Sunday, July 28, 2013

28 July - Ride with Shadow Riders of Australia (SRA)

(Courtesy SRA)

Some time ago I joined a MC club called Shadow Riders of Australia (SRA) for riders who own a Honda Shadow. To date the club has over 300 members around Australia and in March 2014 it will hold its second AGM in Bright. This year's AGM was held in Dubbo.

Today several members had a arranged a ride to Traralgon and I caught up with them at the Longwarry Caltex service station and led the ride from there to Traralgon.

(Courtesy SRA)

Once in Traralgon we managed to find parking for all of the bikes in Post Office Place and have lunch at Del Mondo. It was a great chance to meet other Shadow riders and other potential ride partners for the future.

(Courtesy SRA)
The best part of the day was that I only had a five minute ride to my house.

Check out the SRA web site here...

Total distance 163 km.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

25 July - Port Welshpool

Here in Gippsland, at this time of the year, when the weather forecast predicts "Sunny" it does not mean "warm and sunny". In fact this morning it meant "bloody cold and sunny". The Beemer told me it was 7ºC when I set off this morning, and if it wasn't for plenty of warm gear, including a neck warmer, riding would not be a lot of fun. On the other hand, if you're properly prepared with thermals and double socks it's fine and by the time I stopped for fuel in Mirboo North the temperature had risen to 11ºC - wow!

My ride today took me the long way (via Inverloch) to Port Welshpool which is on the South Gippsland Highway. Port Welshpool, a small fishing village, was for some years (mid 1990's I think) a terminal for the infamous high speed SeaCat Tasmania, which provided a high speed link between Victoria and Tasmania.

Unfortunately this service ran into a lot of problems mainly due to the rough conditions which prevail in Bass Strait. In rough weather the ride was very uncomfortable and the SeaCat soon earned the nickname SpewCat. Additionally there was a range of structural problems which I think affected the engine mounts. After a couple of seasons the service was discontinued and after repairs the SeaCat sailed to the UK (via the Panama Canal) and is now in service as a ferry between Dover and Calais.

I never got to see the SeaCat in action because at the time it operated I lived in Melbourne but I was interested to see if there was any sign of its operation in Port Welshpool. The only thing I found was that the terminal building is still there, looking very forlorn at the end of the jetty. According to a sign it is available for hire for corporate functions. Continued the ride home via Yarram without further stops.

Total Distance 280 km.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

16 July - Sam the Koala, Mirboo Nth

 Many of you who follow my blog regularly will know that many of my rides take me to or through a little village called Mirboo North. MB is located in the Strzelecki Hills to the South of my home and as well as lying on the main road to a lot of mountain and coastal locations, it also features a couple of my favourite cafes. Today was one of those still, mild and sunny days that makes me want to meander slowly through some of this wonderful countryside and so I took the Honda Cruiser and rode slowly to Mirboo North, not wanting to go much further. I don't think my speed exceeded 80 km/h and with almost no traffic on the roads this led to a wonderfully relaxing ride. My destination was Nanna's Kitchen and so when I arrived and took an outside table I was able to kick back, watching the locals and waiting for my BLT and cafe latte.

Lunch duly arrived and was fantastic as usual. One of the nice things about being in a relaxed frame of mind is that you actually notice things you usually miss. As I sat there enjoying lunch and looked across the road, I noticed a large commemorative plaque I had not seen before and so I wandered over to check it out.

This and other regions of Victoria suffered devastating bushfires in February 2009, with great loss of life and damage to property.

At the time a photo circulated showing a scene of utter, charred devastation, and a fire fighter feeding a bottle of water to a schorched koala which had somehow survived. The commemorative plaque is dedicated to the victims and firefighters of that event and the plaque reproduces the theme of that famous photo. This is the famous news photo of Sam the koala,

and here is the plaque now standing in Mirboo Nth.

Unfortunately Sam has since passed away but he will always be world famous.

Total Distance 110km

Thursday, July 11, 2013

11 July - Gippsland Lakes

Looked out the window this morning and the lawn was covered in frost. The sky was blue however and the forecast was for a fine day. I'd been looking forward to a ride to the Gippsland Lakes for a while, and as soon as the temperature warmed a little (7.5ºC) I set off towards Heyfield and Maffra. By the time I reached Maffra the temperature had increased by one whole degree and so I called into the Maffra bakery to warm up with a coffee and some hot food. By the time I finished this early lunch the feeling had returned to my toes and the outside temperature had increased to 11ºC - much better. From Maffra it was a pleasant ride through Meerlieu and Bengworden and eventually to Paynesville where I called in for a coffee at our friends John and Sandra's place. This latter part of the ride was very pleasant - no wind whatsoever - and a bright sunny day, so I was glad I resisted an earlier impulse to leave the bike in the garage. After a pleasant chat and coffee it was time to point the Beemer towards home again. As is usual at this time of the year the temperature dropped quickly through the afternoon and I got home around at 4:30.

Total Distance 305 km.

Monday, July 8, 2013

8 July - Foster, Sth Gippsland

Really hanging out for a ride on the Honda so I was very happy when skies were clear this morning. Expected cold weather but thermal underwear takes care of that. Rode through Churchill, refuelled in Mirboo North and then continued to Foster via  Meeiyan, and had lunch at Bromley's Cafe on Main. This was a great find - Peri Peri Chicken wrap (fantastic) and great coffee. Will definitely return here on future rides. After lunch the ride continued along the Sth Gippsland Highway to Yarram where I stopped to stock up on goodies from Yarram Bakery. The ladies at the bakery were happy to see me and were worried I hadn't been for a while. Reassured them all was OK and continued along the Hyland Highway to home. Today was one of the best rides I've ever had - a clear, crisp day, the Honda just purred along all day which all added up to the perfect day on the bike.

Total Distance 233 km.

Friday, July 5, 2013

4 July - Warburton

Returned from the Hawaii cruise on Tuesday morning at 2:30 am.

We had a fabulous time. It's amazing what constant sunshine and a steady temperature of 28 degC does for you. I did miss the bike though and was filled with envy as I watched lots of guys cruising around Waikiki on Harley's. Not sure I could get used to the shorts, tee shirt and bare head style of riding. Made one important purchase, a Kamaka, tenor ukulele. These 'Stradivarius' of ukes have been made locally by a family for the past 70 years, and now the third generation of Kamakas are running the business.

Today started off fine, if somewhat windy so I took the BMW out for a lunch run to Warburton. It felt great to be out on a bike again, and lunch was great too.
Total Distance 320 km