Wednesday, December 26, 2012

23 December - Licola

After not having a ride for about 3 weeks (combination of a bout of flu and pre Christmas preparations) today was the day to get out and clear the head. The weather forecast said fine - I got that bit - but it also said 40ºC - I missed that bit. It felt a bit hot when I set off and soon the temperature gauge on the bike confirmed my hottest day ever on a motorbike. Decided to head up to Licola, hoping the mountain location might provide some cooler weather. Up there the temperature had dropped to 36ºC. After a quick cool drink at the General Store, it was time to turn around and ride back. A bit hot but still an enjoyable ride.

Total Distance 160 km.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

1 December - Paynesville

The forecast today was for early thunderstorm, but when I checked the radar map it looked like all the rain had come and gone during the night. As I was home alone I decided to take the bike for a quick visit to our friends John and Sandra in Paynesville. It was great catching up and Sandra put on a nice lunch. The return trip was pretty windy but it's all experience.

Total Distance 285 km.

30 November - Warburton

A quick ride to Warburton for lunch at Three Sugars on a pretty hot day. Had a bit of a fright on the road between Hill End and Fumina Sth where I encountered the mother of all potholes. Saw it too late to avoid and just managed to lift my bum of the seat and half stand on the pegs. Fortunately the bike stayed upright and I was only doing about 65 kph. At 100 kph I think I would have come off. This road has been allowed to deteriorate into a shocking condition, and with not a single warning in sight I think it amounts to negligence. Apart from that event though the ride was very enjoyable as was lunch.

Total Distance 285 km.

Monday, November 26, 2012

25 November - Melbourne Motorcycle Exhibition

 Travelled down to Melbourne today on the train to visit the Motorcycle Expo held in November every second year. Zane and Bailey came too. As I usually do I slept all the way from Morwell to Dandenong - 8:00 am is an early start for me these days. This was the third day of the show and the attendance looked a bit light on when we got there about 10:30. The stand I enjoyed most was one which was selling fully restored classic bikes. Some real blasts from the past restored to absolutely pristine conditions.
This was my favourite, a 1952 Indian Blackhawk Chief, a beautifully restored treasure. A look at a lot of new bikes confirmed that I made the right choice when I bought the BMW F650GS. The most interesting part of the show was seeing a lot of unusual bikes including the Royal Enfield range. These iconic machines, originally engineered and produced in the UK are now made in India and are apparently indestructible and very competitively priced.

The last hour of the show was spent comparing all the adventure bikes for size and I took a quick picture of Bailey sitting on the Kawasaki 650 Versys which is a great bike and incredible value at $10k. He looked quite at home.

After a very nice lunch in one of the cafes at Crown Casino I once again fell asleep on the train trip home.

22 November - Tidal River

The forecast was for a great riding day - a top of 35ºC. That seemed like the perfect opportunity for a ride down to Tidal River on Wilsons Prom. Rode down there, non stop under perfect blue sky and a slowly increasing temperature. The camping area at Tidal River was almost full as many people seemed to have taken advantage of the opportunity to emerge from winter woes. The final approach to the tidal river is a fantastic ride. High vantage points and sweeping bends provide tantalising view of the ocean and the mountainous terrain. After  a great hamburger it was time for the return trip back through Mirboo Nth and a coffee at the Bullock Dray. Got home around 3:30 after a very enjoyable day's riding.

Total Distance 315 km.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

18 November - Walhalla

Looked out the window this morning and decided against a ride. Lots of cloud and quite a bit of wind. So it looked like chores at home instead. However all this changed by  1 pm. The sun was out and things looked much better. So a small ride was in order and the best short motorbike ride around here is to Walhalla. Sat in the park there, with lots of other people and enjoyed a great coffee before taking a few photos and starting the ride home. Tried the bike out on some gravel road on the way back to Erica before riding home via Yallourn Nth. Short but definitely sweet.

Total Distance 115 km.

15 November - South Gippsland

Weather has been a bit variable lately and today it was changing from sunny to overcast every few minutes. During a sunny moment I donned all the riding gear with the intention of riding down to Tidal River on Wilsons Prom. Stopped for a coffee at the Bullock Dray in Mirboo Nth. and sitting there there was little sign of the sun and the wind had become quite gusty. At this stage I was a bit reluctant to head down the Prom thinking it would only get windier down there. So instead I pointed the Beemer towards Meenyian and rode along the South Gippsland Highway to Yarram making a lunch stop at the excellent Yarram bakery. After also buying a few goodies to take home, the return trip was back to Traralgon via Gormandale. The rain held off and altogether it was an enjoyable ride..

Total Distance 209 km.

Monday, November 5, 2012

3 to 5 November - Ride to Wandiligong

Saturday - With the promise of a few fine riding days I decided to ride over Mt Hotham to Wandiligong (near Bright) to visit family. This was my first trip with all the BMW luggage fitted including a handy tank bag. This was also an opportunity to try the Airhawk seat. All the gear worked very well and I'm very pleased with it.

The first stop of the day was the bakery in Bruthen for a coffee and a bun and a toilet stop. By then the temperature had risen to about 18 degC and while it was tempting to remove one layer of clothing I knew it would get rapidly colder on the way to Omeo. At Omeo it was time to stop for fuel as there is nothing available until you descend on the other side of Mt Hotham. There was still snow on the ground at Mt Hotham where I stopped for a few photos. I encountered plenty of people on bikes all taking advantage of the pleasant weather.

The ski lifts and slopes look quite forlorn without snow, but it is an opportunity for bush walkers to enjoy the area and there were plenty about. After a pleasant descent into Harrietville I arrived in Wandiligong around 3:30 after a great ride. After a very pleasant dinner with various family members at the Alpine Hotel in Bright, I was certainly ready for bed, but before we knew it we'd been chatting and it was 2am.

Sunday - started the day with a great breakfast at the River Deck Cafe in Bright. By then the sun was shining brightly and it seemed too good to pass up an opportunity to try the Beamer out on Mt Buffalo. The road up the mountain which has been in a bad state of late has been repaired and the ride up was fantastic.

Once again, plenty of people were taking advantage of the fine weather to catch the view from the top of Buffalo which is spectacular.

There is talk, finally of spending some money on the Mt Buffalo Chalet which is currently in a poor state of repair, after the hotel operators left the site as a result of some government bungling a few years ago. I understand the plan is to demolish a lot of the modern extensions to return the Chalet to something resembling its original shape and then to restore that to its former glory.

After a pleasant visit it was time to head back down the mountain to return for dinner in Wandiligong.

Monday - Left Wandi this morning at about 08:30 after saying goodbye to everyone. First stop was breakfast in Milawa and then commenced the trip home via King Valley and Mansfield. A quick stop in Alexandra for a cool drink and then down the Black Spur to Healesville which required a stop to top up the fuel on the Beamer. The weather was warm but overcast and rain looked likely, but as luck would have it the rain held off until I reached Traralgon at about 3:45 pm.

Altogether a great outing and fun catching up with everyone.

Total distance 905 km.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

27 October - Walhalla

Not great bike weather today but I wanted to try out my new Strike Genius waterproof GPS unit.
My last unit was damaged beyond repair when the mount disintegrated at about 100 kph. I managed to catch it and thought it was OK, but when I got home, the screen was shattered. After a bit of research I decided on the Strike unit and I'm very happy with my choice. I'll find out how good the waterproofing is the next time I ride in the rain. So, off for a quick ride to Walhalla. Fortunately the longer I rode the better the weather got and by the time I reached my destination it was fine and sunny and there were people everywhere.

Had a very nice lunch and a coffee at the usual spot and chatted about motorbikes with a couple of guys who came over for a closer look at the BMW.

Total Distance 105km.

Friday, October 19, 2012

19 October - Cowes, PI

The forecast was for a warm sunny day today so the plan was a 10:00 start and a ride to Cowes, Philip Island. Actually the start of the ride was quite cool and somewhat gusty and overcast and for a while I considered shortening it but as I reached Leongatha the skies cleared and the temperature rose into the twenties which was encouraging. From here on it was a lovely ride which culminated with lunch at Gullivers in Cowes. The return trip was via Archies Creek and Kongwak and Korumburra where the bakery (coffee and apricot slice) beckoned - also a half hour stop here gave the bum a chance to recover a bit. The great weather continued for the rest of the day through Leongatha, Mirboo North etc. An oldie but a goodie.

Total distance 330 km.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

14 October - Warburton

We've just returned from a five week caravan trip to Queensland ( see  which means no motorcycling for about 6 weeks. Today promised to be a nice day and so I was pleased when the Beemer started first try. Had an absolutely glorious ride to Warburton via Nilma, Powelltown and Yarra Junction and a great lunch at Three Sugars. The weather just seemed to improve as the day wore on and the ride home was even better. Called in to take a look at Blue Rock Dam which is currently overflowing. I took the opportunity to try out the new Panorama feature which was included in the latest iPhone IOS6 update. You simply scan the camera from left to right and it will automatically save it as a panoramic shot. I hope the same feature will be added to all cameras soon - it works a treat. Got home just before 4pm after a very enjoyable ride.

Total Distance 280 km.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

2 September - Fathers Day - Portsea

Yippee!! Second day of spring today and the forecast was for a fine warm day. Zane rang at 8:00 am and indicated he wanted to take the the Harley for a run (the KLX is poorly at the moment) and so we met at the Mid Valley BP for a run to the Mornington Peninsula. It was still cold and foggy at 9:15 but the promise of a fine day steeled our nerves as we headed up to Mirboo Nth and Leongatha. In Korumburra we stopped for morning coffee at the excellent bakery in the main street. From there we proceeded along the Sth Gippsland Highway to Tooradin before turning left towards Rosebud. By then the temperature had risen to 15 degC and the sky was bright blue. Rode all the way down to Portsea before turning back for lunch at a cafe in Sorrento across from the old Continental Hotel. Plenty of people about enjoying the sunshine and the quite summery view out over Port Phillip Bay. It really puts you in the holiday mood and the memories of a cold damp winter are receding quickly. After lunch we topped up the bikes in Rye before heading for home in the same direction as we came. Got home just after 4 pm - a really enjoyable ride.

Total Distance 422 km.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

26 August - Ulysses Monthly Ride

Looked out the window this morning and it was not a day I would normally choose to go riding, but the monthly Ulysses Club ride started at 10:00 and as a sign of solidarity I decided to go despite bleak looking skies and gusty winds. When I arrived at the Great Australian Icecreamery, our rendezvous point I was surprised to see about 10 bikes already there. The destination for today was Walhalla which is only a 40 minute ride so I assumed that Bill our ride leader had plans for a longer ride. How about Walhalla via Mirboo North? Yep! up to Mirboo Nth (via Boolarra) for morning coffee at Dalliance. By then the sky was black in all directions and rain seemed certain as we headed off to Moe via Thorpdale and then on to Walhalla. The rain didn't really eventuate and the temperature didn't drop much below 12 degC so not unpleasant really. By the time we reached Walhalla the sky was blue and we sat in a little park eating our lunch. So a really interesting ride, given the road conditions, recent rain, mud and cowshit on the roads combined with quite a strong wind the day was more like an advanced rider course than an outing, but enjoyable none the less.

Total Distance 216 km.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

11 August - Dandenongs

Woke up to quite an overcast and chilly day but decided to risk a ride anyway. Had the Beamer serviced yesterday (10,000km) and keen to give it a run. Rode to the Dandenongs via Pakenham, Cockatoo and Monbulk and had lunch in a cafe in Olinda. After lunch I popped into Pie in the Sky to pick up some essentials (Apple and rhubarb crumbles) for desert tonight. The food in this place is outstanding. I'm dying to try the Beef Rendang Pie - maybe next trip. By the time I left Olinda it was drizzling so, on with the wet weather gear which once again worked a treat - the rain stopped immediately. The return trip was via a meandering route through the hills and joined the highway again at Pakenham. 

Total Distance 303 km.

Friday, August 3, 2012

2 August - Warburton

It's been a while since the last ride due to a range of other commitments and some shitty weather. It didn't look to bad this morning although the temperature was only 5.5 degC. Set off at 10:30 for a ride to Warburton and lunch at Three Sugars. The temperature did not rise above 11 degC at any part of the day so the wood fire at the cafe was very welcome. Home by 3:30 after a chilly but enjoyable day.

Total distance 295 km.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

22 July - Cowes, Phillip Island

Rode to Cowes with Zane today. Our route took us over the Strzeleckis via Ellinbank and Korumburra where we stopped to top up the tank on Zane's Kawasaki. Then through the beautiful Sth Gippsland countryside to the Bass Highway via Kongwak. We left Traralgon in sunshine but by the time we crossed the hills the clouds were down at road level. A very eerie sensation riding along a really windy road through fog. Finally, about 5km out of Korumburra the fog cleared and we could see black clouds to the south but signs of blue sky in the direction of Phillip Island. By the time we reached San Remo, the sun was shining and in Cowes you would have thought it was a summer day. Had lunch at Gulliver's Eatery in front of an open fire which was very pleasant. After our rest in front of the fire we were off again to take the coastal drive between Cape Patterson and Inverloch - great views and the weather was still holding out. Eventually after another fuel stop in Inverloch it was time to head for home via Leongatha, Mirboo Nth, Boolarra and Churchill. Another pleasant day out on the bike. I've just passed the 9000 km mark on the Beemer so it will be due for a service soon.

Total Distance 330 km.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

8 July - Warburton

Met Zane at the BP service station in Mid Valley this morning. Even at 10 am the fog was so thick, I nearly ran into the back of a car - visibility less than 5m. Quite cold too, by the time we reached Warragul the fog had lifted but the temperature was down to 2.5 deg. Rode to Warburton via Powelltown and Yarra Junction and had a great lunch at our usual cafe - Three Sugars. Got a table right next to a blazing wood heater. Decided to try a different route on the way home which was to turn off in Launching Place towards Gembrook and from there to Pakenham and home along the highway. By this afternoon the temperature was a 'balmy' 13 deg. Got home around 3 pm.

Total Distance 295km.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

3 July - South Gippsland

Cold and and a bit drizzly, but it was time for a ride regardless of conditions. The original plan was to ride to Warburton for lunch but by the time I got to the turn off at Warragul, the sky in that direction looked very black, while to the south it looked sunny. Turned off at Drouin and rode through Longwarry, Bayes and Koo Wee Rup. Turned eastward on the South Gippsland Highway and rode to Korumburra. Had lunch at the very good bakery there before riding home through Leongatha, Mirboo North and Morwell. In the end I managed to avoid all but the briefest shower, and enjoyed a fine ride.

Total Distance 260 km.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

28 June - South Gippsland

After a long period of wet weather, today promised to be fine, although somewhat cool. The fog cleared around 10am and I set off along the Highland Way to Yarram. The temperature gauge on the Beemer read 3.5 degrees! It warmed steadily and by the time I reached the Yarram Bakery for coffee and apricot crumble, the temperature had climbed to 12 deg. As I reached the South Gippsland highway heading towards Inverloch the temperature was 15.5 degrees, and the sun was streaming down - very pleasant. Had a leisurely lunch in Inverloch followed by a cigar, before returning via Leongatha and Mirboo North. Stopped briefly for a photo just outside of Mirboo Nth. and then continued on home and arrived at 3:30pm.

Total Distance 267 km.

Friday, June 15, 2012

15 June - Loch Sport

Woke this morning to the first day of my 69th year. While the sky was a bit grey, the temperature was mild and no sign of rain. Fired up the Beemer and rode to Loch Sport on the Gippsland Lakes and arrived there at 11:30. I haven't been to Loch Sport for over 40 years and in recent year have heard lots of reports of its popularity and growth, and so I was quite hopeful of finding the an interesting place to eat. Well, Loch Sport has definitely grown into a large town and the road which was once a sandy track is now sealed. There is now a large marina with an adjacent hotel overlooking Lake Victoria. Drove around for a while to check out cafes or bakeries but in the end did not find anything which looked appetising and decided to have lunch in Sale instead. Much better luck this time and by now the sky cleared completely producing a great day. The return trip was via Maffra (coffee at the bakery), Glenmaggie and Cowarr. A very enjoyable ride.

Total Distance 250 km.

Monday, June 11, 2012

11 June - Warburton, Reefton Spur, Marysville and Healesville

(Photo - Courtesy The Age)

Today was the first day with forecast sunshine, for quite a while. Zane and I had planned to meet in Morwell and ride to Warburton. At 10 am the fog was quite thick and the temperature was only 5.5 degrees. But - no rain! Headed west along the Princes Highway and the fog didn't clear completely until we reached Trafalgar. Left the highway at Nilma and cut through Neerim to top up Zane's KLX250 at Neerim Junction. Continued on our way through Powelltown and Yarra Junction and reached Warburton exactly at noon. By then the sky was clear and the sun was shining but the temperature had not progressed much above 8 degrees. Had coffee and a great lunch at "Three Sugars" in the main street of Warburton and thawed out to the point where we were ready to ride again. Instead of turning for home we decided to do the extra leg through Reefton Spur and Marysville. What a wonderful ride this was. The views were breathtaking but with the additional altitude the temperature bottomed out at 4.5 degrees. The BMW's grip heaters really come in handy in these conditions. Stopped at the Marysville bakery for another coffee and fuelled both bikes. The return trip was through the Black Spur, Healesville, Cockatoo and Pakenham. Home at 5pm.

Total Distance 390 km.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

31 May - Metung and Lakes Entrance

Today, the last day of autumn, was a beauty. Clear skies, no wind and everything seemed to sparkle. Left home around 10:00 am and rode east, with the first coffee stop in Stratford. Sitting in the park in the sun, sipping my latte and chatting with a fellow traveller was just the perfect start to the day. The next segment was Stratford to Metung. Once again, sitting at the water's edge, sharing my lunch with some very aggressive seagulls and watching a few people mucking about in boats - as good as it gets. After lunch a quick trip into Lakes Entrance where conditions were just as brilliant.

Being a week day, Lakes was almost abandoned. After stopping for a photo of the entrance I commenced the homeward journey, still in perfect conditions. No wind and the temperature gauge reading 16.5˚.
As I rode through Stratford I noticed a Dutch coffee shop. Had to check that out of course and so afternoon tea consisted of Dutch Apple Cake and another coffee. Very nice !

Total Distance 333 km.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

27 May - Ulysses Club Ride to Inverloch

After the appalling weather of the last few days I was not hopeful for the monthly Ulysses club ride today but despite a heavy overcast sky, the radar showed no rain. We left the Ice Creamery at 10:00 this morning and rode to Mirboo Nth via Boollara and Boolarra South. An interesting mix of bikes including a couple of Gold Wings. Morning coffee at a nice little cafe in the main street of Mirboo Nth before heading off to Leongatha along a road I had never used before - interesting. The area surrounding Leongatha was showing signs of extensive flooding and thankfully none of our roads were affected. Carried on straight through Leongatha to Inverloch which was the planned break for lunch. After a very pleasant lunch break the sky had darkened a lot when we emerged and many riders, including myself opted to don the wet weather gear for the return trip. This worked like magic - never saw a drop all the way home. Not a great day but still a terrific ride.

Total Distance 255 km.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

23 May - Tidal River - Wilsons Prom

A bright sunny day today and decided to ride the BMW to Wilsons Prom. Rode nonstop through Mirboo Nth, Meenyian, Fish Creek and Yanakie and turned the video camera on in Yanakie to capture the beautiful ride down the prom and into Tidal River. The prom and the Tidal river area were badly affected by floods last year and some parts are still closed to visitors. But the camping area around Tidal River looks fantastic. The caravan park has nice grassy sites and some of them are powered now - will try the caravan down there soon. Had lunch at the General Store and as soon I sat down to my hamburger I was joined by a dozen or so very colourful rosellas which are obviously quite accustomed to humans. In no time they were on my shoulders and down my arms trying to take the food out of my hands. I switched on my camera and caught these cheeky guys in action. Rode home the same way with a coffee stop in Mirboo North.

Total Distance 395km.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

17 May - Warburton, Reefton Spur, Marysville, Black Spur and Healesville

An unusually sunny day today and the forecast looked good. Headed up through Nilma, Neerim and Powelltown with the first stop - for fuel - in Warburton. I wanted to visit Marysville which was almost totally destroyed in the 2009 fires - only 11 buildings remained standing. Riding down into Marysville from Reefton Spur is an amazing experience. The bush, which is obviously fire affected is now cloaked in green regrowth and as you enter the town the only sign of the utter devastation is the fact that nearly every building is brand new. Fortunately, one of the survivors is the Bakery Cafe which was a welcome stop for lunch, and for once, not very busy.

Many parks and gardens have been fully restored and many of the old deciduous trees along the main street seem to have survived as well. Many shops, cafes and a new petrol station are all in full swing and there seems to be no shortage of visitors, and as you sit here basking in the sun it is difficult to imagine the inferno and the destruction suffered here such a short time ago.

After leaving Marysville the return trip was down the Black Spur into Healesville and then back to the Princes Highway via Cockatoo, Gembrook and Pakenham.

Altogether a most enjoyable ride.

Total Distance 390 km.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

9 May - Update on Dargo Ride

During my recent ride to Dargo, the Secretary of our Ulysses branch snapped a picture of my bike for the club newsletter. I received a copy of it the other day and here it is - me and the BMW in front of the Dargo pub.

Monday, May 7, 2012

6 May - Warburton for Lunch

The weather forecast for today was "some showers". Looked out the window and it was pretty bleak. As I was deciding whether to ride or not the phone rang. Zane wanted to ride and we arranged to leave from our house at 10:30 for a ride to Warburton via Noojee, Powelltown and Yarra Junction. On with the thermal underwear as the top forecast temperature was 15 °. By the time we reached Willow Grove it was raining, not hard but steady and the skies ahead were dark grey - not too promising. Riding through the forest on the approach to Noojee the temperature had dropped to 9 ° and the drizzle continued.. Thankfully the grip heaters were switched to high.  After a quick diversion to Neerim Junction for fuel for Zane's bike we decided to push on. Reached Warburton around 1 pm and settled in for lunch at Three Sugars - which had a blazing wood fire going. By the time we reached Warburton the temperature had risen to a balmy 12 ° and the rain had stopped. After a very pleasant lunch we rode back to Neerim Junction for another fuel stop and then continued home along the Old Sale Road. Despite the marginal weather it was an enjoyable ride and we reached home around 3:45.

Total Distance 277 km.

Monday, April 30, 2012

29 April - Ulysses Club Ride to Dargo

Hadn't done a Ulysses ride for a while. The weather forecast looked good and the destination was Dargo so off we went at 09:30 this morning. There were about 10 bikes with a number carrying pillion passengers. Morning coffee at Stratford and then into the high country. The temperature briefly dropped to 10 degC in the mountains but the fine weather held out. Lunch at Dargo was enjoyed by all and a real bonus was a bag of freshly harvested walnuts from the general store. The return trip was a bit longer with a diversion through Lindenow Sth and Meerlieu and then back through Stratford where most of the bikes needed a fuel stop and from here the final hop to Traralgon for a recap of the days events. The Beemer performed faultlessly and I was pleasantly surprised that I still had plenty of fuel left after this long ride, a lot of it through mountain country. On a flat road the fuel range of the bike is well in excess of 400 km.

Total Distance 366 km.

Friday, April 27, 2012

27 April - Cowes, Philip Island

Weather looked a bit bleak this morning but the radar gave the all clear. I've just received my AirHawk seat and wanted to try it out on a longish ride. Strapped it on the seat of the Beemer and off we went via Mirboo North, Leongatha, Inverloch and Wonthaggi. It started of pretty windy but by the time I got to the coast it was sunny and quite calm. The trick with the AirHawk is minimal inflation and I had to stop a couple of times to let air out. Correctly inflated it works very well and it will definitely prevent 'numb bum' on the longer rides. Had lunch at Gulliver's in Cowes and checked out Biker's Gear before heading back through Archies Creek and Korumburra. Coffee and apricot slice at the bakery there and then home. Somehow managed to avoid rain all day.

Total Distance 320 km.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

21 April - Melbourne

Rode down to Melbourne to pick up a couple of bits for the BMW. The first was a replacement panel. When I first got the bike home and removed the panniers I noticed one panel was quite badly scratched. Picked up the new one and installed it as soon as I got home - much better.

Also picked up an aluminium 'bash plate' which on my bike is an optional extra. This device protects the bottom of the engine from impacts from rock, sticks etc. particularly when riding of road. A bit fiddly to fit but managed it in the end.

Apart from getting the bits I wanted it was also a very pleasant ride with sunny weather most of the way.

Total Distance 320 km.

18 April - Strzeleckis and Sth Gippsland Highway

A beautiful day and an opportunity to gain more experience on the BMW. Repeated one of my favourite trips. Lunch at Mirboo Nth, down to Meenyian and then along the Sth Gippsland Highway to Yarram and home through Gormandale. Still getting used to the Beemer but once again it performed faultlessly.

Total Distance 229 km.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

13 April - Around the Strzelecki's

After a bout of poor riding weather, Friday promised to be a great day. Headed off around noon to Mirboo Nth, Leongatha and then lunch at the bakery in Korumburra - great as usual. The return trip was along the Korumburra/Warragul Rd and returned along the highway.

Total Distance 191 km.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

5 April - Licola on Beemer

Took the Beemer for a quick run to Licola at about noon. Despite early cloud, the afternoon turned into a brilliant day for riding. Unlike previous trips the road was full of holiday makers getting an early start for Easter. The caravan parks and camping grounds along the McAllister river were filling up rapidly and even Licola was quite busy. The BMW just ate up the hills - everything is effortless on this bike, even potholes and bumps in the road don't seem to bother it much. Also tried it out on some dirt roads and that's definitely an area for skill development. Once I find a suitable one I'll probably do an 'off-road' riding course.

Total Distance 190 km.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

1 April - Walhalla and Beyond

After bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast this morning, and a couple of odd jobs, it occurred to me that I really needed more time on the Beemer. Zane joined me on his KLX for a quick ride, and a coffee, to Walhalla. Riding the F650GS is quite a thrill. It is such an agile and powerful machine that it almost seems that in order to do something, you just need to 'think' it. It has a great number of features (such as ABS brakes for example) but the one that I have found most useful so far is auto cancelling indicators. One of my most consistent failings on bikes to date has been to forget to turn off the blinkers. Anyway, we reached Walhalla in short order and in no time we were enjoying our cafe lattes. The weather was still OK at this stage so we decided to take a run to the Thomson Dam wall. From there to Rawson for fuel for the KLX and then on to Trafalgar via Willow Grove. At this stage my fuel gauge was still showing one third full - after some 350km - but I thought it prudent to fill it anyway.

From Trafalgar we headed up the hill to Thorpdale before finally turning towards home via Yinnar. The Beemer and I are starting to develop a working relationship.

Total Distance 220 km.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

31 March - Southbank and home via the Dandenongs

Caught the 07:19 train down to Melbourne this morning to pick up my new purchase. By about 10:15 all the paperwork was completed and I had finished a quick rundown of the features of the BMW (enough to ride it home anyway) and I was on my way to show it off to Marcus who lives about 5 minutes away. By the time I reached Port Melbourne the weather was looking discouraging - strong winds and ominous clouds, and so I left quickly to try and beat the weather home. However by the time I got on to the Monash Freeway things started to look up and so I decided to take the Ferntree Gully Road and head toward the Dandenongs. By then I was starting to feel quite at home on the Beemer and the prospect of trying it out on the mountain roads was quite appealing.

Quickly passed through Sassafras, Olinda, Montrose and Lilydale and in almost no time I was in Warburton for lunch at Three Sugars. Riding through the hills provided quite a lot of protection from the winds and this continued on the ride home via Yarra Junction, Powelltown, Noojee etc. Got home at around 4pm feeling quite at home now on this bike. Very impressed with this machine. It takes everything in its stride and the 800cc engine provides great power under all conditions - what a blast.
So, now the next task is to get RWC's for the Honda and the Kawasaki and sell them. The BMW handles both long range touring and off road adventures superbly and so the other bikes will have to go. I've enjoyed them both immensely and I hope they provide as much pleasure to the next owner(s).

Total Distance 230 km.

29-30 March Port Melbourne and Carrum Downs

Rode the Honda down to Port Melbourne to visit Marcus Ronalds who has taken a 12 month break from work and will be heading of on an adventure laden overseas trip in mid-April. We visited the BMW motorbike shop  in Southbank so Marcus could check out adventure bikes - he is also planning a ride around Australia on his return from OS. Tried a 2011 BMW F650GS on for size and found surprisingly that I'm tall enough to ride it. This particular bike was a dealer demo with 1700 km on the clock and fitted with every accessory available including ABS, mag wheels, hard luggage, tyre pressure monitor etc. All this at many $thousands below normal price - hmmm.. food for thought. Marcus opened a keg of Heineken and we had curries delivered - couldn't really drive after getting stuck into a keg. During the evening I checked prices of other second hand F650GS's which confirmed what a bargain was sitting on the show room floor so, next morning I dropped in and made an offer which was lower again and they accepted. The next item on the agenda was a drive to Carrum Downs to meet with one of our financial advisers for our usual 12 month review. Very pleased to find that our portfolio had not been trashed in the last 12 months and had even made a modest gain. Time to concentrate on driving home in beautiful weather - blue skies, no wind and mild temperatures. Got home just after lunch - quite a busy couple days.

Total Distance 390 km.

Monday, March 26, 2012

25 March - Farmworld and Korumburra

Since returning from SA, very few days have been encouraging for an outing on the bike. Today was overcast but no sign of rain on the radar so Zane (KLX250) and I (Honda) rode to Farm World at Lardner Park. This is a huge exhibition featuring everything under the sun. While there is a lot of farm machinery and livestock, there is also a lot of outdoor gear, motorcycles and all sorts of interesting odds and ends. This year was the best so far and seemed to be very well attended. After Farmworld, Zane and I rode to Korumburra for coffee and goodies at Bakery which was good as always. Then home through Leongatha, Mirboo Nth, Boolarra and Churchill and not a drop of rain all day.

Total Distance 215km.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

2 March - Away on caravan holiday!

For those who follow my motorcycle ramblings, I'm taking a two week break with Rosa and the caravan. Our plan is to travel to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road and the coast. From there we plan to spend time in Mildura and return home via central Victoria.

You can follow our progress on

Friday, February 24, 2012

24 February - Loch and Philip Island

A cool and overcast morning, but the bureau had forecast clearing fog and a hot sunny day. Rode off on the Honda this morning at about 10:00 towards Mirboo Nth, Leongatha and Korrmumburra with the intention of having lunch in the little village of Loch. This is a tiny historic town on the South Gippsland Highway renowned for its antique shops, cafes and restaurants. Could have picked from a number of attractive cafes but the one that caught my eye was called "La Rosa" - how could I go wrong.

Had a terrific lunch and a great coffee and a nice chat with some of the locals. Continued on my way to San Remo and Philip Island and realised something was up - there were motorbikes everywhere - it wasn't until I approached San Remo that I saw the signs advertising this weekend's Superbike races that I realised what all the bikes were doing there. Stopped off at Biker's Gear in Cowes and bought a terrific pair of leather riding boots at a bargain price. The return trip was through Wonthaggi, Cape Patterson, Inverloch, Leongatha and Korrumburra where I took a coffee break at the "Bullock Dray" cafe - a favourite. Got home at 4:30 pm after a fantastic day out.

Total Distance 365 km.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

18 February - Dandenongs

The forecast today promised early drizzle and a warm day. Left home at 10:00 on the Honda for a ride to Olinda via Pakenham, Cockatoo, Emerald and Belgrave. The conditions were almost perfect, no wind and the cloud cover disappeared as the day wore on. Spent a couple of hours in Olinda with lunch at the Olinda Cafe. It was very busy and the carparks were full but there's always somewhere to park a bike. The return trip was through Kalorama, Lilydale, Yarra Junction and Noojee, and by then the sky was completely clear. The ride between Powelltown and Willow Grove was just spectacular. Got home around 4:30 after a perfect day on the bike.

Total Distance 330km.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

11 February - Grand Ridge Road (continued)

Despite a weather forecast of rain and possible storms skies in Traralgon looked reasonable and so, out came the KLX for a trip to the last part of the Grand Ridge Road from Mirboo Nth to Seaview. All went well until about halfway down the Grand Ridge Rd. As I stopped to take this picture I could see the rain approaching so on with the wet weather gear. That worked a treat because it stopped raining immediately. Had a very pleasant run into Korumburra and as I stopped for lunch at the bakery cafe I ran into three local Ullysians who invited me to join them at their table. We had a great chat over lunch, and I was almost convinced that I should be riding to Mildura in March for the Ulysses AGM. After lunch, the wet weather gear was packed away again and once again it had the expected affect. Between Mirboo North and Boolarra the sky turned black with streaks of lightning. Nowhere to stop to don the gear until I got to Boolarra. This time I was glad I put it on - it poured all the way to Churchill and quite a few lightning flashed too. Despite the deterioration in the weather the ride was very enjoyable. I can certainly recommend this bit of the Grand Ridge Road even on a road bike. There are a couple of stretches of gravel but these are quite manageable.

Total Distance 225km.

Monday, February 6, 2012

4 February - The Grand Ridge Road

Zane and I met in Traralgon South and rode to Balook with the aim of travelling the Grand Ridge Road to  Mirboo North on our KLX's. Shortly after Balook this winding road through the Strzelecki Ranges reverts to  gravel with some of it quite challenging. Mostly it winds through forests of mountain ash and occasionally there are glimpses of rolling hills and farm land. After passing the occasional car eventually it's pretty clear there's not another person around for miles. Definitely a road I would not travel alone - a flat tire here could mean a long walk or a long wait and most likely a night spent in the bush. Eventually though, the bitumen resumes and it's an easy ride into Mirboo North, where we stopped for coffee and cake at the Bullock Dray. A great ride - some time soon we'll complete the next leg which runs from Mirboo Nth to Seaview.

Total Distance 190km.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

28 January - Oakleigh and the Dandenongs

Hit the road at 08:00 to check out a faulty air conditioner at Rosa's parents' house in Oakleigh. After arranging for a mechanic to check out the unit headed towards the Dandenongs via Ferntree Gully. Had a very nice lunch at Pie in the Sky at Olinda before riding home through Monbulk, Silvan, Yarra Junction, Powelltown and Noojee. Quite a hot and sunny day and a very enjoyable ride.

Total Distance 285 km.

26 January - Coffee in Mirboo North

Beautiful weather and time for a quick ride. Took the Boolarra Rd up to Mirboo North for a coffee at the Bullock Dray. Returned via the Limonite Road. Short but sweet. Couldn't resist taking a picture of the Honda in front of this painted wall in Mirboo Nth.

Total Distance 100 km.

20 January - Warburton

SMS'd Marcus last night to see if he was riding today. Got a quick response which said "Why not", so we agreed to meet at 12:00 for lunch. The ride over, through Noojee and Powelltown was a bit chilly but it started to warm up by noon. Had a very nice lunch at "Three Sugars" and a leisurely catchup. The ride home was leisurely and most enjoyable.

Total Distance 285 km.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

10, 11 , 12 January - Bright and Wandiligong

Departed Traralgon around 10:30 on Tuesday on the KLX250 to spend a couple of nights with John and Marie in Wandiligong. Took the KLX to try out the 50km of dirt road between Dargo and Hotham Heights. Stopped for lunch and fuel at the General Store in Dargo - quite a few cars and motorcycles about. The dirt road to Hotham Heights is a good quality road although corrugated and a bit narrow in some spots. Arrived in Wandiligong around 3:45 pm - quite a good run and only about 280 km from home. Wednesday was a cold and quite miserable day - no bike rides and instead joined the family for lunch at the Beechworth Bakery. Headed towards home this morning at 7:30 and started with breakfast at Beanz (in Bright) before heading up to Mt Beauty and the Bogong High Plains. The weather in the valley was bright and sunny and no wind but by the time I got to Falls Creek it was icy cold and I was riding through clouds a lot of the time. Just as well I was wearing thermals. The grip heaters were running flat out.  After about 30 km of this the descent into Omeo commences and the temperature increased a bit but even Omeo is quite elevated and still quite cold. It didn't really warm up until Swifts Creek. Had lunch at the bakery in Bruthen and made the final fuel (and toilet) stop in Bairnsdale. It was a very windy run from Bairnsdale back to Traralgon via Maffra and Heyfield. Reached home at 2:45 pm. Quite an adventure and the KLX performed faultlessly.

Total Distance 680km.