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Motorcycle Travel and Alternate Universes

Home > Bowral > Unusual Things to do | Escape the City | Adventure | Travel | Outdoor
Published November 2nd 2019
With the concept of alternate universes becoming more acceptable in the scientific community, it beckons you to ponder the separate paths taken on one day of your life.

For example, In one universe, you narrowly miss being run over by a car while walking across the street to your office. In another universe, you get hit by a kid on a skateboard while crossing the same street and end up in the hospital with a broken arm. Or better still, in one universe, you ride an adventure bike, in another, you commute on a train.

So imagine waking up on a Saturday morning with clear skies, a cool breeze, I make breakfast for myself and my wife, but in one universe I set to go for a ride, in another I set to travel to work. In an hour, one of me is cruising south on the highway smiling at the glum faces of drivers heading into town on their way to work, in the other, I pull into a city rail station where I disembark with other passengers and walk through tiled tunnels like cattle on our way to the market.

As I come onto the street, cars and vans line the curb, people stroll to their offices and a parking officer is already out collecting revenue. I get to my desk, press the button on my tower and stare out my window waiting for the PC to wake up to a new day.

In universe A, I have caught up with Greg, a riding mate, checked out sculptures in a paddock along the Old South Road Mittagong and are now enjoying a coffee in a Berrima café and plan the next leg of the ride through Canyonleigh, to Taralga.

Questions have been asked and need to be answered - Is there fuel in Taralga? Is there good pub food at Taralga? Do we come back via Wombeyan Caves or Goulburn?

Having already topped up the fuel tanks at Mittagong and topped up our bellies at Berrima, we head south and take the Canyonleigh turn off along the southern expressway. Gliding along rolling hills, the bitumen stops at an information board and bus stop indicating you have now reached Canyonleigh. The gravel leads west towards Paddys River. Greg recollects Paddys River was a flooded ford last time he travelled here and was unable to pass through. Now it has a concrete bridge and the river was low. Further along, pine trees line the road and wallabies scatter around us, we follow cautiously as they disperse into the paddocks.

Coming across a closed gate, we stop and check our map to confirm we hadn't taken a wrong turn. Luckily, it's just a gate on a public road, I should have realised when the gate had a sign – Please shut the gate. Two more closed gates are passed while signs on the side of the road warn us of cattle on the road. Riding through private property, cows have right of way.

Hitting bitumen at Brayton, we turn right toward Big Hill. The road winds through forested hills and into open fields. This place can become scorching hot in the summer and covered in snow in the winter. The road is in good condition and an easy ride. Side roads appear with faded street signs indicating something is down there. I can't decipher how far or what it is, but it's down there. I'll check it out on another trip.

Pulling up at the start of Swallow Tail Pass, a road sign warns of the sub-standard road conditions. We stop to stretch our legs and have a drink of water. While we do this, in Universe B, I'm walking into the office kitchen to make a cup of coffee after spending the last few hours staring at my screen and doing reports. I bite on a biscuit while looking out the window at the people below and think of what I want for lunch in a little while.

Back at Swallow Tail Pass, an old Falcon pulls up to ask directions to Taralga. We look at the sign and the car, point at the sign indicating the poor condition of the road and not being suitable for two-wheel drives. The driver says, "No worries". We never see them again. It's a fantastic stretch of road and doesn't look like it gets much traffic through as it passes a few farmhouses. Winding down to the Tarlo River, the road could be a little challenging after heavy rain with the road turning into clay. Today it was pretty good. A concrete slab for a bridge crosses the river, debris on the banks indicate it gets a reasonable flow when in flood, but it has been a dry winter and the water is stagnant but still not a bad spot to pull over for a snack under the shade of a river oak. Just because you ride on dirt roads doesn't mean you can't eat well. A cheese plate with a glass of red always goes down well.

Back in universe B, I take my takeaway Chinese to Hyde Park to get some fresh air over lunch. People relax in the park taking in the sun and enjoy their packed lunches. There is a whole range of people that come through the park during lunch breaks, three monks walk past having ported into the 21st century to do some shopping. Evidence of time travel or jumping between universes, I'm not quite sure.

Back in Universe A, we ride out of the canyon and the fields cater for a new generation of farming. Cattle stare at us as we stare at the blades of the giant wind generators planted in the fields. Slowly rotating on the hillsides almost as silent as the cattle grazing, the blades generate 106.8Mw of electricity that is brought into the national power grid while the cattle produce methane. Whatever your opinion is on the wind generators, the 51 turbines are an impressive engineering sight both from a distance and up close.

Coming into town, the sandstone oasis known as the Taralga Hotel sits toward the southern end of the main street. Lost in time, the Taralga has the charm of a laidback village with historically significant buildings dotting the town. Easing back and having a beer – man is not a camel – more bikes roll up to the hotel, it seems to be a popular establishment. As to the questions that needed to be answered, Yes, Taralga has a good pub. Yes, there is food - The pizza's in the pub are worth the ride there. Yes, there is fuel, however, as the locals informed us over a beer "we are now on Taralga time, the bowsers are closed from midday Saturday and closed on Sundays". A dog barks in the distance while Jethro Tull's Aqualung plays through the pub speakers.

Over in universe B – the phone rings and a client needs tests done on their internet service as their modem keeps dropping out. I find there is a battery fault and send a field tech.

Back in universe A – Greg and I decide it's too late in the day to tackle the Wombeyan Caves Road and head to Goulburn instead. Wombeyan Caves is best done over a weekend where it gives us time to explore the caves while down there. We'll organise a trip with the rest of the lads when it's cooler.

Heading north from Goulburn, I take a quick detour off the expressway and come through Marulan. The town is now by-passed but still holds a school, railway station, general store, pub and a couple of novelty shops to try and draw travellers and is the main service centre for the surrounding farms and communities. The Royal Hotel gives a rough indication of the age of the town - 1880 and the buildings are good examples of Victorian architecture. We don't seem to give as much importance to our history and maintain it as the Europeans do for some reason and it is encouraging that some smaller towns set out to preserve their buildings and individual character. It's well worth the visit through the town, just passing through, you might find something that catches your eye that you have never seen before or known of.

Heading back onto the expressway towards home, the sun begins to set over the hills, the soul feels so much lighter after a great days ride and the line of traffic in front no longer frustrates at all.

Back in universe B – the end of the day, the rail station is almost empty and the light fades as I walk the last leg home.

Maybe there are parallel universes; I know which I would rather be in.
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Your Comment
Fabulous article, Bob! I could only wish to have half your imagination ...
by Elaine (score: 3|9170) 1188 days ago
I like your ghost sign.
by May Cross (score: 3|8225) 1188 days ago
Love the Billy Tea shot
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|6193) 1188 days ago
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