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.