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:
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.
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.
Presumably he was unaware that the Carlini Design handlebars — with which I change direction — bear the moniker “Evil Ape”.
And perhaps he had failed to notice the words “Bad Boy” — my chosen steed’s model name — clearly inscribed on the air cleaner.
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.