If you ride then you know the truth inherent in the title of this piece. Every ride is an adventure, but tonight’s ride home just felt that little bit more adventurous, just slightly more challenging.
After 9 hours on the training range I was just getting my riding gear on when I noticed a vehicle leaving the TAFE (Technical and Further Education) Campus where we train. Nothing unusual there, but this vehicle stopped at the front gates, the driver got out and started closing the gates with the intention of locking them for the night. Hang on a moment, I don’t have a key for those gates, if he locks them then I am locked in here for the night. I flew out the door and called out to him. It was probably around 75 metres from me to the gentleman locking the gate, I called again to him but no response. I called again, louder, and again, LOUDER, but still no response. One gate was already closed and the other was almost done. I reached down deep inside myself, I channelled my fathers innate ability to silence any room and get anyones attention, and I shouted at the top of my lungs. That got his attention.
I was on Aries and out the gate like a shot. The sun had already set behind the hills, so it was going to be well and truly dark by the time I finished my 80km commute. I joined the South bound traffic on the freeway and opened the throttle, Aries bounded away from the other traffic. The next twenty minutes entailed staying away from as many cars and trucks as possible while we all made our way towards the Southern Highlands.
As I reached the first possible exit I considered my options, stick with the freeway and the traffic, or exit onto a back road and chance the local wildlife in the dark! I chose to stick with the freeway, and it wasn’t long before I was glad for that decision. Up ahead I caught the flash of lighting, up ahead exactly where I was heading. Oh well, I already had my wet weather pants on, so a bit of rain wouldn’t be much of a problem.
Another ten minutes on and the lightning was increasing, the storm front was lit from within each time the lighting discharged, and it was an impressive sight. This was not going to be “a bit of rain”, this was going to be a downpour, and it was heading for exactly where I was heading, Robertson. Question was, who was going to get there first?
I took the next freeway exit and headed towards Mittagong, but decided to duck off early to bypass both Mittagong and Bowral. I followed a car through the back roads to give me better headlights, and a shield from any suicidally depressed wildlife. As we headed away from Bowral towards Robertson the car I was following turned off, so I had to catch another one that was headed my way. The storm front was moving fast and the lighting flashes were continuing to multiply, and these things were “motivating” me to get home as soon as I could, and hopefully as dry as I could, but that was looking less likely by the moment.
As I closed the distance between me and the car I noticed headlights in the mirrors, and these headlights were closing even faster. So fast in fact that I started to get that sinking feeling that comes over you just before…………you see the red and blue flashing strobes of a police car! Oh bugger, in my rush to get home and beat the storm did I allow my speed to “creep” up above the posted limit? Well let’s just say “I’m only human”, and leave it at that.
I rolled off the throttle and started scanning the road edge for a good stopping point, I was just about to put my blinker on when the police car pulled out and passed me like I was standing still.
How many emotions can you experience in less than a second? First disbelief, then relief, then gratitude, then sadness. I know sadness seems like an odd sensation to feel at a moment like this, but the sadness comes from the knowledge that a police vehicle travelling at that speed on a dark country road in the face of an impending tempest can only mean that something very serious has occurred.
I reached the last intersection and turned for home. Still the lightning flashed, still the storm front loomed, still Aries and I rode on. More traffic on this road, stay patient, almost home, follow the cars. Into Robertson, still no rain, into my street, still no rain, into my lane, still no rain, and into the garage. We made it, dry, safe and grateful. I walked into the house and made the grand pronouncement to my family, “there’s a big storm coming”. “Really?” they replied with disinterest.
Ten minutes later we were shouting at each other to be heard over the thunderous downpour of rain and hail as we stood on the front verandah watching the hail stones bounce all over the yard.
As I said, life’s never boring!
The Perpetual Motorcyclist
© Observations of a Perpetual Motorcyclist, 2012 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Observations of a Perpetual Motorcyclist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.