Saturday, April 11, 2015

11 April - Port Albert and Tarra Valley

What a treat - the third fine day in a row. After a fairly late breakfast we pointed the bikes in the direction of Yarram along the Hyland Highway. Our destination was Port Albert and its famous Fish and Chip shop. As we were eating our delicious offerings from Wild Fish, surrounded by anxious seagulls, we are joined by a fellow rider on a G650GS obviously loaded for an extensive trip.

Brian, who hails from Noosa in Queensland, was on his way to ride right around Australia with a particular goal of visiting all of the remaining lighthouses along the coast - as well as lots of other great sights around the continent.

Brian turned out to be quite an adventurer. A couple of years ago he circumnavigated Australia in a catamaran - a seven month solo trip. But wait, there is more - when he completes his motorcycle trip around the country he needs to quickly get his pilot's licence so that he can pick up his new airplane which is being assembled for him so that he can do the whole trip again by air. We really enjoyed chatting with Brian, swapping motorcycling and sailing stories particularly as Marcus had completed his around Australia trip just a short time ago. All too soon it was time to return to Yarram for fuel and some delicacies from the excellent Yarram bakery. The we headed for the hills and the return trip via Tarra Valley and Balook. Another great day on the bikes.

Total Distance 160 km.

10 April - Walhalla

Another great day for a ride but unfortunately a previous appointment meant I couldn't leave till mid afternoon. Walhalla, the old gold mining town, is always a great destination for a shorter ride and so Marcus and I headed into the mountains on the two Beemers. A really lovely ride through the forests and the hills which set us up for a relaxing coffee at the Grey Horse cafe. The town was relatively busy no doubt due to the pleasant weather and the fact that school holidays are still in progress.

Walhalla is located in a very narrow, steep valley and therefore the hours of daylight are severely limited and it wasn't long before we noticed the light dimming and the air becoming a touch chilly.
The return trip was uneventful too although this side of the road featured a few rough patches which caused the heart to beat a little faster.

Arrived home quite refreshed after a very short but pleasant outing on the bikes.

Total distance 100 km.

9 April - A Beemer Day to Philip Island

My first real ride for nearly a month - due to a range of family issues which had to be dealt with my riding was restricted to a trip to Bairnsdale for a tyre change and and 18,000km service for the Honda Shadow. But today it was time to fix that long absence. My friend Marcus is staying with us for a few days so this morning we headed off on my F650GS and Marcus on his 1200GS. Our first stop was for fuel in Mirboo North and then a quick coffee at the InLine4 Cafe in Mirboo North. There were a few clouds in the sky but absolutely no rain on the radar and so we proceeded with some confidence to Leongatha and Inverloch before taking the beautiful coastal road to Cape Patterson. Then, it was straight on to Wonthaggi and Philip Island stopping finally in the centre of Cowes. Lunch consisted of hamburgers at Hamburger Edge in the middle of the main street. Great hamburgers - I can thoroughly recommend this place.

After lunch there was plenty of daylight and sunshine left so we returned home through the hills passing through Archies Creek, Kongwak, Korumburra, and Yarragon.
After a long break this was a very enjoyable day on the bikes.

Total Distance 340 km

Sunday, March 8, 2015

8 March - Strzeleckis and South Gippsland

No rain on the radar today and a forecast top of 25ºC so time to take the BMW for a spin. The Honda is grounded until Wednesday when it gets a set of new tires and an 18,000 km service.

The sky was overcast which is perfect for photography and as I meandered through the Strzelecki hills I was continuously on the look out for photo opportunities, and finally came across this pile of old junk, one of many pieces of discarded equipment on a little farm which I don't think has seen any agricultural activity for a long time.

(D-click on photo for full size version)

I had thought of going all the way to Wilson's Prom but the sky looked a bit ominous in that direction and so I headed for Inverloch via Meeniyan. Because of the long weekend Inverloch was packed and it took quite a while to get a sandwich and a coffee.

Forty minutes later it was time to start home via Mirboo North and on the road to Boolarra I spotted this old shed.
(D-click on photo for full size version)

Got home just before 4pm after a pleasant day in the saddle.

Total Distance 265 km.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

3 March - Night Photography Melbourne

Readers of this blog will know that I really enjoy photography and go to some trouble to get quality photos on my trips. I've spent the last couple of days in Melbourne, not on the bike unfortunately, and this evening realised I had an opportunity to capture some night shots of the Melbourne sky line.

Thought I'd post a few shots here even though they are not motorcycle related.
I arrived at Melbourne's Southbank precinct with plenty of sunlight left so while I was waiting for the city lights I took a few photos of people enjoying the afternoon sun. Click on the photos to view them full size and resolution.

Then, as the sun went down it was time to point the camera at the city across the river.

Then finally, on the way back I managed to get this shot of the spire on the Victorian Arts Centre.

A wonderful evening and very happy with the photo haul.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

21 February - South Gippsland

Finally a day with a reasonable weather forecast and an opportunity to try out a new motorcycle leather jacket the VikingCycle Bloodaxe Leather Jacket. Some weeks ago Motorcycle House sent me this very stylish jacket for evaluation and I've been dying to take if for a ride on a day with some variable weather. When I set out this morning it was overcast and cool and so I left the thermal lining in the jacket. The fit was perfect and as I rode off through the Strzelecki Hills I was grateful for the snug fit and the extra layer of comfort provided by the jacket. I rode to Port Albert and spotted a familiar motorcycle outside an attractive cafe there so I pulled in for an early lunch. The bike belonged to Russ Strobel who is the founder of Shadow Riders of Australia of which I am a member.
Russ was having lunch with his wife Lorraine and invited me to join them - a pleasant surprise and a great lunch.

After lunch it had warmed somewhat and I removed the inner liner of the jacket. After a very pleasant ride along the South Gippsland Highway I pulled over in a park to take some photos to show of the jacket.

By then it had really got warm so it was time to open the various vents to get some airflow through the jacket. The rest of the ride home was delightful with just enough air through the jacket to keep things cool despite an ambient temperature approaching 30ºC. 

So here is my assessment of the VikingCycle Jacket:

The jacket is made from a high grade, thick leather. As well as providing all the protection you expect from motorcycle apparel it also manages to look very stylish. The materials, the cut and the design all indicate great quality.

One thing I always check is the quality of the zippers. I've had to discard numerous garments over the years because they contained cheap plastic zippers which fail long before the garment is worn out. This jacket had very high quality metal zippers which will stand up to any treatment likely to be experienced on a motorcycle.

The removable liner (body and sleeves) provides that necessary additional layer for colder weather and I found the whole jacket to be very warm early in the day. In warmer weather, this liner can be removed which, together with the air vents built into the jacket ensures greater comfort at higher temperatures.

One feature I particularly like on this jacket are the stripes of reflective material on arms and on the back of the jacket. I think we need all the help we can get in terms of visibility and apart from the safety aspects I think the stripes give the jacket a distinctive look.

Like most motorcyclists I spend a bit of time looking at clothing in motorcycle shops and I'm always amazed how expensive good leather jackets usually are. If you check out the offering at Motorcycle House, you will be amazed, as I was at the value for money offered here.

Check out jackets here

Check out this jacket here

Total Distance 240 km.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

12 February - Walhalla

I hadn't planned to ride today, after a decent ride yesterday, but the Honda needed a run to charge the battery, and it was a mild, still day I decided to take a quick run into Walhalla, a little gold mining ghost town about 50km away. This is a short but very nice run along  mountain roads through state forests. I stopped for a couple of photos of one of the Walhalla Goldfields Railway's loco's sitting at the Walhalla station.

This railway which began construction in 1904 between Moe and Walhalla (via Erica) was built to support the mining operations in Walhalla, but unfortunately by the time construction was complete, mining had all but ceased and the Walhalla had started a steady decline in activity and population. The line fell into disuse and disrepair but in the early 90's a task force of volunteers managed to restore the bridges and line required to commence a regular tourist run between the Thomson River and Walhalla. This modern incarnation is incorporated as the Walhalla Goldfields Railway.

It is hoped that the funds can be raised to restore the line all the way back to Erica which would require a station and maintenance facilities to be established there.

Information about the railway and its history and current operation can found here.

A nice short ride of 110 km.