**Warning a skippy was harmed in the making of this post** 😦
I can safely say that there is now a 3rd thing I hate about Victoria.
1. Ridiculous weather.
2. Melbourne Traffic.
3. Suicidal skippies….
Today started out as a gloriously un-rainy Melbournean day, getting ready and riding out still in the dark. But very crisp and very foggy. The first stop was going to be to stop to look at The BIG Fish, as Fish Creek Hotel, as Fish Creek. :-p Can’t go past a BIG thing! I’m glad this type of fish didn’t smell!
It was when we were getting back on the bikes that I started noticing a few places have giant looking crocheted, doilies and in the far distance park, there was a BIG kettle with a kettle warmer on it..!? We didn’t have time to go check this out, to which I was very disappointed. However later when I researched this, I found out Fish Creek town has a Tea Cozy Festival!! Who knew? Whatever floats your boat I guess.
The light was starting to break and we hurried off down to Wilson’s Prom again. Without heated grips I resorted to desperate measures if I was to survive this trip…. I filled and put a hot water bottle down my top early this morning as we were setting off. Literally wearing a hot water bottle down your jacket is not for everyone. It felt like I was pregnant, and also made me look more like an ompa loompa that ever…. but by god, was it brilliant! For $5 (or $7 if you buy a hot water bottle with a cover also) is an inexpensive way to stay warm for the coldest part of the day. 😉 Certainly helped cut the wind hitting my chest and kept my core body temperature at a more constant, comfortable temperature.
We got there as the sun popped out of the horizon and was beginning to heat up the surface enough for the fog to lift and create some nice photos from the waterbodies around.
We kept froggy hopping from one bridge to another and then found one of the hills facing the raising sun and rode up it.
We parked our bikes and walked up the hillside for photos. The morning light here sure makes things look way more romantic than they are.
The morning light wasn’t the only thing we wanted to get here early for. It was also that we also wanted to get to the Prom before all the throngs of day trippers got there.
I was following oh-master of morning photography, shadowing his every move, and drooling over every landscape, corner and vista. Even thought I had been here yesterday it just seemed to be new all over again in such a differing light. And just as enjoyable.
We went back towards Mt Oberon to take photos of the places that we missed out on trying to ride back in the dark. We managed to find some good vantage points for some foggy morning shots. When we had enough of the place, we left there and kept going further south because we wanted to get to the most southern tip and go see the lighthouse.
All was going well, until just after the Mt Oberon turn off when, not faster than 60km/hr, out came killer skippy. Only 3 metres in front of my the f#ck1ng hoppy decided to jump out one of the only shrubs that was within the slashed area of the road reserve, and directly try to hug me.
This was my conversation for the next few seconds;
- I’m f#ck3&!
- Don’t swerve, hit it straight on. More chance at staying upright then.
- If you so feel you wish to try as useless at is will be, is do an emergency braking manoeuvre; try it.
- Oh look, it did feel like a soft speed bump!
- Oh bugger, I’m doing the starfish on asphalt into the oncoming side of the road.
- Oh look! I can see my bike overtake me making sparks!
- Don’t roll, keep your head up.
- Bugger. I’m rolling (I don’t want to damage the helmet and Sena – they’re friggin expensive!).
- Get off the road, get off the road, get off the road!
- Turn the bike off. Turn the bike off.
- Get it off the road, get it off the road.
- Get the skippy off the road. Get the skippy off the road.
- Check to see if skippy is alive or has young in the pouch.
- Oh, I hope my friend isn’t crapp1ng his pants at seeing the stack….
It’s truly amazing HOW much goes through your head in such a short time. How aware you actually are through an accident, but not aware enough so you remember everything – only selective things. And no, your life doesn’t flash before your mind’s eye. Or at least it didn’t to me. Maybe it wasn’t a big enough accident for that to occur? Dunno, but don’t want to test that hypothesis out!
I was aware that as soon as I saw a brown blob come out in front of me, there was no way that I was going be able to swerve or do some sort of manoeuvre to be able to miss this collision. Combo of not enough skill, too close, or just froze, maybe. It I can remember well what I was thinking but not fully aware of where all my limbs were at the time of impact and then hitting the deck. I remember being very aware of needing to get off the road, and getting the bike off the road, in case someone came around the bend and didn’t stop in time. I was also very aware of not wanting to hit or inconvenience my riding buddy with this.
I’m sorry Victoria but I’ve now decreased your skippy population by one (and I feel terrible about it) 😦 I was just glad that the wallaby didn’t have a joey in the pouch, as I wouldn’t want to then have to look after a little joey too.
Once I stopped sliding and rolling on the road, I did a quick mental body scan to see if anything seemed broken. Nope. Thank-you!! I turned off the bike and was trying to move it to the shoulder, by the time that my friend had turned around and was coming over to see how I was. He seemed quite a bit shaken and was asking me if I was ok. Understandable. I told him that I felt ok, but needed to get the bike off the road. We managed that and then I was over the moon about my orange Lawnmower turning the engine over and working after such a road smooch! I was also very glad that initially at least, it didn’t look like it had such severe damage that it wasn’t rideable. I was most surprised though simply HOW MUCH the thing can slide along the road thought! But at the same time upon closer inspection, I started seeing more and more scratches and nicks here and there. This stack was only at about 60km/hr. I cannot imagine what some of the MotoGP riders feel like when they’re hurtling down along the gravel pits riding at 200kms/hr + :-O Just insane.
I think during the stack itself, you don’t think about the actual accident or how you have come to get where you are – you simply focus on taking steps to get yourself out of the immediate situation so you’re not in any further danger or you are trying to put yourself in a position to minimise any damage. Also, what steps you need to take next to minimise further damage, and of course, you generally are more worried about the bike than yourself when you get up! The signs of a die-hard motorcyclist? LoL
If I was to have to ride this thing back to Melbourne or a garage for repairs, we would need some tools to get it straightened. Tools neither of us had. Even thought it was a weekend, my friend had an idea to go to the park ranger’s hut which happened to be only a few kilometres down the track and see if we were able to find anyone there. Rode rather slooooowly to that hut on very wonky bars. It was here that I realised that I was feeling my right hand feeling quite sore. More specifically, 3 fingers.
Luck was on my side since there was not one, but 2 rangers in the hut and behind the hut was a small workshop. They were in there getting some gear out for their truck as we approached them, told them of the predicament and asked if we were able to borrow some of their tools to straighten the bars. They were most nice about this: they offered us cold refreshments (I didn’t drink it, but it put it on my fingers to stop the now-swelling digits), lent us a hand and tools as well as then going out to move that dead roo out the way and into the bush.
After some time and getting the handlebars as straight as we were able to, we worked out that it would be better to ride back to Melbourne directly than to keep looking at things in the Prom. As it was, there was about 300kms back to Melbs. Being a Saturday I may just be able to ride the bike back to the KTM dealership closest to my accommodation.
So off we trundled, but taking the taxi route. Don’t really remember much on the route that we took back as I was simply following. At some point we stopped at a small town (Leogantha?) to have a bite to eat and drink. For the first hour from the Prom, I was over hypersensitive, listening out to every strange or differing sound. I was being very careful with my lines, and watching the sides of the roads like a hawk, especially the heavier wooded and vegetated road reserves. The Lawnmower seemed to be running ok, apart from the slightly wonky handlebars. The motor was the same. But the rider’s head was not the same… It’s amazing how something like this can mess with your head and your confidence.
Over the food we had a bit more of a heart to heart chat; checking in with each other about this morning’s incident. In a way, I knew I would be fine. And I knew there was nothing broken. However I was more worried about my friend. Having to witness someone go down, and then ride chaperone in the lead, would no doubt put some stress on them having to ride in their mirrors all the time. By the time we finished the meal, and sat then quietly for a bit enjoying the sun that had popped out, we were both a lot more settled.
To make me feel better and not write the whole day off completely, we rode back towards Melbourne, but not the more direct route – enjoying the rolling green hills of the Gippsland area. Aaaannndd to cheer me up we took one more little detour…. To see the BIG cock! Everyone likes a good cock-erel don’t they (The BIG pheasant)? 😉 And it was glorious! Highlight of the day, for sure 🙂
We got to Melbourne, and then went and dropped the Lawnmower off to KTM in Epping and then myself back home. Unpacked everything, and had a long hot bath. I knew that I had been soooo lucky today and also that I’d be sore as in the morning. Not just that but it was finally sinking in that I now did not have any wheels, and my independence would be taking a huge hit. I started feeling more and more depressed about this.
I now don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in regards to repairs to the bike, although it looked mostly superficial, there’s enough that it could potentially be written off. If this is the case; there goes the rest of my ‘tour’, and I also don’t know how I’ll get back to Queensland if I am legally able to. I’m hopping things will progress fairly quickly and it will be cleared on Monday when the Lawnmower gets assessed by KTM.
Watch this space…
However, I then received a message. It was a message from another of the calendar photographers!? I had sent them a message a while ago, but had not heard back. I explained that as much as I would love to accompany him on a day trip, I no longer had a bike 😥 And being cheeky I asked if he was ok in having me on the back, I’d go. And to my surprise he said that was ok!! Oh yay! I gave him my address and he told me he’d pick me up at 6am tomorrow morning.
Not too later in this exchange, my friend sent me a message checking to see if I was ok. Totally. I told him why, and again cheekily I asked him if he wanted to come along as we’d originally made plans to do the 3 day trip, and technically he had tomorrow off too. I managed to convince him to come along with us and we worked out a meeting place.
I didn’t know how this day was going to work out with two photographers on the ride, but I was quite happy that I wasn’t going to waste the weekend not riding!
I am forever grateful for my friend’s company and help with the Lawnmower, and also helping me keep the day in a light manner and filled with humour. Like I keep saying – beautiful landscapes is one thing; but it’s usually the rider’s company that goes along for the adventure that makes it more memorable. And today was memorable!
On a side note: ALWAYS GET THE BEST QUALITY SAFETY RIDING GEAR YOU CAN AFFORD. Because it will save your skin!!! I don’t however recommend using a hot water bottle down your top as an ‘air bag’ though. For fear of busting on you when you land on it – you don’t want 3rd degree burns on top of you crash injuries.