Mrs Hornet was working yesterday; I was not. "Why don't you go for a nice relaxing ride?", she suggested, as she got dressed for work. Yeah, what a great idea, let's do the Putty-Newcastle-Old Pac Highway-home loop, I thought. Thanks to the BOM hopelessly predicting rain for the weekend, the sky was a lovely steel blue, and even the predicted winds had shifted some-place else. So an overnighter was a possibility. Pack the Ventura and the tank bag, and as she disappeared off to work at 8:00 am, I disappeared in the opposite direction. First positive; my new RJays gloves, while too hot for summer, are just peachy-keen for winter; I didn't even have to turn on my Oxfords! Aiming for Wilberforce at the base of the Putty as my first stop, I scythed through the numpties going to work around Wollongong / Appin / Campbeltown / Narellan / Penrith / Windsor, and fuelled up. The day was warming, and the sky was even bluer; oh bliss, a good run up the Putty. First negative; two kays up the road the speedo needle flopped back to the stop. The jury-rig repair that Mick Cole's mechanic had done in Bega, nearly two years ago, had finally given up. Honestly, it's hard to find a good tradesman these days, isn't it? I was a bit put-off, and considered aborting the trip. I know it sounds crazy, but I like to know what speed I'm doing, both on the open road, and especially on the Putty's twisties, and I just haven't mastered computing the revs to speed, no matter how long I've been riding. But it seemed like such a little thing to stop a trip, and the sky was STILL blue, so I decided to keep going. Positive two; there was a joyous absence of the fog on the Colo River section, which fog had frustrated the last two times I'd ridden the Putty. Even the bog-rats trimming the trees on the uphill climb out of Colo River (when is someone going to spend some money and resuscitate that place as a great tourist attraction??) failed to dampne the spirits. The road was dry, the Bridgestones were warm and grippy, and the little 600 was singing me a not-heard-often-enough tune as we wound through the bends towards my next planned stop, the Halfway House at Garland Valley. Negative two. Although I learned to ride on the Putty over 30 years ago, and knew every bump, ripple, tree and shadow by heart, I don't ride it often enough these days (plus those things don't 'stick' as well in this ageing brain), to do it justice. I find myself thinking as I get out of a corner, after I've backed off or changed down a gear, that 'THAT was one of the corners where you didn't need to, dummy'. But I put those thoughts (and the impending similar frustrations of the approaching Ten Mile) behind me as I pulled into the Halfway House. Positive three; the new owners of the Garland Valley roadhouse are very nice people, the coffee is hot and NOT burned, and you can pretty-well always find another rider or two with whom to chat while you are eating. Plus their bacon and egg roll is good value, and they dring it to the table for you. Negative three; there is a young and very precocious currawong whose specialty seems to be pinching people's food while their backs are turned. I'm used to competing for a bit of road with motorists, but I wasn't expecting to have to compete with a bird for my bacon and egg roll!! The Ten Mile is a delight these days (you should have ridden it in the 70s, mate, it was a tarred goat track), and soon I was turning off to head towards Cessnock and Newcastle. I'd already passed a very-sedately ridden Hyabusa (no, really), and surprised myself again by passing a Triumph of some sort, fully-kitted with panniers and stuff. Perhaps neither of them knew the road. Or, perhaps, the fact that my speedo wasn't working meant that I was actually riding a lot faster than I normally would . Anyway, negative four was about to rear its ugly head. Negative four; I rely on my trip-meter to keep me one step ahead of the Hornet's tiny tank. It wasn't working, of course. And, of course, when you wick the Hornet up a bit (as I must have been doing :roll the fuel consumption rises dramatically. So, combining the two, just out of Abermain, the bike splutters and says, "Reserve, please". I switch over, and, nothing!!! I ground to a halt on the hard shoulder. While pondering whether or not I had my Honda Assist Gold Membership card with me, I pulled on the choke, and thumbed the starter. And, against all possible expectations, and despite the fact that it wouldn't pull the fuel through while moving, the engine fired and ran immediately!! So, off again, but now, anxiously searching for a servo, because I have only once berfore run reserve dry, and I know it doesn't take long!! And then, to add to the fun, I took a wrong turn and ran out altogether out the front of a take-away shop in a town that the world has forgotten, a place called Barnsley. This place has four businesses; a hair-dresser, a take-away, a four-wheel-drive repair shop, and a large engineering shop. But not a servo to be seen! Positive four; a lovely young man in the four-wheel-drive place gave me 4 litres of petrol and directions to the RIGHT turn-off to get where I wanted to be, and the comforting news that there was a garage just over the hill from the place where I'd taken the wrong turn . Fueled up and full of hope, I headed off to visit my old music teacher, (the notional reason for the trip, see thread title, he's a wonderful man and much loved.) Negative five; he wasn't home!!!! Another old friend on the road back to Sydney was, so the trip wasn't entirely wasted, but booming down the F3 trying to gauge MY speed against the speed of the rest of the traffic was NOT relaxing. And sure enough, negative six was waiting; ...in trying to get off the freeway and onto the old Pacific Highway, I took a wrong turn and ended up heading north again!!! So I cut though the median strip (yeah, I know, Police, NRMA and emergency vehicles only), and quickly got up to speed with the traffic. Of course, all this, including a cautious run through the Old Road (no speedo, remember??) got me into Pymble and the start of Ring Road Three (as the loop from there to Blakehurst used to be called) right on Friday afternoon Peak Hour . Will negative seven please report in? Thank you. Somewhere round Punchbowl Road, despite my furious efforts to split to the head of every line of traffic, I noticed the temperature gauge creeping off the clock; the thermo fans had gone to lunch! No problems, there's a huge BP servo just up the road. That sells every sort of food known to man. And magazines. And cat food. But no 10amp motorcycle fuses. Positive five; a charming Indian man in a Caltex a few kays further on supplied the needed part, and both Hornets' temperature resumed some normality. Negative eight; in the pitch dark, and gathering cold (Netrider Neck Warmer back on, RJays gloves likewise), reserve again failed to pull through and silence descended again. But, again the choke did its work (whatever it did??) and the motor started again and I was able to creep through to the top of Bulli Pass and drop down to the waiting bowser below. Now all I need to do is; get the speedo fixed properly this time, (I know what is needed there), find out what's wrong with the fueling, (no idea), and then go for a nice relaxing ride to recover from my nice relaxing ride!!!