grabbed my helmet and jacket, and I made my way over to him. I asked why he was looking for a new bikes when he’d only just got ‘Fee’ in October.
He explained he loved Fee’ but that she was more suited to commuting than touring. Plus in a few months he’d be eligible for his licence upgrade and he wanted something more suited to chewing up the miles: A tourer.
The conversation turned to the route we were going to take home. He asked if we were going over Mt Nebo. I replied no, but that we could if he wanted to.
It was an extra 40km (25 mi) making the whole trip about 100km (62 mi) door to door, and we wouldn’t be home until 19:00. Right on sunset.
He was keen, so that’s the way we went.
The revised route saw us take Waterworks Road out to The Gap and to Mt Nebo Road, then turn on to Mt Glorious Road to Samford Village. It’s a nice run, and being mid-week there wasn’t many vehicles on the road.
By the time we set off it was 16:45. We headed west towards the Gap. Many are still on vacation and school hasn’t started back after the Christmas break, so it was a pretty easy run.
We decided to pull up at Jolly’s Lookout for a break. It’s about half way along Mt Nebo Road and has some great views out over the Samford Valley. It also gave us an opportunity to ditch the jackets and gloves for 15 minutes and cool off.
Even at 17:15 it was still 35°C (95°F) and humid.
It occurred to me, that in all the times I’ve been on Mt Nebo Road, I’ve stopped at Jolly’s Lookout maybe twice. Most times, I was riding with a bunch of mates. We were all young and more interested in breaking land speed records, than enjoying the surroundings.
It’s funny how your outlook on life changes as you get older…
A young bloke arrived on a dirt bike just as we were leaving.
He obviously had the same idea about cooling that we had. In seconds flat he was stripped down to a pair of jeans and had climbed over the safety railing to catch the afternoon breeze.
I’d have taken my shirt off and joined him, but I didn’t want to embarrass him with my Adonis like middle-aged physique.
We took one last look at the view over Samford Valley and headed back to the parking lot and as I turned on to My Nebo Road for the ride home, I couldn’t help asking myself why I hadn’t done this ride home more often.
I argued with myself:
The days were too short during winter for this route (but there is a slightly shorter alternative I retorted, you’d be home before dark. Easy).
It’ll be colder, maybe 23°C (73°F) and the wombats will be out (Ffftt, cold, shmold and when was the last time you saw a wombat on the road in Brisbane?)
In the end, I couldn’t come up with a valid reason other than sometimes I finish after dark. I settled into the remainder of the twisties before we got back into suburbia.
As I rode, I remembered the post Old Mate put up on December 15.
Then I remembered the ear worm.
- Old Mate: Used in Australian English when you don’t know someones name, or when his or her identity can be deduced by the context of the message;
- Did you see old mate nearly trip over ?
- Old mate dropped by and we watched the cricket for a bit.
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