The best laid plans ...
Last year, I couldn't even get off the island of Tasmania before a car hit me and put a sudden stop to all my plans for 2009. The Wee-Strom was written off, and I had a couple of breaks in my pelvis.
One could be forgiven for hoping that 2010 would go a little better. It did. I managed to get off the island without drama. Spent time in Melbourne and a couple other places on my way north to Sydney, from where I am to fly out. Along the way, there were reports filtering through on the news of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, blanketing Europe and the UK with ash and smoke.
Yes, my flight out on Tuesday 20th April (tomorrow) has now been cancelled!! Lord only knows when I'll actually get out of Australia and get this RTW roadshow under way again! The main difficulty is managing to have space for the bike booked on the same flight, so that I'm not hanging around in Frankfurt waiting for it to arrive. I've not called Qantas reservations as yet, to reschedule my flight, as I'm trying to ascertain what will happen to the bike's booked space, now that everything has to be reshuffled to fit in all the passengers from the cancelled flights of the past few days.
Oh, what a mess! But something to brighten my day. Two beautiful rosellas flew in for some apple at my friends' home in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
First there was one:
And then there were two.
After myriad phone calls, I'm now booked out to Frankfurt on Thursday 6th May, and so is the bike, on the same flight, the earliest available!
As I had to fill in about 16 days, I was able to go north to Cooroy, Queensland, and attend the HorizonsUnlimited Meeting. This was a great weekend, apart fom the rain! And the mud! And did I mention rain?? What's the saying the Queenslanders have - "Come to Queensland, beautiful one day, perfect the next" ?-----except when it rains!!
Caught up with Richard (travellingstrom.com) and had big chats with him, and also Alana and John Skillington, whom I'd met at the 2009 Meeting at Mitta Mitta in Victoria. Met lots more people, and much information on travelling by motorbike was passing around freely, as it should. There were lots of great presentations by those who have been away on their trips, and demonstrations on packing a bike, and also on repairing flat tyres and changing tyres.
The following weekend was the annual V-Strom owners' gathering, held this year at Urunga, just south of Coffs Harbour, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. Richard and I rode down together from Stanthorpe, with Richard doing some Geocaching along the way, leading us to visit all sorts of places. I reckon it could become a bit addictive, if I start doing it!
Aussie kids just can't resist wanting to sit on a bike, can they? Outside Maccas at Stanthorpe.
Not a Geocache site, but a real Aussie pyramid, not far out of Stanthorpe.
Richard's first geocache was at Balance Rock, on the New England Highway.
The Ebor Falls National Park was the site of another geocache, so we just had to stop here. A lovely park, with stunning scenery from the lookout above the falls.
Oooooooh! Look what happens when I travel with someone else - they take photos of me!
The V-Strom Owners' Meet:- What a complete change from the HU Meet - perfect weather, and no mud! The little village of Urunga was a wonderful venue, with everything we needed close at hand. From the caravan park where the campers stayed, it was less than 100 metres to the shopping centre and the pub. What more could we ask? The park is situated on the banks of the inlet, and the waves were crashing loudly most of the time.
A total of 43 (I think) Vees and Wees lined up for the Sunday morning photo shoot outside the pub.
Then it was back to the Blue Mountains for a couple of nights, then down to Sydney to lodge the bike. Lots of kerfuffle which I won't go into here, suffice to say that not a lot of people seem to know what to do with bikes flying out of the country. Why don't I just fly out of Brisbane all the time, and save myself all the stress involved with shipping out of Sydney, as the folk at Qantas in Brissy are first class operators???
Total costs were: freight [through DPEX, a Qantas subsidiary] $2592 and Dangerous Goods Certificate [from DGM], $104.50.
It's done, now I can relax a little, staying with a Ulysses friend at Maroubra Beach. Thanks again, Kym!