Thursday, March 23, 2017

20 March - Day 4 - Porepunkah Home over Mt Hotham.

Had a pleasant evening last night. Dinner at the Punkah Pub and a quick catchup with family. Our only concern was the weather forecast. Today's route would take us over Mt Hotham, a ski resort in the winter, and the forecast was for rain and thunderstorms. When we looked up at the mountain it didn't look too threatening and the rain radar showed no sign of rain. On that basis we decided to have a quick breakfast at Harrietville, at the foot of the mountain, and if the radar was still clear to make a quick mountain crossing and try to beat the bad weather. After donning our wet weather gear we set off. Very little traffic going up the mountain and just a little fog as we approached the summit but apart from that all was well.
Against all odds our luck held out and we saw no rain. After a quick leg stretch in Omeo we continued on the 90 km to Bruthen for fuel. From then it was just a routine run home and I pulled up at my place not long after 3pm. I think we were pretty lucky.
Altogether a very enjoyable motorcycle experience which covered two of Victoria's 'great roads' the Great Ocean Road and the Great Alpine Road.

Total Distance 400 km
Total Distance for the trip 1324 km

Sunday, March 19, 2017

19 March - Day 3 - Castlemaine to Porepunkah

Left our beautiful 'home away from home' in Castlemaine this morning after a makeshift breakfast at around 9:30. Our aim was to reach Porepunkah and spend the evening with the Thomas's, and after a few wrong turns we eventually turned on GoogleMaps to guide us. After navigating a few back roads and some parts of Victoria we didn't know existed we eventually joined the Hume highway at Seymour. From here it was just a boring grind with lots of traffic. A bit of a break at the Avanel Roadhouse for fuel and re-hydration and then on past Benalla before turning of the highway just after Glenrowan towards Milliwa. We stopped at Taste of Italy in Millawa for a wood fired pizza which was great. We were now wishing 40 minutes of our destination and soon after we rolled into Porepunkah for a very enjoyable reunion with family and friends. Dinner at the Porepunkah hotel which we could walk to so a couple of drinks were in order. After our great run with good weather it looks like tomorrow we are due for a change for the worse. Looking at the forecast we have a four hour window to get over Mount Hotham before thunderstorms set in so the plan is to have a quick breakfast in Bright and then make the run over the mountains and into east Gippsland and then home tomorrow evening.

Total distance 315 km.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

18 March - Day 2 Lorne, Apollo Bay, Castlemaine

Woke up in Lorne this morning after a great night's sleep. Breakfast at the bakery in the main street and checked out of our motel right on 10 am. Another fine, clear day with a maximum temperature forecast of 29ÂșC. Our trip today would include about 50km of the best scenery along the Great Ocean Road (GOR) so I spent a bit of time making sure my helmet action cam was set up properly to capture all the action. It was nearly 10:30 by the time we hit the GOR and the traffic was light. We mostly encountered cyclists. The GOR is fairly winding with fantastic views on the left side so it is quite a challenge to take in the terrific views and keep an eye on the road and traffic as well.
We made several stops for photo opportunities along the way and all to soon we were on the outskirts of Apollo  Bay and time to turn North towards Ballarat.
Initially the road winds its way way up through the Otway Ranges before flattening out as you approach Colac. The ride through the mountains was fantastic, hardly any traffic. Refilled our tanks in Colac and then pushed on to Ballarat where we had a quick bite for lunch. As it was still relatively early we decided to continue to Daylesford where we quickly discovered that there was no accommodation available, so then we pushed on the extra 50 km to Castlemaine. I had never been here before and was very impressed with this city and really hoped to spend the evening here, but once again accommodation was proving difficult until eventually we rang a place suggested by one of the other motel owners and struck it lucky. A twin room in a beautifully restored old mansion for $115/night. We quickly changed out of our bike gear and walked into town for a beer or two or three. Also found a great Indian and Malaysian restaurant and after a nice evening walk to check out the town we sat down to a great meal. We have just walked home, had showers and are busy recharging all our cameras, phone etc.

Total Distance 300 km

Friday, March 17, 2017

17 March - Motorcycle trip Take 2 - Home to Lorne

After our aborted ride a couple of weeks ago we set off again today in anticipation of fairly decent weather for the next few days. This time though we headed West, through Melbourne, past Geelong and on to the Great Ocean Road. The weather was perfect, although a little windy when we hit the coast.
We met this morning at the Trafalgar Service Station and after refuelling the bikes we were off into the wild blue yonder. Stopped for morning coffee in Officer and then immersed ourselves in the Melbourne traffic which was quite busy.
We interrupted our trip at Aireys Inlet to have a look at the magnificent Lighthouse on top of a hill there.

We arrived in Lorne in the early afternoon and after a quick walk around managed to find a good room at the Lorne Bayview apartments. After a restful afternoon of catching up on email and recharging all our stuff we walked down the main street to find a place to eat. Found a great little Mexican cafe. Very tasty food, not sure what I ate but it was great.
Tomorrow we continue our way down the Great Ocean Road as far as Apollo Bay and then turn north towards Ballarat where we will spend the night.

Total Distance 305 km

Saturday, March 4, 2017

3 March - Listen to the Rythm of the Pouring Rain

Woke early this morning to the sound of pouring rain. A quick check of the weather reports told the sad story. Storm and flood warnings lasting a few days centred on the area we were riding into. This left us with four options:

- ride on into potential floods and storms
- wait in Mallacoota until the weather improved
- turn North and cross the Great Dividing Range and hopefully outrun this system
- head back home and ride another day.

On the basis that we didn't need to be anywhere and that the prospect of 2 or three days in Mallacoota in the rain didn't appeal, we reluctantly decided to return home and ride another (more clement) day.

We donned the wet weather gear and started riding home. Initially the rain was quite heavy but eventually as we rode west it cleared to patchy showers and the last 100 km were in fine conditions.

After a quick coffee we arrived home around 2:45. We'll now look out for a 5 day stretch of good weather to try again.

Total Distance 365 km.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

2 March - Day 1 of 7 Day MC Tour - Mallacoota

Left Traralgon this morning with brother Luke on a 7 day motorcycle trip. Our intention is to travel up the east coast of Australia until we reach Batemans Bay and then head inland over the mountains to the national capital Canberra. From there our journey will take us through Cooma and then on to the Snowy Mountains. Our exact itinerary will be determined by the weather on a day by day basis.  We left this morning just after 9 am and our first stop was Bruthen for fuel and coffee.We then continued east via Cann River and arrived here in Mallacoota at 1:45 pm where we booked into the local hotel. The place is surprisingly full of holiday makers and the caravan parks look pretty full.

Found a great Asian restaurant and booked a table for 6pm and then went for a walk.
Mallacoota is based on an extensive lake system which connects to the sea and I would imagine that it would be a paradise for fisherman and recreational boating.
After a 360 km ride it was certainly nice to change out of our motorbike gear and relax with a couple of beers. Dinner was terrific and followed by another beautiful evening walk along the foreshore.
Time for a shower and a fairly early night. Tomorrow we ride to Batemans Bay.

Total Distance 361 km.