Yesterday with a group fellow motorcyclists we were discussing our bikes and how our gear accumulates over time. Somehow or other the conversation turned to an old Vaughn Monroe song,’Black Denim Trousers and Motor Cycle Boots’ that was on the hit parade back about 1955. Don’t ask me how the song entered into our conversation but we all agreed how much we liked the lyrics.
Then someone remarked that in the song, after the tattooed rider crashed, all that could be found were his,’Black denim trousers and motor cycle boots and his black leather jacket with an eagle on the back’. We all agreed that our wardrobes (closets for our American cousins) were full of ‘black denim trousers, motorcycle boots and black leather jackets’.
No mention was made of any kind of clear our and disposal. Oh no, each item had its own link to particular events and had to be retained at any cost.
So, this morning when my wife was away playing golf, I decided to see what goodies lurked in the dark corners of our walk in wardrobe.
Now jeans are jeans and I’m sure that during the night they breed because there seemed to be more pairs there this morning than when I looked yesterday. Leather jackets, no, because they have their own cupboard in the bike shed.
However my motorcycle boot collection turned out to be another matter entirely. There seemed to be a never ending collection lurking in the dark against the back wall.
Seven pairs of motor cycle boots. I know, I can only wear one pair at a time but being a bloke, there is a special reason for having each individual pair. Don’t worry, I won’t go into too much detail.
However, I must tell you, the two tall pairs in the centre are known here by their brand name, ‘Jonny Rebs’. They are almost compulsory foot wear for Harley riders. The boots at the far right with the red labels are Goretex® lined Harley Davidson riders boots. Ideal for wet weather riding.
The shortest of the three tall pairs are by an Australian outback legend, R.M. Williams, known as the Bushman’s Outfitter. I’ve worn these boots on and off the bike for over thirty years. The soles and heels have been replaced many times, but the uppers, apart from one small bit where my dog chewed some leather away, are as fine as the day I purchased them.
Here they are, all in a row. I apologise for the lens distortion that makes our family room walls look other than vertical. That’s the problem caused by using a 20mm lens and not giving enough space at the edges of the image to make lens correction in Photoshop.
One thing’s for sure, my collection will give my heirs and successors something to argue about when they get me ready for my last ride to boot hill. On a Harley Davidson of course.
I pointed out yesterday that I’ve been nominated by bCL Photography to post my three favourite quotes, one a day for three consecutive days and I’ve thanked bCL for the nomination.
Today posed a bit of a quandary quote wise and I thought hard and fast about it during the four hour drive there and back this morning to a meeting which lasted the whole of 21 minutes exactly, I kid you not.
Yes, I came to a conclusion.
No, you are incorrect, I didn’t conclude to tell the subject club committee where to gently place their AGM papers.
I concluded that today I’d have a bet both ways in the quotation department and suggest you take the decision which quote best fills the subject, JUSTICE.
Firstly, I was going to post the motto of my career employer:
‘Culpam Poena Premit Comes’. When translated from the Latin, it becomes,’ Punishment follows closely upon crime’.
However, as today is the shortest day, June 21st, I didn’t want you all wasting the daylight hours struggling with your Latin to ensure I’d got the translation right.
Accordingly I decided upon my real world favourite law enforcement quote, straight from the mouth of Jack Lord, better known as the famous Detective Sergeant Steve McGarrett from Hawaii Five O who continually directed his side kick Detective Danny Williams to, ‘Book him Danno’.
I’ve always thought that ‘Book Him…..’, has a much better ring to it that,’Place him under arrest’.
Of course, if the suspect happened to be female, these days I guess we would say,” Excuse me Madam but I must immediately take you into custody, please be careful of your hair style whilst we gently place you in the back of our sedan car for the short and comfortable ride to the nearest police station. Please fasten your seat belt’.
I must add in closing that I always remember McGarrett saying, ‘Take him down and book him Danno’. However my research indicates that those words were never uttered during the series.
So in closing, here are the three nominees for today with the reminder that acceptance is not mandatory:
Last night I’d programmed my body clock to rouse me well before sun rise so I could be on my way bright and early. This time the clock worked and I was up and breakfasted on coffee and toast with marmalade jam well before 0500 hrs.
I packed the Landcover in record time and started my navigational preparedness for the day. First up, I programmed the Magellan with the old Ghan Railway coordinates at the point where I wanted to meet it.
On the image below, the vertical black bars you can see on the screen represent the strength of the data from the satellites the GPS is receiving. The numerals around the concentric circles are identifiers for the satellites.
By pressing the NAV button on the left of the instrument, I can scroll through various screens until I reach the one where I key in the destination coordinates and any way points I may be interested in.
Then, after returning to my map, I oriented my compass to the same destination point and recorded the direction by the numbEr of degrees onto the compass card. I’m really attached to this compass, it’s been my constant companion for over 50 years and has never let me down. Probably one of the reasons I’ve never been really lost.
Now, in addition to following the directions by GPS, I can sight along the bearing line on the compass, identify significant landmarks and drive towards them. Few obstacles can defeat the Landcover, except fences. Although uncommon where I’m travelling a fence does cause an immediate stop and creates the necessity to find an opening. It’s an absolute no no to cut a fence, it’s not only irresponsible, it’s also illegal.
In addition to my trusty 1:250,000 maps, I also carry the Australian Gazetteer. No wonder it’s heavy, it has a total of 1017 pages and the volume measures 130 cm( 11 and 3/4 inches)wide, 21.5cm(8 and 1/2 inches) high and 8.5cm(3 inches) thick. Not a back pack item, that’s for sure.
Well, after about another half hour fiddling around I was underway not long after 0530hrs and it wasn’t long before I came across one of the local inhabitants.
This camel is one of over a million wild camels that inhabit inland Australia’s arid zones. They were first brought to Australia in there 1800s with their Afghan cameleers to provide goods transport to the then inaccessible inland outposts. Would you believe we now export them as racing camels to the Middle East. Our camels are disease free and outstanding examples of their place in the animal kingdom.
It was from the Afghan cameleers that the fledgling Port Augusa to Alice Springs railway got its name, The Ghan.
Now it’s time for a little bit of history. Construction of The Ghan railway commenced in 1878. It was a 1060cm line, more commonly referred to as three foot six gauge. Once the steam trains started running they rapidly gained a reputation for arriving at their destination late. Not by an hour or so, the lateness was measured in days.
Dust storms often covered the track with deep sand, occasional floods washed away the lines and bridges and numerous other incidents caused delays. Each train had a large flat bed car attached behind the locomotive. This car was loaded with rail lines, sleepers, tools and other bits and pieces needed to repair the damaged lines. Both the crew and conscripted passengers were required to carry out the repair work.
Anyway, the line was closed in 1980 after a new line was constructed, eventually stretching from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory.
The new line and its rolling stock are still named’ The Ghan’ and the old Ghan line where I’m headed is now popular with outback tourists like myself.
Well, it wasn’t too far into the day’s run when I came across this abandoned truck just rusting away, all alone. What great yarns it could tell. Just looking at it I could see it had lived a hard life and certainly earned its keep.
After a few more hours there I was, at the start of the run along the abandoned Old Ghan railway line. This solitary stand pipe had served the locos and their passengers and freight well and stood as a solitary monument to those bygone days:
Everything out here gets dusty and when changing camera lenses there is always the chance of the demon dust getting on the camera’s sensor or onto film, if that’s your choice. You can see the spots on this image, it’s clumps of dust on the sensor and sometimes even the built in sensor wobble and shake can’t dislodge it. ‘Them’s the breaks’, as the saying goes.
The trip proceeded without incident, apart from the almost compulsory punctures and without my onboard air compressor I would certainly have been up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
The following selection of images will give you of an idea of what’s to be seen along the line, it’s well worth the effort and it’s a great glimpse into the great Australian outdoors.
As I got closer to my camp site for the night, my path was crossed by another camel, it seemed to be a fitting end to my run along the old Ghan line. I’m not sure if the camel was grinning at me as it wandered past:
Finally, after changing direction and leaving the line, I arrived at Chamber’s Pillar to camp for the night. The pillar was a navigation aid for the early explorers and is easily spotted in the basically flat surrounding country. I set up camp in the early afternoon, no one else was there and I enjoyed the solitude.
As you have gathered, today I was never lost, misplaced or even bewildered by my surroundings.
Tonight as I snuggle into my sleeping bag laid out in my sway, I’ll think about the next few days and the real reason I’m heading for Alice Springs. The following image should give you a clue so stand by for a post about it at some future time. Hoo roo for now.