Sydney to Parkes
I'm sure everyone feels the same way on Day One of a holiday. The lead up is so manic that it takes ages to settle into the change of pace and allow the stress to dissipate. Leaving the city was cathartic. I met up with Pete at 8am and we had cleared the outskirts by 9.30. We took the Bells Line over the mountains as it’s a much nicer road and has much less traffic. But it was cold – bitterly cold! Although it was clear blue skies, the temperature had dropped. I had not calculated that it would be this freezing across the mountains and by the time we got to Lithgow I was chilled to the core. I added an extra layer and downed a delicious cup of hot coffee, but I failed to warm up. We rode along the highway to Bathurst but when we pulled in for lunch at the Orange pub, my teeth were chattering. The girl behind the counter said the weather had only changed yesterday! If a newspaper had been handy I would have shoved it up the inside of my jacket. Cycle Torque is good for this as it is a large size glossy magazine and, as a bonus, you can read it when you get home. I tossed up whether to dig out my super warm jumper which would mean unpacking one entire pannier in the main street of Orange AND riding restricted like a blimp with limited movement in my arms – but at least I would be warm.
Pete convinced me that Parkes would be warmer and as usual he was right. We found the motel easily, had a shower then set off to explore the town, find the War Memorial and go 20km north to see The Dish. As the bikes were now unburdened, we had a little play on the nice clear outback roads. The Dish was quite impressive and as it was after visiting hours, it was completely deserted. Pete went off bush bashing into the "restricted zone" to get a better photo.
We went back into town, had an average (cheap) dinner at the Leagues Club then crashed early. What a great beginning to my trip!