Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle, Lismore & on to the Gold Coast

One week on from the last blog entry I have travelled considerably further north. A ride that had taken me from the city by design of Canberra through the tangled streets of Sydney up over the famous bridge, (with a police helicopter escort!) and up to the sea port and industrial region of Newcastle. Real hot from there up to Lismore - saw a wedged tailed eagle for the first time as I mile munched up the freeway. Onto to Byron Bay and up to the Goldcoast.

At each resting place very generous hospitality from fellow pilgrims in God's Squad has been welcome and is so much appreciated as we have shared stories and food. The speaking in Canberra at a Baptist Church there went very well, (great to see photo's of a family working with UNOH in Bangkok on their notice boards) and a personal whistle stop tour of the Aboriginal section of the NAtional Museum followed; courtesy of one of the congregation who happened to be on duty later that afternoon.

LAst time I was in Sydney I was so jet lagged I fell asleep in the foyer of the Opera House and was 'moved on'. This time was another brief overnight visit but was far more with it discussing with friends there the unjust laws that NSW is aiming towards motorcycle clubs. The following days ride up through the city was very hot and it was a buzz to ride across the famous bridge. Glenn accompanied me on the ride all the way to Newcastle. More reunions with special friends, (including eating in a bar in Swansea of all places), that spans nearly two decades and a midweek gathering at a Uniting Church in Warners Bay went well also - a couple of guys who were at the meeting in Yass the previous week six hours away came back which was good of them. I have tried to vary the talks at each place but with a common theme of misfits and the marginalised in Jesus' life on the road.

Travel by road rather than internal flight has given me wonderful opportunity to absorb both the landscape and the stories - especially of the indigenous population here. My 600 km ride up to Lismore in Northern NSW was long one and well worth while. One of our associates in Squad up there is an Aboriginal and an Elder from his community was very pleased to grant me an official welcome and blessing to the region, followed by a meal of Kangaroo Curry, (Turtle was the original first choice but unavailable on the day). The next day meeting up with the same folks in Byron Bay, we ate the biggest prawns I've seen in my life!

Once again I hit the road on Magoo's 1994 Softail which hasn't missed a beat, leaving the country town of Lismore and making the short hop to the Gold Coast. Signs for 'Surfers Paradise' and the first high rise buildings since Sydney come into view. This is where the Dolphins, Whales ans Sharks play and egos parade the sea front. It's also my final destination on this trip. I now have a day to relax, after clubhouse visits the previous night, before my final speaking engagement in Southport on Sunday night. I've spent time with a huge variety of people - I dare say these last few dares will bring some more surprises.

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