Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another jaunt along the Cox Pen Rd

Last night I decided I'd get up really early and cycle around to Mandorah on the Cox Peninsular Rd... I had intended to do most of the ride in the dark but was somewhat unprepared and found myself fixing my tail light when I should have been peddling!
Instead of leaving home at 3am I didn't wake up until 3:45am and didn't actually get on the road until about 4:30am. A very nice hour for cycling but not quite as early as I would have liked. I have always found the best way for me to leave all my troubles behind... is to get on my bike and leave all my troubles behind! With the thought that I might just keep on riding and not look back... (I always manage to get it out of my system by the end of the day, after a long ride)

I have thought a lot about cycling at night without lights but realistically this would only work on outback roads where there's no traffic. This morning there was no moon to ride by and I really needed my headlamp. The dark path between McMillans Rd and Howard Springs has all kinds of potential dangers if you can't see where you're going! The main hindrance to riding without a lights is the traffic. Riding on the Stuart Highway without a taillight could lead to a very short journey interrupted by a cattle truck. The other issue the problem of oncoming traffic... Even though much of the road is divided, headlights still pierce the night and any oncoming traffic will ruin a cyclists night vision. At least with a head light I can see something once the initial glare has worn off.

It was a beautiful morning for a ride, the sky was clear and without a moon I could see all the stars... for company I had Tom Petty on my music player and Jupiter and Venus to watch over me as I peddled. These two made powerful companions.

Light finally began to filter through the sky just as I was leaving Noonamah, I was really starting to like riding at night and had hoped to get a bit further but was happy with my progress. Riding by torchlight is actually really nice, it made it much easier for me to stop anticipating what might be around the next corner or how far I had come. Most of my attention was focused on the tiny portion of road that came into the beam of my headlight, nothing more. As I rolled on my mind began to unwind, I pondered some ideas and gave them up to the road. Free at last!

Hard to breath, hard to see!

Fire truck @ Berry Springs
Berry Springs CFA, have their work cut out for them!

Approaching Berry Springs I cycled through a think haze of smoke, which lasted almost all the way to the Blackmore River. There were several tree trunks burning in the scrub by the side of the road and the silhouettes of dead trees all over... everything was blackened right up to the canopy. It was easy to see how quickly the bush was being thinned out by successive fires, this is Gamba country and it is copping a pounding! So were my lungs!

Blackmore River
Blackmore River Bridge

Blackmore River Bridge
Blackmore River Bridge (posing with bike again)

When I got to the Blackmore river bridge I stopped for my second breakfast and the obligatory photograh. I haven't done much riding over the past month... Too busy. My legs and arse were starting to feel the strain of this ride. After sitting by the river for a while I inspected my bike. She's pretty rough now. I really only ride this bike on long road trips and the rest of the time she's sitting around gathering cobwebs, with vines growing through her spokes. I did nothing before leaving home to make sure the old thing would make it all the way around except put some air the tyres. On closer inspection I realized that the rear tyre had vertually worn to a completely flat surface, it was becoming thin, and covered in small cracks! Maybe a new tire would have been a good idea... and the chain had started squeaking... I can't remember when I last oiled it!  Oh well off we go again!

As usual by the time I reached the Blackmore river my energy was spent! I pressed on regardless (thank goodness it was a cool day!). The panier was full of food and I pulled up at 20km intervals to eat. Everything tasted amazing! My energy was so low and muscles were exhausted so I tried to compensate with food! So much for improving my stamina and condition... When in doubt Pig Out!
Here's what I ate on the trip:

2 x Pink Lady Apples
6 x Museli Bars (the sweet sugary type)
1 x box of shapes biscuits
3 x liter water

As usual the second half of the ride was less fun than the first. My shoulders and wrists were aching from the riding position, knees were unable to bear heavy peddling (they don't want to bend at all now!) and my feet had gone numb from having to wear shoes! Oh yeh and the toe I'm pretty sure I'd fractured a few weeks ago was telling me it didn't want to do this anymore and puffed up a bit causing more numbness and pain in my feet.

The sea was a milky blue but clear beside the Mandora Pier.

Arriving in Mandorah the sea was incredibly flat, no wind. I collapsed in the shade of the shed on the pier and waited for the ferry. Within moments I'd drifted into a semi dream half sleep. Soon the ferry arrived, full of tourists headed for the pub. I dragged myself and my bike down the stairs and boarded the vessel... by now my body had given up the fight and I just wanted to lay down somewhere and have a nap! It was a grueling journey, yet again, but somehow the physical punishment does something good to my soul!

The trip home from the ferry was very slow. I'd read that Kris Larson was manning his mobile caffe, 'Brown Sugar', down at the yacht club and I was craving a cup so headed off that way but must have missed him by a day or two... Bummer! Dragged myself up the hill to Fanny Bay and then laboured along the bike path to a shady spot near the beach on Nightcliff foreshore where I lay down and dozed. I eventually made it home just before two, had a shower and collapsed... completely spent.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I just need a little shade!

A funny thing happened to me on the way to work this morning.... I didn't GO!
Nothing much has changed over the past few weeks... The work load at my job has finally reduced but I am realizing that the combination of unmanageable responsibilities and expectations over the past weeks.. (possibly months actually) has caused me to blow a gasket! I'm shot! Little things are too hard!

One more person knocking on my door
...hide behind the desk but I hear them call
There is no room in here at all
The window's too far for me to crawl...
I don't care now if I fall.
Careful they might hear me!
I gasp for breath above the paper bills
electronic debt kills
The stressed office boy puts down his quil
and the finance guy pops another pill
This sure aint what I thought it would be!
Greedy eyes and needy faces...
they stand in packs... jostling for places
Spouting blessings but stealing graces.
In this world, there's no empty spaces!
Needing wanting demanding, appearing..
They rise like hills and block like mountains!
The numbers rise as virtue dies
I tremble and shudder when I realize
to continue will be my demise
It's too late to halt the red mist
It clouds my eyes and screws my mind!

Cargo cult conspirators
Grab for more but choke on Coco-Cola dreams!
The heat is rising in this place.
God give me shade!

Get some Shade!
 (We sit in the shade thankful for the trees at Sunset Park)

Today I didn't go to work. Instead I went for a ride with Sam and the kids. We rode down to sunset park and found some lovely shade! Proper natural shade from a tree! In the dry season you can sit in the shade of a tree and feel much cooler than in the sun. A cool off shore breeze blew across the grass, damp from recent watering and we lay on our rug as the kids played on the swing.
Whhhhheeewwwwwhhhh.... a long breath out. The phone hasn't rung for over an hour... I'm starting to relax and realize how worn out I really am! Sam is too. But I think I broke something this time. I know Ive gotta find some more shade... Big One Shade! Not that crap that filters through that synthetic shade cloth with a price attached to it! Not some 15 minute intermission! Real Shade... Tree Shade... Soul Shade!

Thursday, July 05, 2012


I recently had to re-load the operating system on our family computer. I'd previously partitioned the 120 Gig hard drive to install Ubuntu, which was conflicting with my video card and the MS partition had become full up with photos and documents so I had to do something. I re-installed Windows and deleted all other partitions. It worked fine but while updating the software I accidentally installed some crappy malware that causes surveys to pop up on the computer all the time! I stupidly did this while trying to download drivers that are compatible with my operating system via some third party... DUMB Mistake! I then spent a few hours grinding through help forums to find a solution to my problem. I can't get the crap off our family computer it is extremely annoying! All options offered for removal will cost me money! I spat the dummy and gave up... eventually I downloaded the drivers I needed directly from the manufacturer of the hardware and the original problem was solved but I was left with dumb ass pop up windows! I am now more than ever determined to break free of MS mind control!

One problem I have is that I want to start using Ubuntu (I've been making half arsed attepts for the the past 7 years to do this) but the rest of the family are not at all comfortable trying a new operating system. So I have to leave the standard OS on the computer and find some way of using a different OS without disrupting their machine.

I started thinking and realized that I don't have to partition my hard drive to use the Ubuntu Operating System on our family computer! I started playing around with an old computer and discovered that I could install Ubuntu onto a computer which has no hard drive! By installing Ubuntu onto a USB thumb drive (Or whatever it is you call them!) I could boot directly from the stick! I did and it worked perfectly just like it was using a regular Hard Drive! How cool!

Bypassing THE MAN!

I decided to try it out on our old laptop which is very slow and it worked beautifully! All I had to do is plug it in while the computer was turned off, hit the power button, then F12 when the disc starts spinning. I select boot from USB and the system is off and running! The really cool thing about this is that the computer is performing better via an umbilical chord to a USB stick than it did directly from the Hard Drive! As soon as I get some free time I'll get to work tweeking the system so I can access all the cool stuff Lynix has developed since I last tried using it!   

End of my tether.... Or just plain tired!

Here's a quickie just to remind myself... of something... or other.

Here's a brief rundown from my past few weeks, just in case I forget what a drag it's been!
A couple of weekends ago I had a family weekend away, which was fun! I rode my bike out to Noonamah and managed to set the tent up and have fun with the kids. I also attempted to join a game of back yard soccer. During the game I stuck my right foot into a clump of pandanas (I'm still picking the spikes out) and kicked something hard with my left foot and, I'm pretty sure I ended up fracturing the big toe on my left foot! The ride home was OK wearing only thongs but when I tried to put shoes on at work the next day the intensity of the pain ensured that I'd have to wear my thongs to work for the next couple of weeks.
I'm not too sure how my Boss felt about this since we were preparing for the organizations AGM but I wasn't too bothered, the bruising on my toe made it quite obvious that shoes would be uncomfortable.

From the time I got home from camp my life has been a blur! My workload has been ridiculous and the demands put upon me, completely unreasonable! Nothing extreme of course but the accumulation of shit I've had to deal with has left me on the edge of cracking up! Organizing travel for about 50 people can be difficult... travel for the mob I work for is another thing all together! The number of cancellations and re-bookings would drive most people nuts before the work even started! (I think I had actually lost the plot before the meetings commenced!)

Masahito Yoshida 22.06.12
 Masahito Walks into Darwin
Somewhere along the way I met this Japanese guy who seemed a little bit messed up from too much time on the road... He'd walked from Melbourne to Darwin! The idea seemed good to me though. 

The whole time has been a huge mess of flight bookings, cancellations, re-bookings, airport pickups, arranging meals, escorting people to and from accommodation, trying to take minutes of meetings, chasing up people who should be here and chasing off people who shouldn't be! I've been nagged, prodded pushed and pounded... Literally! On one evening I had to assist my colleague who'd unwittingly allowed some intoxicated people to get onto the bus he was driving. The episode ended in a suburban street, the bus hastily parked when a side window was smash by a whiskey fueled psychopath who could not be pacified. My intervention resulted only in me being smashed in the ribs by this bloke, after several calls already having been made for the police to come and assist... Now a week later I'm still finding it hard to sleep and every time I cough a sharp pain jabs me in the chest and the back... I reckon it's only muscle damage but enough to keep me awake at night when I really need the sleep! before I started my usual duties at work the next day I was supposed to get the guy out of the lockup at 6:00am. I was 10 minutes late and they'd already let him out but couldn't even confirm that he'd been in custody! And they call it protective custody!

My routine has been get up at six am, pick up some locals and bring them to the meeting place for breakfast... take care of everybody's personal needs during the day, drive people around, take minutes of meetings etc.. etc... (OK it doesn't sound like much but you've really got to be there!) after the meetings help people to visit relatives in hospital etc... etc... I usually get home close to midnight! By the time the week long meetings had ended I had reached my limit of endurance! I couldn't take any more but this year is special, this year I have to bring another group through town on their way to Alice Springs! Organize travel, book, cancel, re-book, organize accommodation, food, then more travel... then do the whole lot again when they return in less than a week! 

I'm currently in the middle of this process and wondering if I'm going to survive! I've only ridden my bike once in the past two weeks! My ability to concentrate is minimal, my temper is fraying and I have narrowly avoided getting into a fight twice already. (That's not counting the elbow to the ribs last Sunday night) Somewhere in amongst all this fun I did manage to take the family to see the Moscow Circus! Hallelujah for the Circus!   

Balloon Guy at the Circus (That could be me!)
The Circus broke the monotony but I'm not out of the woods yet. The stress has caught up with me and the tickle in my throat is making me cough and it hurts and I break out laughing like an idiot coz I'm delirious from lack of sleep and it hurts and the kids want to jump all over me and play... and I yell at them to get off... and the dishes haven't been done and the house is a mess and I'm trying real hard not to loose it!

Busted toe, bruised ribs, head like a tin of cockroaches on a hotplate... Please tell me why I am doing this? My bike is right outside the back door... I could just jump on it at any time and... 
But I think I'll just listen to "Wild Billy's Circus Story" one more time and wonder what Jesus will bring to save all us clowns! And ponder the seriousness of it all. ;)