Tuesday, July 11, 2017

11 July - A Honda ride to Port Albert

Port Albert is one of my regular rides and this afternoon, although somewhat wintery, seemed a good opportunity to continue my re-familiarisation with the Honda.
Port Albert, established in the 1840's is the oldest port in Victoria. These days it is a mecca for fisherman and a safe harbour for the occasional coastal traveller. Being a week day it was fairly quiet and the late afternoon light and the spectacular clouds made for some interesting photos.
Later in the afternoon the temperature was dropping quickly so time to head for home, after an invigorating ride.

Distance 160 km

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1 July - Oh Frabjous Day

Today, a day I thought would never come, and three months after being struck down by a careless driver, I had my first motorcycle ride - two rides in fact.
Following the surgery and the insertion of two stainless screws in my right tibia, recovery has progressed steadily and for the past six weeks ago I have been walking, initially with the aid of a walking stick, and although there are still some aches and pains, I thought today was the day.
Both bikes had to be jump started, not surprising after three months, and the tyres pumped up, but then it was time to get the Beemer out on the road for a 60km ride and a celebratory lunch and coffee. No problems there and when I got back the sun was still shining (temperature 11ºC) and so I took the Honda Shadow for a 50km ride in the opposite direction. In both cases it was encouraging to find the leg was fine and that I don't seem to have lost too much of my riding skills.
So, on reflection I have a lot to be thankful for. I turned 73 a couple of weeks ago and after a difficult few weeks I can still ride my bikes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

1 April - No motorcycling for a while.

A few days ago, while walking in my home town, I was struck by a car driven by a careless driver who reversed out of a parking bay without looking. The result was a cracked right tibial plateau and two screws to put it all back together again.
I was fortunate that the operation went well and I've suffered very little pain, but I am not allowed to place any load on my right leg for at least six weeks. Like all things you only really appreciate when they are lost, the loss of mobility and dependance on crutches and a wheelchair has reminded me of the simple pleasure of enjoying unrestricted movement. Riding a motorcycle is out of the question of course, and even after I can use the leg I expect it will take some time to regain the strength required to hold a bike upright. So in motorcycling terms all that is left to me at the moment is reminiscing about recent great rides and of course the most recent was my very enjoyable for day outing with my brother, which included two of Victoria's 'great' roads - The Great Ocean Road and The Great Alpine Road. During this trip I did manage to catch some footage on my action cam, and the final edited version is now published on YouTube and also repeated here.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

20 March - Day 4 - Porepunkah Home over Mt Hotham.

Had a pleasant evening last night. Dinner at the Punkah Pub and a quick catchup with family. Our only concern was the weather forecast. Today's route would take us over Mt Hotham, a ski resort in the winter, and the forecast was for rain and thunderstorms. When we looked up at the mountain it didn't look too threatening and the rain radar showed no sign of rain. On that basis we decided to have a quick breakfast at Harrietville, at the foot of the mountain, and if the radar was still clear to make a quick mountain crossing and try to beat the bad weather. After donning our wet weather gear we set off. Very little traffic going up the mountain and just a little fog as we approached the summit but apart from that all was well.
Against all odds our luck held out and we saw no rain. After a quick leg stretch in Omeo we continued on the 90 km to Bruthen for fuel. From then it was just a routine run home and I pulled up at my place not long after 3pm. I think we were pretty lucky.
Altogether a very enjoyable motorcycle experience which covered two of Victoria's 'great roads' the Great Ocean Road and the Great Alpine Road.

Total Distance 400 km
Total Distance for the trip 1324 km

Sunday, March 19, 2017

19 March - Day 3 - Castlemaine to Porepunkah


Left our beautiful 'home away from home' in Castlemaine this morning after a makeshift breakfast at around 9:30. Our aim was to reach Porepunkah and spend the evening with the Thomas's, and after a few wrong turns we eventually turned on GoogleMaps to guide us. After navigating a few back roads and some parts of Victoria we didn't know existed we eventually joined the Hume highway at Seymour. From here it was just a boring grind with lots of traffic. A bit of a break at the Avanel Roadhouse for fuel and re-hydration and then on past Benalla before turning of the highway just after Glenrowan towards Milliwa. We stopped at Taste of Italy in Millawa for a wood fired pizza which was great. We were now wishing 40 minutes of our destination and soon after we rolled into Porepunkah for a very enjoyable reunion with family and friends. Dinner at the Porepunkah hotel which we could walk to so a couple of drinks were in order. After our great run with good weather it looks like tomorrow we are due for a change for the worse. Looking at the forecast we have a four hour window to get over Mount Hotham before thunderstorms set in so the plan is to have a quick breakfast in Bright and then make the run over the mountains and into east Gippsland and then home tomorrow evening.

Total distance 315 km.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

18 March - Day 2 Lorne, Apollo Bay, Castlemaine

Woke up in Lorne this morning after a great night's sleep. Breakfast at the bakery in the main street and checked out of our motel right on 10 am. Another fine, clear day with a maximum temperature forecast of 29ºC. Our trip today would include about 50km of the best scenery along the Great Ocean Road (GOR) so I spent a bit of time making sure my helmet action cam was set up properly to capture all the action. It was nearly 10:30 by the time we hit the GOR and the traffic was light. We mostly encountered cyclists. The GOR is fairly winding with fantastic views on the left side so it is quite a challenge to take in the terrific views and keep an eye on the road and traffic as well.
We made several stops for photo opportunities along the way and all to soon we were on the outskirts of Apollo  Bay and time to turn North towards Ballarat.
Initially the road winds its way way up through the Otway Ranges before flattening out as you approach Colac. The ride through the mountains was fantastic, hardly any traffic. Refilled our tanks in Colac and then pushed on to Ballarat where we had a quick bite for lunch. As it was still relatively early we decided to continue to Daylesford where we quickly discovered that there was no accommodation available, so then we pushed on the extra 50 km to Castlemaine. I had never been here before and was very impressed with this city and really hoped to spend the evening here, but once again accommodation was proving difficult until eventually we rang a place suggested by one of the other motel owners and struck it lucky. A twin room in a beautifully restored old mansion for $115/night. We quickly changed out of our bike gear and walked into town for a beer or two or three. Also found a great Indian and Malaysian restaurant and after a nice evening walk to check out the town we sat down to a great meal. We have just walked home, had showers and are busy recharging
all our cameras, phone etc.

Total Distance 300 km

Friday, March 17, 2017

17 March - Motorcycle trip Take 2 - Home to Lorne

After our aborted ride a couple of weeks ago we set off again today in anticipation of fairly decent weather for the next few days. This time though we headed West, through Melbourne, past Geelong and on to the Great Ocean Road. The weather was perfect, although a little windy when we hit the coast.
We met this morning at the Trafalgar Service Station and after refuelling the bikes we were off into the wild blue yonder. Stopped for morning coffee in Officer and then immersed ourselves in the Melbourne traffic which was quite busy.
We interrupted our trip at Aireys Inlet to have a look at the magnificent Lighthouse on top of a hill there.

We arrived in Lorne in the early afternoon and after a quick walk around managed to find a good room at the Lorne Bayview apartments. After a restful afternoon of catching up on email and recharging all our stuff we walked down the main street to find a place to eat. Found a great little Mexican cafe. Very tasty food, not sure what I ate but it was great.
Tomorrow we continue our way down the Great Ocean Road as far as Apollo Bay and then turn north towards Ballarat where we will spend the night.

Total Distance 305 km