Saturday, December 31, 2011

31 December - Agnes Falls

Another brilliant day today and too good to pass up. Took the KLX to Agnes Falls located near Toora on the South Gippsland Highway. I've passed the sign to the falls numerous times but never had the opportunity check out what turned out to be a spectacular location. Definitely worth a visit and a nice spot for a picnic. Return journey via Yarram and Tarra Valley.

Total Distance 240 km.

Friday, December 30, 2011

30 December - Olinda, Dandenongs


Zane (KLX250) and I (Honda) decided to take advantage of a promised warm and sunny day to finish 2011 with an all day ride to the Dandenongs. First stop was for coffee and muffins at Coco's in Yarragon. The next stop was Pakenham for fuel before we headed into the hills via Cockatoo, Emerald and then through Sassafras to Olinda. On the road between Sassafras and Olinda there are a lot of interesting buildings including this beautiful old guest house Rostrevor. Thought I would use this photo which shows the place after snow in 2008. Had lunch at the Olinda Cafe before heading towards Monbulk, Silvan and then to Yarra Junction and Powelltown. One more fuel stop in Yarragon and then home into quite a strong headwind. Altoghether a great ride and a memorable day - a fine finish to another riding year.

Total Distance 332 km.

Friday, December 16, 2011

16 December - Bayswater and Warburton

Rode the back way (Noojee, Powelltown and Yarra Junction) to Bayswater. Zane, who had travelled down by train, was picking up his Harley after some repairs and the idea was to ride to Warburton together and then home also through the bush. Beautiful day today and sitting outside a cafe in Warburton and enjoying an excellent lunch was very pleasant. The ride through the forests and the hills was also spectacular as usual even though it was the second time in a week or so.

Total Distance 355 km.

Friday, December 9, 2011

9 December - Warburton and Yarra Ranges

Left Traralgon at 10:00 this morning on the KLX. I had arranged to meet my friend Marcus in Warburton for lunch and a catchup. The weather was glorious, blue sky, no wind and around the 30 degC.
Arrived in Warburton right on noon and had a very relaxed lunch of toasted sandwiches and coffee. After lunch I followed Marcus up the Reefton Spur road to visit the Upper Yarra reservoir, around a 50km round trip. Riding on a weekday is great because most people are at work, or school and there's hardly anyone around. After the ride to the reservoir it was time to top up the tank at the Shell station in Warburton which seems to be the only one around for quite a distance. After leaving Marcus to return to Melbourne my return trip was back through Yarra Junction, Powelltown. Noojee and Willow Grove. Arrived home at 4:30 after a great day on the bike.

Total Distance 315 km.

Friday, December 2, 2011

2 - December - Up the South Face (of Mt Baw Baw)


Good weather promised by the BOM so out with the Kawasaki to explore a road I haven't been game to try on the Honda - the South Face Rd from Rawson to Mt Baw Baw. It's quite a spectacular and well maintained road (some 25 km) but all gravel and after recent maintenance the gravel is quite thick in some places. The KLX handled it all OK. Although it was quite sunny, and mild in Traralgon, the temperature at the top of the mountain was decidedly chilly. Had coffee and a toasted sandwich at Kelly's Bar and Cafe before heading down the Baw Baw/Noojee Road. This is of course the main access road and sealed, but very twisty and requires a good deal of caution due to the tight turns, pot holes and wrinkles in the road which emerge once the snow clears. About halfway down I encountered a guy who didn't take enough care because he was standing in the middle in the road, and his cruiser was lying in a ditch at the side. He'd come around a corner too fast and was suddenly confronted with a steep ridge in the middle in the road which threw him to the outside of the bend and into the ditch. We chatted for a bit (he was OK) and would have tried to help him get the bike out of the ditch but apparently he'd already contacted someone who was coming up to help.

The rest of the return trip through Noojee, Neerim South etc was very pleasant and much warmer. Althogether a great ride.

Total Distance 230km.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

27 November - Noojee

The weather did not look inviting this morning but a look at the radar showed no sign of rain for over 500km. Zane and I left Traralgon this morning on our Kawasaki's and took to the road through Willow Grove and Hill End to Noojee. At the Willow Grove turn off we ran into a large group coming up from Moe and also heading to Willow Grove and beyond. There were about 25 assorted bikes altogether including some genuine classics like BSA and Indian. We ended up attaching ourselves to the end of this group - no alternative really and rode through the rain forest to Noojee. There were lots of signs of recent wild weather including uprooted trees. Our plan in Noojee was to call in to the Red Parrot for lunch but the large group ahead of us had the same idea and so we rode to The Toolshed instead. Had a leisurely lunch here - very nice - and enjoyed a huge open fire - not that we needed it. Our return trip was through Neerim South and various back roads leading ultimately past Yallourn Power Station and then home.

Total Distance 176 km.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

24 November - Cowes, Phillip Island

A day off today and not a cloud in the sky. Time for a long ride on the Honda. Rode via Mirboo North, Leongatha, Inverloch and Wonthaggi to Phillip Island. The first stop was the Visitor Center at the PI Race Track which was very interesting. There is a museum and a tour of the track facilities available which I'll definitely do when there's more time. From here it is only a short ride to Cowes for lunch at Mad Cowes and a stroll along the foreshore. Cowes was not really busy but quite a few people were enjoying the fine weather at cafes and in the parks. The trip home was through Archies Creek, Kongwak, Korrumburra and Yarragon. Later in the afternoon the wind came up but altogether a most enjoyable ride.

Total Distance 352 km.

Monday, November 21, 2011

19 November - It Never Rains but it Pours

During the week Zane and I had planned to ride our KLX's to Port Albert for fish and chips - the long way through Mirboo Nth, Meenyian, Welshpool etc. The forecast was for steady rain but at 09:00 it was still dry so we decided to proceed. Clad in our wet weather gear we enjoyed another 10 minutes of dry before it started bucketing down. Stopped for coffee at the Bullock Dray in Mirboo Nth, and despite the fact that it was raining steadily we decided to push on. On to Meenyian and then Foster where we stopped for fuel - the KLX's have a small tank. By now the rain was down to a light drizzle which was a huge improvement, and by the time we reached Port Albert it had all but stopped. The fish and chips from "Wild Fish" were superb as always, and by the time we reached Yarram we were looking forward to a dry trip home - that is if you ignore the water which was now sloshing inside my boots. A quick stop at the Yarram Bakery Cafe to stock up on essential items and then a trip home through Tarra Valley and Balook. Despite the weather we both enjoyed the ride, but it was nice to get out of the sodden gear and into a hot bath.

Total Distance 245km.

18 November - Cowarr, Rosedale, Gormandale

Just a quick ride on the Honda today. A light lunch at the Cricket Club Hotel in Cowarr, which is being refurbished and now features a 'fine dining' restaurant. Then from Cowarr to Rosedale and then to Gormandale via Hiamdale. This road skirts the Holly Plains State park and also follows the route of the Bass Link transmission line for a while. A really quiet nice ride.

Total Distance 101 km.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

5 November - Dargo

The forecast for today was sunny and 30 degC. Already had a ride to Dargo with Zane arranged but at the last moment Zane had to work instead. So, despite a sore throat and a hacking cough I cranked up the Honda and headed for the high country. This was my first trip ever to Dargo and I was not disappointed. After coffee and fuel in Stratford the route was along the Princes Highway for another 20km before turning off to the Dargo Road. After travelling through delightfully green farming country for a while the road steadily begins to climb and before long becomes very windy. I was reminded to slow down when the footpegs started scraping at every turn. Quite a few other motorcyclists had the same idea and some 20km out of Dargo I ran into the tail end of a bicycle race. In Dargo I sat on the verandah of the General Store and ate my ham and cheese sandwich before pointing the bike back to Traralgon for a delightful ride home.

Total Distance 350 km.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

23 October - Tidal River, Wilson's Prom

The weather bureau promised a great day so I decided to re-visit Tidal River on Wilson's Prom. You may recall from a previous blog that the last time I attempted this I rode down all the way to the park entrance only to be told that the road was still being repaired after the floods earlier in the year. The first stop was Mirboo Nth for fuel, and had a chat with this interesting couple travelling on a home made trike, which features amongst other things a Holden V8 engine. This thing is so big that the steering is operated by a series of links from the driver position to the handlebars. Both of them take turns at the controls and I'm reliably informed it has no trouble reaching 200 km/k... not that you would of course.

This time the ride down the prom was a sheer joy. Even though a lot of the bush has been destroyed by fire in recent times, the skeletons of the trees provide a stunning but starkly beautiful landscape and as you travel further south the glimpses of the ocean provide further excitement.

Tidal River seems to be in full swing again with the shop, the cafe and the caravan park all fully operational. I had forgotten how beautiful this area is and I'm now keen to take the caravan down for a few days.

There were plenty of visitors on day trips and a few campers as well. The return trip was via Yarram so I could stock up on a range of goodies from the bakery there.

Total Distance 338 km.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

13 October - Barry Sheene Memorial Ride

The Barry Sheene Memorial ride is held each year to coincide with the MotoGP at Philip Island. The ride starts in Bairnsdale and proceeds to Philip Island via Sale, Traralgon, Morwell, Leongatha, Inverloch and San Remo. This year Zane and I participated and Bryce joined us as a pillion on Zane's Harley. We left Traralgon at 07:00 this morning for the ride to Bairnsdale. This turned out to be quite a challenge due to the heavy fog in some places and the sun shining directly into our eyes. Once in Bairnsdale you have to register and have your bike scrutinised before you're issued with a sticker which allows you to participate and to complete one lap around the Philip Island circuit. This ride is a huge event - there must have been around a thousand bikes of all shapes and sizes - and every town we passed through was crammed with people waving flags and cheering us on. All the intersections are temporarily closed and so you can ignore all other traffic and red lights. Having said that keeping a safe distance from all those bikes around you is quite a task. The first stop was Morwell where we pulled up at Kernott Hall where various service clubs had prepared hamburgers, sandwiches, hot dogs etc for lunch. As I approached Morwell I happened to pull up alongside Zane and Bryce - it is quite difficult to stay together.

After a one hour lunch, toilet and fuel break we were off again this time heading for San Remo. We got there about 3 pm  and by 3:25 we were off across the San Remo bridge on our way to the Philip Island Race track.

As you can imagine, lining all these bikes up for an orderly circuit of the track was a daunting task but in the end managed very efficiently. It was quite a thrill riding around the track even if shared with all those other bikes. Within minutes we were done and the ride was officially over. Met up with Zane and Bryce in San Remo for coffee, hot chocolate and cakes - well deserved - and another toilet stop. From there all that remained was the trip home which we completed by 7 pm. The biggest day ever on the bike.

Total Distance 572km.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

8 October - Licola Ride with Zane

Another forecast batch of rain didn't eventuate so Zane and I rode to Licola, one of my favourite rides. Zane rode his KLX250 and I rode the Honda. The weather was mild and mostly sunny and the scenery all the way to Licola was clad in a brilliant green colour. I usually travel this road during the week when there is hardly any traffic but today was quite busy which probably due to the fine weather and the school holidays. After a quick look around Licola - must check the options for a long weekend here - a refuel for the riders and Zane's bike we headed for home with the Drift HD170 mounted on the back of my bike to get some footage of Zane riding over the mountains. Captured about 90 minutes of video and edited it down to a 20 minute DVD which came out quite well.  Another great ride.
Total Distance 181 km.

Friday, October 7, 2011

7 October - Walhalla, Moondarra

The thunderstorms forecast for today didn't eventuate so I fired up the Kawasaki for a trip up the old back road from Cowarr to Walhalla. This old dirt road is one I wouldn't dream of trying on the Honda, but it was a lot of fun on the little motard. After a coffee I travelled through Erica on the road to Moe and turned  left to Moondarra Reservoir. This water storage is overflowing at the moment - haven't seen that for a few years. I then took the back road over the dam wall back to the Tyers-Rawson road and then back home. Great fun.
Total Distance 136 km.

Monday, October 3, 2011

3 October - Paynesville

Woke up this morning to the first decent day since we returned from our holiday last Friday. A good long ride was in order and so I took the Honda to Paynesville to visit John and Sandra to say hello and to take a look at John's new boat. The back road via Meerlieu and Bengworden is a picturesque and peaceful ride and it only took about 1:40 hrs to reach the Esplanade in Paynesville. Checked out the boat and enjoyed lunch with John, Sandra and the family. The good weather held out on the way back and stopped for a coffee at Wa De Lock cafe in Stratford before completing the trip home by 4 pm.

Total Distance 284 km.

Friday, September 30, 2011

30 September - Back from holidays

Got back from our caravan holiday yesterday after leaving the Gold Coast on Monday. After weeks of lovely weather the trip home was a damp one and today we unpacked the caravan between showers. During a brief burst of sunshine today I decided to take both bikes for a bit of a spin to the service station for fuel top ups and tyre checks. The Honda started first time - as always. The Kawasaki would not start - the engine turned over OK but otherwise no sign of life. Rang the dealer in Morwell who explained the problem. With a carburettor engine the fuel which sits in the carburettor bowl goes off over a period of time. The only way to get the engine started is to drain this fuel off. Fortunately there is a little drain plug provided for just this purpose. Once I drained off the 'bad' fuel the engine roared into life and all was well. After a five week absence it was great to get back on the bike(s) even though it was only for a short trip. The weather forecast for next week looks much better which will be the opportunity for some decent rides.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

8 September - Off on holidays

A couple of weeks ago, Rosa and I set off on our annual caravan trip to Queensland. That means of course no motorcycling activities until we return sometime early in October. If you would like to follow our caravanning adventures please visit

Saturday, August 13, 2011

13 August - Aberfeldy

Rode the Kawasaki to Aberfeldy today. Aberfeldy is located in the mountains at the northern end of the Thomson Reservoir and is a 20km dirt road ride beyond the Thomson Dam. The road has a reasonable surface but you do need to watch out for 4WD's coming the other way without much regard for anyone else especially motorbikes.  I just assume each bend in the road will have an idiot coming the other way and at least partly on my side. Like many locations in this area Aberfeldy was first settled when gold was discovered in the 1870's. A post office opened there in 1872 and operated till 1967. Gold ran out of course and the town was dealt a deathblow in 1939 when most of it was destroyed by bushfire. Today a handful of houses remain and none of these looked occupied during my visit.

Total Distance 132 km.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

6 August - Thomson Dam and Back and Beyond Walhalla

Set off this morning - a bit chilly and some drizzle - with Zane (KLX250) to explore the tracks around Thomson Dam and north of Walhalla. Stopped at Rawson to squeeze in some extra fuel and then off the the Thomson Dam wall where we stopped to stretch the legs (ease the pain in the bum). Then over the wall up Beardsmore track which eventually joins the road between Walhalla and Aberfeldy. Turned right towards Walhalla. The sign says 24 km but the road is in very poor shape with plenty of rock falls and lots of trees down across the road. Fortunately some 4WD's with chain saws had been there before us and cleared a path. I think we encountered everything, mud, gravel, rock falls, branches and bark all on a road which twists and winds and climbs mountains one minute and then plunges into valleys the next. Encountered a few hardy souls in 4x4's but generally it was pretty quiet. Just when you think your bum has given up the ghost, a wonderful sight - sealed road. Time for lunch and a bit of warmth in Walhalla.

Completed the trip home in a light drizzle, via Tyers. The new bike handled everything fine and I'm slowly getting used to slipping and sliding all over the place.

Total Distance 130 km.

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 August - Coopers Creek and Bruntons Bridge

Another fine and mild day, despite the weather forecast so it was time to hit the back roads again. The plan was to visit Bruntons Bridge (on the Thomson River) via Walhalla. Decided to check out Coopers Creek en route. The Copper Mine Hotel has not been open for business for some time - I think it is a private residence now. Anyway when I rode down into the valley there was no sign of life. The road which connects to the Walhalla Road is closed and the place looks quite shabby with abandoned vehicles and uncompleted work all over the place. It's a pity - I remember having a drink in the pub with Marcus and Rosa a few years ago and it was just great. So back up to the main road and on to Walhalla for lunch and coffee. From Walhalla I headed down to Brunton's Bridge via Happy Go Lucky. The road is in fair condition but there is one downhill stretch which was just a mud bath. Getting down it without falling was quite an exercise and it was only when I reached the bottom that I realised it was going to be very tricky coming back up as I've only got road tyres on the bike. It was a pleasant surprise then to find that Brunton's Bridge has a brand new steel deck, suitable for pedestrians (and small motorbikes) installed.

The view from the bridge is outstanding.

Then it was just a short ride across the bridge and back home via the Cowarr-Walhalla Road.
The bike was thoroughly covered in mud and dirt by the time I arrived home. One thing I've discovered - riding dirt roads is a lot more work than riding a cruiser on  made roads.

Total Distance 140 km.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

4 August - Off Road - Hazelwood Nth and Jeeralang W Roads

Arrived home at 2:30 this afternoon from Frankston. Unlike Melbourne it was a warm sunny afternoon in Traralgon - almost like a spring day. Time to try the motard on some dirt roads. Headed up Hazelwood North road. Once you leave the bitumen this road quickly deteriorates into a gravel road used mainly by logging trucks. Altitude increases rapidly and the views of the LV become breathtaking. The wildlife was abundant at this time of the afternoon - lots of wallabies around. This road eventually connects to Jeeralang West Road. You can turn left towards Balook and Mt Tassie. I turned right and after a few more km's reached the sealed section and eventually Jeeralang Junction. What a blast. The motard takes rough surfaces, gravel, sand etc in its stride, and I was able to travel at 50km/h on roads I would not want to take the Honda on. Being able to stand on the pegs for really rough bits is also a great advantage. Very happy with the first outing on dirt.

Total distance 68 km.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3 August - Seaford to Traralgon on Kawasaki

Picked up the new bike today. After 2 trains and a 1 km walk I eventually arrived at Powersports Kawasaki in Seaford where my new bike was almost ready to go - just some paperwork to complete and of course the small matter of payment. An hour later I was off - quite a strange feeling riding this style of bike after the relaxed experience of a cruiser. Anyway, I navigated my way to the South Gippsland Highway with the aim of having lunch at the bakery in Korumburra. Kawasaki recommends varying the speed and exercising the gears during the first 500km and so I decided to head home through the hills along the Korumburra-Warragul Road. I must say I agree with the reviews which praise the cornering ability of this machine. No matter how tight the corner, you just lean and accelerate and it all works out. Reached home at 15:30 with a sore bum. I don't think the seat is designed for long distance riding. Can't wait to try it out on our many unsealed roads.

Total Distance 185 km.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2 August - Kawasaki KLX250SF

For some time now I've been considering buying a bike which can be used on the many unsealed roads around Gippsland. In my extensive travels on the Honda it is often frustrating to reach a point where further progress is not practical on a cruiser. When I started looking seriously for a dual purpose addition to the stable I found quickly that there are only two bikes available that fit the bill and that I can sit on and still touch the ground confidently. I was delighted to find the Kawasaki Super Motard (KLX250SF). It goes like the clappers on sealed roads and is very much at home on dirt, gravel etc. It has an all up weight (including fuel) of about 130 kg. and after checking dozens of reviews on YouTube and elsewhere I placed my order for one last Saturday from a dealer in Seaford who offered an excellent deal which included on road and rego costs as well as 12 months of comprehensive insurance. So tomorrow I will catch the train down to Seaford to pick the bike up and ride it home via the South Gippsland Highway, Leongatha and Mirboo Nth. Once I get it home I will have to re-arrange the garage so that I can fit in the Kawasaki as well as the Honda.

Friday, July 29, 2011

29 July - Sale, Maffra and Glenmaggie Weir

Surprise, surprise - another brilliant day!! Hadn't planned to ride today but couldn't let a chance like that go begging. Rode along the highway to Sale and explored the area around Lake Guthridge. Lots of families out picnicking around the lake. It was certainly the day for it. Then rode from Sale to Maffra, one of the prettiest towns in Gippsland for a salad roll and coffee at a local cafe. When I first got the Honda in February last year I remember riding out to Glenmaggie at a time when the water level was quite low, so I decided to head out there via Tinamba. After the rain of the past few months the water level is now to the spill gates in the dam and there was quite a flow through the gates. It was nice to be here at a time when the  surrounding countryside is green - often it is dry and brown. From here it was back to Traralgon via all the back roads. What a day.

Total Distance 184 km.

28 July - South Gippsland and Strzeleckis

Once again, a jewel of a day after a week of miserable weather. Took the bike for a run to Mirboo Nth, Leongatha and Meeniyan and then along the South Gippsland Highway to Yarram. Hardly any traffic and brilliant sunshine all the way. Visited my favourite lunch time stop in Yarram - the Bakery Cafe. Had lunch and coffee and bought a saddle bag full of goodies to take home. The return trip was via Tarra Valley. The road was very damp and muddy and about 1km south of Tarra Valley I encountered a damsel in distress. Erin, a young woman in her twenties had attempted a U-turn on this very narrow road and managed to drop one rear wheel into some very soft ground at the side of the road. No mobile phone coverage down this road so I undertook to call her boyfriend when I reached the top of the hill, and on the way there I encountered a couple in a 4x4 with a rope. Problem solved! Received a VM from Erin later in the evening letting me know she had reached home safely. The good weather persevered over the top of Mt Tassie which has thousands of dead tries which died in the '09 bush fires. Altogether, a very pleasant day on the bike/

Total Distance 240 km.

Monday, July 25, 2011

23 July - Latrobe Valley Floods

Parts of the Latrobe Valley, and specifically Traralgon experienced major flooding over the past couple of days. The Traralgon Creek marched towards us along Franklin Street to a point about 100m from our front door. Our house was not threatened in any way because it is located some distance above the roadway but it certainly looked impressive. Late Thursday we received phone and text messages warning us of possible evacuation and at about 2:30 in the morning we were wakened by a police woman knocking on the front door advising we should consider evacuating. As the water was nowhere near where we had seen it on previous highs we went back to bed. When we awoke all the water was gone.

This morning it was cool but fine so I took the bike out for a look at other possible flood locations. This picture was taken of the Latrobe River near Thom's Bridge - flooding here was quite extensive.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

16 July - Walhalla

Another fine day today but it was high time to prune the roses and trim the hedges. Didn't really expect the sunshine to hold out this afternoon but after the chores were complete the sun was still out. Walhalla is always a great ride when limited time is available and this afternoon was no exception. My favourite coffee shop was still open for business and so a cafe latte break and a chat with the locals  before riding home as the dark and chilly air approached.

Total Distance 105 km.

Friday, July 15, 2011

15 July - Strzelecki Sojourn

After an endless succession of wintry rainy days, finally a fine, still, if somewhat crisp day. Got so excited about a chance to ride the bike I forgot the thermal undies. This became obvious as soon as I reached
100 km/hr! So, no choice but to turn around to correct that oversight. Today's trip was through Morwell, Mirboo North and Leongatha to Korumburra. Lunch at the Bakery Cafe sitting in the sunshine was great. Got into a chat with a couple of guys who saw the Ulysses badge on the bike and were members of the South Gippsland Branch. The return trip was along the Korumburra/Warragul road which takes you through some of the most beautiful country on the planet. Turned off to Ellinbank and then Yarragon and completed the trip by turning to Willow Grove at Trafalgar for the final run through Yallourn Nth and Tyers. Once again a very inspiring day on the Honda.

Total Distance 223 km

Friday, July 1, 2011

1 July - Wilsons Prom

The first day of a new month and a bright and shiny one it was. Not a breath of wind this morning as I set out for Wilson's Prom via Mirboo Nth, Meeniyan and Fish Creek. No traffic on the road , the sun on my back and the seductive sounds of 'Blue Stone' oozing into the Earmoulds. It does not get any better. The intention was to check out the Tidal River caravan park for future reference, but unfortunately the final bit of the road was closed for repairs following the floods of some months ago. I would have thought a sign 20km up the road would save a lot of people a wasted journey. In my case though it did not really matter as  the the journey itself is the main point. Returned via Mirboo Nth, Trafalgar and Yallourn Nth. One of the all time great days on the Honda.

Total Distance 295 km.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

25 June - Inverloch

Woke up this morning to a beautiful still and sunny day - ideal motorcycling weather. So, on with the thermals and out with the Honda. In no time I was cruising through Boolarra, Mirboo Nth and Leongatha and then down the final stretch to Inverloch. Stopped for lunch at a very good Bakery Cafe in the main street and then continued down the coast road to Cape Patterson. This meandering road follows the clifftops along the coast with plenty of glimpses of the sea. Then, when you reach the end you turn around and do it again in the opposite direction. Called in for a cup of tea at Fred (Rosa's brother) and Laura and after a pleasant chat it was time to head towards home. The good weather held out all the way back.

When I had handlebar heaters installed last year, the dimwit who did the installation wired them directly to the battery. This meant that if you forget to switch them off, or some curious passerby presses the switch (both have happened) you end up with the flat battery. Because of the fuel injection system the Honda cannot be push started which means you need to find someone with jumper leads - a major pain in the butt. Last week I installed a relay in this circuit which switches the power off when the ignition is off. This relieves a major worry and this trip was the first major ride to test it out - 100% successful.

Total Distance 254 km.

Monday, June 13, 2011

13 June - Warburton

After four straight days of working on the house it was a pleasant surprise this morning to find the good weather was holding out. A bit cool but plenty of sunshine. Headed off to Warburton via Noojee, Powelltown and Yarra Junction. Had lunch at the bakery and a bit of a walk in the main street to get the circulation back into my feet. On the way I was pulled over at Hill End by a lonely looking policeman for a breath test and licence and rego check. On the way back I decided to leave the gloom and wet roads around Noojee and turned towards Neerim South and continued the ride home in the sunshine. What a great day on the bike.

Reached another milestone a couple of days ago - the motorcycle licence is 12 months old and is now unrestricted.

Total Distance 290 km.

Monday, June 6, 2011

5 June - Yarram, Tarra Valley, Mt Tassie

The good weather continued all through last week, but unfortunately a home renovation project was a priority on Thur, Fri and Sat. Despite the weather forecast, the weather this morning looked fine, and with the work finished it was time to take advantage of the sunshine. Decided to repeat a favorite trip - Yarram via Gormandale - with lunch at the bakery in Yarram. This is one of my favorite stops, the food is always great and the service is very friendly. By the time lunch was over the sky was still clear but the wind was picking up so I decided to return via Tarra Valley, Balook and Mt Tassie. The early part of this ride is well sheltered from the wind but by the time I reached Mt Tassie, there were quite strong gusts of wind which continued all the way back home. Still, a very enjoyable ride and no rain whatsoever.

Total Distance 127 km

1 June - Work and Walhalla

Although today was the first day of winter, the weather was ideal for the bike, so once again I rode to work hoping the good weather would continue into the afternoon. After work I rode through Moe, Erica and Rawson to Walhalla. The Walhalla road was quite wet and slippery - the sun had not really penetrated the tree cover - so it was quite a slow and careful trip. Stopped at my usual coffee spot in Walhalla and after a bit of a leg stretch continued on to Traralgon via Tyers. Hope this winter continues to provide plenty of opportunities to 'keep on riding'.

Total Distance 125 km

30 April - South Gippsland

A beautiful winter day and a chance to ride the bike to work and a ride after work. Still a bit of fog on the way in but by the time I reached the power station it was all clear and the sun was shining. The good weather held out and after work I headed out to Warragul and then into the hills toward Korumburra. After a coffee at the bakery in the main street the ride continued through Leongatha, Mirboo Nth, Churchill and home to Traralgon.

Total Distance 200 km.

Monday, May 23, 2011

21 May - Warburton

We returned from our Panama Canal cruise and USA visit to some the most motorcycle unfriendly weather possible. Really hanging out for a ride after a 5 week break but the combination of rain, wind and overcast skies meant the Honda stayed in the garage. Finally last week the rain subsided somewhat and the temperature rose slightly so on with the thermals and out with the bike for a few short rides after work. Then today the weather looked perfect and after overcoming the strong feeling that I needed to do some work around the house I called my mate Marcus and arranged to meet him for a late lunch in Warburton.
The ride, via Willow Grove, Noojee, Powelltown and Yarra Junction took 2 hours and was very enjoyable. Hardly any traffic and the bright sunshine reflecting off the green fields through the old growth forests combined to put a smile on my face for the entire trip. I arrived at the Warburton Bakery first and it wasn't long before I heard the growl of the Ducati Monster approaching in the distance. It was great to catch up with Marcus over coffee and toasted sandwiches and to smoke a couple of cigars I brought back from Acapulco. Against all expectations the good weather held out and the return trip was a gem too with daylight persisting almost all the way back to Traralgon. Another 'golden' day on the bike.

Total Distance 275km.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

5 April - Work, Korrumburra, Leongatha, Mirboo Nth

Woke up to another great morning and decided to ride the bike to work. Only had a couple of jobs to do there before I could head off around lunch time. Rode to Warragul before turning into the hills for Korrumburra. I always love this windy and hilly road. It is never busy and always interesting. Bought a coffee and ate my sandwiches sitting in the sun in a nice park and watched the world go by for a while. The return trip was via Leongatha and Mirboo Nth. This will be the last bike ride for a while before we go on holidays.

Total Distance: 208 km

Friday, April 1, 2011

1 April - Work, Trafalgar, Mirboo Nth

Beautiful clear morning when I woke up and decided to ride the bike to work. The good weather held out and after work there was time left for a short ride. Filled the tank at Gunn's Gully BP and then rode to Trafalgar. From there turned towards the Strzelecki's and rode to Mirboo Nth via Thorpdale. Due to the unusually wet summer, the countryside looks magnificent with bright greens replacing the usual brown that prevail at the end of summer. A nice coffee in the garden at Dalliance and then a leisurely ride home through Boolarra Sth and Churchill.

Total distance 130km.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

29 March - Walhalla

When I left work this afternoon it was still sunny and quite mild. A perfect opportunity for a short ride. Headed up to Walhalla not expecting anything to be open. I passed my usual coffee stop and sure enough it was closed but on the way back out of town the lady who runs the cafe came out to see if I wanted a coffee. What a stroke of luck. Had my usual, chatted with a bunch of guys who were very interested in the bike, and then a very relaxing ride home.

Total Distance 100 km.

27 March - Traffic Management, Farmworld and Noojee

Today the annual Latrobe Regional Hospital Fun Run was held in Kay St Traralgon. Every intersection on Kay Street was closed from 07:00 to 10:30 and each intersection had to be manned by a Traffic Management Volunteer. Our branch of the Ulysses Club usually pitches in so this morning I fronted at 06:30 (in darkness) for the briefing prior to manning my post at Lafayette/Kay St at 07:00. By 10:00 all the competitors had completed the 10km run/walk and we were able to remove the barrier and stand down.

By now the ambient temperature had risen to a level you'd want to ride in and I rode to Lardner Park to catch up with Zane and Nicole and the kids at Farm World which is an annual exhibition held there on the last week of March each year. There's lots to look at even if you don't live on a farm. Sian and Isabella also joined us later. When I got back to the bike with the aim of riding home the long way I immediately knew something was wrong when the handlebar grips felt warm - yes I'd forgotten to switch the heaters off and the battery was just about dead flat. Fortunately I quickly found a couple of helpful guys at one of the display stands who had a vehicle and jumper leads and I was soon on my way. I must rewire the heaters to switch off with the ignition.

So, back to my original plan and a very pleasant ride home through Neerim Sth, Noojee and Willow Grove.

Total Distance: 180 km

Sunday, March 20, 2011

20 March - Walhalla, Willow Grove, Trafalgar, Thorpdale, Churchill

Finished extending our pergola yesterday (98%) and couldn't face climbing a ladder today so I decided to take advantage of a fabulous day to take a leisurely ride along some of the best roads around. Started with coffee in Walhalla sitting beside Stringer's Creek and then headed back through Erica and turned right to Willow Grove. From there through some wonderful farming country (everything is green this year) to Trafalgar and then into the hills to Thorpdale. Finally headed back through Churchill and got home at 4 pm which left time to clean up all the tools etc from the extension work. One of those 'golden' days.

Total Distance 190 km.

Monday, March 14, 2011

14 March - Mirboo North

First ride after the Tasmania Trip. Took a break from some construction work around the house to take advantage of the great weather for a quick ride to Mirboo North. A bite to eat and a great coffee at Dallianace and a beautiful ride back down through Boolarra in brilliant sunshine. I noticed this door, presumably in the middle of renovation job, where I parked my bike and snapped it with the iPhone.

Total Distance 108 km.

Friday, March 4, 2011

4 March 2011 - Back on the Mainland

After a late departure last night, we endured a fairly rocky crossing of Bass Strait. It certainly made for a fitful sleep and just as things calmed down, around 4 am as the ferry entered the heads, it seemed like a very short time before the PA announcement that we we would need to man our vehicles in the next 45 minutes. Melbourne looked grey and damp from our port hole but as we rode off the ship it was still dry. However by the time I reached the Pakenham bypass the rain had pretty well settled in and continued until Traralgon. Got fuel and breakfast on the BP before Drouin and then rode the rest of the way home, arriving just on 10:30.

Well that's the end of an adventure planned, in my head, more than 12 months ago, in fact a large part of the decision to buy a bike and start riding. And what an adventure it was - we circled the island of Tasmania in an anti clockwise direction and with Marcus' experience and guidance managed to travel some of the best motorcycle roads in Australia. We avoided most of the rain had no breakdowns or mishaps and enjoyed great views and a lot of memorable moments. Now comes the sorting of the photos and videos.

Total Distance for the trip: 2,285 km

3 March 2011 - Day 8 of Tasmania Trip

Our last day in Tassie today. We arranged a late checkout at our hotel the Grand Chancellor ( yes we did look a bit out in our leathers) as Devonport is not far and the ferry did not depart until 9:00 pm. We eventually set off around 12:30 and headed for Devonport the long way around. Our route through Westbury,  Deloiraine, Mole Creek and Paradise took us up and down several mountains and a number of weather systems. Arrived in Devonport around 5pm, killed an hour in an Irish pub before dining at the Indian Affair restaurant. Then onto the ferry assembly area to join a large group of motorcyles, cars and campers to wait to board the Spirit of Tasmania 2. Although we waited in the freezing cold it could have been worse - it could have rained.

Finally got on board just after 9:00 had a quick drink and off to bed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2 March 2011 - Day 7 of Tasmania Trip

Our second day  in Launceston. Got up early to take the bike in for its 18,000km service at the local Honda dealer here in town. Had breakfast in the city while waiting for the service and by 10:45 I was back at the hotel ready for a ride. The weather was a bit chilly and fairly strong winds but, we're here to ride so we headed up to the central highlands lake area via Perth, Longford and Poatina. The road up the mountains is a fantastic set of S curves. The temperature decreased rapidly as the altitude increased and at the top even snow wouldn't have been a surprise. We were glad to come down again to sea level and what now seemed like much warmer conditions. After a bit of a rest in the hotel we headed out to La Cantina Italian restaurant around the corner and had dinner.

Tomorrow is our last day in Tasmania. If the weather is fine we'll find a round about way to get to Devonport where the ferry is due to leave at 9pm.

Total Distance for trip 1950 km.

1 March 2011 - Day 6 of Tasmania Trip

Left Bicheno this morning in the rain. Quite cold too. Decided to head for Launceston through the Elephant Pass. Had breakfast at Elephant Hill Pancakes before heading West to the A1. The rain was intermittent by now but it was very windy riding across the open plains. As we approached Launceston the rain became heavier. Very happy to get to our hotel and a hot shower. Dinner at the Prickly Cactus Mexican restaurant followed by a movie at the Village.

Total distance since home : 1750 km

Monday, February 28, 2011

28 February 2011 - Day 5 of Tasmania Trip

Left Hobart this morning after a nice brunch. We headed North and up the East coast of Tasmania. First stop was lunch at Swansea. Our intended destination was Bicheno but we took a detour through the hills to Campbell Town which is located on the main North/South road between Launceston and Hobart. After a rest and a drink we headed back the way we came before turning North to Bicheno where we are staying for the night at the Silver Sands Motel which is located on an outcrop overlooking the sea. By the time we arrived the sun was shining and the beer and cigars with such a backdrop were very enjoyable. Marcus remembered that there was a French restaurant in town which is hardly ever open. Gave them a call and luck was with us. So we had dinner at Cyrano French restaurant and had an absolutely fabulous meal. Breakfast tomorrow will be at the Elephant Hill Pancakes.

Total Distance since home: 1550 km

Sunday, February 27, 2011

27 February 2011 - Day 4 of Tasmania Trip

Our second day in Hobart and as we are not moving on till tomorrow, a relatively easy day. Started off with breakfast at Metz across the road from our motel and then on the bikes for a trip to Richmond. The town was filled with Hash House Harriers from all over Australia. Some 800 or so walkers/runners were participating in an event to raise money for the Tasmanian Devil. It was quite a sight to see them all stagger across the historic bridge in Richmond (see photo above). Also in attendance was a large motor cycle group all riding vintage Indians in various states of repair/restoration. Then, it was time for a gentle tour of the beautiful areas south of Hobart. The route we chose took us South along the water and we stopped for our first stretch in Kettering which is the departure port for the Bruny Island ferry. From here we took the scenic route through Huonville which passes through many attractive villages and apple orchards. We arrived back at our motel around 16:00 ready for a couple of pre-dinner beers. Another great day particularly as the expected rain did not materialise.

Total distance since home: 1245 km

Saturday, February 26, 2011

26 February 2011 - Day 3 of Tasmania Trip

Woke up at 9:45 in our accommodation in Strahan this morning. Bit of a rush to check out at 10:00, but we got there almost. Our immediate destination was Queenstown for fuel and breakfast. Queenstown was a mining town for many years but the mines are shut down now. Signs of decades of mining are everywhere and parts of it look like sets for a Mad Max movie. Had a nice egg and bacon roll and a surprisingly good coffee and then headed out of town. The road out of Queenstown is a very steep winding affair with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. Our next intended stop was Derwent Bridge for more fuel and lunch. This was another spectacular ride. At the cafe in Derwent Bridge we met a bunch of Ducati riders heading the other way who warned us that due to various events, accommodation in Hobart was hard to find. We rang the usual places and found they were all booked out. In the end we managed to get a twin room on Sandy Bay Road and we are booked in here for two nights. Reached Hobart around 5:30 had showers and a couple of beers and then headed for Chillies Indian Restaurant across the road. It doesn't get much better than this.

Important day today - the first anniversary of getting the bike and my licence (L's). Yep, I've been riding for exactly 12 months. In that time the Honda and I have covered almost 18,000km and it's been everything I could have hoped for. The plan back then was to gain the skills and experience to undertake the Tasmania trip. Mission accomplished.

Total Distance since home: 1045 km.

Friday, February 25, 2011

25 February 2011 - Day 2 of Tasmania Trip

Left Cozy Cabins this morning and took short ride to Dove Lake at the foot of Cradle Mountain. One of the most spectacualar views I've ever seen. Skies clear and a different day altogether. Went for a bit of a walk to the boat shed (see above) and took some photos. Finally time to set off for breakfast in Tullah. When we reached there the only cafe in town was up for sale and closed. Bugger! Rode another 15 km to Roseberry where we had brunch at the local bakery. Very nice.  From there we took the long way round to reach Strahan, our destination for today. What a fantastic spot this is. We're staying in a great location overlooking the port. Walked into town and had a great steak for dinner. Finished the day with cigars at sunset.

Total Distance since home - 730 km.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

24 February 2011 - Start of Tasmania Trip

Left Traralgon yesterday at 10:00 en route to Port Melbourne. Called into Rosa's parents in Oakleigh, for a cup of tea. Arrived in Port Melbourne and had lunch while waiting for Marcus to finish work. We boarded the Spirit of Tasmania and had the bikes secured at about 6:30. Dropped the gear of in the cabin and then off for a couple of beers before dinner. After dinner and a couple of drinks while listening to live music we got off to bed around 10 pm just as the ferry exited the heads and entered Bass Strait. During the night the boat rocked gently and it didn't take long to get to sleep.

This morning we were woken by a cheery voice on the PA system at about 5 o'clock informing us that we would need to be ready to start the bikes at around 5:45 -  a bit of a rude awakening. As we rode off the ship it was still pitch dark. Fortunately Marcus knew of a bakery in Devonport which would be open so we headed there for breakfast  and to wait for daylight and a bit of warmth to arrive.

Eventually we got on the bikes and headed up to Cradle Mountain National Park where we were able to book into Cozy Cabins. The ride up was very cold and when we arrived we turned on the heater and caught up on about 3 hours of sleep.

Woke at about 13:00 and had some lunch and then it was off for a ride to Savage River and  Hellyer Gorge - a round trip of about 200km. Got home to our cozy cabin around 6pm for a few beers and oven pizzas. Altogether an extraodinary day.

Total  Distance since home: 521 km

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

16 February 2011 - Planning for the trip to Tasmania

The bike has been washed and polished, the bags are nearly packed and all is almost ready for next week's trip to Tasmania. The Spirit of Tasmania departs at 7:30 on 23 February. After breakfast the next morning we offload the bikes in Devonport and depart on what will probably be a counter clockwise trip around the most interesting parts of the 'apple isle'. I'm experimenting with means of keeping the blog updated from the iPad, and if you're reading this entry and it has a satellite map of Tassie in it you'll know I've succeeded. Only 7 more sleeps...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

12 February 2010 - Golden Beach and Seaspray

When we were kids, our parents often took us swimming to Golden Beach and Seaspray. My recollections were that there was almost nothing there except the 90 mile beach. Years later on a family outing with the family Rosa almost drowned after being swept away by the infamous rip at Golden Beach, and that was my last visit to this area. This was around 1964. I decided to ride there today to check out the area. As expected, it was unrecognizable. Lots of houses have been built in the intervening years, and Seaspray has a pleasant looking caravan park and an extensive Surf Life Saving Club. The road there and back was almost deserted and even though the short cut from Stradbroke featured 11 kms of unmade road, it was no problem and followed the Bass Link transmission line for some distance. Altogether a very pleasant ride.

Total Distance 180 km.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

29 January 2011 - Walhalla and Thomson Dam

Another great day and all the chores done. Fired up 'the Shadow' and headed up to Walhalla. The road and the town turned out to be busy - I guess everyone else thought it was a great idea too. After a milkshake in a local cafe it was time for the next destination - the Thomson Dam. It was almost a year since the last visit there and on that occasion it was a dismal picture as the water level was very low. Now, while it is still far from full, there is a great deal more water, but plenty of room for more. Had a look at the overflow spillway - not sure if it has ever been used.

Stretched the legs, and the right arm which still gets a bit sore, and then headed for home, back through Rawson and Tyers. Altogether a great outing and captured some fine video on the Drift HD170 as well.

Total Distance 124 km.

Friday, January 28, 2011

28 January 2011 - Mirboo North

Fantastic sunny weather today and so it was time for a leisurely cruise over the Strzelecki's to Mirboo Nth. Spotted a different cafe on the last ride through so decided to give it a try. It's called Dalliance (Chocolaterie and Cafe) and it's fantastic. Best coffee I've had in months. The choice of light meals etc looked great too as did the outside eating area. After a relaxing half hour here it was time for the return trip via the twistier road through Boolarra. Took it nice and easy as I'd had enough heel and peg scraping last weekend through Reefton Spur. Very relaxing and very enjoyable.

Total Distance 125 km.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

23 January - Ulysses Club Ride to Marysville via Reefton Spur

First ride with Ulysses Club this year. Left Traralgon at 09:30 and rode along the Princes Highway to Yarragon. Then a right turn into the hills with a whistle stop at Powelltown. The weather started cool and overcast but by mid morning it was blue skies and warming up rapidly. Beautiful ride through the hills to Warburton and then along the Reefton Spur. Enough twisties to keep anyone happy. Arrived at Marysville by 1 pm. It is less than two years since this town was almost totally destroyed by bushfire, but today it was one of the busiest places I've ever visited. Rebuilding is well underway and there were cars and motorcycles everywhere. The famous bakery was one of the few buildings not destroyed, and it was busier than ever. Eventually managed to buy a ham and salad roll and find a shady tree to eat in under. An hour later it was back in the saddle for the return trip down the Black Spur. A petrol stop at Healesville and then home via Woori Yallock and Pakenham. A final get together for coffee at Yarragon was the end of the official ride. From here an easy cruise back to Traralgon along the back roads ended a very enjoyable ride and a great day.

Total Distance 411 km.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

15 January 2011 - Yarram, Tarra Valley, Mt Tassie

After the damp weather of the past week, today finally showed some promise. Wanted to experiment some more with the HD170 action camera on a road with plenty of twists so I headed of to Yarram with the aim of returning through Tarra Valley and over Mt Tassie. The camera itself performs very well but it is difficult to find a mounting position on the bike which minimises vibration. For this trip the camera was mounted on the right hand side roll bar with some degree of success. At this stage though the helmet mount provides the best results provided it's not too windy. Booked the trip to Tasmania this week. Due to sail on 23 Feb, and departing Devonport on 3 March. Not too many sleeps now. Anyway it was nice to get out in the sunshine for a few hours.

Total Distance 130 km.