Thursday morning dawns clear. And cold. Real cold. I think I’ll put the rain suit on over the leathers for this one. I have been told that a one piece suit is the way to go. Less places for the rain & wind to get in I’m told. There is however one slight problem. When riding by oneself anyway. Getting the bl@@dy thing on & off. In particular –off. Especially when nature calls. And you’ve been holding on for a while. And you’re by the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere. Don’t expect any passerby to stop & give you a hand. Not after they catch sight of you jumping up & down like a mad woman with your arms flailing wildly and a panicked & desperate look on your face. Well they didn’t for me anyway. You yourself might fare better but don’t say I didn’t warn you. If however you can time your bladder with petrol stops there can be advantages. Especially if the console operator happens to female. And attractive. “What exactly do you want me to do?” “Here, pull this down for me” Giggling ensues. “Carefull, don’t rip it” “So where are you headed?” And so on. If however it happens to be a balding & weight challenged “he” then you’re on your own buddy. Don’t cry to me about it. Original plans have to be modified. Scenic detours through the Blue mountains cancelled. Headed off down the Western Highway towards Katoomba. Nice long sweeping corners flowing left to right, up & down. 10 kms or so down the road the road is blocked at an intersection by road crews, cones & flashing lights. Some local looking types turn off down some side road so naturally I follow. 3 blocks later & we’re back on the highway. Within 5 kms we come across a scene not unlike a kids playmat –you know, the ones with a road system printed on them. And the kid has been playing smash ups. Trucks & cars are resting on all sorts of crazy angles across the road. Surprisingly undamaged. In the gutters. Against the median strip barrier. In first gear I inch my way past them to the head of the line. Slipping & sliding. The road starts to climb ever so slightly. No more than 10 degrees. I’ve stopped moving. Still in gear, rear wheel spinning on the spot. Oh oooh. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? Switch off. Hmmm. What to do now?. Look up the hill & see a road gang with a truck slowly reversing down the hill, sprinkling sand as they go. A few shovelfulls under the wheels of the trucks in front of me & they slowly inch away up the hill. A couple of workers slip & slide over to me. “You should be right once you get on the sand mate” They get behind & give me a push to get going. Coool. We’re off again. Small snow drifts line the road. Cars are sitting at intersections unable to climb the crown in the road. Black ice. Come to a short downhill section. Only about 75 meters long. Stop. Hell this looks slippery. Click into first gear. Feet down, inch out the clutch. And she takes off. Like a 2 wheeled 2-legged toboggan. All the way to the bottom. All I can do is laugh. Nervously. Continue on to Katoomba. Slowly. After hearing reports of foreigners disappearing on Sydney’s road system & not being heard from a week or longer you could say I was a trifle nervous. But I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t get lost. Well not too badly. Okay –you’ve sprung me. I did have to stop & ask for some directions. From some truckies. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against truckies in general. In fact I have some good friends that are truckies. Well –I’m sure if I stopped & thought for long enough I could come up with the names of some. Or one anyway. But I do have one small bone of contention with them. And that is their ability to stink up a toilet. Something fierce. I guess this all stems from a couple of chemical plants I have performed work at over the years. The problem, as I see it, has been that the contractor/s ( in this case me) have had to share the same toilet facilities as the truck drivers that deliver & dispatch product from the site. Let me give you a tip. If you ever see a truckie heading towards a toilet block with a particularly pained or desperate look on his face, then I would do everything humanly possible to avoid the area. For at least an hour. Or preferably 2. Forget the lighting a match trick. That is if you can overcome the fear of a naked flame sending the whole joint up in a giant methane fuelled firebomb. I personally have gone through a whole damn box & believe me –it doesn’t make one scrap of difference. Air freshener –doesn’t stand a chance. Trust me. Ignore my advice at your own peril. But I am able to put my differences aside. Especially when I am lost. Cause most of the truckies I have met seem to have an extraordinary knowledge of the road system. And where radar traps may be lurking. In this case on the Appin/Picton road just out of Campbelltown. There is a neat little bit of road through the Cataract Gorge. From memory I think a sign says “no trucks or caravans permitted”. Which made it just that little bit more fun. A fairly open sweeping run with some tighter bends as you drop the last few kilometers into Wollongong. Where I stopped for brekky. And the never ending fuel top up. Crikey, we haven’t got much riding in today. And my page is about filled up. Theres always tomorrow I guess. Cheers, Andrew.