I have just returned from Coffs Harbour after attending the funeral of the son of one of my best friend's who died suddenly from a epileptic seizure.... A brain disorder affecting over 400000 Australians. He had a great send off with over 300 people attending a lovely service and wake at his favourite ' watering hole'. Fortunately I had my son attend with me. He has suffered from anxiety, clinical depression then finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Explained a lot about many previous manic episodes that included buying a new Kawasaki ninja approx 10 years ago and my finding out later he did not have a license. Fortunately he only did 250 km and then sold it. He has suffered ( and his family) many 'disasters' over 25 years including serious car accidents and contemplating suicide. So while driving down the highway yesterday I thought about the above and made the following decisions: To find new ways of supporting my son to manage his mental illness and find an appropriate charity where I could support fundraising for mental disorders. Enjoy daily rides and expand my motor cycle activities. I noticed many tourers on the road so will now begin preparing and going on longer trips, only Wyong return so far or 180kms. Improve my skills on a daily basis supported by an approved training course. Today I have been doing some research and found: The "Black Dog Ride" movement involving thousands of Aussie motorcyclists raising money each year for mental health. Fantastic news, I will now explore ways of assisting Steve Andrews and his team. Maybe some NR members could comment on their experience. What should my touring preparations include? Obviously I need to find a soft pack?packing light? camp? Body match fit? Routes and petrol stations? Join a small group? I assume there is plenty of posts and blogs on this activity but feel free. Went for a ride this morning( to clear my head ) down to the Hawkesbury River and then coffee at PITs. Wore my open face Bell helmet, smelt the flowers, enjoyed the coffee but felt strange without my balls, no not what you are thinking, for 2 months I have carried 6 half tennis balls in my jacket to mark out and practice for MOST. Never thought I would feel so good having a bright red P plate on my bike. It is never too late....enjoy life regardless of what it throws at you. Ps. I also have a great wife of 43 years, my son holds down a full time job and takes medication, 2lovely daughters and 5 grandchildren 1-6 years old.... Who take up the rest of my spare time.