Published on May 12th, 2014 | by Al
Most of the way there, I knew where I was.
I’d taken a Wednesday off in lieu of overtime, and headed south from Sydney. The Royal National Park isn’t overflowing with bicyclists and Stapo on weekdays, and I got through it pretty quickly.
I got up Macquarie Pass pretty quickly too, so I took the turnoff to Kangaroo Valley. The traffic was light and the road winding, and I got to Nowra in what seemed like record time. I figured I would cut across the mountains and join the Hume for the trip home.
I debated with myself whether to stop at Nerriga for lunch, but decided I would skip lunch and keep going. Half an hour later I found myself on a dirt road that was looking increasingly unfamiliar, and the trip meter indicated I had between forty and sixty kilometres before the tank ran dry.
Then I came across a small hamlet consisting of a pub and a phone booth.
I walked in and leaned on the bar. A woman appeared from the rear and asked if she could help me.
I told her a schooner of Carlton Draught would help me, and she set about pouring one.
I asked her where the nearest place was where I could buy fuel, and she told me to keep going and turn left at the T intersection and I would find fuel within twenty kilometres.
I thanked her, and paid for the beer. It was a hot day. I raised the glass, and drank half of it.
She said they don’t get many motorcycles on this road, especially on weekdays. She asked where I was going.
“Just for a ride”, I said, and sipped my beer. “I have the day off, so I thought I would go for a ride.”
She asked if I always go for a ride on my days off.
“Pretty much”, I said. “I have a stressful job. It keeps me sane.” I took another swallow of the beer.
“You mean”, she asked, “that you go insane if you don’t go for a ride?”
This was getting tiring. I swallowed the last of the beer. “I chose my words poorly”, I told her. “I should have said ‘it helps me keep my sang froid ’.”
“My sang froid ”, I repeated. “My equanimity. My cool.”
“French?” she asked.
I reached for my helmet.
“Sorry, I have to be going”, I told her. “Civil of you to offer, though.”