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Hopping through Texas

(by Guy 'Guido' Allen, July 2022)

valkyrie texas



Of Valkyries and kangaroos


It was one of those journeys. Ms A jnr and I were bumbling along through another 3600km Melbourne to Brisbane round trip, circa 2002 on Mac the Valk, to visit assorted rellos and friends.


A challenge on these mile-fests is finding ways to keep your pillion happy and amused. Happy includes good riding gear and, though my stuff was looking pretty tatty, we got her the latest (if not greatest) – which was a good move as we hit some spectacularly foul weather on day one.


A warm and dry pillion will, even during a downpour, agree to go an hour further up the road at the blunt end of the day, so long as they feel warm, dry and safe. The several hundred bucks on the pillion gear was money well spent. Now we're all happy.
 And amused?


Well Mac the Valk has a stereo, but even that loses its appeal before long, and what I've found really works is two things: 1. Think of a target or goal that tickles the passenger; 2. Give them some control over the plot.


In this case, since I wanted to take the Newell Highway and knew Ms A liked locally-produced movie The Dish, it was easy to promise a stop-over at the real dish, or space observatory, just north of Parkes. Okay, I'll admit I wanted to see it too – it had been years since I last scoped the place.


So we pulled in, a 1000-something kays later, for a late lunch, and dorked about for a while.


We also made an unplanned stop at a dodgy military museum (her call) and pulled up that night to go over the maps. 


If you know the Newell Melb-to-Briz route, you'll understand there are a number of ways to get to Queensland's capitol city once you near the New South Wales/Queensland border. Via Goondoowindi is one, but there are several others. So, which way, Ms A?


She picked via the town of Texas, mostly because she had spent six months in the real Texas and wanted a pic to send back to her host family in the States. It meant an extra half day in the saddle, but so what? (Come to think of it, I'd never seen Texas, Queensland, in all these years, and was curious.)
 We got lost on a 'shortcut' that didn't work out, eventually found the town and shot the pic, and then wandered on to the Texas-Stanthorpe road at dusk.


It's a fantastic, twisty, and interesting bit of tar.
 But the last time I saw that many kangaroos was on the Silver City Highway to Broken Hill at dawn some years ago, and, now I think of it, that experience pales by comparison.


Mac has a lot of road presence and you don't expect even something as dumb as a 'roo to get in its way. They do.


It backed up my theory that the two most stupid species on the planet - kangaroos and galahs – share the same brain. They wait until you get close, so they get a really good fright, then, when presented with the choice of running/flying away or right across your bows, they do the latter.


One of the great, furry, hopping sods, having narrowly missed spearing under the front tyre, persistently bounded alongside and Ms A swears she had to smack the thing in the face to prevent Skippy from joining her in the rear throne. After that encounter, she spent another 40 kays waving her fists at the wildlife.


We emailed the Texans the pic, but they'll never understand what we went through to get it...

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