(A journey of two halves. Apologies in advance for another epic. Single paragraph newsflashes for the rest of the month, K? )
But if you're gonna have an adventure, you're gonna need a hero. (Pt1)
By JuniperSachs, Aug 8, 2016 | 2 Comments | 207 Views | Daydreams and learning curves. Literally, learning curves....
So, Sunday dawned not quite as enticing as Saturday initially. Sky a little paler, wind a little puffier, light-bouncing-off-the-neighbour’s-wall-right-into-my-eyes a little less golden - so I dallied around the house being a carefree bum for the morning while the weather got up to speed, thinking about where I would go, and doing my usual Google street view check of whether one can turn left at so & so junction and how many turning lanes there are at blah (Yes, ok, that’s a bit neurotic. But I do it whenever I’m heading somewhere new. It helps with landmarks and I like to know potential pitfalls in advance) (Incidentally I tend to read the end of a book first too.)
When we finally left the house the sun was glorious, and I had the same flutter of nerves that I always do when I set out, and did my usual warm-up lap of the block still trying to decide where we were going. I had really intended to brave the full length of Goodwood Road (2 lanes but with parking; Sunday shopping intersections; buses and dog-toting pedestrians), all the way down to the base of the hike up to Blackwood, and then turn towards Belair National Park to find somewhere scenic to take a trophy shot and then come home. I’d been a bit bummed to find it would only take an hour, mind you, and I knew once up there I was kinda hemmed in by deteriorating roads heading up country, or two serious vertical-drop twisties heading back down to the city, so it would be a simple there-and-back-again (only less exciting than The Hobbit)
Guess it must have been the sense of the mundane which that evinced which sent me in totally the opposite direction when I came to my first decision point. Instead of east to Goodwood, I was heading west, making a bee-line for Main South Road. Erm, really? Erm, are you sure? Erm ok. What the hell. Why not? haha Go girl! (The sequence of thoughts which happened as I passed the final right turn back to safety) I’d not used Main South before, and had been putting it off. But apparently yesterday I threw in that towel.
So down Main South Road we burned. Through every set of lights, one after the other, I was thinking “You’re still going, it seems. You’re gonna do this, aren’t you? Ha! How far exactly are we going?” Ah, hush up Brian, we’re going as far as we can! Past the nearish mate I’d set as a plan for last week (but had got rained off)… past the scary big junction..s… Up the hill! Holy crap, up the hill! We’re going up the hill!! Woohoo! TOP of the hill! Wheeeeee! Annnd down the hill. And back up the hill… meh, hills are so last week… Past the friend whose house I had been way too chicken to ride to three weeks ago…
(What did I learn while ‘flying’ along South Road? Well for starters that the road surface near the start of the expressway is freakin’ TERRIBLE. I mean criminally bad. Remember not to go that way in the rain. Second, that I can do 70 up a moderate hill. Not 80, like everyone else, but screw em’ there’s two lanes. And thirdly, at anything above 60 for a sustained period of time, apparently my right mirror vibrates itself loose and points at the ground. Cheers for that. Helpful.)
On and on we pushed, further and further away from home, closer and closer to the parts of the region I want to be able to ride. Gateway to the Fleurieu. My favourite wild beach, the cutest country smokehouse restaurant, access to KI, farms full of free kittens (ahem. I am not a kitten addict. honest) And most importantly, a whole difficulty rating 1-10 gamut of reeeeally nice roads.
Then suddenly a set of lights I know well was approaching and although I had developed a vague notion of reaching McLaren Vale I suddenly flicked my indicator left. I knew this road, but I hadn’t expected to take it and rode along wondering what the hell I was doing there. Did I want to come this way? What about the Vale? You know you could get there, why not spin it round and keep heading south? But somehow I didn’t do a Uie or chuck a right, and found myself at the roundabout at the end. Ahead, I was sure I recalled, nothing but housing estates bounded by foothills. Left, back to the burbs. So right - wasn’t that the one that goes up? But sort of dirty up? Ah well, seems we’re already going right, thanks body…
Here I learned that on a steep gradient we can do a little over 40. Gmnph. But still, it was forwards, and upwards. We pushed, and climbed, and the surface was degrading about 5% per vertical metre, but suddenly we were UP, plateauing. And there on my right was that view I’d come to find.
Man, I can’t describe the strange mixture of fizzing glee and calm contentment with which I was half jigging, half styling it out when I pulled over, turned off the engine and shook the hair out of the lid. Look where I was. Look!
Earlier in the day, when expecting to end up in Belair, I’d pre-felt a sense of anticlimax at reaching my destination, knowing that really, what was I going to do? Admire the trees, pat myself on the back and then get back on with the real point of the trip – the riding. Back home again.
But up there, 30k from all my stuff and staring through clear blue skies over the southern vales, I was just really freakin' happy. There wasn’t a soul around but me and a battered ute that had passed as I stopped, and that was the point. Nobody else had got me there. I was by myself. Damn it felt good. And rather than anticlimactically thinking “Well, better go back then” I took some photos, soaked up the sunshine, and thought - contentedly - ‘I’d like to go home now.’
So after a quick hand-tighten of the mirror nut and a swig of juice we got back on the road....
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