Blogging again

In the olden days…yes, less than 20 years ago… I loved blogging. I loved thinking through my thoughts and writing them down. I loved being able to go back and see what those thoughts were. Work-related blogging brought me good attention when the blogging and design community was small and the amount of content low.

After a while, it just petered out. I was writing longer books, and working more. I had less time to just write. At one point I packed up my old work blog and redirected the URL to my company website. I miss that content – I might see if I can resurrect it.

I did some bits and pieces of writing here. I wrote a bit when I was thinking about personal development, habits and being more effective. I wrote up some great motorcycle rides. I liked doing that too. I liked telling stories, and while riding I liked thinking about how I’d tell the story of my day.

I’ve had a recent change in my work situation – I left a full-time job and am returning to freelance/contract work (at least, I hope I am). I have some book ideas that I’ve started work on, and I have a ton of article ideas. I’ve also thought it would be fun to share more of my sewing and weaving.

All that made me think about what blogging (or really, just ‘writing’) might look like now. It seems that most people are publishing in centralised places – Medium, LinkedIn and Instagram. I don’t love the idea of my content living on someone else’s platform, where I have no control over what happens to it long term (twice I’ve lost a significant amount of photos – once when Flickr shut down my account, and again when instagram did it). But that’s where people read.

Then I realise that for me, writing has never been about being read. Writing for me is figuring out my thoughts, documenting my experiences, looking back through them later. I don’t need to be in a central place, and if I do want to direct attention, I can still do that on the central places without the risk of losing control of content.

So. More writing. There will be thoughts on society, perhaps some philosophy, definitely some weaving, definitely some sewing. Probably photos of hikes in Melbourne. And whatever else I happen to be interested in that day.

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The Big North: Wrap-up

Some statistics:

  • Total km: 3562.5
  • Average km/day: 509km
  • Furthest day: 746km
  • Longest day: 10h 15min

Here’s the final map:

And just because they are beautiful, here are some photos of pubs (not well shot, and mostly in terrible light):

McKechnies Royal Hotel, Mendooran

Lawson Park Hotel, Mudgee

Royal Hotel, Dunedoo

Caledonian Hotel, Singleton

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The Big North: Day 7 (home!)

I made it home. Today I rode a lot of my favourite roads. New to me was the highway from Mudgee to Lithgow, but from there I took the Jenolan Caves Rd, Duckmaloi Rd, Shooters Hill, and Abercrombie. Stopped in Goulburn for a cup of tea with mum, then slabbed straight up the highway. I took some photos of the stunning views on the way, but I just can’t get any depth of field on my phone, and they all look like I’ve taken photos of grass next to the road.

I did get this last big thing near Oberon:

Big thing #17: The big trout

And here I am at home:

Arrived!

Tomorrow I’ll do some statistics and add daily maps to all the posts. For now I am doing nothing – my hands are still super-sore and even typing is hurting… But all these new muscles mean I can probably open jars ūüôā

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The Big North: Day 6

Tamworth woke up beautiful this morning!

I want to be a kid in Tamworth!

So beautiful that I went for a run to a Google-recommended cafe where I had a fabulous breakfast

Yum!

Then went to the bike shop and had my loose chain tightened.

Next job of the day was to go to Tamworth’s major big thing:

Big thing #15: The big golden guitar

And then to the motorcycle museum,  which is tiny and looks closed, but is packed with old bikes in amazing condition. I was so busy juggling my free coffee & talking to the guide that I only took one photo:

All the shiny things

I got on the road around 11 & headed towards Gilgandra (I abandoned my Cobar plan as the logistics got too hard РI think an outback trip needs to be done separately and not in summer).  Most of the day looked like this:

Look – blue skies

I stopped in Coonabarabran for lunch & took a photo of the sky:

You can’t tell but this is me going OMG the sky is amazing

The run to Gilgandra got hotter the further west I went so I was glad to get there,  turn around & head back  east,  where it was only 32 in Mudgee. On the way I found another big thing in Dunedoo:

Big thing #16: The big swan

I’m close enough now that I could get home tomorrow. ¬†Though I think there is a motorcycle museum at one of the wineries here so I’ll play it by ear & sort it out in the morning.

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The Big North: Day 5

Planning the trip home is hard. ¬†I have to avoid my natural inclination just to head home, and instead keep exploring. It’s also hard as I want to go inland and the distances between towns are huge – it’s harder to make adjustments than on the coast where things are close together. ¬†I’m also a bit sore & don’t want to over-commit & have to ride long distances while tired.

So I did some calculations & made a conservative plan – the things I know I want to do are to ride up the ridge to Toowoomba, go to Tamworth, stop in Gilgandra and probably come home via Oberon (my real goal was to get to Cobar, but the distances are just too risky).

My conservative route

I set off super-early, being on NSW time in Qld:

Off at 6am

And headed towards Toowoomba. After a GPS fail that landed me in the Brisbane CBD, I got on the right highway and spotted a big thing that I had forgotten I would pass, where I had a coffee:

Big thing #12: The big orange

Up the ridge into Toowoomba, with all the trucks, going super slow (but that’s what I expected) and I headed down the New England Highway, where I did this for many hours (and learned that if you stop for a quick photo, hold your bike between your legs and a truck gusts past…):

It’s so straight

It’s still straight

Actually, I’m being silly… I’m not like most bike riders. I love this kind of road. I am completely happy to potter along inland, single lane highways for days on end. As long as there are a couple of curves somewhere to break the monotony. I think this countryside is gorgeous. The small and medium towns are also gorgeous. I was happier today pottering around farmland, seeing all the beautiful golds of the fields, greens of gum trees and blues of distant hills than I was on motorbiking roads in the mountains yesterday.

I picked up two more big things as well:

Big thing #13: The big apple

Big thing #14: The big dinosaur

I made it to Glen Innes by about 2:00 and had a decision to make. I could head west to Inverell (which according to a lady I met at lunch, who offered me ‘something to read’, is really pretty) or keep going South and see if I could get to Tamworth. I’d already ridden 60km through the forecasted storm, the radar was clear, and my hands were feeling OK (nothing else was sore today, just my hands) so I decided to try for Tamworth. I booked a hotel and my estimated arrival was 5:00, which is about the latest I want to get in to somewhere.

Then this happened:

Car park on the New England Highway

We waited for about half an hour, in which time my GPS headset ran out of battery, and were diverted onto what looked to be a very old version of the highway. Turns out it was because a young bloke in a 4WD and a concrete truck had an altercation on a very narrow part of the road and closed the highway, which is sad, though apparently everyone is as OK as it is possible to be when that happens.

Anyway, I finally got to Tamworth to find my very pretty hotel:

The Ashby Motor Inn, where I am on the balcony writing

though I wish I’d have booked this one instead:

because…art deco

I’d made such good time today that I thought I might be able to still achieve my real goal of getting out to Cobar. Then I lubed my chain and found it very loose. “No worries” I said, and got out my trusty toolkit, only to not find a big enough socket. “Damn” I said and decided that I would have to abandon the Cobar plan, find a mechanic, fix the chain, and make a different plan. Then on the way to dinner I discovered there is a bike shop right next door to the hotel. So I think I can *sleep in*, get my chain fixed, get the MAJOR BIG THING, go to the motorcycle museum and then head out. I need to go and do some distance calculations, but I think it might be possible, especially with a packet of band-aids I just bought for my sore hands. And even if I can’t make the Cobar plan, there are still plenty of super-pretty places to visit between here and home.

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