Great Ocean Road 28 February 2007

The Start ... and my first lessons

On Feb 28 2007 I flew to Avalon Airport outside of Melbourne to start my first ever decent roadbike trip; this trip was a long time coming and I was to learn a few things along the way.

From Avalon airport I caught a bus to Werribee and then walked for 10 kilometres carrying my motorcycle gear. Why you might ask? Well I might try to give some purist explanation about this trip being all about no cars but that would only be slightly true. Primarily I had simply forgotten the distance between Werribee and Hopper's Crossing, where I was to pick up my trusty steed for the next three days, a 1991 Kawasaki GPX1000 hire bike from Aussie Motorcycle Hire. Lesson Number One: Check the distance when travelling by foot.

So after signing my life away and waiting for the sports drink to rehydrate me, I was on the bike. My first time on a large sports tourer and I must say that these and the Kawasaki GTR1000 bikes have really impressed me. The guys at Aussie Motorcycle Hire were great and happy to store my extra gear for me. I should have asked whilst planning the trip. Lesson Number Two: Always ask about storing gear and also about helmet hire - one less thing to carry when doing a fly-hire trip.

From Aussie Motorcycle Hire I crossed the Westgate bridge and dived into Saint Kilda and rode past some places I have not seen in 16 years, since my wife, eldest son and I lived in Melbourne from 1990 to 1992. I found that my partner in crime, Dan, who was riding down from Canberra on his K Series BMW would be quite a few hours late due to a broken clutch cable. See, even Beamers break down.

So back across the Westgate Bridge and down to Williamtown to find a nice park bench to sleep on. Besides, first time on big tourer - gotta try that Westgate a few times!! This is a beautiful part of the world and Karen, Benjamin and I spent quite a few weekends here 'back in the day', particularly enjoying gelato.

Anyhow, after a few hours nap - one of my other favourite pasttimes, I was back on over the Westgate and heading in to St Klida to Dan's friend's apartment. Paul was in the RAAF as an engineering officer and had known Dan from his time at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Paul was putting us up for the night before we Dan and I headed out to see the Great Ocean Road. On the way to Paul's I pulled up at a set of lights and two guys on a magnificent custom Harley pulled up bedside. They looked up and down the GTR, nodded and with a huge grin, the rider said "A great day for it". Which indeed it was.

I pulled into Paul's garage, and waited for Dan. We had a great time over tea. Dan is not only only a lad I went to school with, he is an ex-army officer, I did a small amount of time as a RAAF office as well, so between the three of us we all had some stories to tell. The next day Dan and I were off and hopefully this two would be another great day for it.