Thursday, December 30, 2010

30 December 2010 - Yarram and Tarra Valley

Another fine day and a late decision to take a ride. An old favourite this time - Yarram via Gormandale for a coffee and Apricot Crumble at the Yarram Bakery. Then a leisurely ride over the Strzeleckis via Tarra Valley and Balook. All this with Robert Miles' "Dreamtime" rumbling in the Earmolds. Got home just in time to light the BBQ.

Total Distance 130 km.

29 December - Mirbo Nth and Boolarra Sth

First day with fine weather and no commitments elsewhere. Took a quick run to Mirboo Nth, returning through Boolarra South. A bit windy but still a nice ride.

Total Distance 120 km.

Friday, December 17, 2010

17 December 2010 - Back in the Saddle

Saw the doctor today, had the stitches removed and declared the operation a success. Well, that needed a fairly long and demanding ride to check it out. Weather looked OK and decided to go up the mountain to Licola. Also a good chance to try the Drift camera out. Tried a few mounting positions including on the handlebar looking back. From the results I can see that the major challenge will be finding a mount which damps out engine and road vibration. Captured some good footage though. Anyway the weather held out and the shoulder, while a little tender worked fine.

Total distance 175 km.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

6 December 2010 - Taking a break!

Going into hospital today for some repair work to my right shoulder. Expect to be grounded for at least a couple of weeks. No motorbike - bummer.

By the way, a few people have contacted me to say that leaving a comment on my blog is difficult. I've checked and updated the settings to include "Anonymous" comments. So now when you click on "Comment" you can choose Anonymous as an ID. Go ahead and try it!

Friday, December 3, 2010

2 December 2010 - Mirboo Nth

Despite the dire weather predictions at noon today it was both warm and sunny. Decided on a quick ride to Mirboo Nth and back using the scenic road through Thorpdale and Trafalgar. All that went well and it was still sunny sitting outdoors at the Bullock Dray Cafe in Mirboo North. Headed towards Thorpdale to the strains of Pink Floyd in the Earmoulds - it doesn't get much better than this. The weatherman was to have his revenge though. By the time I reached Thorpdale the sky in all directions had turned black and flashes of lightning appeared in the distance. Stopped the bike and donned the wet weather gear, just in time! Within minutes the rain started hammering down and the lightning seemed to come from all directions. I could hear the thunderclaps over the sounds of Dave Gilmour wrenching the intro to Shine On You Crazy Diamond from his Stratocaster. Now this might seem like hell on wheels but it was actually an enjoyable experience although somewhat surreal. Riding through total chaos inside the bubble provided by the gear and the helmet to my own soundtrack was a weird but exciting experience. Coaxing the bike down the winding descent into Trafalgar with sheets of water running over the road required some concentration though and I was glad to return to the straight roads from Traf to Traralgon. Quite a ride!

Total distance 135km.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1 December 2010 - Maffra

Worked a half day today and as it was quite mild I decided to clear the cobwebs with a ride into the countryside. Over the decades I've driven and ridden through Maffra many times and admired this attractive town but have never made a stop. It seemed timely then to ride to Maffra and check out the coffee. Although it was a bit windy it was a very pleasant ride and in no time I was enjoying a coffee at the Maffra Bakery Cafe. Maffra had and has retained a number of substantial and attractive buildings. The Metropolitan Hotel, shown above has been recently renovated and looks absolutely brilliant. The return trip was through Tinamba, Glenmaggie and the back road to Cowwar and Toongabbie. Copped a few minutes of heavy rain but once it stopped it took only a few minutes to dry out again.

Total Distance 140 km.

Monday, November 15, 2010

13 October 2010 - New Toy

For some time now I've been checking the availability, performance and cost of action video cameras suitable for use on motorbike rides. Eventually decided on the Drift Innovations HD170. This little beauty shoots video and stills at full HD (1080), is waterproof to 0.5m and comes with a range of mounting options to suit all occasions. I ordered it on eBay and it arrived two days later. Took it out for a ride attached to the helmet - after fiddling around with the aligment for a while - and came back and anxiously played back about 40 minutes of video. I was truly amazed at the quality of the resultant video. Being mounted on the helmet made it feel like you are actually back on the bike. I was even more amazed when I realised I had left it on the lower quality (720) setting. Very pleased with the purchase. Some great video available on Youtube taken with this camera in a variety of settings including paragliding, skydiving, skiing and of course motorcycling.

Friday, November 12, 2010

11 November 2010 - Mt Tassie, Balook, Tarra Valley

Finished work today and headed over the Strzeleckis to book a couple of camp sites at the Tarra Valley Caravan Park for next weekend. The afternoon weather was slightly overcast but very mild and perfect for a ride. The countryside around Mt Tassie is looking green and this is softening the stark effect of all the burnt bush and plantations. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the Lyrebird Cafe at Balook has finally reopened under new ownership. Just had an icecream today but I'll be trying out the a Devonshire Tea soon. Quick and very pleasant trip.

Total Distance 100 km.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

10 November 2010 - Historic Swing Bridge in Sale

Looked like rain today but the radar said no, so time for a ride. Headed out to Longford via Gormandale and Stradbroke to have a look at the historic swing bridge near sale. This bridge turns on a central pivot to let boats pass from the Port of Sale to the Gippsland lakes. It was restored some time ago at a cost of $1,000,00. The main road now bypasses the bridge which is no longer open to traffic - well... cars anyway.

Made the return trip from Sale via Maffra, Heyfield, Cowarr and Toongabbie.

Total Distance 176 km.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

6 November - Port Albert

The first Saturday of the month and time for another 'fish and chips' run to Port Albert. Fairly small group today despite a beautiful day. Perhaps a few are recovering from the long weekend in Bright. Return trip via Tarraville and Woodside and finished the day with coffee at the Ice Creamery.

Total distance 176km.

Monday, November 1, 2010

28 October - 1 November - Trip to Bright over Mt Hotham

Thursday 28 Oct.

Finally the big day arrived - a four day ride to Bright and the surrounding areas. The bike had been packed for a few days, the tyres checked and fuel topped up. Left Traralgon at about 9:30 and rode to Bruthen via Maffra and Stratford. Very quiet on the road and at Bruthen it was time for coffee and fuel for the bike.

The road from Bruthen to Omeo is spectacular with great views and sweeping bends. The weather was sunny and mild until the climb towards Omeo. The temperature dropped quickly with altitude. A quick toilet stop at Omeo and caught up with a couple of Ulysses members making the same trip. Now for the most exiting part of the trip - the climb to the Alpine high plains via Dinner Plain and Hotham Heights. A bit of snow still around Hotham village and by now the temperature was down to about 5 degrees. Didn't hang around for long - everything seemed to be closed and started the long and winding road down to Harrietville where I stopped at Bella's for lunch. Enjoyed the best hamburger (with the lot) and a coffee. Down in the valley it was sunny and warm.

With all the recent rain Harrietville was spectacularly beautiful and it was a sheer pleasure riding the short distance to Bright.

Arrived at John and Marie's in Wandiligong around 3:30pm after an absolutely an exhilerating day in the saddle. Really enjoyed a couple of beers around the open fire that afternoon!

Friday 29 Oct.

Checked the weather forecast to find that Saturday was expected to be a washout with 60mm forecast for the day. Friday was still fine and it was important to make good use of it. The first ride was to Mount Buffalo. Following heavy rains the previous week the road was a bit rough with plenty of repairs in progress.

Almost no traffic and arrived at the Chalet to witness some terrific views of the valley below.

The poor old Chalet has not been occupied and is quickly falling into disrepair. It seems like an act of stupidity on the part of those responsible that this iconic facility will soon be beyond repair. Having stayed there a few times I feel sure with the right strategy and a significant investment this could once again be a major tourist attraction. Couldn't resist taking a picture of the Honda in front of the old lady.

As there was no coffee, or anything else available on the mountain it was time to move on and so I headed of to Beechworth for lunch at the world famous Beechworth bakery. Luckily it was still fairly quiet as the long weekend influx of visitors had not yet arrived. After lunch I headed of to Mt Beauty along the Kiewa valley which is also a spectacular part of the world.

After a day filled with spectacular rides it was time to head back to the Wandiligong Holiday village for a few beers and dinner at the Wandi pub with my brother in law John. A nice way to end a great day.

Saturday 30 Oct.

The weather forecast was spot on. Woke to a drizzle of rain and by the time I had donned my riding gear to join the Ulysses group ride it was pouring and this continued all day. I don't mind a few showers but riding all day in the rain is not my idea of fun and I figured the club ride would be called off. As it turned out a few brave souls did venture out but that's another story. Spent the day inside with the family and decided to have dinner at the Star hotel in Bright with Marie and John, Peter and Maartje and my sister Lanie. We had a great meal and a fine time and the highlight of a very damp day.

Sunday 31 Oct.

This morning the rain had eased and the forecast expected all the gloom to clear. Joined the Ulysses friends at their caravan park in Bright and went on two club rides. The morning ride was a return to Mount Buffalo. The contrast with my own ride there on Friday was amazing. With Saturday's rain water was cascading down all over the mountain. A number of trees had fallen across the road and as we approached the top the mountain, it was shrouded in cloud and rain. On a fine day we had managed to find the only place where it was still cold and wet. A coffee at the cafe at Dingo Dell (only open on weekends) enable us to warm up a bit and dry the clothes. The afternoon ride was to Mt Beauty.

Monday 1 Nov.

The weather looked reasonably clear and so I decided to head for home. Left after breakfast with John and Marie. The weather was fine and mild but as I approached Harrietville I could see that Hotham was shrouded in clouds. The trip up the mountain consisted mainly of efforts to avoid hundred of cyclists grinding their way up. About two thirds of the way to the top the fog closed in and by the time I reached Hotham Heights visibility was down to about 5m. If it wasn't for the orange lines on the side of the road it would have been extremely difficult to carry on. By the time I reached the top the temperature was down to zero and the possibility of ice started to play on my mind. By then the handgrip heaters were on full blast - an oasis of heat in cold, wet and white world. No choice but to carry on and start on the descent into Omeo.

The descent seemed to take forever but eventually the air tempertature increased and occasionally I could see the green valleys below through rifts in the fog. Omeo was a welcome sight and it was time for a toilet, coffee and lunch stop. After sitting in the bakery at Omeo for about 30 minutes, the shivering stopped and it was time to head for home.

One more stop for petrol in Bruthen and then on to Traralgon, arriving at 3:30 pm.

Total distance travelled 1,500km

Sunday, October 24, 2010

24 October 2010 Ulysses Ride to Briagolong Pub

The monthly club ride for October was on today and the destination was the Briagolong pub for lunch.
Quite a nice day and about 15 bikes participated. It was a good chance to give the bike a good test run after the 12,000 km service and it purred like a kitten. Our ride leader took us for morning coffee in Heyfield where we were encouraged to try the apparently world famous sausage rolls. Less than an hour to go to lunch but I suppose one couldn't hurt. They were very good. The trip then continued past the Lake Glenmaggie dam wall and over the McAllister river and then on to Briagolong. The food at the pub was very good and delivered in an orderly fashion. The ride home was via Maffra - must stop here and check out the cafes one day - Cowarr and Toongabbie and then Traralgon. A great ride enjoyed by all. Now it's only four sleeps before the long weekend ride to Bright.

Total Distance 207 km.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

20 October 2010 - Carrum Downs

Had an appointment today with our financial adviser in Carrum Downs. As the weather forecast looked promising the bike seemed like a good way to go. Followed the highway as far as Drouin and then followed the back roads through Longwarry, Bunyip, Garfield, Tynong and Cranbourne. Return trip through Berwick and the Princes Highway. Lunch at Coco's Cafe in Yarragon provided a pleasant break It was a popular choice with a few other riders and we ended up admiring each other's bikes and swapping stories. Left at 8:15 and home by 14:00. The bike goes in for its 12,000 km service on Friday, prior to a five day trip to Bright over the Melbourne Cup weekend.

Total Distance 295 km.

19 October 2010 - Moe, Trafalgar, Thorpdale

A fine afternoon and the lure of road was too much. Dropped off some DVD's to Luke in Moe and then on to Trafalgar for afternoon coffee at the Roseberry Cafe. The long and winding road up to Thorpdale was fun as always and then home via Yinnar and Hazelwood.

Total Distance 115 km.

Friday, October 15, 2010

14 October 2010 - Walhalla

Another great afternoon despite the weather forecast. Took a leisurely ride up to Walhalla. The town was very quiet - only one other couple visiting. Relaxed in the sunshine for a while before heading back. Another great afternoon on the Honda.

Total distance 101 km.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

12 October 2010 - Yarram and Strzeleckis

Finished all my chores by mid afternoon and despite forecasts for rain the weather was fine and mild. Irresistible. Topped up the tank on the Honda and headed to Yarram. Hardly any traffic and and the ride was pure pleasure. Can't believe that only five weeks ago I would have needed thermal underwear, fur lined boots and grip heaters. The return trip was the usual magnificent run through Tarra Valley and Mount Tassie. At that time of the afternoon it was sheer magic. Called in to La Porchetta to pick up dinner on the way home.

Total Distance 125km.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

11 October 2010 - Back from Queensland

Arrived back from a caravan trip to Queensland today. Had a great time but in the last few days the weather outlook on the Sunshine and Gold coast was starting to look grim and so we left Saturday morning. That turned out to be a great decision as we barely missed out on storms and massive rainfalls. Once we got moving we kept driving and after overnights at Lemon Tree Passage and Bombala we arrived home at lunch time. The weather in Traralgon was fine and balmy so after the caravan was cleaned and parked in the backyard  I fired up the Honda for a long overdue ride. Only had time for a quicky which was a run to Rawson via Glengarry and Tyers. Felt great after a five week absence.

Total Distance 82 km.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

8 September 2010 - No bike ... for a while

Just as we are starting to get great motorbike weather I'll be taking a 5-6 week break. The reason is our annual caravan pilgrimage to Queensland. The van is all packed and tomorrow morning we're off. We expect to return around 15 October, by which time we'll be in daylight saving time again. The next big trip planned on the bike is the Cup Weekend - I'll be joining a Ulysses four day ride to Bright over Mt Hotham. Really looking forward to that. Hope the snow is all gone by then.

Friday, September 3, 2010

3 September 2010 - Coffee in Walhalla

Reasonably mild this morning but a bit windy. Thought I'd head to Walhalla for a quick coffee as the road is well shielded from wind. Most enjoyable ride through the twisties and a nice relaxed coffee at the Star Hotel. Short but sweet. Used the GoCruise GPS (from Aldi) again and this unit continues to impress.

Total Distance 101 km.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

28 August 2010 - The Bullock Dray

The weather was not really encouraging today, but a quick check of the radar showed no rain, so a quick ride was in order to clear the cobwebs. Headed up for a coffee at the Bullock Dray cafe in Mirboo Nth. Also wanted to try out the Aldi GPS unit with helmet BlueTooth audio. Very pleasantly surprised. The audio is good even with earplugs in, the unit is very easy to see while riding and the directions and route recalcs are first class. Additionally it is specifically designed for MCs and therefore waterproof. Very good value for money at $199. Altogether a short but pleasant couple of hours.

Total Distance 116km.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

22 August 2010 - Ulysses Ride to Port Welshpool

Fortunately our planned monthly ride for August co-incided with the only decent weather for weeks. A large group of bikes (about 20-25) headed out from Traralgon at 10:00 and rode to Port Welshpool via Boolarra, Meenyian and Toora via a network of back roads I didn't even know existed. The south coast was quite windy but no rain. Lunch at the Port Welshpool pub was great and despite the large group the meals were served quite quickly. The return trip was through Yarram and Gormandale with coffees at the Traralgon Ice Creamery.

An important milestone occurred during this ride - the Honda has reached its first 10,000 km!

Total Distance 265km

Sunday, August 15, 2010

15 August 2010 - H.A.R.T. Course in Kilsyth

Woke up this morning and used the only 5 minutes of dry weather to take a photo of the Alpine Retreat Hotel, before setting of for Kilsyth some 40 kms away. Halfway there it started to rain and basically the rain continued all day. The advanced rider training course was terrific. Three other students and I rode with 2 instructors through all sorts of situations - busy urban traffic, country roads, multilane highways stopping regularly for questions and feedback on issues such as situational awareness and hazard identification. The continual rain certainly added a degree of complexity but I think we all handled it very well. It was very gratifying to find my wet weather gear worked perfectly and the panniers remained dry too despite at times very heavy rain. The only issue which will need attention is the visor fogging up. The training course finished at about 2:30 and it was time to head home. Back to the Yarra Valley for the return trip through Yarra Junction, Powelltown, Noojee etc. It rained steadily all the way home but it was still exciting to ride along this road through the forests and the mountains. Almost a mystical experience. Altogether a tiring but very rewarding weekend.

Total distance 270km

14 August 2010 - Warburton Overnight

A few weeks ago, when I received my new motorcycle license it was accompanied by a letter offering free rider training to returning riders in my advanced age group. Earlier this week I made contact and took up the offer. After completing a detailed survey over the phone I was offered a place on a Honda Advanced Rider Training course this Sunday. The course will commence at 10 am in Kilsyth. When I worked out the logistics of getting from Traralgon to Kilsyth (a 7am start in mid winter) I decided on the more leisurely option of riding down this afternoon. Set of from home at 13:00 and enjoyed a magnificent ride through Noojee, Powelltown and Yarra Junction to arrive in Warburton at 15:00. After a quick lunch and a bit of sightseeing I checked in to the Alpine Retreat Hotel in Warburton. I had checked the hotel out earlier. The room which is comfortable and clean was $40 and dinner (Texas T Bone) next to a huge woodfire, was amazing. I've just placed my breakfast order for bacon and eggs on toast ($12) for the morning and I think I'll get an early night. It's quite cold up here, might wear the thermals under the pajamas.

Distance 210km.

Monday, August 9, 2010

9 August - South Gippsland Tour

Rode the bike to work this morning, I think the temperature must have been close to zero. By mid morning though it was sunny and warming up. Took the rest of the day off - I'll make it up on a rainy day - and headed out to Warragul, Korrumburra and then Inverloch. The ride over the Strzelecki's was incredible, crisp air and bright light and the Honda just purring away. Headed towards Meeniyan from Inverloch hoping to get a coffee there, but it seems the good folk of Meeniyan don't drink coffee on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, so I pushed on to Foster for fuel and decided Yarram was close enough to defer coffee. Passed through Toora on the Sth Gippsland highway which is the site of a windfarm. With plenty of time available headed the bike up a steep track to the windfarm viewing area. This turned out to be a great choice. The view of the wind turbines, the surrounding countryside and Wilsons Prom in the background is breathtaking. The Bakery Cafe in Yarram is always a welcome stop and today was no exception. The cafe latte and apricot crumble was well worth the wait. The initial plan was to return to Traralgon via the highway bit with this brilliant weather the route through Tarra Valley and Mt Tassie was irresistible. An unforgettable ride!

Total Distance 310km.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

7 August 2010 - Ulysses Run to Port Albert

First Saturday of the month again and so it was the Ulysses Fish and Chip run to Port Albert. Couldn't have picked a better day. Once the early fog lifted the skies were clear and the sun was bright. Our usual run through Gormandale and up Powers Hill cleared the cobwebs and by the time we reached Port Albert I was ready for the excellent fish and chips at Wild Fish. After an hour or so of chatting and enjoying the sunshine it was back on the bikes and the return trip through Woodside. Finished up with coffee at the Ice Creamery in Traralgon and the end of another enjoyable ride.

Total distance 170km.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

29 July 2010 - Omega Woodside

Mild and clear day today.  Rode to the Woodside Omega Transmitter which is a 432m high umbrella antenna and one of the eight transmitters installed worldwide as part of the Omega Navigation system which was the forerunner to the GPS satnav system. I remember all the fuss when it was being built in the 70's as people believed these transmitters would be nuclear targets in case of war. The system was finally decommissioned in 1997 (for further info on the Omega system see
The tower still stands a few km east of Woodside on the South Gippsland Highway and the transmission equipment is on display at the Port Albert Maritime Museum.
Returned via Yarram (lunch at the Bakery Cafe) and Tarra Valley. The mild weather and total lack of traffic made this a very enjoyable ride.
Total Distance 170km.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

25 July - Ulysses Ride to Lindenow Pub

Monthly Ulysses Club Ride to Lindenow. Great day and a great turnout - over 20 bikes. Headed out from Traralgon to Stratford along the backroads through Heyfield and Maffra.  Coffee and comfort stops at Wa-De-Lok in Stratford and by then it was actually getting warm. From Stratford to Bairnsdale along the backroad via Meerlieu and Bengworden. A quick fuel stop at Bairnsdale before turning west along the Princes Highway. Just out of Bairnsdale the Dargo Rd veers off to the right, and Lindenow is about a 20 minute ride along here. Surprisingly I had never travelled through this country. It is absolutely stunning riverflat country with fertile farmland everywhere.

The Lindenow pub offers great meals for $9.95 and superb wood fired pizzas as well as a very cosy atmosphere with an open fire place. The meals were fantastic and given the numbers in our group they were delivered quickly and in an orderly fashion. Well worth the ride.

The return trip took us briefly towards Dargo before we  turned left towards Maffra and Tinamba. Returned to Traralgon along the backroads through Glengarry. A final latte and review of the day's proceedings at the Traralgon Ice Creamery completed a great day out.

Total Distance 300km.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

17 July 2010 - Venus Bay, Inverloch and Cape Patterson

Woke up this morning to brilliant sunshine. Fired up the Honda, checked the tyres, and off to the coast. Wanted to check out Venus Bay and rode there through Mirboo North and Meeniyan. I hadn't been to Venus Bay for about 40 years. It's a small coastal town full of beach houses very reminiscent of holiday houses as they used to be before they became real estate investments. Looks like a nice spot to spend a couple of weeks during the summer. Next I rode to Inverloch for lunch at the bakery and then along the spectacular coast road to Cape Patterson. By then the wind had become quite strong but I'm getting used to that now. At Cape Patterson I called in at Nina's (sister-in-law) place for a cuppa and as luck would have it her friend Lorraine called in. Lorraine worked at the SEC in Morwell at the time Rosa and I worked there and I hadn't seen her for 30-40 years. Had a good chat about the good old days and then it was back on the bike and home via Inverloch, Leongatha and Mirboo North. A great day out on the bike.

Total Distance 275km.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

11 July 2010 - Romp around Gippsland

After an absolutely miserable Saturday, today was both sunny and mild and so about noon I set off on the cruiser for a romp around Gippsland. No real plan but headed in the general direction of Boolarra/Mirboo Nth via Churchill. When I reached Churchill I realised I had not had a look at the Monash Uni site for about 15 years so I took a quick detour. The campus has changed almost to the point of being unrecognisable since I taught there. The number of new buildings is incredible and of course the infamous Bini Shell is long gone. Must go and have a walk around one day. From here to Boolarra and up the windy back road to Mirboo Nth for a coffee at one of my favourites, the Bullock Dray Cafe. This little cafe has an external wall mural which combines a painted background with actual physical elements in the foreground. In the photo above the bushes and about two thirds of the bullock dray are real and blend seamlessly into the painted background. Quite a work of art. From here I headed down to Thorpdale and Trafalgar, crossed the railway line and headed up the back road to Westbury and then home via Yallourn North. The weather was quite mild although there were strong gusts of wind - all part of gaining experience.

Total Distance 150km.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

8 July 2010 - Yarram and Tarra Valley

Another sunny winter day. Rode to Yarram via Rosedale, Gormandale and called in for lunch at the Bakery Cafe. Rode home through Tarra Valley and stopped a couple of times to enjoy the rustic views before continuing up through the rain forest and over Mt Tassie. The handgrip heaters turned winter into summer and another perfect day on the bike.

Total distance 170 km.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4 July 2010 - Woodside

Another one of those winter days which did not look very promising, but once on the bike it got better and better. Wanted to check some interesting dirt roads I spotted before but didn't try. Headed out past Loy Yang and Gormandale and up Powers Hill. Turned left on to Tom's Cap Rd which is a very good dirt road. Followed this all the way to the walking track which leads to the top of Mt Tom's Cap, named by Angus McMillan who explored the Gippsland region in the 1840's. At the top is a historic cairn to mark the spot where McMillan first sighted the coast. Met three guys riding trail bikes and chatted for a while. Rode back past Tom's Cap Winery and then turned on to the Carrajung Woodside Rd. Turned left on to Sth. Gippsland Highway, through Woodside, and then through the hills back to Gormandale via another good and very picturesque dirt road which for a while follows the Basslink transmission line.

Total distance 171 I'm.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

3 July 2010 - Ulysses "Fish and Chip" run to Port Albert

First Saturday of the month which means the Ulysses monthly fish and chips run to Port Albert was on. Met up with the crew at about 10:30 and on the road by 11:00. Nice run via Gormandale and the F&C were excellent as always in PA. The return trip was via Tarraville and Woodside. One or two very brief patches of rain and a bit windy but still a nice ride - aren't they all.

Total distance 172 km.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

27 June 2010 - Noojee

Another winter ride today with the Ulysses club. About a dozen bikes, some with pillions participated. The aim of the ride was to end up at the Noojee Trout Farm where some people planned to fish for trout or salmon. You pay by the kilo. Given my lack of interest in fish or fishing I spent my time heating my feet in front of the fire at the Red Parrot Cafe instead. Despite about 10 minutes of rain it was a great ride and I discovered a few roads I had not travelled before. What more could you ask for?

Total Distance 218 km.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

26 June 2010 - Licola

Woke up this morning and the weather in Traralgon looked less than hopeful. Checked the BOM Radar and found that all the rain was in Traralgon and to the south. North of Traralgon looked fine, so I decided to ride north to Licola. This is a great ride out through Toongabbie and then a short cut via the Cowwarr/Seaton road. As you draw close to Glenmaggie the road follows the McAllister river plain for a while and then heads right into the mountains. About 10km before Licola as you cross the mountains there are several wonderful views of the river below. 

Had lunch at the General Store in Licola and then rode back the same way. What a great bike ride. Back home everyone was thinking I was cold and wet (which it was in Traralgon) but actually I enjoyed sunny weather all the way except for the last 10 minutes coming into Traralgon.

Total Distance 172km.

Monday, June 21, 2010

21 June 2010 - Gormandale, Rosedale and Cowwarr

During the past week the weather has been terrible for motorcycling, lots of rain and gusty winds. Woke up this morning to a beautiful clear sky. Very cold this morning, but nothing thermal underwear and heated handgrips couldn't tackle. Rode to work (about 45 km all up)  - then joined Sian, Rosa and Nicole for lunch (Sian's birthday) and then home to chair a telephone meeting. By mid afternoon all the work was done and the sky was still blue so took the bike out to Rosedale via Gormandale. This is a very quiet road and great for motorcycling and with the clear skies an exhilarating experience. Over the big bridge at Rosedale and turned left onto the Heyfield Rd. Then home via Cowwarr and Toongabbie. A short ride but a beauty.

Total Distance 96km.

Monday, June 14, 2010

14 June 2010 - Birthday Ride

Celebrated my 66th birthday with a ride to Fish Creek with the Traralgon chapter of Easyriders. Beautiful sunny day and about 20 people showed up on bikes of every size and shape. Rode via Mirboo Nth, Leongatha and Meeniyan to Fish Creek where we had a great lunch at the local pub.

After lunch we rode through Foster to Yarram for a quick stop at the Bakery Cafe. From there back to Traralgon over Powers Hill and through Gormandale. A great day out and the heated handlebar grips worked great.

Total Distance 245 km

Friday, June 11, 2010

11 June 2010

Yesterday the Honda went in for the 6000 km service and to have heated handlebar grips fitted. That means I've covered a lot of K's since getting my L's just over 3 months ago. The hand heaters are fantastic -  nothing other than these can keep your hands warm in the winter on a bike.

Today I undertook my motorcyle licence test in Sale. All the riding really paid off. The test took about 10 minutes - the paperwork considerably longer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

5 June 2010 - Fish and Chip Run with Ullyses

Had my first ride with the Traralgon chapter of Ulysses today. It was a "fish and chip" run to Port Albert which is held on the first Saturday of each month. Ulysses is a MC club for 50+ year old riders although you can join as a junior member at 40 ( Very friendly bunch of people and a very enjoyable ride. The return trip was via Tarra Valley and Mt Tassie and we finished up for a coffee and a chat at the Traralgon Ice Creamery. Can't join yet as I don't have a full licence which I'm going for Friday next week. I'll be joining the club after that.

Total Distance 163 km.

Friday, June 4, 2010

3 June 2010 - Thorpdale, Narracan Falls

Another beautiful winter's day and time for a ride. However after a couple of kilometers the bike didn't feel right and I thought the front tyre was down. Checked it at the Tyers service station and it was down 10 psi. As I've had to top it up quite often I decided to call into the motorbike shop in Moe and install a new front tube, which took about 40 minutes. That cut the available time and had to content myself with a trip through Trafalgar, Thorpdale and as I passed the sign to Narracan Falls it brought back a lot o memories from years ago so couldn't resist turning in to the parking area for a visit. I can remember back to the 50's when Mum and Dad took us there as kids to cool off in the water and try our luck at fishing. The swimming worked alright but I can't remember ever catching anything there. Can't believe that's 50 years ago!

I'm booked in for my full licence test next Friday.

Total Distance 105 km.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1 June 2010 - Stratford, Briagalong

The first day of winter and fabulous weather. Took a break and rode to Stratford via Heyfield, Tinamba and Maffra. Lunch at Wa-De-Lock in Stratford consisted of a Smoked Ham and Blue Vein Cheese sandwich and a cafe latte. Tuesday lunch time and the place was full of people, I suppose the great weather brought them all out. Took a detour via Briagalong and then back through Maffra etc. From Heyfield to Rosedale and then home on the highway to practice highway riding. A fantastic little break.

Total distance 173 km.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

29 May 2010 - Walhalla

(photo from Walhalla Goldfield Railway web site)

Quick ride to Walhalla this afternoon to catch a glimpse of the 7A Steam Locomotive which has been trucked in for today and tomorrow. Weather wasn't great but that didn't seem to deter the many train buffs who were parked along the road to get a view or a photo.  Managed to get a brief glimpse of the train through my rain spattered visor.

Total Distance 101 km.

Friday, May 28, 2010

28 May 2010 - Work and Noojee

Had to attend a meeting at work today (on my day off) so rode the bike hoping the weather would hold out for a ride in the afternoon. Plenty of cloud but no rain and had a pleasant ride to Noojee via Willow Grove and Hill End. Lunch at the Red Parrot in Noojee and a chat about music with the chef Brian. Turns out he is a guitarist too. From here I headed to the highway at Nilma via Neerim and Neerim South. Returned to Traralgon via the Princes Highway. Great ride.

Total Distance 190 km.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

22 May 2010 - Port Albert

A cool but sunny day. Rode to Port Albert and stopped for a coffee at the Yarram Bakery Cafe on the way back. Made the return trip through Tarra Valley, Balook and Mt Tassie. Very quiet on the roads and a very enjoyable ride after the long break.

Total Distance - 160 km.

Friday, May 21, 2010

21 May 2010 - Back from holiday to US

On 27 April we set off on a holiday to the US which included a 9 night cruise of the Caribbean. So, no bike riding during this period. As we travelled through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland it becomes quickly obvious that you are in the land of Harley Davidson. The number of people cruising on their HD's is amazing and even more amazing is the size of a HD dealership. Typically the size of a large supermarket, with parking for hundreds of bikes the HD stores buzz with activity particularly on the weekends. People gather from all around for a bit of shopping, catching up with other riders and to eat from the vans which supply hot dogs and hamburgers in the parking lot.

We pulled in to have a look at one HD store not far from Gettysburg PA. The place was rocking.

As well as bikes and spare parts the range of clothing and accessories for the whole family is truly astounding. One thing is immediately obvious - the price of a HD is about half of the same model in Australia. Yes folks, even allowing for transport costs, we're being ripped off.

Arrived home Wednesday afternoon and have ridden the Honda to work Thursday and Friday. A bit chilly but hanging out for a ride after nearly four weeks without.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

22 Apr 10 Moe, Trafalgar, Thorpdale, Yinnar, Jeeralang W Rd

Another fine day and rode through Yallourn Nth to Moe to visit brother Luke who's hurt his leg and has to rest it. After a cuppa and a chat with Luke rode to Trafalgar for a quick coffee and sandwich at the Roseberry Cafe. Then proceeded along that lovely winding road from Traf to Thorpdale intending originally to head towards Mirboo Nth, but at Driffield the storm clouds were gathering and decided to turn left instead and head towards Morwell. Still fine by the time I reached the Midland Highway so continued on to Yinnar and the up Jumbuk Rd to Jeeralang Junction. Getting a bit dark and blowy by then but headed up the Jeeralang West Rd and rode to the end of the bitumen. Hadn't realised that everything up there has been burnt out in the 2009 bushfires. Starting to spit when I turned around and by the time I reached the bottom of the hill and turned toward Churchill it started to pour. On the back road between Churchill and Traralgon it turned into a full blown storm including hail which is quite something when you're doing 100kmh. Got home soaking wet. Given the weather forecast this will be the last ride before we go on holiday.

You can follow our holiday progress on

Total distance 135 km.

21 Apr 10 - Tyers Walhalla Rd

After work today the weather was still fine and time for a quick ride before dinner. Headed up the Tyers Walhalla Rd as far as the Walhalla turn off. Then a U turn and back home. Just a short run but very enjoyable on a lovely day.

Total distance 70 km.

Monday, April 19, 2010

19 Apr 10 - Work, Trafalgar, Mirboo Nth, Churchill

Another still, mild day so I decided to ride the bike to work. Only a few things to catch up on and so finished about 2 and thought I'd take the long way home. Rode to Trafalgar, Thorpdale and  Mirboo North. Then headed along the Grand Ridge Road to Boolarra Sth and then to Hazelwood Power Station via Yinnar. The Grand Ridge Rd between Mirboo Nth and Boolarra South features some of the most beautiful country scenery I've ever seen and in the late afternoon soft light it looked absolutely fantastic.
From Hazelwood Power Station I detoured back to Churchill to have a look at the first house we lived in after we were married. Here it is at 41 White Parade. We moved in there early in 1967 and lived there until we moved to Bougainville in September 1971. Don't know who lives there now but I wonder what they thought of my parking the bike there and taking a photo. The flood of memories - our first few years together, our neighbours, the birth of Mark and Nicole, decorating and furnishing the house - were all quite overwhelming and it is almost impossible to comprehend that it happened forty years ago.

Distance covered 150 km.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

17 Apr 10 - Walhalla

Another golden day for a bike ride. Rode to Walhalla for lunch. Absolutely beautiful weather, just warm enough and bright skies. Surprisingly no other traffic on the way up or back so a very leisurely ride. Back the same way (through Tyers) and then into Traralgon for a bit of shopping. Just a short ride but couldn't let the day go to waste.

Total Distance - 101 km

Friday, April 16, 2010

16 April 10 - Inverloch and Cowes

Windy, gloomy days during the past week have restricted rides to short practice runs and have demonstrated the need to upgrade some of my gear to winter quality. When today promised to be a warm, sunny day I set off this morning to Bikers Gear in Cowes to buy winter gloves and leather riding pants.
Headed off this morning at 10:30 via Boolarra, Mirboo North and Leongatha. A quick lunch in Inverloch and then a nice run along the coastal road via Cape Patterson, Wonthaggi and San Remo. As I crossed the sea at the San Remo bridge the weather was absolutely perfect and the sea absolutely flat. Bought the items I needed at Bikers Gear Australia at unbelievable prices and now I think I'm pretty well set up for winter riding when we return from our cruise. Travelled through Archies Creek, Kongwak and Korrumburra on the return trip through some of the most beautiful countryside in Victoria. Motorcycling is always a joy but sometimes it delivers a day never to be forgotten - today was one of those.

Distance covered 330 km.

Friday, April 9, 2010

9 Apr 10 - Licola

Woke up this morning and no sign of rain or wind. Topped up the tank and rode up to Licola via Heyfield and Glenmaggie. The trip from Glenmaggie through the mountains is great with spectacular views of the McAlister river from various vantage points. Licola is a good starting point for a number of great 4x4 excursions and bushwalks and has plenty of accommodation and caravan/camping facilities. The general store and associated caravan park are for sale. Not sure what the turnover would be but the lifestyle would be second to none.

Distance travelled 190 km.

Monday, April 5, 2010

5 April 10 - Cowwarr

Just a quick ride today to clear the cobwebs. Dropped in to Cowwarr Weir, lots of people having picnics and canoeing/kayaking - it's a lovely spot. Continued on to Cowwarr and visited the Cowwarr Art Space. This is an old milk factory which was shut down in 1959. After a number of years vacant it was resurrected and the current owners have turned it into a beautiful art complex with display galleries, residences for visiting artist and a cafe. After a great coffee and a chat I headed back to Traralgon and joined the continuous stream of cars, caravans and boats returning from the Easter break and avoiding the Princes Highway. You can check out the Art Space on

Distance covered 75 km.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

3 Apr 10 - Mirboo Nth, Meeniyan, Yarram, Tarra Valley

Great ride today with Marcus on his Ducati. Once again the weather looked threatening but we ignored it and somehow managed to dodge the rain all day. First stop was Mirboo Nth (via Boolarra) and coffees. From there on to Meeniyan hoping to share a pizza in the outstanding pizza cafe there but it was closed. Bugger. We then hit the South Gippsland Highway with the bakery cafe in Yarram as our target. Traffic was reasonable for an Easter weekend. Yarram whas absolutely chockers with holiday makers and the bakery was operating on a 'take a number' basis. In all the confusion we managed to get served quickly (steak and mushroom pie for Marcus and vegetable pastie for me) and had an enjoyable lunch. Then for the final leg over the Strzeleckis via Tarra Valley. Stopped on the banks of the Tarra River for the cigar ritual and then headed for home via Balook and Mt Tassie. Once again, a great day.

Distance covered 215km.

Friday, April 2, 2010

2 April 10 - Walhalla, Thompson Dam, Noojee

Big ride with Marcus and Zane today. Topped up the tank in Tyers and then headed up to Walhalla. Every spare bit of ground there had a tent, camper or caravan on it. After coffee at the Star Hotel we rode out of Walhalla and up to the Thompson Dam. Lots of people up there pic-nicking and sightseeing and looking for a toilet. The public loo was closed to prevent vandalism so everyone was climbing fences and going bush.
After a chat with a group of people about our bikes ("How do you keep it so clean?") we headed past Erica, Willow Grove and Hill End and tackled the twisties through the rainforest on our way to Noojee. Reached Noojee about 2:30 for a late lunch at the Red Parrot Cafe (second time this week).
Lunch consisted of hamburgers the size of a small cartwheel with chips and salad. Considered adjusting the suspension on the bike to cope with the additional load. Stopped briefly at the Noojee Trestle Bridge before zipping up the hill to Neerim Junction to top up Zane and Marcus' bikes. Back down the big hill and through Noojee once more to return home via Yallourn Nth. The forecast was for rain and it was overcast all day but our luck held out all day and we had a great ride.

Distance covered 270km.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

31 Mar 10 - Mt Baw Baw

Set off at 11:00 this morning for Mt Baw Baw, via Hill End, Icy Creek and Tanjil Bren. The road from Icy Creek up is twisty but very spectacular. The last 10km into Baw Baw village is very steep and it was second gear all the way up and all the way down. Haven't been to Baw Baw for 30 years and it has changed a lot in that time. Lots of development - accommodation, bars, cafes etc, although no one seems to serve food during the week. On the way back I called in to check out the Red Parrot Cafe in Noojee which was recommended to me by a friend. A real cosy spot that serves excellent food and coffee. It was a real find and I would recommend it to anyone travelling through Noojee. Altogether a spectacular day.

Distance covered 260 km.