09.09.2011 17 °C
I slept quite well. I woke to feel the boat rocking a few times, but it was a fairly calm crossing. Melbourne was grey and rather cool. There were half a dozen hot air balloons floating low over the city as we rode onto the Citylink tollway – a beautiful sight.
A group of Victorian riders were meeting up at the start of the Hume Highway and we joined them – there are about 60 riders from Victoria meeting up at various places and about 20 of them were here.
Some of the other bikes at the meeting point
About 100kms out of Melbourne the sun finally broke through the clouds and the day started to warm up.
A visit to Seymour Special School had been organised. It was wonderful to see the delight on the faces of the children as they donned our helmets and sat on our bikes and had their photos taken.
Next stop was Tocumwal where we had an early lunch – we were in NSW before midday!
Lunch spot at Tocumwal
NSW is having a locust plague, and just after Jerilderie this became quite apparent. I was marvelling at their ability (well, most of them) to swerve at the last moment to avoid colliding with me, when Scott overtook me and I realised he had lost some of his gear. I caught his attention and we pulled over. The bag containing his tent and sleeping mat was gone. He turned back to look for it and I sped off to catch up with Doug. Almost immediately the car coming towards me started flashing its lights. I realised it was a cop car and glanced down at my speedo – 123km/h – Bugger! He passed me and I watched in my rear vision mirror, faintly hoping he was flashing his lights for some other reason, but he slowed and did a U-turn and I knew I was being pulled over. He asked to see my licence and asked where I was going. When I said “Darwin” I think he nearly fell over! We chatted for a while and then, much to my surprise, he let me off with a warning. I rode away feeling suitably chastised and vowing to be more careful.
I had the road to myself now and it was a good feeling.
The swarms of locusts became thicker and I could see clouds of them approaching. I found myself bracing for impact and hoping I would still be able to see on the other side. It felt like I was being bombarded by tiny missiles and it HURT. It was so bizarre it was funny and I couldn’t help laughing. But the splatter on my visor was gross and it was getting hard to see, and I could see them getting stuck in the crevices on my bike. Suddenly it wasn’t funny anymore.
I caught up with Doug and we rode into Griffith together. Our bikes stunk of cooking insects, and it looked like someone had thrown up all over the front of my bike.
We continued on to Hillston. Scott turned up over an hour later having had no luck finding his gear... So the boys will be sharing a tent tonight! The local pub put on a dinner for us. Food tastes so good after a day on the road. As we walked back to the campsite there was already a heavy dew settling on everything and it was very cold.
Today’s distance: 576km