Saturday, August 13, 2011

13 August - Aberfeldy

Rode the Kawasaki to Aberfeldy today. Aberfeldy is located in the mountains at the northern end of the Thomson Reservoir and is a 20km dirt road ride beyond the Thomson Dam. The road has a reasonable surface but you do need to watch out for 4WD's coming the other way without much regard for anyone else especially motorbikes.  I just assume each bend in the road will have an idiot coming the other way and at least partly on my side. Like many locations in this area Aberfeldy was first settled when gold was discovered in the 1870's. A post office opened there in 1872 and operated till 1967. Gold ran out of course and the town was dealt a deathblow in 1939 when most of it was destroyed by bushfire. Today a handful of houses remain and none of these looked occupied during my visit.

Total Distance 132 km.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

6 August - Thomson Dam and Back and Beyond Walhalla

Set off this morning - a bit chilly and some drizzle - with Zane (KLX250) to explore the tracks around Thomson Dam and north of Walhalla. Stopped at Rawson to squeeze in some extra fuel and then off the the Thomson Dam wall where we stopped to stretch the legs (ease the pain in the bum). Then over the wall up Beardsmore track which eventually joins the road between Walhalla and Aberfeldy. Turned right towards Walhalla. The sign says 24 km but the road is in very poor shape with plenty of rock falls and lots of trees down across the road. Fortunately some 4WD's with chain saws had been there before us and cleared a path. I think we encountered everything, mud, gravel, rock falls, branches and bark all on a road which twists and winds and climbs mountains one minute and then plunges into valleys the next. Encountered a few hardy souls in 4x4's but generally it was pretty quiet. Just when you think your bum has given up the ghost, a wonderful sight - sealed road. Time for lunch and a bit of warmth in Walhalla.

Completed the trip home in a light drizzle, via Tyers. The new bike handled everything fine and I'm slowly getting used to slipping and sliding all over the place.

Total Distance 130 km.

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 August - Coopers Creek and Bruntons Bridge

Another fine and mild day, despite the weather forecast so it was time to hit the back roads again. The plan was to visit Bruntons Bridge (on the Thomson River) via Walhalla. Decided to check out Coopers Creek en route. The Copper Mine Hotel has not been open for business for some time - I think it is a private residence now. Anyway when I rode down into the valley there was no sign of life. The road which connects to the Walhalla Road is closed and the place looks quite shabby with abandoned vehicles and uncompleted work all over the place. It's a pity - I remember having a drink in the pub with Marcus and Rosa a few years ago and it was just great. So back up to the main road and on to Walhalla for lunch and coffee. From Walhalla I headed down to Brunton's Bridge via Happy Go Lucky. The road is in fair condition but there is one downhill stretch which was just a mud bath. Getting down it without falling was quite an exercise and it was only when I reached the bottom that I realised it was going to be very tricky coming back up as I've only got road tyres on the bike. It was a pleasant surprise then to find that Brunton's Bridge has a brand new steel deck, suitable for pedestrians (and small motorbikes) installed.

The view from the bridge is outstanding.

Then it was just a short ride across the bridge and back home via the Cowarr-Walhalla Road.
The bike was thoroughly covered in mud and dirt by the time I arrived home. One thing I've discovered - riding dirt roads is a lot more work than riding a cruiser on  made roads.

Total Distance 140 km.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

4 August - Off Road - Hazelwood Nth and Jeeralang W Roads

Arrived home at 2:30 this afternoon from Frankston. Unlike Melbourne it was a warm sunny afternoon in Traralgon - almost like a spring day. Time to try the motard on some dirt roads. Headed up Hazelwood North road. Once you leave the bitumen this road quickly deteriorates into a gravel road used mainly by logging trucks. Altitude increases rapidly and the views of the LV become breathtaking. The wildlife was abundant at this time of the afternoon - lots of wallabies around. This road eventually connects to Jeeralang West Road. You can turn left towards Balook and Mt Tassie. I turned right and after a few more km's reached the sealed section and eventually Jeeralang Junction. What a blast. The motard takes rough surfaces, gravel, sand etc in its stride, and I was able to travel at 50km/h on roads I would not want to take the Honda on. Being able to stand on the pegs for really rough bits is also a great advantage. Very happy with the first outing on dirt.

Total distance 68 km.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3 August - Seaford to Traralgon on Kawasaki

Picked up the new bike today. After 2 trains and a 1 km walk I eventually arrived at Powersports Kawasaki in Seaford where my new bike was almost ready to go - just some paperwork to complete and of course the small matter of payment. An hour later I was off - quite a strange feeling riding this style of bike after the relaxed experience of a cruiser. Anyway, I navigated my way to the South Gippsland Highway with the aim of having lunch at the bakery in Korumburra. Kawasaki recommends varying the speed and exercising the gears during the first 500km and so I decided to head home through the hills along the Korumburra-Warragul Road. I must say I agree with the reviews which praise the cornering ability of this machine. No matter how tight the corner, you just lean and accelerate and it all works out. Reached home at 15:30 with a sore bum. I don't think the seat is designed for long distance riding. Can't wait to try it out on our many unsealed roads.

Total Distance 185 km.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2 August - Kawasaki KLX250SF

For some time now I've been considering buying a bike which can be used on the many unsealed roads around Gippsland. In my extensive travels on the Honda it is often frustrating to reach a point where further progress is not practical on a cruiser. When I started looking seriously for a dual purpose addition to the stable I found quickly that there are only two bikes available that fit the bill and that I can sit on and still touch the ground confidently. I was delighted to find the Kawasaki Super Motard (KLX250SF). It goes like the clappers on sealed roads and is very much at home on dirt, gravel etc. It has an all up weight (including fuel) of about 130 kg. and after checking dozens of reviews on YouTube and elsewhere I placed my order for one last Saturday from a dealer in Seaford who offered an excellent deal which included on road and rego costs as well as 12 months of comprehensive insurance. So tomorrow I will catch the train down to Seaford to pick the bike up and ride it home via the South Gippsland Highway, Leongatha and Mirboo Nth. Once I get it home I will have to re-arrange the garage so that I can fit in the Kawasaki as well as the Honda.