. Off we trotted to investigate with Wally mumbling that there wasn't anything there and she was wasting our time and his energy! Whoops wrong again. It was a shopping centre similar to The Meadows in Chelmsford!! Very busy too and nice bright and modern. Apparently it was also there the last time Wally was in town. The first store was also the Telstra store.Not quite as straight forward though. No passport no Sim! Of course that was back in Londonderry. This is where the days regrouping started so we adjourned to the Central Park for our usual alfresco lunch before pedalling back to base.We arrived back just as the black clouds that had been threatening deposited their cargo. Back into town and Jan learned the hard way what happens if you ride through a puddle on a bike with no mudguards while wearing a white vest.SIM card sorted we decided to take the long way home via a cycle way opposite the Richmond airbase. 14 C130 Hercules all lined up on the apron but no movement. In the park there is a collection of fitness machines. Wally was made to suffer by being ordered to complete a session on each of the machines. Revenge for the wet t-shirt mickey taking no doubt!We finally made it back to Londonderry having pedalled a bit further than expected. We were not lost just temporarily unaware of our position Wally claimed.The T bone steak BBQ dinner washed down with a Calais Reserve 2000 Shiraz was much appreciated. We were up and about early on Saturday morning and on the train into Sydney by 0730 heading for the district of Annadale where Bikescape operate from. Sitting outside was a nice blue GS and black CB 400. At this point Wally was rather nervous, would Jan be able to touch the ground. Phew in fact it's lower than her normal steed.It didn't take long for the paperwork to be processed or for the bank account to be emptied but we were there for rather longer than expected as the heavens opened. An hour or so later we ventured off on the Parramatta Road and loads of traffic
. Not a good introduction for Jan but as there was so much traffic it wasn't a problem as it wasn't really going anywhere. Sydney sure has grown but the roads haven't. City riding is certainly something we will be trying to avoid for the next month. After taking a lot longer to escape than we had planned the rain stopped and the temperature rose to 27c which soon dried our kit on the move.The Honda was deposited at Blueys and we headed off to Eastern Creek for the Aussie V8 Supercar test day. We had hoped to see Casey Stoner debut in public but it was the big boys only and for his first season he will be racing in the junior class.It was free entry which may have something to do with Wally's enthusiasm for attending. Quite a few others also had the same idea by the time we arrived.Fast good looking and sounding cars it's certainly a series on the up. It's traditionally been a straight fight between Ford and Holden but this season Mercedes and Nissan have joined the party. Wally could spend all day admiring the team trucks which are so huge there is no way they could operate in Europe. The series puts the BTCC to shame but isn't as technical as the DTM. So it's faster then the UK series and cheaper than the German versions.Back at base it's time for last minute paperwork,fine tuning the bikes and luggage before a quick test ride and heading off to Perth on Monday morning. Apart from Philip Island and visiting Andy in Geelong there is nothing else pre planned especially the route which should add to the fun.
Friday was supposed to be a chill, regroup and reorganise day but as usual things didn't go quite to plan. We started with a stark reminder of why we are taking this sort of trip. Bluey had to go to a funeral of one of his pals from his bike club who passed away at only 59. Incidentally he was considered to be an authority on the Suzuki GT 750 and amongst his collection of motorcycles had 30+ of this particular model! One of the mourners had to dash as he was off to the dry salt flats of Lake Eyre 1500km away in an attempt to break 230mph on his much modified water bottle (as the GT 750 was affectionately known)! Rather him than us.The ever generous Bluey lent us an old phone and we headed off to the nearest Telstra mobile phone company to purchase a prepaid SIM card in nearby Richmond. Bicycles were also provided and we pedalled off in the 20C weather the 7km to town.After spending at least an hour searching Richmond with no luck but noting that a)the place was very quiet and b) the town centre looked like it needed some TLC, we were about to give up when Jan noticed the sign for BIG W