Epilogue

July 5th, 2010

DSC_4673

My dear reader,

It has been exactamente six months, three weeks, one day and forty-five minutes since I overcame insurmountable odds to ride my dear motorised stead “Platanito” into the mythical township of Lismore, New South Wales. Now I grant you that such time may allow for the superficial muscular strains to heal and the pains to be forgotten, but indeed the unique bond that I made with the New South Wales landscape during that fateful week in December will never leave me.

How could it?

It is not like a bruise that fades with time. On the contrary, the landscape is now inscribed into my very body as every inch of road that I travelled, every pueblo that I passed through is now forever wedded with my flesh. Caballeros y damas, let it be known that as I sit here in my hometown of Alcaca, Spain, so also, for better or worse sits New South Wales. Till death do us part.

I dare you to doubt it, for this unlikely union has indeed turned me into somewhat of a barometer for the ebbs and flows of your strange and mysterious region. You might say to me, what nonsense Tino! But I have no other explanation for the uncontrollable actions of my anal cavity. For example, when the storms hit the northern New South Wales coast in May 2010 though I was miles away in the montañas of Spain my anal passage pulsed like a rabbit’s heart. And I tell you that such bodily reactions are not solely weather related. When New South Wales swore in its first female premiere Kristina Kenneally I tell you that my anus dilated to the size of an aubergine. As you can imagine I am sufficiently apprehensive at the prospect of Barry O’Farrell winning the next election in consideration of what such an event might do to the lower tracts of my body.

I hear you whispering under your breath like the campesinos of Alcaca, poor Tino, he is now cursed! However, I implore you to not be so negativo in your attitude and to not judge my unique condition too swiftly. Certainly it can be somewhat of an inconvenience to have your anus at the whim and mercy of an antipodean colony, but it is also a great asset to have a quivering rectum that has a unique insight into the meteorological and political forces of our epoch. From biblical times prophets have harnessed such resources to guide and lead humanity through its challenges and crises. I urge you to remember the great Jewish prophet Ezekial who was not memorialised for his sensitive anus but for his calm wisdom and incredible foresight. I have no doubt that the name Tino La Bamba will in the time to come also occupy a similar place in the annals of New South Wales history.

And to think that all this was a product of a dream, of a blind ambition to conquer the wild outback of the antipodes. If you remember, dear reader, I first conceived of this vision standing on the banks of the Yarra in the Southern state of Victoria whilst staring at Ron Robertson Swan’s grotesque sculpture, aptly titled in the vernacular, “The Yellow Peril”. If you recall I envisaged a way to tame its unsightly shapes and lines. Like an unbroken chestnut mare I knew that its savage and unruly character needed only the powerful grip of my thighs to purify and refashion its clumsy aesthetic message. Once tamed I did not hold back. I constructed my dear metallic stead Platanito in its image enabling me to metaphorically ride this “Yellow Peril” into the deep, dark orifices of your outback and beyond.

And so here I now am, a man and a body so intrinsically connected to the “Great Southern Land” that our destinies are now one. So dear citizens of New South Wales I implore you to wish me well if only for the sake of your own souls.

xxx

Tino La Bamba

The Lismore Finale: Local TV networks try to make sense if it all and I show the mayor how to party

December 19th, 2009

Prime television news learns of my story. I like this. It means I no longer have to shout so loud to get my message heard.

aa

For my grand opening at Lismore Regional Gallery I storm in on Platanito. I decare to the people of this town that I have come across many perils. I tell them that I have ridden with the punks of Casino and that I have had to push Platanito over the Great Dividing Range. But I say that none of these challenges compare to Lismore on Sundays. They seem to understand this. This town is like a deserted bus stop on gods day of rest. I tell these people that I felt more lonely on Sunday in Lismore than when I was stuck in Ebor.

mm

Here I am meeting with the mayor of Lismore. We have much to discuss. She says to me that I must be an industrious man to have built Platanito and to have done what I have done. I tell her that yes I am a man.

close

We move in close to exchange secrets. She tells me that if I want I can have the keys to the pueblo. I tell her of my plans to solve the Lismore Sunday crisis.

sundial_004_20091219-16565198

Later on at the party things start to get a little crazy!. This flacita says to me that my collar is a little dangerous. She believes that if I get too close I might pierce her neck and any meaningful interaction will be lost.

sundial_004_20091219-16493590

I tell her not to worry. I show her that my frilled neck is indicative of my mood. I say sure there is danger but don’t you want to know what your man is feeling.

black copy

The party ends in the way that all parties should end. At some point the night deteriorates into a debauched cycle where potential memories are abandoned. I know dear reader that this must be frustrating for you since I have shared every nuance of my adventure. You must be asking, why keep your cartes so close to your chest now!

Well let me respond by telling you that there is simply no point in recalling such abjectivities. They are so abstract that to put them into words would sound like bad haiku. In a way I feel I have finally understood Ron Robertson-Swans abominable creation, The Yellow Peril. Sometimes words just cannot express the true grotesqueries of this world.

The Natives Go Wild!

December 15th, 2009

northern-star

Word is continuing to spread of my remarkable odyssey. The largest newspaper in the district, The Northern Star interviews me. They are keen to hear of the knowledge that I have gleaned by travelling through this harsh land. I speak to two men. A writer and a photographer who have been sent to cover my story. They stare up at me wide eyed as I impart my observations on the landscape that has surrounded them their entire lives.

SDV_0049_20091214-23294887

They ask me if I have encountered any hostility as I passed from pueblo to pueblo. I tell them that I have only encountered “hostility tamed”. They look at me like I make no sense. So I explain to them that if ever there was a moment of aggression it was so quickly abated that it would be incorrect to call it hostility. The appropriate term is “hostility tamed”. I tell them that yes I came across a lot of this.

DSC_4609

I tell them as I tell you dear reader that my adventure is coming to an end. You see there is only so much that an adventurer such as myself can do in a town like Lismore. It is, after all, shaped like a wok. You go up the wok on one side then you come down and your momentum carries you up the wok on the otherside. Like a see-saw. After you do this one or two times you have done all there is to do in this town. I tell these boys that I will be holding one final party before I vanish from this vida! This party is going to blow this town away. There is no doubt that there has never been a party like the party I am going throw (except perhaps for that debauched evening between Rafito and those Gentlemen of Sport). I tell them to be at Lismore Regional Gallery at 6pm on Friday the 18th December. You won’t want to miss it. I tell them to be there bitches!

Day 7: Casino to Lismore – Triumphantly I arrive! But not before showing Casino what Sunday driving is all about.

December 13th, 2009

P1010637

Here I am in Casino with two girls from the caravan park where I stay. They get excited when I tell them of my odyssey. It makes them want to tell me the secrets of Casino like where the hidden route to Lismore lies. Look out, they say. It is much more hilly than the main road. I tell them that their concerns are touching but not necessary. I am a king of the mountains and a hill is but a mole in my vision of the world now.

One of them says to me that she does not like my accent. She says, why do you talk like that? I tell her because this is how I talk. You might think that such differences might lead to a serious confrontation but we get over this cultural impasse and make plenty of time to snuggle.

boys

I cruise the streets of Casino looking for some action before I start the triumphant last leg of my journey.

boys2

I come across these restless youths who are in a similar mood to me. They want to cruise the streets of Casino too! I tell them come cruise with me. Come cruise with Tino La Bamba!

boys5

We ride in formation, like eagles across the desert plain. The town is ours. No one dares mess with us. We own the town. If only for one day!

pub

I stop in at the local pub and I tell them that there will be no more Sunday drivers. They  seem to like this idea and cheer me on to my final destination!

P1010638

Not even past the town limits and no lo puedo creer. More bike trouble! This time it is the clutch. I make the necessary repairs. There shall be no errors when I ride to glory.

entranceLismore

I triumphantly enter this town that has plagued my thoughts and my feelings for so long now. This journey which once seemed so simple has transformed itself into a nebulous ball of reflections and reincarnations. I am now Tino “Thunderbolt” La Bamba, journeyman and myth maker.

I try to recall the initial impulse that I had when I set out to do what no other Spaniard has done before. I remind myself of where this all began.

If you remember dear reader it all started with the need to reclaim mi familia’s honour. It has been hardly a year since my dear little brother Rafito was compromised by a group of local footballers in this very town. I must tell you all that if my initial goal was revenge then it certainly is not now.

What needed to be done was not to bring untold destruction on these gentlemen of sport. What needed to be done was to create a vision, a journey. A statement symbolica that would change el mundo and allow all its grotesqueries to flood to the surface. . . at least for a little while.

It was only later,  on the banks of the Yarra River, that I conceived of this vision. If you recall I stumbled across Ron Robertson Swann’s Yellow Peril. Back then I dared to dream of a way to communicate my violent reaction to this strange golden incarnation which I could not believe was forged by the hands of man!

Back then I conceived of a vision. That vision was to communicate my experience of  The Yellow Peril without fear or recrimination to the world! My dream was to make it fly. I would be its pilot bringing its grotesquerie to vistas unbeknownst to it.

I sit back into my saddle and storm into Lismore.

lismore gallery

Outside Lismore Regional Gallery my ideas cohere into the refined but brutal action of high rev burnouts and circuits. Sometimes words just do not suffice. Sometimes you have to let your heart sing.

DSC_4823

DSC_4829

In a humble dwelling that has been provided to me by the residents of this township I collapse. I sleep the sleep of the thousands of steadfast explorers that have trodden the unknown paths before me.

fireworks

While I dream the township fires up the canons. Fireworks for Tino La Bamba who rode his dear Platanito from Sydney to Lismore!

Day 6: Ebor to Casino – Down los montanas I run with the bulls, take on the skaters and draw ever closer to my final destination!

December 13th, 2009

DSC_4736

We leave Ebor as the sun rises. Down on the coast temperatures hit forty plus but up in the montanas they get so cold that my body suit freezes up. This restricts my essential movement and raises the danger to critical levels. I put on this delicate fleece to keep mi pechugas caliente.

cows

Two grazing bulls hear the roar of Platanito and make a break for it. It is beast against beast as we charge down the mountain looking for greener pastures.

DSC_4750

In Nymboida I tease Platanito.

DSC_4759

Platanito teases me back in Coutts Crossing but takes it a little too far! She lets this Chiquita too close to her elegant frame and powerful force. I want to tell you dear reader that I have had to deal with some difficult things in my life but none has been harder than to see another sit on Platanito.

But I need not fret. The chiquita takes the clutch too gingerly and will not let herself sit deep enough in the saddle. If you want to steal Platanitos heart you must have no dudas!

DSC_4774

Before it is noon I call my friends J.Katz, Miss Death and Coffin Ed at The Naked City on FBI radio. I tell them to be careful. I tell them that the sound of homely voices can destroy the most resilient of voyagers.

skaters2

In Grafton I search for the blossoming Jacaranda. But I have arrived too late! The lilac flower has gone. So I take my chances with the boys on the skate ramp on the outskirts of town. These youths think that they are pretty clever with their jumps and switches and they challenge Platanito and I to a contest. Platanito sits quite low to the ground but I rev her up and approach the jump. The muffler scrapes a little but we get manage to get airbourne. As the back tyre leaves the ground I tell the skaters look, I am flying! I am flying!

skaters

DSC_4775

Later I make chit chat with the locals at Sissy’s Crafts. This lady notices that the left side of my frill is saggy. I tell her that it only stands erect when I am nervous or if I attend black tie.

DSC_4778

Only kilometros out from Casino and engine trouble strikes again. The exhaust pipe threatens to come lose and do untold damage. I feel this must be my final challenge. This engine has been with me since Wollombi and I don’t want to lose her now. She is afterall the corazon of Platanito and her high pitched 2 stroke rattle now bleats in time with my own heart. I give her one final shot! I scavenge around the side of the road and find a piece of wire to keep this dream alive! Dear reader Lismore is so close now I can breathe her. I can feel her drawing me to her hot zone. There is no force on this planet that can stop me now. I rest not 30km from my destination. Tomorrow I make my final approach!

Day 5: Armidale to Ebor – An Armidale Spectacular, attacked by canines and Ebor does not understand why I wear red nail polish!

December 12th, 2009

kids 2

I leave Armidale in a blaze of glory roaring through the town centre and showing everyone just what Platanito and I can do! When I come across this primary school group with their teacher they parted like the Red Sea and awaited my words like I was a prophet. I slowed down and I told them that one day they too could build a beast like Platanito and that they too could learn to tame her by flying through the roads of rural NSW. Dare to dream I said! Dare to dream!

DSC_4711

Not 10 kilometros out of Armidale and I am out in the bush again.

DSC_4706

In Wollomombi I take a pit stop and check my longitude and my latitude. You can never be too careful when it comes to wilderness navigation.

DSC_4700

dogs

As I leave Wollomombi I get attacked by perros! They come at me from all directions and attempt to take me down. I hold my course and pull back on the throttle surging away.

DSC_4730

On the outskirts of Ebor is the magnificent Ebor Falls!

DSC_4723

I take the trek out to the perilous precipice where the water cascades. From here you can see the Great Dividing Range in all its glory. It undulates into a blue mist. I am overwhelmed. My collar frills up in nervous anticipation and I bare my breast roaring out into this great vista.

gay

In Ebor I go into the local pub and meet the residents. This one guy hears about my blog and says maybe he can use it to meet a lady. I say sure! I say to him your chances will be even better if we are in the photo together. But as I sidle up to him he pulls away. He says, I don’t want the ladies to get the wrong idea and think that I am gay. I say to him what are you talking about? He says you are wearing red nail polish. I tell him of course I am wearing red nail polish! I say it will look pretty stupid if I was just wearing red thongs and no nail polish to match.

DSC_4734

Day 4: Gloucester to Armidale – Up the Great Dividing Range and I am no longer alone in the woods. Instead I am gloriously christened Tino “Thunderbolt” La Bamba!

December 10th, 2009

I begin the journey through Thunderbolt’s way and up the Great Dividing Range. Here I am looking out over these montanas. The montanas that I will soon be a part of. I reflect to myself, what great challenges will they bring to me and Platanito? We have already been through so much together but it is nothing compared to the mighty THUNDERBOLT! At gradients that reach 12% and which run for 5 kilometros I wonder if I will finally be laid to rest here with my beloved Platanito. If I do not make it will my message survive? Bring it on Mr Thunderbolt! Bring it on! I am ready I tell you.

Midway through the climb I need to rest mi cuerpo. My worst fears about Platanito have come true. She can not take gradients over 5%. I curse her yellow body. I have the urge to kick her but I hold back. I hold back cause she has been so good to me. What is 5 kilometros when she has taken my heavy body for hundreds of kilometros! I am ashamed. I stroke her soft leather seat. I will not quit on you Platanito. I will never quit on you!

Triumphantly I near the summit. It is here that I start to feel Captain Thunderbolt’s spirit enter mi cuerpo. There he is looking down at me from the heavens saying. . . .God damn it La Bamba. . . . God damn it!

I look out over this great dividing range humbled and empowered. I am Reborn with the spirit of Captain Thunderbolt. It is at this moment that this great man speaks to me. I take a deep breath and respond, yes Captain, yes! I shall now be known as Tino “Thunderbolt” La Bamba!

Here in the Great Dividing Ranges exists another world. It is apart from the hussle and bustle of realidad. I frolic in this wild land. A newly formed mammal finding his place in this enigmatic southern continent.

Later on I stop in to Nowendoc for a Nowendoc Gut Buster!

Outside this mountain town café I encounter some bikies. They think their bikes are pretty special. That is until they see Platanito. They can’t help but gravitate to me. They can’t help but go WILD! I circle them like a shark. Revving her, so they understand her true power.

At the entrance to Walcha stands un grandisimo pollo! I give him a hug.

In Uralla I find the man who has infected me with his spirit, his alma and his power. The one and only Captain Thunderbolt.

I cruise around Uralla looking to share Thunderbolt’s spirit to all. Some like it…Some don’t. He was a very controversial man. These guys at the Pub were very impressed! It is funny to have so much in common with a dead guy. I share his courage, his hubris and his sore bottom. We certainly both love to ride. With this thought in mi Corazon I burn a trail to Armidale where I will spend la noche.

Day Three: Singleton to Gloucester – No more policia, no more problemas, no more nothing. I am approaching the abyss

December 9th, 2009

DSC_4530

Hola Everyone. Good morning! Here is the caravan where I stay in Singleton.

DSC_4535

Ready to go again!

DSC_4542

I am just past Dungog. I pass the first hardwood stress laminated bridge in the world! I suppose one was enough cause I have to tell you that I was expecting this bridge to be quite impressive. Yet it is but a plank across a small stream. I am starting to worry that I am entering a great, a great abyss where bridges mean nothing, where thoughts mean nothing and where I, the Great Tino La Bamba. . . mean nothing. If a tree falls in the woods will anyone hear me scream. I ride on.

DSC_4550

What do the cows see? Do they sense that I am a man who is losing the ability to reason? A man that has become so one with his machine that he has no mind.

DSC_4553

DSC_4554

From coal to cows I arrive in Gloucester from Singleton. It has been a long bumpy journey so I stop in at Café 57 for a fish burger. The bonita waitress says to me, what is my story? I give her the abridged version.

DSC_4560

Do you want to come to Lismore with me? I ask the waitress this with the force that only one experienced in the knowledge of true crazy travel can ask. It must have thrown her emotions all over the place. She blushes and says she has to work tomorrow.

DSC_4565

We are going through the gas. Platanito is drinking it down like a lush!

We need to fill up the canister to prepare for tomorrow: for tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow is the day where the true test will be asked of me. Tomorrow I go up Thunderbolt’s Way! The incline up to Walcha is one of the steepest around. One of the climbs goes for five kilometres. Worse than the climbs in the Tour de France. The incline is rated at 12%! To give you an idea of this it will be like riding up the opera house one hundred times. I tell the folk of Gloucester where I am going and their eyes go as wide as the skies. . . . good luck they tell me with a grimace. I am going into the abyss. My mind may not make it back. At least I have Platanito.

Day Two: Singleton – more Policia more engine failure and the largest sundial en el mundo

December 8th, 2009

DSC_4500

I find another friend in Wollombi, we have so much to discuss but not enough time!

DSC_4501

I come across my first dirt road and you have to know that the lack of suspension on Platanito really punished mi cuerpo. If she has one fault it is that she can sometimes be a little bit rough. My bottom got such a beating that it is now pretty much just two big calluses. In some ways this is not so bad. It makes my rear look more sculpted and toned.

DSC_4505

DSC_4509

More policia. But this time they don’t even hassle me, instead they ask me if I will let them take a photo so they can show their kids back home. Word must be spreading of the Great Tino La Bamba!

DSC_4519

This is starting to become a bit of a habit. The engine goes kaput again but this time it is even more serious. As you can see the back bracket that holds the engine down has been bent so out of shape that the motor can no longer be attached to the bicycle. This is serious stuff. I don’t have the tools to fix this sort of issue. To fix this you need an anvil and a welder. I am fortunate enough to be only 2km out from Singleton so I take the engine off and pedal the rest of the way. Once in town I go searching for a machinist to fix the bracket. I find a place called Hayward Engineering. He fixes the bracket in 5 minutes. I ask him, how much you want? He says, just let me take a photo for my familia. Pretty good deal!

broken-bracket

Broken!

DSC_4581

Fixed!

Singleton-and-Sundial_20091

Por fin I reach the famous Singleton Sundial! As a homage to the hours I have spent riding on my trip I circle the structure 15 times. That’s a lot of time to be with a beast like Platanito rattling your arse. Tomorrow, Gloucester! I know dear reader that I told you I would go past Tamworth but the beauty of Thunderbolts Way is worth a million big guitars!

Day One: Sydney to Wollembi – The Policia interrogate me, my engine breaks down but nothing will halt my progress to Lismore

December 7th, 2009

DSC_4453

No one can match Platanitos power.

DSC_4446

Not even out of Sydney and the Berowra police try to stop my thunder. She says to me where you go? I tell her I go to Lismore. She laughs at my hubris then tells me that if the highway patrol catch me without my reflectors on they will take my bike apart and I will have to carry it the rest of the way. . . .though I would carry Platanito to the ends of the earth I can not bear the idea of this fate so I put my reflectors back on….it makes the bike not look so good but its ok cause I more than make up for any deficiencies in my overall presentation. At least that is what the Policia think….they take a photo of me then let me go.

police

Now I get stopped by the big fellas. The men in control. The highway patrol. He does indeed look over Platanito telling me that she is illegal because she is more than half a horse power. You think? My god, Platanito is worth more and is more powerful than 1000 horses. But I do not tell the highway man this knowledge. I keep it too myself. He says I’m going to let you go but only because you look so good and because you are so bold. You think I’m lying? No punk in shorts has ever got a contraption like this one past highway patrol! That said, there is no precedent for what I am doing here.

DSC_4459

I am well into rural NSW and the bush is swallowing me whole..The heat is stifling reaching into the upper thirties. I thank god for my full body suit which protects my delicate body from the suns harmful rays.

DSC_4481

On the first day and as you can see by the odometer I have clocked 115 km.

DSC_4479

I am flying like the wind then without warning, not even a polite cough, my engine just cuts out. I pedal and I turn it over and over but there’s just no compression, nothing. I change the plugs. I clean the carburetor. Still nothing. She is broke and to think I am only 2km from Wollombi! I get out my tools and I change the engine with the cows watching me from the scrub. Once she is in place I strike her up again and we are away! Nothing can stop us now!

breakdown

DSC_4489

Once in Wollombi I show my broken motor to the local mechanic, Dennis. He is an expert in the two stroke. He shows me where the problem is. Made in China. This engine is gone he says. He says, you have well and truly destroyed it by riding in this heat. This may very well be true but how else does one get to Lismore on this barren continent, if not in the heat? This engine is now all but a relic from this epic journey.

DSC_4471

There is not much else left to do but to finish the day with a bottle of Wollomi’s infamous Jurd’s juice made from Doctor Jurd’s secret formula. I take him to bed with me. Sweet dreams