Sunday, October 19, 2014

18 - 19 October - Anglers Rest - Overnight Camping

Received a call Friday afternoon from my friend Marcus, inviting me to a ride and overnight camp at Anglers Rest, about 30 km past Omeo. Marcus' friend Greg was making up a three man team.
Spent the rest of Friday checking all my camping gear and working out how to fit it on the bike. It turns out that everything - tent, downmat, sleeping bag and Helinox camping chair all fitted exactly in my Viking Bag which I reviewed some time ago here (click here) . Of course there was lots of room left for other bits and pieces as well.

On Saturday Greg and Marcus arrived at 12:15 and without much further ado we were heading east on the Princes Highway on a beautiful warm afternoon. First stop was Bruthen for fuel before swinging on to the Great Alpine Road for the 100km hop to Omeo. Anglers Rest is located a further 30km on the road between Omeo and Falls Creek and this final stretch is spectacular and the road is very winding. Our destination was a camping ground on the banks of the Cobungra River just across the road from the Blue Duck Inn (http://www.blueduckinn.com.au). We arrived about 4:30 to join a number of other groups already set up and enjoying this wonderful spot. The first priority was to set up camp followed shortly by a short walk to the pub for a few drinks and cigars while lounging on the banks of the crystal clear stream - a perfect finish to a great afternoon. At 6:30 we had dinner at the Blue Duck which surprisingly was quite crowded, in a dining room featuring two open fires. Then it was time to get back to our little camp site and light a fire before finally turning in at around 10pm.
A clear sky bursting with stars promised a chilly evening and it was nice to snuggle into the sleeping bag. Woke this morning at about 7:30 to a very quiet campsite.
By 8:30 we had packed up all the gear and were on our way to Omeo for breakfast and fuel. After one more stop in Bruthen it was time for everyone to head home after a short but magnificent motorcycle excursion.

While on the subject of motorcycle luggage, Viking Bags have recently released information to assist with the selection of the correct bag for a range of motorcycles. Check it out here.


Total Distance 660 km

Sunday, October 12, 2014

12 October - Mt Donna Buang, Yarra Ranges

The weather bureau promised 28ºC today and it had been some time since the Beemer had a good run. The day started off cool but it was very pleasant riding through Shady Creek, Neerim Junction, Powelltown and Yarra Junction. The Warburton Bakery beckoned for an early lunch and then it was up Mt Donna Buang. The road to the summit (1250m above sea level) is sealed but quite winding.
The summit is covered in trees which restricts the views completely which means you have to climb the lookout tower to get a panoramic perspective. Unfortunately it was quite hazy and not really worthwhile taking a photo of the scenery.
The return trip was via Warburton once more and then home via Powelltown, Noojee, Willow Grove etc. By the afternoon it had become quite warm. The Beemer performed flawlessly.

Total Distance 350km

Friday, October 10, 2014

10 October - Good to be back home!

We arrived home yesterday on a flight from Rome via Dubai and Sydney. Tried starting both bikes as soon as I got home. The BMW was raring to go, but the VT750 needed to spend the evening with the battery charger before it too roared into life. Got 12 hours straight sleep and this morning after taking care of the absolute necessities took the Honda out for a little ride and learned a couple of facts about the bike I didn't know. The first thing I learned is that a partly depleted battery (it wasn't totally flat) resets both Trip meters. I use Trip Meter 2 to monitor refuelling (the Honda doesn't have a gauge). After I took off, I checked it and as it was reading very low km's I assumed that I must have refuelled the bike after I used it last time. After riding for about 45 minutes, and some 40km from home, I learned that the low Trip reading was due to low battery voltage and not full fuel tank - the bike unceremoniously stopped, no splutter, no time to think about the problem and no time to change to 'reserve'. Eventually, sitting at the side of the road my jet lagged brain finally worked out the problem and the engine roared back into life on 'reserve'. Never having been in this situation I had little idea what range I should expect from 'reserve'. The second thing I learned today was that it is at least 40km because I reached the BP service station in Traralgon.
Only a short ride today, but it was very satisfying to be back on a bike after an eight week absence.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

1 October - San Gimignano, Italy

Those of you who visit my blog regularly will have noticed my extensive lack of blogging and riding. One or two folks have emailed to check that I'm OK. Let me reassure everyone that I'm fine but I've not had the opportunity to ride for a while because I am currently on an eight week holiday in Europe. Right now I'm staying at a very nice farmhouse apartment in Tuscany. This is the view from my window.
I have a little over a week to go before it's time to board our plane in Rome and head back to Australia. A bike ride is very high on the priority list of things to do. Today we visited Siena one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and recently we also spent a few days in Venice.

So watch this space for a ride report soon. Hope the bike starts...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

4 August - Yarra Valley

The weather here in Victoria has been particularly bad for motorcycling the past few weeks. Cold, rain and high winds - often at the same time, make you think twice before starting up the bike. So, this morning only one of the three prevailed - it was freezing cold but the sky was sunny and clear and no wind so with a couple of extra layers of protection, including a balaclava (you lose most of your heat through the head) I set off for the Yarra Valley with the aim of enjoying a coffee and lunch at the Warburton Bakery.

The ride was absolutely fantastic except for those few bits in the forest where the sun didn't break through the trees, and by the time I reached Warburton all was well except for the feet. I've never come up with a good strategy for keeping the feet warm.

Once again lunch and coffee at the Warburton Bakery was outstanding.


I noticed over the past couple of months that this place is always busy and I can certainly vouch for the food and the coffee. There is even off street parking for bikes and always a few bikers around to have chat with.


Check out their terrific web site :http://www.warburtonbakery.com.au

The ride home was great too and by the time I arrived I was glad I overcame the initial cold of the morning.

Total distance 320 km.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22 July - Photographic expedition in Sth Gippsland


(Click photo to enlarge)

After another long spell of cold, windy and uninspiring weather the outlook for today was sunny and chilly. So, on with the thermals, the second pair of socks and off on the Honda. First stop was Mirboo Nth for fuel to at the local BP. Then down the other side of the hills for lunch in Meeniyan. Some weeks ago I led a Ulysses group here for lunch at the Chess cafe and was very impressed with the proprietor the food and best of all, the coffee. So today I was there by myself and had a chance to chat with Gunnar the proprietor. This kindly 76 year old originally hails from Norway and is quite a chess fanatic. There are always boards set up around the cafe, and when he is not attending to customers Gunnar is usually playing through a game from a book. I really enjoyed my lunch with him and will make a point of going back when I have more time to have a game.

Part of my aim for today was to take some photographs so I took along a camera (rather than the iPhone) and visited quite a few places to get some good shots. I rode up to the wind generator farm in Toora which provides an excellent view across the Gippsland coast to Wilsons Prom. Put together a very nice panorama from up there which look great on my 27" iMac, but I don't think blogger does it justice. If you click on the photo you'll get a somewhat better idea.

From there I continued up to Agness Falls which looked spectacular after recent rains.


Took quite a few photos and was happy with my haul. The return trip was via Tarra Valley and over Mt Tassie and I got home just before it got really cold.

A great day and a fantastic ride.

Total Distance: 239 km

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

9 July - Strzeleckis and South Gippsland

Once again, a long run of miserable weather was punctuated by a crystal clear day with a top temperature of 16ºC. So, after a few commitments earlier in the day it was time to fire up the Shadow and head for the hills, the Strzelecki Hills, which run immediately to the South of where I live.

The Strzelecki Range, is a low mountain range between the Latrobe Valley and Bass Strait. This feature is named after a Polish explorer Pawel (Paul) Strzelecki who led an expedition through here in the 1840's.

Strzelecki (Wikipedia)

At the time he was trying to get to Western Port Bay and only barely avoided starvation in the rugged terrain and vegetation of this region. Today, only 19% of the original vegetation remains, the rest having fallen victim to logging followed by farming. Fortunately there are a few bits of the area which are protected, namely Tarra-Bulga National Park, the Morwell National Park and the Mount Worth State Park.

Anyway, enough geography and history - my first stop was the InLine4 cafe in Mirboo Nth, a little town nestled beautifully in the Strzeleckis. As mentioned in a couple previous blogs, this cafe is rapidly becoming a Mecca for motorcyclists, and even though it was quite a fine day, I really enjoyed my large bowl of Goulash Soup before continuing on with my trip. It was fantastic riding through the green rolling hills before joining the South Gippsland Highway at Meeniyan. From here the ride continued past the wind farm at Toora, through Yarram and back home through Gormandale.
Reached Traralgon just after 4 pm and the temperature was dropping quickly, so it was time to fuel up and go home. Short but sweet!

Total Distance 214 km.