Fog season riding in Oz

This is winter – fog season – riding in my part of Oz. I dash out the door as soon as work ends and get in a short ride as the sun sets. Sunset is around 5.07pm. On the day of the feature pic, it had been drizzly mixed with showers all day. The clouds parted a little bit right at sunset on this day.

The summers are so inhumane here that the gentle weather of winter seems like an indulgence. In June, our average high is 13C, average low 3C. They promised us lots of rain this winter, but June was just cold (we had a couple days it never got above 8C!) and we’ve only received 2/3 of the average rainfall. The big Hume dam (6 x the volume of Sydney Harbour) still sits at about 32 percent capacity.

We need more rain! They still say it’s coming, and that we are now on La Nina watch – meaning there’s a 50 percent chance of that happening. La Ninas give us lots of rain typically.

Work remains busy. I think everyone working from home is really burnt out at this point. I find I’m dragging myself to my computer each morning – I’m over it. We’re all over it. And now it looks like we’ll be working from home until at least September. Sigh…

The bad news about international travel was confirmed yesterday when Qantas said they would not be flying internationally until at least July of next year. The government then confirmed that borders are likely to stay closed until a vaccine is found. The trans-Tasman bubble that was supposed to start in July is unlikely to start until at least September.

All of that is really hard for those of us with families overseas…. And that is a huge number of people in Australia: over 25 percent of all Australians were born overseas and 50 percent of Australians have one or both parents born overseas.

The good news is that I have sorted out a very short tour for late November. I bought Nigel a racing experience at Mt Panorama for 1 December. He gets to drive a V8 supercar for 4 laps on the most famous circuit in Oz (the equivalent of getting to drive an Indy Car at the 500 track in Indianapolis). I told him he needed to do it now before his reaction times start to slow (he’s 8 years older than me). He is super-excited about the experience… and should be, as it costs more than a return flight to America!

So what this means is that I will do a 6-day ride from Gundagai to Bathurst on backroads to meet him up there for his race experience, and then I’ll travel back with him in the car. And if my body decides it can’t do what I want it to do… then he can also rescue me on his way to Bathurst.

It all sounds good in theory. Now we just wait to see what the virus does and continue riding all the chances we can get, even if it is just short rides during sunset after another day of 4-hour video conferences and trying to figure out how we are going to meet our legislated statutory duties with 30 percent budget cuts!

Nerdy chick in Australia who loves to ride and is accompanied by the crew: 'The Commander' Verne and the 'Mental Health Specialist' Kermit.

12 response to "Fog season riding in Oz"

  1. By: Scooter Posted: June 25, 2020

    What a generous gift! It must be a landmark birthday. Is his December 1st also? I hope he realizes in his better moments how lucky he is that you’ve been such a faithful friend.

    Sorry you can’t go anywhere, but don’t feel alone. We’re equally stuck, but at least your adopted home is showing signs of sanity. Ours has completely lost it.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: June 27, 2020

      Not a milestone birthday… just the first time I’ve got the spare cash and Nigel will have the time off at the same time. They only do this on one day a year, so that just happens to be your birthday! It’s a street circuit on a mountain-side, so it is a public road. Plus there are lots of other events through the year.

      I support the border closures and know it needs to be done. I wouldn’t care at all if I was just wanting to travel for fun, as there really are much bigger things at play than my fun. It is the not being able to visit family part that is so hard. It’s heartbreaking knowing I have less than a dozen times left to ever see my parents, and I’m going to miss at least one of those. Lots of people here are in the same boat, though, so plenty of other migrants to commiserate with.

  2. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: June 26, 2020

    Hope your travel plans aren’t foiled at the NSW border, that pesky virus is persistent. Might get my Virgin flights honoured by the new company, won’t get my hopes up though.
    Happy cycling

    • By: The Navigator Posted: June 27, 2020

      NSW and VIC are unlikely to do a hard border closure. If travel becomes restricted, I have the advantage that my driver’s licence is VIC, but my car is registered in NSW to Nigel. We are technically still married, so I could always say that I just rent a place in VIC because of my job and I’m going to visit my husband. That was all still legal even during the strictest of lockdown.

      Fingers crossed you get a travel credit you can use when WA lifts its border restrictions. You’d think they’ll still fly Perth-Melbourne, too.

  3. By: NancyG Posted: June 26, 2020

    Your bike trip in November sounds perfece Em. The plan is great, and I will be sending such positive thoughts that everything (including virus and your health) will line up just right for you for the trip. And what a gift for Nigel. I would say he is a lucky guy to have you as a friend.

    As Scott notes, though we are all pretty much homebound, at least your country is acting and reacting in a sane and healthy way. Us — well…….

    • By: The Navigator Posted: June 27, 2020

      Thank you for the well wishes, Nancy. We’ll see what happens. All of the plans can easily be changed, but it’s something to aim for. That’s the most certainty I think you can achieve at the moment.

      Melbourne has seen a resurgence in cases, and I wish they would clamp down on travel again. The regional areas don’t have any cases, and it is everyone’s fear in the regional areas that all the Melbourne tourists are going to seed cases in regional areas over the two-week school holidays occurring right now. But, yes, I think America has shown that the denial approach doesn’t work. Stay safe! We’re all watching on in horror from over here.

  4. By: gregblood Posted: June 26, 2020

    I’ll just get this out of the way first: your two pictures in the semi-darkness of dusk are awesome. The one with the church steeple could have been taken straight out of a horror film.

    I’m betting on you making the most of that 6-day tour coming up later in the year. I can’t wait to read about it, and also to see a few pictures from Nigel’s high-speed racing event. And you’re right, age does take away from ability to concentrate at high speed. I rarely drive over 70 m.p.h. anymore–even on Montana’s interstate where the speed limit is 80.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: June 27, 2020

      Thanks, Greg. Nigel has already passed that perfect spot where experience and good reaction times meet. But he is still an excellent driver at 52 and gets a lot of practice every day. He has done one of these drive experiences before and was really, really good! (That was 8 years ago). But this particular track is his bucket list drive, and I’ve finally got some spare cash after rebuilding my savings after putting a big dent in it in 2017 when I tried to return to America. Fingers crossed COVID restrictions will be okay by December for it – otherwise he’ll have to wait another year as they only do it one day a year. I don’t mind driving fast, but once you get to 80mph, there is just so little time to react if anything goes wrong, especially with big trucks around. My max is about 75mph. Over here, the trucks are all physically speed-limited to 62mph and the car speed limit on the freeways is about 70mph, so it feels a lot safer and means the trucks are a lot more predictable than in America. Trucks flying by me at 80mph or more in Idaho when I was driving freaked me out a little!

  5. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 27, 2020

    Those are some beautiful photos!
    If/when you get near Gundagai, be sure to visit the Dog of the Tucker Box monument.

    The way things are going here, monument/statue wise, I wonder when they will assault the Boll Weevil monument in Enterprise, Alabama. 😉

    Sounds like a great time for Nigel!

    • By: The Navigator Posted: June 28, 2020

      Thanks, Rich. The Dog on the Tuckerbox is actually not easy to get to on a bike. It is out on the freeway, not in town, and the freeway shoulder in that area is not real bike-friendly. I’ve been there before, though, as there is a big truckstop there. We used to live just 20 minutes from Gundagai for a couple years, also. Somebody actually did topple that statue (probably for fun) a while back and I think they’ve increased the security there since then. They caught the guy who did it, but I don’t recall hearing any motive.

  6. By: Alchemyrider Posted: July 1, 2020

    What a great gift for Nigel.

    I hear you about split families. I have a son in Melbourne. It is going to be a long time before I see him IRL again.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: July 2, 2020

      Yes, I see travel as a luxury, but visiting family is not. That is essential, so it’ll be tough for a lot of people for a long while. At least you’ll be pretty close when travel resumes again 🙂

      I hope your son isn’t in one of Melbourne’s hotspots for the virus. I kinda hope they lock the whole state down again – I support whatever it takes to stamp out the virus!

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