Saturday, December 30, 2017

30 December - Dargo

It's nearly the end of 2017 and a time to reflect on a difficult year from a motorcycle point of view.
Being struck by a car while walking in the town in March, and the resultant repairs to my tibia put an end to walking for some weeks and to riding for some months. On 1 July, three months after the accident I tentatively (jump) started both my bikes and took them for a short ride to recharge the batteries and to see if my leg was strong enough to hold the bikes up. Mainly due to an unusually wet winter it took a while to extend the rides to test my endurance and I've found that the Honda, being a cruiser, places less strain on the knee than the BMW. I've definitely found that, for me anyway, regular riding is needed to keep the skills and confidence at the required level and was glad to be able to fit in a few short to medium trips.

In recent weeks I rode to Warburton to stock up with baked goods from the excellent bakery there at the same time achieving one of my favourite mountain forest rides. Also managed a ride to Cowes on Philip Island with my son in law Zane a couple of weeks ago. Despite the many months of inactivity and some loss of muscle tone all went well and more importantly, I still found riding to be very enjoyable.

Today I undertook quite a long ride to Dargo, which is located in the foothills of the Australian Alps and the 'high country' made famous by the legendary cattlemen described in Australian classics such as 'The Man from Snowy River"

As it is summer holiday season here the town and surrounding area was packed with holiday makers camped along the Mitchell River and all coming into town for supplies. The famous Dargo hotel looked very busy and we steered clear, choosing instead the equally famous, and nearly as busy General Store.

I was joined on this ride by my brother Luke and my son in law Zane, and despite warnings of possible rain, for the most part we rode through this magnificent country in brilliant sunshine. It was only on the way back when we got close to home that the storm clouds gathered. Fortunately there was very little rain and I'm happy to report that I finished the year on a high with a magnificent year.

Total Distance 350 km

Sunday, November 5, 2017

5 November - Licola

Woke to a mild and sunny day today and thoughts turned to motorcycling. Rang brother Luke - he was free and we decided to ride to Licola - a beautiful winding mountain road between here and this little town which lists its population as 21 (including the surrounding areas).
Licola is nestled on the banks of the Macalister river in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. In times past Licola was a stop on the difficult road to various goldfields and also home to a timber mill for many years. In the 1960's Australia's Lion Club organisation bought the town and turned it into a Youth Camp complex. Today was part of a 4 day long weekend. Tuesday is Melbourne Cup Day, a public holiday and many people take Monday off to create a 4 day weekend.
We found campers everywhere in the town and on the river banks. The spring weather has caused the flowers and blooms everywhere including the iconic flowering gums. After a look around and an ice cream, it was time to head back. It seemed that it was actually getting warmer on the way back - very pleasant conditions.

Total Distance 172 km.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

7 October 2017 - First Stop Castlemaine

Left this morning just before 9 am. Beautiful clear day and all went well. Our route took us up the Calder Highway and past Mt Macedon. We decided to spend the first night in Castlemaine. Luke and I overnighted here on our last motorbike trip and I was impressed with this beautiful old mining town. We set up in the Big 4 caravan park here which is located right next to the Castlemaine Botanical Garden.
Everywhere you look here it is obvious this was once a very busy and prosperous town - lots of old factories some of which are being converted to cafe and art precincts.
We're spending two nights here and will probably take a drive to Bendigo tomorrow. Then on Monday we'll continue on to Mildura. Hopefully we'll find more sunny weather.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

3 October, Walhalla

Woke up this morning to an unfamiliar sight - blue sky and sunshine. It was so pleasant we managed to have breakfast outside. By noon it was getting positively pleasant so I fired up the Honda (luckily it started first go) for a ride into the mountains to Walhalla. Given the fine conditions, I was hoping to get a few photos. The light around noon was a bit harsh but with a bit of searching I found a couple of shots worth taking.
As this is the second week of school holidays here in Victoria it was a bit busy but I eventually found a coffee and a bite to eat before continuing on with a search for photos.
After a really pleasant time watching families looking for gold in Stringers Creek, it was time for the return trip.
Enjoyed a wonderful leisurely ride home through Erica and Yallourn North. It was great to get back on the bike.

Total Distance 120 km

Sunday, August 20, 2017

20 August - Spring is in the Air

After a few days of rain and some more cold nights, this morning actually looked pleasant enough to go for a ride. As I was deciding between going for a ride and cleaning the garage, the phone rang.
It was my son-in-law Zane wanting to know if I'd like to join him on a ride - that decision was made in a micro second! Zane has recently acquired a new adventure bike, a Kawasaki KLR 650.
Our plan was to follow one of my favourite rides - the South Gippsland Highway via Yarram, Port Albert and Mirboo North. We rode off under a brilliant blue sky and with the aid of a set of brand new thermals, and the grip heaters blasting away you could actually convince yourself it was a nice day. Our first stop was in Port Albert for Zane to deal with his 'fish and chips' fix and a chance for me to take a few photos.
From then on it was actually getting quite spring-like as we cruised along the South Gippsland Highway. Then it was time to head back into the hills for a coffee at the In Line 4 cafe in Mirboo North. By the time we finished the coffees the temperature had started to drop again and it was time to head for home. A great day out.

Total Distance 230 km.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2 August - South Gippsland Circuit

This winter has been one of the coldest and driest I can remember. Most morning start with heavy fog and hopefully by 10 am or so the fog has lifted and clear skies emerge. Not keen on riding a motorcycle in the fog but I have been venturing out on four wheels to capture a few foggy landscape images.
I find most 'fog' pictures look best in Black and White but I did like this one in colour.
This morning followed the same pattern. Heavy fog well into the morning but by 11 am a chilly but bright sunny day emerged. Took the BMW for a trek over the Strzelecki hills for a coffee and lunch at Mirboo North. My usual motorcycle themed cafe (InLine 4) was closed so had to make do with the local bakery which is pretty good. From here I carried on through Dunbalk and Meenyian and then turned East on the South Gippsland Highway to take the return leg home via Yarram. With the grip heaters on full power and thermal underwear I managed to avoid hypothermia with temperatures varying between 9ºC to a balmy 13ºC. 
My right knee (the one with the screws) functioned fine but it did ache a bit in the cold weather. Altogether though a very enjoyable ride.

Total Distance 220 km.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

11 July - A Honda ride to Port Albert

Port Albert is one of my regular rides and this afternoon, although somewhat wintery, seemed a good opportunity to continue my re-familiarisation with the Honda.
Port Albert, established in the 1840's is the oldest port in Victoria. These days it is a mecca for fisherman and a safe harbour for the occasional coastal traveller. Being a week day it was fairly quiet and the late afternoon light and the spectacular clouds made for some interesting photos.
Later in the afternoon the temperature was dropping quickly so time to head for home, after an invigorating ride.

Distance 160 km