Blue Mountains Ride - 16 Nov 2007

Disaster averted - just !

Coffs Harbour - Home

Friday 16 Nov 2007

Redcliffe to Canberra, Bathurst, the Blue Mountains, the NSW South Coast, back again. 4,000 kms and not a scratch. What a ride. I did have a cramp in my right hand from holding the throttle but that was the only damage ... so far.

The last roundabout in sight, home not more than three kilometres and the local home gardener decides that he can not see or hear a large motorbike. Fortunately a crack of the throttle and I move out of his way with 30 centimetres to spare.

At home in time for lunch and to start washing my stinking clothes ... and to start planning the next trip.

Blue Mountains Ride - 15 Nov 2007

Thursday 15 Nov 2007

Canberra - Coffs Harbour

Left early in the morning to be sure to cut through Sydney traffic with as little drama as possible.

Straight up the Pacific Highway.

Blue Mountains Ride - 14 Nov 2007

Wednesday 14 Nov 2007

Bundanoon - Canberra

Blue Mountains Ride - 13 Nov 2007

Katoomba - Bundanoon

Tuesday 13 Nov 2007

Picture time overlooking the Blue Mountains. What an motley crew we made.

This is a beautiful spot and is a must do for anyone visiting the region.

This here is the Dutch tourist who took the photo above. Dan started chatting in some form of mixed Dutch/German. Thank goodness his English was good.

Blue Mountains Ride - 12 Nov 2007

Canberra - Bathurst - Blue Mountains - Katoomba

Monday 12 Nov 2007

Here is the team at Dan and Alison's home in Canberra. With a range of bikes from Dan's BMW K Series tourer to a Yamaha FZR250 we had a great mix of bikes and juggling range and riding comfort was always going to be interesting.

We also had an older Kawasaki GPX250 Ninja in the mix which still looks the goods today

After reaching Bathurst, the obligatory lap around the spiritual home of Australian motorsport.





Now this picture needs an explanation. Jarrod rode the Yamaha FZR250 and when we unpacked at the hostel in Katoomba he brings out this "cocoon" and explains that it was a present from his mother-in-law, something to do with being comfortable when flying. I have since learned that these things are great for keeping out the bed-bugs.

Blue Mountains Ride - 11 Nov 2007

Sunday 11 Nov 2007

Spent a leisurely day helping Dan building something for the kitchen. When he saw my ability to (not) cut straight, I am certain he was glad that I do not do carpentry for a living.

Blue Mountains Ride - 10 Nov 2007

Sun, I love you ... Kempsey - Canberra

Saturday 10 Nov 2007

Dry.

Fast riding.

Truckies with excellent manners.

The giant RAM in Goulburn. Not something you see everyday.

Afternoon tea with ice cream vendors who happen to ride bikes outside of Goulburn.

Finally, sitting at a viewing platform at Lake George watching parasailors jump of the cliffs and fly over this beautiful land before enjoying tea with Dan an Alison in Canberra. This is my payoff for yesterday and I love it.

Blue Mountains Ride - 9 Nov 2007

Rain, rain, rain. Home - Kempsey

Friday 9 Nov 2007

Started out a beautiful day, but in a very short time, turned to rain. Mindful of the mild hypothermia I contracted on my last trip, I abandoned plans to go via the New England Highway and bolted down the Pacific Highway.

Got drenched, dried out, got drenched again.

Dried out again, stopped at Kempsey. Nothing else to really say about that. Except that I smelt bad too, like I was wearing wet, riding gear. Funny about that. Hopefully the next day would be better.

Tamworth 10 June 2007

Sunday 10 June 2008

Inverell Transport Museum

The Inverell Transport Museum is not a collection owned by a single person or business. A range of owners loan or store their cars, trucks, buses and motorbikes to the museum and this provides for an eclectic mix of vehicles. The vehicles on display change as the society updates the display and owners take away vehicles for private use and bring in new vehicles.


Since this visit the museum has moved into new sheds, next door to the original property with more floor space and plans for a restoration workshop. I am hoping to visit again in March 2009 on my way to Canberra.









Naturally, performance Fords are the highlight of any visit.

video

Here's a video of the museum. It is 45 MB so will take a while to download.

Tamworth 9 June 2007

A kid in a candy store

Saturday 9 June 2008

Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum

Uralla Military Museum

Tamworth 8 June 2007

There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing ...

Friday 8 June 2007

Left home on a beautiful day, cool clear weather and decided to head south over one of the most scenic parts of this area, the Border Ranges. I have travelled through this many times by car and thought it should make the trip to Tamworth just that little bit longer, but a whole lot more enjoyable.

Wrong.

First, over the Border Ranges, there is leaf litter everywhere. Lacking confidence I slowed down significantly. By the time I hit Tenterfield, I was over an hour behind schedule.

I also learnt another valuable lesson. When you travel in higher altitudes, it gets COLD. Now I already knew this, but had ignored this whilst planning. and thus was not really prepared for very cold temparatures. Things got worse when nature decided that this was the weekend to open up and try to break the drought. To the east of me, parts of the coastline were soaked and I had the pleasure of riding through my first ever snowstorm.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short come about 8:00 PM I was trying to sign into my motel but mild hypothermia had set in and I could not hold the pen. Ah well, a nice warm room, lots of hot tea and a TV and I was set for the evening. The next day, Tamworth's famous Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum.

Great Ocean Road 3 March 2007

Farewell and Riders on the Storm

Saturday 3 March 2007

The last day of the trip. From Tahblik Dan was heading north back home to Canberra and I was heading south back down to Melbourne. A final farewell with promises to be sure that this was the first and not the last ride and we were off, but the trip had one more drama in store for me.


Travelling down the Hume Highway with no problems, all was good with the world. Then as I approached Melbourne a huge electrical storm was brewing. I could see up to three lightning strikes at a time hit the ground in the direction I was heading. The thunder reverberated towards me. Yes, it did frighten me, just a little. Why would I ride towards such a storm? Perhaps it will move on I thought, or more appropriately, hoped. Luck was on my side today and as I got closer the storm moved on. When I returned the bike to Aussie Motorcycle Hire, the storm had passed by about an hour earlier.

So now it was farewell to the trusty Kawasaki kill a few hours and back on the bus. Then back on the plane and home to start planning my next trip.

Great Ocean Road 2 March 2007

Bimbling Along

Friday 2 March 2007

After staying at the motel across the road from Flagstaff Hill, at Warnabool we just had to go and spend the morning there. For anyone travelling through this area, this is a must see.

Being a weekday, there were hardly any tourists around and we were able to spend time with the volunteers that make the place tick. And they are fantastic people. I spent several hours talking with the guys about the old fire engines, pumping stations, everything.




After lunch we filled up the bikes and opened the throttles. Passing through places such as Mount Elephant and Ballarat, we ended up at a place outside of Castlemaine called Guildford. Guldford holds special memories for me. Back in 1991 my wife and I stayed in a Bed and Breakfast there that was fantastic. Back in the day before mobile phones and this place had no phone, not TV in the room and I do mean room - in this converted barn there was only one bead and breakfast room, which means you are treated very specially. This is the place. Whilst it is no longer a bed and breakfast, Guildford still is a great place to visit and mobile phone coverage is low - which makes it even better.


Whilst at Guildford, Dan suggested he contact an old friend and see if we can spend the night there. Where "there" was I had no idea, but why not? Well "there" was Tahbilk Vineyards, one of the oldest vineyards in Australia still going today. The first vines were planted in 1860.

So again we opened the throttles, passing through Bendigo and rural Victoria. Road Bike Heaven. And this is where we ended up. Can you think of a better way to finish the day?


My thanks to Bonnie for all her hospitality.

Great Ocean Road 1 March 2007

Travels with McDreamy

Thursday 1 March 2007

Up early and back over the Westgate bridge. Dan and I had breakfast at Williamtown and then headed for Geelong. My first chance to try out the GPX. Great bike. The large bikes from the late 1980's to the mid 1990's are absolutely fantastic pieces of machinery. Whilst the newer bikes have superior design and are easier to ride, particularly at speed, there is a real satisfying feel to these older bikes.

On to Apollo Bay, where we start the Great Ocean Road.


Now take a good look at these two jokers. I'm the overweight one. Dan on the other hand is still very healthy.

Just outside of Apollo Bay as a large wooden arch that denotes the "official" start of the Great Ocean Road. There is a car park and opportunity to take photos etc. At the car park a bunch of tourists start pointing at Dan. An English couple from the tourist coach come across and ask us to take their photo and when we ask them to take ours with our bikes they confide that some of the Japanese girls on the bus think that Dan is Patrick Dempsey who play "McDreamy" from the TV show "Greys Anatomy". Dan's wife Alison has a good laugh over this one when I tell her some months later.


On to the Great Ocean Road proper. The Shipwreck Coast. What a ride. This is an area rich with Indigenous and European history. The road itself was constructed as a Memorial to those killed in the First World War and was a construction marvel at the time it was built. The Great Ocean Road was built by returned servicemen. Surveying began in 1918 and construction took place between 1919 and 1932.

There have been over 300 shipwrecks along this coastline and countless lives have been lost along its rugged edges.

The remaining of the Twelve Apostles - there are only eight left now - stand tall against a pounding ocean.


In this picture you can see the remains of Apostle Number Nine.


And of course, Dan

At Loch Ard Gorge we stopped at the Visitors Centre, which explains the history of the Shipwreck Coast and of the most famous shipwreck, the Loch Ard. Only two of the fifty-one passengers and crew survived - Tom Pearce, a ship's apprentice and Eva Carmichael, an Irishwoman immigrating with her family. Tom was washed ashore, and rescued Eva after hearing her cries for help. He then climbed out of the gorge to raise the alarm to locals, an amazing feat.

Through the afternoon we covered mile after mile of incredible scenery and great roads. To some motorbike purists this road is now overused, but as we were travelling on a weekday and in no hurry it was everything you could expect.

We eventually finished a great day of riding at Warnabool.