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Fathers and Sons

By Wom Battle

An early morning rise in Wee Waa was required, I needed to be home in the early afternoon for a social engagement.  Also planning to leave early was another member of the local HOG Chapter who had also taken his son on the trip.  The young men with us were similar in age, and it turns out after the conversation the previous night, shared some interests.

We struck out around 6.30am on a beautiful clear but slightly chilly morning with a cup of tea and stale cookies onboard hoping to hold off breakfast until Gunnedah Macas, some 137k's away. Birdlife was abundant on the road between Wee Waa and Narrabri and on two occasions within a short distance of each other I saw the familiar explosion of feathers and white dust that resulted from an in-flight collision with the rider in front.  Thought's of Hitchcock's classic were bouncing around in my slightly dodgy headspace that was reminding me subtly of the gins I enjoyed the previous evening.

I decided to move in front of the other bike to "take the hits" with my lovely new Harley screen.  Ironically the birds got smarter as we travelled further southwest.  My son's heart missed a beat as we passed through Narrabri where he saw the McDonalds he remembered seeing in Gunnedah the day before.  It was open but we decided to press on to Gunnedah where we would be refuelling the bikes as well as our digestive systems.

We arrived in Gunnedah and thankfully there was a Macas there so we stopped for breakfast. We took out time to eat and thaw out for a while, the coldness of the morning had started to soak in.  Before we left the others put on more gear to keep the elevating breeze and chill at bay and after a quick fuel up were were away with the next planned stop at Muswellbrook about 180 k's away.

I followed the other bike out of Gunnedah thinking that the time for birds might be over given I'd had no near misses.  Not so though, outside Gunnedah one of a group of galahs decided to play chicken with the lead rider's head.  Speaking later the dilemma of the moment was clear.. "If I ducked (sic) my son cops the bird". Fortunately it was a near miss on both counts.

We settled back and enjoyed the countryside.  The Breeza Plains lived up to their name with a stiff crosswind but it wasn't uncomfortable so we made good time.  Turning on to the New England Highway at
Willow Tree brought more traffic and more towns, also more chance of speed indiscretions being detected.  Remaining conservative we rode to Muswellbrook but did take the time to enjoy the sweeping bends over the mountains at Murrurundi.

It was clear at Muswellbrook I had enough fuel to get home.  We pulled into a Petrol Station and after a quick chat decided to push on to Singleton, 48k's up he road as the next stop. We took the time to ask our sons if they were up to going further and there was no hesitation in their affirmation.  I was silently proud of my boy at that moment.

Singleton delivered us another Macas where we had a quick snack, some warming drinks and without too much delay we were on our way again with about 76 k's to go.  The road from Singleton to Maitland is as  interesting as bat shit.  Increasing traffic, ever changing speed limits and fixed speed cameras ready to catch the less vigilant.

Our companions turned off at Maitland to head home and we arrived home before 1pm.  My son and I shared our now traditional end of ride "high five" and unpacked the bike.


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February 2023