Due to the “Global Financial Crisis”, my work-place has asked all its employees to participate in a “Furlough Program” to reduce revenue spent on wages. For whatever reason, I had never heard of the term before. For us, the Furlough program consists of each employee taking five days off (of the employee’s choice) as “unpaid leave”. This does not affect our various “leave days” or share options programs, just our take home pay.
Monday was my first Furlough day, which I put to good use by going for a ride. Not only was this good mental therapy for me, but I did my little bit for the economy by spending the money I wasn’t earning in other small communities.
There is something to be said for pleasure-riding on a week day. The roads are less full of tourists, but more full of road-works and heavy transport. As I chose less popular roads to begin with, I managed to have the true sense of freedom that makes motorcycling such an appealing past time for many riders.
After an extended period of perfect motorcycle riding weather, it was fairly predictable that this day would be the day the weather turned. Somehow I managed to avoid the rain, although I could not say the same for some of the roads on which I travelled. The roads varied in quality and motorcycling appeal. Some I had travelled before, some were “new” to me. Some were so bumpy, I’m not planning on using them again!
I rode over 400 km (250 miles) on Monday, stopping to take photos along the way. Unfortunately a couple of the best photo opportunities were lost, due to the look-outs being in the clouds. Several incidents happened to me along the way, from which I learnt (or at least was reminded) of some important lessons:
- Any ride for me will likely consist of at least some motorway/freeway riding. At one stage I noticed a lounge chair in the emergency stopping lane to the side of the freeway. A little over 500 metres further down the road, was a ute, also in the stopping lane. In the back of the ute, was a matching chair… I am guessing it was more luck than anything else that had seen the first chair end up on the side of the road, not in the middle of a lane. From my perspective, this had not been a “close call”, but I have been in similar situations that were much closer. It was a timely reminder to pay attention even in the boring bits of a ride.
- I saw several kangaroos in a paddock. Contrary to popular belief, if you live in an Australian city, you won’t see them hopping down the street. I didn’t stop to take a photo of them, figuring if I saw another lot I would photograph them. Of course, I didn’t. The lesson here is, never let a photo opportunity pass!
- I rode through the village of Woodenbong. It doesn’t mean what you might think!