No One Said It Would Be Easy really is a reality

October 21, 2019
"Let poets sing of English girls, Their beauty and their candour; Give me a sweeter nymph than all, The lass of Yackandandah." "She draws a cork with such an air, No mortal can withstand her; She turns a tap, and turns our heads, The lass of Yackandandah."
Published in the 11 June 1857 edition of The Melbourne Punch called The Lass of Yackandandah

A rambling summary of the last week

Our adventuring has precluded me from posting a daily update as I like to, but we’ve been hamstrung by poor internet connections and lack of resolve. Without re-doing my Google calculations, I know I am pretty much at the 25,000 km mark of The Big Sit, my circumambulation of Big Red. It is only this last leg from McLaren Flat in South Australia and part of my second leg from Melbourne to the Southern Highlands of NSW, that I have had company.

For probably 22,000 kms, my ride has been solitary … and people wonder why I talk to Penelope. Having Steph along for this last leg has been wonderful.

It is 1977 all over again.

In the six days of riding that she has been with me, she has had a pretty good snapshot of Aussie riding. She got to experience the dull, straight roads heading East from Tailem Bend in South Australia to New South Wales. However, she also got the good times, the wonderful back-country roads our Panther Rally hosts had selected for us in the green hills inland from Sydney. Playing with other Panthers was great. Penelope was the newest and Ian from Brisbane cavorted with the oldest … a 1927 500cc.

Such a pretty bike, which boomed out a lovely baritone utterance via ‘fish-tail’ mufflers. This year’s gathering was not a big one, but as we all know, often quality is much more satisfying than quantity. As I remarked to Steph “All the people here, are ones I like a lot!” The rally was always to be the soft-launch of my book ‘No One Said It Would e Easy’, the first of my adventures with Penelope (and Steph). This was done to the popping of a bubbly cork (I can’t spell Champagne?) … thanks Dickies.

The book looks great and I hope readers enjoy it as much as I did recalling the adventure and writing it down. I call it my block-buster and I hope it is. All too soon we had to leave the Panther fold and head for Melbourne and grandparent duties. We left the others after specialty pies in Thirlmere and zig-zagged our way across to the alpine village of Cooma at the northern end of the Snowy River region.

To get there we spent some time on The Monaro Highway. We were surprised to learn that the road wasn’t named after the Holden Muscle car … the car was named after the mountainous region. A night was spent in the art-deco Alpine Hotel. ‘Nellops’ was ensconsed in the garage with a passel of Moto Guzzis returning from the Spaghetti Rally.

The subsequent ride through the Kosciuszko National Park past Thredbo was a stunner. Snow was not far above us, but the day was sunny and not cold. We were thrilled to come across wild brumbies in the flesh. The day was a little spoilt by us breaking a clutch cable. This however brought meaningful interactions with a couple of guys at the Corryong Honda shop. Finally, we have fetched up in the historic village of Yackandandah, and are tucked up in a motel unit.

Steph is now responding to most social interactions with a “No worries” almost worthy of an Ocker. She’ll need to retrain at home next week. We should make big-city Melbourne tomorrow in time for a pizza and icecream party for five-year-old Arthur. A good ending to a damn good ride. Naturally we have seen kookaburras, kites, galahs, cockatoos and the occasional wedge-tail eagle, only one live kangaroo however, but we’ve smelt and seen dozens as road-kill. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie … oy, oy, oy!

No every moment is spent crouching on the back of Penelope ... there is always time for reading
Just another lunch ... in just another pub
It was good to see my Panther buddies again
After the cork popping ... there were books to sign
The oldest and newest Panthers
Where Penelope had to stay outside on the road for the night
Cooma and a night with Moto Guzzis
1800cc, heated seat and grips, warm air ducting for feet and also legs. Adjustable wind-screen, sound system, REVERSE gear ... and a tow-bar. Penelope was very disdainful
My loves since 1976