Reunited – and ready to go
Finally, after what seems like an eternity, the day has come. I gather my paperwork, grab my helmet and gloves and... get on the bus. This gets me to Wynyard in central Sydney, where I get a train. Then another bus. Then... oh hell, I can't wait any longer. Then I get an Uber, which naturally drops me at the industrial unit next to the one I need. After the now traditional confused, sweaty 500m walk in bike kit in hot weather, I reach the correct freight depot to collect my Kawasaki Z1000SX.
It has to be said that picking a bike up in Sydney is more civilised than collecting it in Canada. It's been removed from its crate so customs can inspect it. All I need to do is check I'm happy with the condition, sign the form, then ride off. It's a bit dusty and there's a minor scrape been added to the back of the topbox, but the bike itself seems to be unscratched and undamaged. Though the key for the bike is there, the key for the topbox has gone missing... good job it was the spare. I open the box, take my tankbag out and put the rucksack of paperwork inside. I'm good to go.
First things first: a short shake-down. I've had to come from Manly on the northern beaches to the airport near Botany Bay on the southern side of the city. While I'm on this side of the harbour, I decide to visit perhaps the most Australian location outside Uluru: Bondi Beach... I poke it into the Scenic app on the phone and try to position it so I can see it in the window on the tankbag. Hmmm. It's a tight enough fit to trigger the "sleep" button on the side of the phone and I can't wake it up without taking it out again. Still, I can take verbal directions through the Bluetooth link to my Interphone Tour headset and, soon enough, I'm at the beach.
Bondi is heaving - even mid-week, in spring. There are quite a few scooters with hooks for carrying surfboards and not much space for parking the SX. I decide a longer run (where I might get out of second gear) is in order. I zoom over the Scenic map to Palm Beach, at the extreme edge of the northern shore - site of the Barren Joey lighthouse and Home & Away. I get there with one or two minor navigational snafus - all of which would have been avoided if I'd been able to see the map. Does this mean I'll have to pay for the crazy expensive Garmin map of Australia?
I'll have a few days to decide. As the bike wasn't ready to collect, I'm cat-sitting for my brother while I work out my routes. I'll give the SX a minor service over the weekend, too. But on Monday, the last leg of the Big, Stupid Trip of a Lifetime begins in earnest. Well, begins in Sydney... you know what I meant...