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Early morning rise to allow plenty of time to pack without any pressure, as I was sure there would be enough pressure and emotions running high once I got down to the marina to last me a week.  The morning stillness, tranquil, with only the sweet sounds of magpies, crows and the odd Kookaburra, keeps me in a focused state allowing me to successfully secure the last of my load and do final checks.

Here we are just Mz Ella and I, ready to ‘rock n roll’ and hit the road on our new adventure. She starts first time, like a polished pearl, warming her engine, purring ‘potatoe potatoe’ with the odd ‘beating of her drum’, now all finely tuned after the ‘big shake down’, body all shiny and polished, motor and all in sync – well, for now at least ??

I head on down, all loaded up to Haz Beanz where my three beautiful daughters and son in laws are there manning the BBQ breakfast, pouring out dozens of good ol’ sausage and onion on a bun. My favourite stomping ground on the marina where I have been spending most of my past 6 months planning and preparing for the venture ahead. ‘Narnie, Narnie’ comes the cries of my little Izzabelle (grand daughter) as she runs across the lawn to greet me. The last tears I would see for the year, as she had just been hit in the head with a small ball and was looking for Narnie to give her a comforting hug.

Lots of friends, regulars from the local Haz Beanz, and family members were all there to greet me. Brendon (BF Customs) and Daniel Cobain (my mechanic for the past year), there on their ‘hum hum Harley’s’ ?? ready to ride out with me for the first leg, probably - im’ guessing, there to seriously ‘wish me luck’, and there to gladly see the back end of Mz Ella who has givin them many challenges and much grief over the past year and half haha! Thanks boys.

My nerves shot, already visiting the toilet three times that morning and unable to eat my hot dog or drink - my routinely morning Dirty Chai, I am half in the zone and very much clouded with emotion – wanting to linger on, hesitant to leave my little family behind, and also wanting to get the fook away from the hype and crowd as all eyes were on me awaiting to start Ella’s engine.

An entourage of about 10 bikers hanging around waiting for the big nod, being very patient I must add, as my lingering took about an hour ??. Finally, I bit the bullet as I head over to Ella, everyone started to crowd around Ella and myself, ‘the pressures on’. I managed to get in the zone, blocked everyone and everything out, then cranked her up – ‘yeah!’ she starts first time, ‘phew’ what a relief. Now the pressure is off, and the start is out of the way, I turn around to do a very elegant bow (as you do when in the limelight), to the cheering crowd and my now very emotional family which tugged at the ol’ hear strings. Deep breath, helmet and gloves on, check – now looking for the very humbled Ray Macneall  with whom I had asked earlier while all emotional, if he could lead me and the entourage out of Albany on his motorbike, as I feared - due to all the emotion, that I would not be able to concentrate and then be the laughing stock ‘taking the wrong turn’ on my first leg of the journey hehe!!! I wave my last farewells to family and friends and for the next half hour at least am oblivious to the world around me as I am trying to process and clear the emotions from what I believe was a very stressful morning.

Thank you to all the riders who joined me on my first leg. Thank you for all donations. A big thank you to HAZ BEANZ for so generously setting up the BBQ marque and my very precious, gorgeous girls Marisa, Louise and Nichole for being there for me throughout the ordeal and for the past 6 months of planning.