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Life in Brisbane Australia

I also found a motorcycle group on Country Cruisers that were doing a ride on Sunday. Hmmmm. This reminded me that friend Alex had mentioned that she had signed up to do a ride in which you pay $140 and bikers take you on a motorbike ride. Hmmmm. I didn't want to pay $140 that was for sure. Further, the weather was supposed to be a bit “iffy.” When I pulled up the meetup information for Country Cruisers, I saw where another woman was wanting to go as a “pillion.” Quickly I looked up the foreign word: “passenger.” Well, that's fine with me. I signed up to be a “pillion” as well quick to point out I had my own helmet and boots. Sure enough, I got a reply from a young man named Cameron who said he had a Can-am Spider if that was o.k. I texted Graham:
Lynn: “Hey Graham, what's a Can-Am Spider? Is it safe? I signed up to go on a motorcycle ride on Sunday as a pillion and who's offering is this Can-Am Spider.”
Graham: “It's a three wheeler”
I pulled up the young man's profile. His name was Cameron, and the only thing one can do from a meetup group is see what other meetup groups he belongs to.

Sunday, May 17, Protected content at 5:00 AM even though I'd set the alarm for 6:00 AM. Cameron was picking me up on the three wheeler at 7:00 AM so needed to get up and pop the sheets in the wash. Pam had assured me she would hang them out to dry for me (no one in Australia uses a clothes dryer). The bikers were to meet at 8:00 AM at the BP Station in Yatala which was about a 20 minute ride down the Gold Coast Freeway from here in Mt. Gravatt. From there we would be briefed as to the ride details but we were supposed to go up to Mt. Tamborine, where I'd been on the bike with Graham. Cameron showed up around 7:20 and I shook his hand and asked him if I could stow my handbag in his little “trunk” which was in front like a Volkswagen Beetle. He said, “Yes if I can remove some of my gear and leave it here.” Here he removed another helmet (since I had my own), a huge black bag and other things emptying the entire compartment. I felt certain that my tiny handbag could have fit in without doing all of that but he insisted. Anyway, I got on behind him on a separate “seat” which was much higher up than the driver's seat. As soon as we started moving, I realized I had a problem. I was holding on to the side bars for dear life. There was certainly, no way to hold on to Cameron. I felt as if I was going to fly off at any minute. We got to the freeway and I was terrified at the prospect. Once we got on the freeway, I was TERRIFIED period! I held on and prayed. With every lane change or shift I was clinging to the tiny little hand rail on either side of me. It was horrifying. Finally, we got to the BP Station at Yatala. When he pulled in, I told him that I was terribly sorry but I absolutely could NOT continue on his bike. If no one else could take me I would contact my friends (Terry or Pam) and ask them to drive to Yatala and get me. I purchased two bottles of water, one for me and one for Cameron, and we walked up to meet Gary, organizer of the group. I relayed my story to him and asked could he make an announcement to see if someone else would be willing to take me on? There were about twenty in the group so I was hopeful. Another woman (who looked every bit the “biker chick” part) walked up and announced that she was looking to go as a pillion. I told her that she could have my place with my driver's consent as I was opting out of the three wheeler, it just wasn't for me. She agreed to take my place. There was a really good looking guy where we happened to be standing, who offered to take me on his bike. He had a Yamaha like a policeman's bike. After Gary made the announcement and no others offered, I agreed to his offer (Organizer Gary did not offer though he had a Suzuki like Graham's....a BIG bike). John (good looking guy's name) gave his extra helmet to Sue (biker chick who'd showed up and was now going to ride with Cameron) since she didnt' have a helmet and Cameron had left his helmet at my house. I got on behind John. Hmmmmm. Good looking over fifty, tall, dark brown hair and a fluffy moustache....yes! I grabbed hold of him and we were off. The problem was, the seat was very narrow...much less wide than I was accustomed to and my big butt felt like I was going to fall off of it! Anyway, compared to the three wheeler, it was MUCH better because I could hold on to the driver. It wasn't till John explained that, unlike a motorcycle where you lean into the curve, a three wheeler is aligned such that you are RESISTING the curve. That was a good explanation of the dynamics of it. Gary had said during the briefing that we would be foregoing Mt. Tamborine today because the weather predicted rain, and the roads were too twisty curvy to venture on during rain. Fine by me. Our first stop was Canunga where we stopped for morning coffee. Unfortunately, when we arrived and John removed his gloves, I noticed a wedding ring. I asked him something about his wife, and he informed me that she didn't like to ride as it bothered her knees. She was Scottish and they'd been married eight years...her third marriage, his second.

After coffee we continued on and on and on and on to New South Wales. Once we crossed over the border, Gary stopped everyone by the side of the road to collect and “catch up.” I asked him how much further to the next stop, as I needed to ladies room. Actually, that was the understatement of the century since I literally was about to burst. It was about another 20 minutes away, but thankfully, John agreed to ride ahead so I could go. We arrived at the tiny “town” of Chilingham but the only establishments on the “main street” were a tiny church and butcher's shop....both closed. At this point, I was almost hysterical telling John, “Here take this” as I took off my gloves and jacket and ran behind the church. Fortunately, a very large water tank enabled me to be discreet as I ducked behind and did my thing. When I came back out in front he said he would go too. I said, “I think there is a men's room right there close to the ladies.” He laughed and disappeared. He no sooner had returned when the rest of the group showed up and we drove another 20 minutes to the designated “rest stop” in another tiny town. I certainly would never have made it that far, but made sure I went again there! When drove on after that to the tiny town of Mooball.
Mooball had absolutely nothing in it except a biker's museum attached to a cafe where we had lunch. I had told John it was my shout (which is Aussie for “my treat”) and Sue was going to shout for Cameron since we'd swapped places. After an hour we were off again to Hastings Point...beautiful view and the last stop. After this we all would disperse to go our separate ways. Since Sue had John's helmet, we had to follow Cameron back to the BP station where he would let her off (since that's where she had parked her car). Then Cameron and John would follow each other back (me still behind John) so that Cameron could retrieve his helmet at my car. Coming back on the Gold Coast Freeway I was terrified again because of the narrow seat even though I was still on the Yamaha with John. It hadn't seemed to bother me so much at 60 KPHs but at Protected content it was scary. I hung on for dear life, prayed and decided I could do my meditation since I wasn't walking up to Mt. Gravatt today. We all got back to the house at 4:20. I was exhausted as I waved good-bye and thanked both John and Cameron. All told I'd been on the bike 6 hours. I knew I'd be feeling it tomorrow.

I was so tired I lay down before dinner with Terry and Pam. I watched “She Wolves of England” about Queen Jane Grey, Queen Mary Tudor, Queen Elizabeth I. I thought I'd watch “Eat Pray Love” afterwards but absolutely couldn't keep my eyes open, so went to bed. It was 9:30.

Monday, May 18, Protected content I knew I’d be feeling it today and I was right. My inner thighs were killing me as were my feet. For some reason, the way I sit on the bike my inner thighs have a muscle that gets used (and that’s the only time it DOES apparently) and my feet cannot relax on the stirrup but have to “standup” the whole way. Did my walk up to Mt. Gravatt anyway as it was absolutely beautiful.

Tonight it’s Rock and Roll Dance Classes at Greenslopes Bowls with Crazy Feet. The couple who teach the class just had their third child so the wife has been off and husband Glen has been teaching the classes with the aid of an assistant. It’s always great fun and a good deal for $12.50. I ate dinner with Terry and Pam and left at 7:00 PM. Now that I’ve moved to Mt. Gravatt, it only takes about 15 minutes to get to Greenslopes. When I got there, the parking lot was jampacked with a local football team that was playing, so I had to park on the street. Oh well, it was fun anyway. It’s really great how they do it with the dance classes. They form a giant circle of about 25 men on the inside facing out and about 30 women facing in. Every woman rotates every few minutes to a new partner. Since there are always more woman then men, there are a few “dead” spots where you stand for a few minutes without a partner until “rotate” is called again by Glen and you go on to the next man. My friend Wolfie wasn’t there (who I like to dance with) and the good looking guy Vic (James Coburn lookalike) wasn’t either.

Tuesday, May 19, Protected content Spent the morning getting caught up on my diary. It's great when Terry leaves and I can use his computer. It's so much faster typing on a regular keyboard over the laptop. I'll be off now to do my walk on Mt. Gravatt. Hope it doesn't rain on me again since the weather's looking ominous!

Well guess what? It did rain on me, but fortunately I had my windbreaker with me so it wasn't too bad. Got back home in time to watch “Judge Judy” alternating with “Fraiser”. It's so strange how the only two programs that I watch during the day here are on at exactly the same time...3:00 PM. Was trying to research the dates and times of Queensland Performing Art Centre's production of “Dirty Dancing” and ran across another play I really want to see. It's called, “Legends” and stars Hayley and Juliet Mills:
“The incomparable stars of screen and stage, Hayley Mills and Juliet Mills - daughters of the legendary actor Sir John Mills - storm the stage in James Kirkwood’s hilarious and touching comedy Legends!  As the sun sets in Manhattan the claws come out as two famous but fading movie stars try to upstage one another. Leatrice Monsee (Hayley Mills) and Sylvia Glenn (Juliet Mills) are hustled by a theatre producer played by Maxwell Caulfield (Grease 2, Dynasty, The Colbys) to kick-start their once-luminous careers by starring in a Broadway–bound play. There’s just one problem: they loathe one another.Written by Pulitzer Prize winner James Kirkwood (A Chorus Line) and produced by John Frost, don’t miss the comedy of the year.”

I quickly decided I'd much rather see this than Dirty Dancing and YES it was on this Saturday afternoon and it looked like there were plenty of seats available. On top of that, the tickets to it were cheaper than Dirty Dancing ….which meant that going on the “lottery standby” which is the way I do it by going down three hours before the performance and putting your name down and hoping to get a ticket for a third of the price....would be perfect! Will try it on Saturday. Enjoyed a relaxing night just having dinner with Terry and Pam and watching a documentary on “Queen Victoria's Children.”
Wednesday, May 20, Protected content up and fixed my lemon myrtle yogurt/cereal combo and coffee. One of the things I'll never get used to here in Australia is the propensity of coffee “cappuccino” machines at all of the coffee shops. No one seems to know what a drip filter coffee pot is. The good news is that if you go to a coffee shop, you will receive a coffee made with the cappuccino machine even if you just order a “flat white” (which is the closest thing you can order to just a plain cup of coffee with milk). The bad news of this is that if the coffee shop is full (say maximum capacity of 20 people, it will take a good 30 minutes just to get a cup of coffee. The other bad news is that when people are NOT having coffee at a coffee shop, but only having a cup at home, the only alternative is instant. I never cared for instant coffee before moving to Australia, but now have developed a taste for it. So it was that I fixed my instant coffee along with my lemon myrtle yogurt/cereal combo and sat out on my beautiful deck watching the birds.....what a beautiful place I live in.

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