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Thunderstorms at every turn

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by XJ6N, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. I spent this morning checking the rain gauge, eating croissants and drinking coffee at home. A storm late last night had watered the garden, letting me off the hook for a day or so. By two o'clock I'd exhausted all possibilities and there was nothing for it but to go for a ride. I had an idea I might travel a couple of hours across to the central tablelands and stop for a drink at a café, maybe visit one of the small lakes and return home at sunset.

    I turned onto the Burrendong Way towards Orange at about three o'clock and for a while it was warm sunshine and wispy high-altitude clouds. An oncoming young P-plate driver in a Subaru Forester took a race line over a curving crest, fully in my lane. I took his lane and went around him. What a difference two or three seconds can make.

    The current strong El Niño cycle is making its effect known with just a trickle of water running in the Bell River. I flushed a couple of wood ducks from under the bridge as I took this photo.


    I began counting the first of five dead brown and black snakes that I saw during the afternoon. Whenever I saw a stick or piece of bark on the road I was a little bit leery. Cresting a rise on the Euchareena Road, the view stretched south towards Mount Canobolas about fifty kilometres away. Dark storm clouds were piling in towards the mountain from the south west. Hmm. The area gets incredible thunderstorms due to the higher tableland country. I decided to change plan; head west to Parkes and back north toward Dubbo through the Goobang National Park.

    A few kilometres on towards the town of Molong and I paused to find my water bottle gone. Looking across the Cumulus vineyard in the direction I was travelling, I couldn't help but notice more storm clouds coming over the horizon.


    'Fiddlesticks' I said to myself or something like that.

    By the time I'd re-fueled and bought another drink at the service station at Molong, the sky towards Parkes was a darker shade of the nice grey that I'd seen earlier. I checked the weather radar on my phone - heavy rain and lightning. Time to head home and see if I could escape the dreadful fate of putting my wet weather human-shaped condom on.

    I've only put it on once on the side of the road. What other motorists thought of the demented creature, arms and legs flailing about, bending this way and that, shouting obscenities into my helmet as I tried to get into the thing before rain hit. The shop might as well have supplied it with a leather face mask and handcuffs. Hell's teeth, I don't like it. Today, I was wearing my leather jacket and moleskine jeans and a finer figure I could not cut and it wasn't going to spoilt by sweaty Nylon.

    Not wanting to sit on the highway during the likely Sunday afternoon highway patrol blitz for the next hour or so, I turned onto Banjo Paterson Way, the back road to Dubbo and did a little unintended wheelie over the hump of the railway level crossing heading out of town. When I went over a ridgeline I could see to the south and west again and the curtain of rain coming. Every so often particularly yellow lightning would strike in the distance. As I went north the sun fitfully came out and blue sky and fluffy cumulus were still to the north and east.

    As I went through the first of two sleepy villages I noticed a few people sitting out on their verandahs. I looked at them and they followed me with their gaze as I went slowly past. Nothing so much that it'd inspire a Stephen King novel but everyone did it as I went by. A little way on and I paused just long enough to take a photo of the perfectly sweeping winrows of mown silage hay in a paddock, the storm growing closer and a cool outflow breeze from it reaching me as I stood there.


    I went on and took the Renshaw-McGirr Way to the north-east away from the cloud and managed to scare an oblivious farmer doing about 50 km/h in his old Saab 900 as I went around him changing gear at highway speed. He shot bolt-upright in his seat and gripped the steering wheel with both hands. I took the circuitous route back through Mount Arthur and the sun was shining again, the only thing missing was a rainbow. Then I came out of the hills to the west and saw this.


    To top it off, several lightning strikes happened in the distance just after I took the photo. A nearby wheat crop, still green, was moving like waves in the strong breeze. Thirty minutes later I was pulling into the driveway just as the first drops fell and it looks as though I'm off garden watering duty for another day.
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  2. Stunning photos and beautifully narrated once again. Thank you for sharing XJ6NXJ6N!
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  3. Ditto...

    Stephen King novel part was awesome... Well written

    You've a way with words. Keep up the good work.
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  4. Great write-up. Sounds like you timed your day as perfectly as we timed our trip down to Bundina on Sunday with the storms closing in just as we got under cover!
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  5. Thank you, Fr33dmFr33dm! I tell you what, when I saw that last lot of storms coming in I had a few choice words and thought of when you said you swear in Russian sometimes when out riding...I'm afraid mine was just plain obscene English :-/.

    Thanks Lazy LibranLazy Libran! I've got to get out more - don't we all? I had a week off work recently and 'wasted' it working around the house and garden :-/.

    Thanks Dan706Dan706! I'd have liked to have gone a bit further yesterday, but it was a good ride nonetheless and the views of the thunderstorms to my south and west while fluffy fair-weather cumulus, sunshine and blue sky were to my right along the northward leg of the loop ride were awesome. I don't mind riding in rain but travelling during electrical storms is one of the few times I'd prefer to be on four wheels and not two. Getting into that dratted Nylon straitjacket is another reason too.
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  6. Well, being bi-lingual does have its advantages. Regardless how awful stuff might come out on my mouth when an occasion calls for it, I always remain a Lady :p
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  7. The writing is great XJ6NXJ6N - I reckon I know who you are - ladies and gentlemen - Tim Winton rides a motorbike!
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  8. Far out chillibuttonchillibutton, what a compliment! I do like Tim Winton's writing, Cloudstreet, Dirt Music et al. Thanks very much, that makes my day.
  9. Pleasure mate, keep on entertaining us all!
    Read "the Turning" recently, reminded me how good a writer he is. Had me reminiscing about a childhood I never had in a place I've never been to! Great gift...
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  10. You have a gift! Thanks for sharing it with us. You actually had me scanning ahead to see when the storm hit you and the battle against the elements that ensued etc. Great photos too. Reminds me of a time when I once rode through storms not once but twice on the same ride. Heading towards it with lightning all around, riding fast, hunched over thinking surely I was a small , fast moving target and that I had rubber insulation between me and the road haha. Got drenched but dried out as I kept riding and then an hour later repeating the whole thing all over again. How I wished I had my gopro mounted that day. Cheers and keep writing
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  11. I'm starting to think about getting one at some point too. I forget a lot of what happens on a ride and it would help to edit the more interesting bits. I bet riding through that would've been awesome and terrible, all at once. I've been on the Newell Highway in southern NSW late on a Moon-lit night with multiple thunderstorms all around, clouds lit from above by the Moon and flashes of lightning from below and it was great to see but that was from the relative shelter of a car. Thanks very much for your compliments and encouragement drjay555drjay555!
  12. Great looking bike!
    I'm actually thinking of getting an xj6n one day,

    they any good?
  13. They're a great bike, Jack! I have enjoyed riding mine and it has been an ideal motorcycle to start road-riding. Having said that, and along with what seems like a large contingent on Netrider, I think that the Honda CB400 has better all-out performance with the V-TEC engine - from 7,000 RPM the CB400 pulls away from my bike.

    Second-hand, the CB400 also represents outstanding value and build quality.
  14. from what I've heard, the restrictor takes away most of the power as its in the top end - I'll check out the cb400. I just really love the xj6's looks!
  15. Thanks for the read :) My favourite bit: "the demented creature, arms and legs flailing about, bending this way and that, shouting obscenities into my helmet as I tried to get into the thing before rain hit. The shop might as well have supplied it with a leather face mask and handcuffs. Hell's teeth, I don't like it. Today, I was wearing my leather jacket and moleskin jeans and a finer figure I could not cut" ... love the photos too ... and the bike! Looking forward to the next write up :)
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  16. Thanks for sharing,
    Great report and good photos
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  17. Nice writeup XJ6N

    There is something enormously satisfying about dodging it all. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort and time to take alternative routes which might end up leading one 100 -150 km out of the way.
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  18. Thanks DiantraDiantra, so am I! I don't get a lot of opportunity to ride for enjoyment just at the moment and posting here extends that enjoyment when I do.

    Thanks jstavajstava, yes, that's the best of a ride without a particular purpose other than just enjoying the time wherever it leads you. "The road less travelled..." and all that...

    Thanks also to HighettHighett for your comments; your touring accounts are excellent inspiration to get me on the bike and later to write it down - that way I remember it much better.
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  19. I've always likened dodging showers by altering one's route on a motorbike to paddling a canoe or kayak upstream and dodging from eddy to eddy to stay out of the main current, or "going bush" when the river is in full flood to cut out a few of the bends to take shortcuts, only on a motorbike, it's just about staying relatively dry, regardless of where it takes one, instead of getting where you want to go with relative ease.

    I rue the passing of the days when we could just wick it up to pass the point a shower or storm was going to pass before it got there. Now there are only route changes unless you are feeling lucky.
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