The Mother of Experiences occurred on the fifth day of our stay when the Dare Devil in me surfaced, and I walked into the Quad Bike Hire Shop to book an hour’s adventure ride on a monstrous quad. Scotty having savoured this privilege in his wild youth with his mate Albert, confidently chose a big red bike and climbed on it with an air of “I’ve done this before.” I scrambled up on the seat of my mean machine, promptly placing the protective helmet on my head and pretended to look cool. Josh, the handsome instructor with the perfect tan that made the perfect backdrop to his blue eyes, pointed to the starter button and in his gorgeous English accent proceeded to explain the simple intricacies of the vehicle.
“There’s nothing to it, you’ll be fine.” He assured me, and with that, I was road-borne!
We rode in convoy, a total of six bikes dominating the road of this tiny resort town, causing heads to turn in our wake, as our hands lifted to a crowd-pleasing wave like the Queen Mother’s.
Alas, when it was time to make a right hand turn at the intersection that would lead us out of the town, and onto the road that follows the beach via the sand dunes, I found it very difficult to steer the wheels of the vehicle where I wanted it to go. It seemed to have a mind of its own not allowing me to direct it. With all my physical strength, I managed to turn it onto the half side of the road. I could hear the encouraging sounds from the instructor who was riding ahead of me, signalling to keep going, but suddenly I fell in a ditch. Well, no amount of encouragement could instil any confidence, I might previously have had. I flatly refused to ride this monster.
“I’ll pillion my husband.” I cried in desperation, feeling sorry for myself.
At that point, I was certain that I heard the thoughts of everyone in the group reverberating, “a middle-aged woman refusing to act her age.” Smiling politely, Josh took my bike all the way to the foreshore and left it forlorn in a parking bay. Helplessness replaced Embarrassment!
Clutching onto Scotty, I rode the waves of sand dunes with him, as he skillfully negotiated the sharp turns dictated by the tracks. Enthralled by the unbelievable scenery, gripped by the speed and touched by the wind fierce on my face, we came to a hill that boasted a 300m vertical drop (well, almost)! Everyone’s bikes came to a sudden halt and the riders’ eyes widened in awe of such a sight. Josh laughed and gently broke the news that each rider had to go down this hill because there was no other way out.
“Why can’t we turn back?” I dared to motion.
“Because this is your challenge,” he replied cheekily. “It’s actually easier than it seems,” he continued, reassuringly.
“Yep, I can see how it’s so very easy for you to say, Josh!”
He explained to the riders how to steer their bike down the sharp hill and then, he physically demonstrated it with an exhibition of his own riding prowess. I could feel that Scotty was challenged, but faced with no option, he decided to put on his brave hat and show the world that he is no quitter!
I wrapped my arms around him so tight, that I’m sure he felt my boa’s constricting squeeze around his ribs making him breathless, only he chose to say nothing. I knew that no prayer or magic was about to work here, and I said nothing too. The motor growled and the wheels turned.
The bike suddenly pointed vertically downwards in the air, and we were descending into a mad forward plunge, watching the ground accelerating towards our face like a giant cricket bat. My mouth let out an unwilling scream that seemed to have just popped out from the depths of my throat, and echoed across the dunes. Before I had any sense of time, we had landed safely and smoothly.
“Good job Scotty, my hero!” I enthused in relief and admiration for my partner in life and crime!
“But wait, there’s more,” cried Josh, “now, you have to go up and do it again!” And he was NOT kidding!
excerpt from “Adventure Before Dementia Down Under”