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“Good luck with your ministry”

Around 2 hours and 180km into my first experience of motorcycle touring, I broke free from my Thunderheader-inspired reverie just long enough to become aware that the air flowing through my perforated leathers was making me decidedly chilly.

And that Nature was calling.

Beneath overcast skies I pulled into a highway-side rest area near Douglas Park, gently rumbled past the rows of fellow travellers, before pulling over parallel the curb, right down the end just before the exit road; a lovely and slightly elevated spot, overlooking a modest dam on the left, and, most importantly, only a short walk from a door marked with the symbol of a man on the right:

Hume Highway NSW, Douglas Park rest area

Hume Highway NSW, Douglas Park rest area, southbound (-34.157157,150.73903)

I briefly contemplated leaving my helmet and gloves behind, perched nonchalantly atop the sissy bar.

Too many folks about.

A few minutes later, as I rummaged through my new leather sissy bar bag — US$59.95 at Jafrum.com — for my 100% pure merino wool long sleeve motorcycle undergarment — $30 at Aldi — a rather tall and slender older gentleman of somewhat distinguished silver-bearded appearance and dignified carriage walked over from a large 4WD that had pulled up immediately behind, and engaged me in conversation.

It’s a 1995 model.

Yes, these old Evolution engines are better than the new Twin Cams.

No, the ape hangers are actually very comfortable.

Et cetera.

As we talked amiably together, perhaps, I confess, somewhat discourteously — or so it seems to me on reflection — I continued with donning my slim woollen jumper, re-packing my bag, re-fastening the small cargo net over top my packed bike cover, and re-zipping my leather jacket.

Although not my conscious intention — although, perhaps, subconscious, given I had over 400km further to travel that day — the friendly stranger identified a hint in my actions, and neatly segued our conversation towards a conclusion.

Then came his parting words.

“Good luck with your ministry”.

I guess he noticed the licence plate.

harley-davidson-softail-springer-1995-bad-boy-FXSTSB-evolution-1340-thunderheader-carlini-evil-apehangers-cycle-vision-tall-sissybar-joker-machine-mirrors-psalmistice_CIMG2061

Presumably he was unaware that the Carlini Design handlebars — with which I change direction — bear the moniker “Evil Ape”.

harley-davidson-softail-springer-1995-bad-boy-FXSTSB-evolution-1340-thunderheader-carlini-evil-apehangers-cycle-vision-tall-sissybar-joker-machine-mirrors-psalmistice_CIMG2054

And perhaps he had failed to notice the words “Bad Boy” — my chosen steed’s model name — clearly inscribed on the air cleaner.

harley-davidson-softail-springer-1995-bad-boy-FXSTSB-evolution-1340-thunderheader-carlini-evil-apehangers-cycle-vision-tall-sissybar-joker-machine-mirrors-psalmistice_CIMG2066

Screen shot 2013-12-25 at 11.25.06 PM

But I digress.

Setting aside my affinity for incongruity and the coincidentia oppositorum, thank you, kind Sir.

I had not thought of it that way.

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