For those who may have followed the sometimes comical exploits of Paul and I over the last few years, (see here if you’ve missed out) this RR offers something a little different. It’s the last bike ride we’ll be doing together for some time, perhaps ever, as Paul is now embarking on what will ultimately be the most difficult and important ‘ride’ of his life.
A bit of background…. About five months ago Paul suffered a seizure at work and was initially diagnosed with possible epilepsy. We had already organized for a quick overnight spin up to the mid north (of SA) on the DR’s before his troubles had begun and he was still very keen to go. After all, there were bakeries that needed revisiting
Unfortunately, a few days before we were set to head off Paul got a call from his neurologist to say he wanted to see him rather urgently after a precautionary MRI result had come through. What they found looked like this
Holy Toledo Batman Even to the untrained eye the cause of Paul’s seizure was now apparent - a golf balled sized tumour behind his eye. As is his way, Paul was more pissed off that our planned trip to the Victorian High Country in January might be in jeopardy rather than the journey that would soon confront him. He was very upbeat about his situation and derived great pleasure in playing a scene from Kindergarten Cop and telling people about his ‘Toomah’
Try as I might, my suggestion that our couple of days away on the bikes should shelved fell on deaf ears. He was symptom free and on medication to ensure no more seizures, so we loaded up on a calm Thursday morning and headed north.
It had been a while since he’s been on the bike so we started with a meander around some tracks in the Adelaide Hills. Starting with some gentle slopes
Before progressing to some more difficult stuff
Soon I realised the Paul of old was back up and running, as he demonstrated yet another novel way to fall off his stationary bike
Of course now he had something to blame for his characteristic “sleeps” and I had to go easy on giving him too much of a ribbing.
So with the cobwebs blow out we headed off north past the rolling plains of crops
Through some water crossings
Before running along the edge of the famous Barossa Valley
From there we picked up some less frequented tracks
It wasn’t long and Paul was sorting out ‘gates’ that led to some interesting easements
With tracks that weaved through some great countryside
Slowly we meandered our way along the Light River
Where some nice deep pools were found
Unfortunately, like all good things, it soon came to an end when the way forward ended in farming land
So we backed tracked
We were always on the lookout for easements that gave us a trough trip but most ended in disappointment
With the sun starting to get lower in the sky we kept heading north along some nice tracks
Until it was time to set up camp in an out of the way little spot
As this was to be a low key trip we had decided to “dine out” rather than cook in camp so with the campsite waypoint locked into the gps we headed off to the nearest pub, and what a cracker it was
It was a one man show, with the bloke behind the bar being the owner, cook, barman, bottleshop attendant and chief story teller! He put on a great (and cheap) meal and fixed us up with some discount beers to take back to camp.
A nice morning greeted us and we were soon off down some new and inviting tracks
Before my slackness at adjusting my nearly stuffed chain became an issue when a wayward stick caused me to suddenly lost forward momentum
With the chain back on and tightened we continued on through some steeper terrain
That eventually led us over the range
and onto some more out of the way tracks
After passing a family out on a morning walk
We found a few more easements
that enabled us to work our way back towards home
Through the Flaxman and Eden Valleys
Overall, it was great to get away for a few days and enjoy a few beers, a few stories and some time on the bikes.
I wrote this report late last year but with all that has happened in the last few months never got around to posting it up. After a serious seizure at work, Paul underwent a Craniotomy to remove his tumour a few weeks before Xmas.
The post-surgery diagnosis was dire – an aggressive malignant Grade 4 tumour (Glioblastoma Multiforme) that was beyond treatment.
Paul is now in palliative care. As it turned out, it was is his last ride…
Thanks for the 40 years of memories mate
Update - RIP Paul
After a short but typically courageous battle Paul passed away last week surrounded by his family. His funeral yesterday highlighted a person who loved nothing more than being with his mates.
Taken so young he will be sorely missed.
This was one lie down he just could not get up from..
Many thanks to those who have sent kind words to me since Paul's illness.