Monday, December 29, 2014

29 December - Scooter Bob's trip to Wilsons Promontory

With the Christmas festivities behind us I thought it was time for my final trip showing Scooter Bob some of my favourite local riding destinations. The plan for today was to visit Tidal River which is a holiday destination located in the Wilsons Prom National Park. Wilsons Prom is a beautiful rugged, mountainous national park which is a huge attraction for hikers and campers particularly during the holiday season. The very tip of the Prom is also the most southerly part of the Australian mainland. The weather bureau forecast possible showers later in the day but when we left at about 10:30 all looked well.

The area abounds with wildlife and there are lots of signs asking drivers to take care to avoid the locals by driving/riding slowly. Scooter Bob observed some traffic signs which are unique to Australia.

The road to tidal river is very scenic and provides lots of views of the ocean. We stopped at this one to observe the rugged Wilsons Prom terrain and some of the off-shore islands.

We reached Tidal River at about 1 pm and found the place packed with caravans and tents and campers enjoying the summer holiday. Lunch plans were quickly abandoned when I realised it would take a long time to get served, so down to take a quick look at the Tidal River Beach. 

Not a lot of people at the beach because the weather had started to cool and when I looked at the sky towards home there was some ominous cloud activity there. We had no sooner started the return journey when the first raindrops hit so a quick stop to don the wet weather gear. Good decision because within 15 minutes or so we were riding through steady rain and quite gusty winds. This was the pattern for the whole return trip and it was good to get home around 4pm.

Well, it is time for Scooter Bob to travel to his next adventure down under and tomorrow I will be checking him and his little black travel case at the post office. I'm sure the little scooter will visit many more interesting locations in Australia so keeping checking the reports on Riding the Wet Coast

Total Distance Today 320 km

Thursday, December 25, 2014

25 December - Merry Christmas

Right now it is 12:50 Christmas Day and it's time to go to bed - big day tomorrow with family and friends all coming around for Christmas dinner. Scooter Bob is a long way from home here in the warm southern hemisphere and will spend Christmas with my family. After that, it's one more ride around this part of the world before he travels to New South Wales for his next set of Australian adventures.

All that remains is to wish all those who take an interest in my blog a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

21 December - Trip to the Mountains - Dargo

Woke up to another promising motorcycle kind of day and after breakfast it was time to fire up the Beemer and head for the mountains. To the north of my home are the Victorian Alps which are part of a mountain range which runs along the entire length (Nth to Sth) of the east coast of Australia. In the foothills of the mountains in a beautiful valley lies the small town of Dargo. It is the stepping off point for 4x4 vehicle and adventure motorcycle trips into the mountains and the high plains above Dargo were for many years the summer retreat for cattle which were taken up there to graze. After a bit of highway travel the route winds its way north into the hills and valleys and beautiful forests and on a day like today with brilliant sunshine it is pure motorcycling bliss.

As usual I had lunch at the general store and sat back watching the tourists making their final preparations before heading off into the bush for camping and fishing trips. I looked around for photo opportunities but with the noon day sun high in the sky the light was very harsh and I put the camera away.

On the return trip though I passed an old dilapidated farm house I've passed many times before without having a decent camera handy but this time I was prepared and the sun was much lower in the sky so I stopped and spent some time taking photos.

I don't think the old place will be standing much longer - one good gust of wind should take care of it.

Another great day on the bike and a nice photo as well.

Total Distance 370km

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

17 December - Check this out

Some months ago I replied to an email which had enquired about my motorcycle activities and experiences. Today I learned the information I provided was collated into a "Featured Rider" article on the Motorcycle House web site.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

16 December - Scooter Bob visits the Gippsland Lakes (Down Under)

The Gippsland Lakes are a network of lakes and marshes in East Gippsland, Victoria, covering an area of about 354 sq km (137 sq mi). The lakes and surrounding towns are an important tourist destination for Australians and international visitors alike, and feature boating, fishing, pristine beaches, fine dining and wineries. The lake system is connected to the sea at Lakes Entrance which is also a commercial fishing port. As the weather forecast promised temperatures around 35ºC I thought it was time to take the Beemer, and Scooter Bob to check out this wonderful destination.

Our first stop was to check out the commercial fishing fleet in Lakes Entrance.

Then, we were off to the hill overlooking Lakes Entrance to get a great view of the lakes and the entrance to the sea.

The pace in Lakes Entrance is picking up. Here in Victoria, as in the rest of Australia, school has just finished and main holidays of the year are underway. There was a constant stream of traffic ready to set up camp either here or in other coastal towns further up the coast.

After Lakes Entrance, it was a short ride to the village of Metung located in the middle of the lakes system. Metung appears to be developing into a retirement destination with lots of new residential developments and golf courses. As it was lunchtime we dropped into the Metung Galley for a bit to eat and some much needed hydration. Metung features a range of attractive holiday accommodation as well as boat and yacht hire and is a popular stop off for the may 'boaties' on the lakes. Restaurants and a great pub are only a short walk from the public jetty.

Finally, after some great riding and sightseeing it was time to head in the direction of home but not before a quick stop at our friends John and Sandra who live in Paynesville, also located on the shores of the Gippsland lakes. After the heat of the day, it was nice to sit in the shade for a chat, a coffee and a cigar before heading home.

The final leg of the trip was very windy and a sign of the storms forecast for later this evening, and it was nice to get home and have a well deserved beer (or two).

Total Distance 360 km.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

14 December - More adventures (Down Under) with Scooter Bob

A beautiful day today and time to show Scooter Bob some more of the beautiful Victorian countryside. Our destination today was Christmas Hills to attend the Christmas BBQ of the Shadow Riders of Australia, a group of riders who enjoy the Honda Shadow motorcycle in its various forms. Our first stop was the little town of Noojee, which was at one time a thriving centre for timber production. Timber was hauled from Noojee to provide housing material for a booming Victoria and dedicated enthusiasts have recently placed one of the old steam locomotives used to haul timber, in a park in Noojee. The railway line travelled through the mountainous forest clad area around Noojee and joined the main Melbourne line via 7 timber tressle bridges. Only one of these now remains and Bob visited this last vestige of a once busy industry.

From Noojee our trek continued into the Yarra Valley wine region and then to the Sugarloaf Reservoir located in Christmas Hills. This was the meeting place for a number of Victorian members of the Shadow Riders of Australia for the annual Christmas BBQ. Before meeting all the SRA members though Scooter Bob visited the actual dam wall for another photo opportunity.

Finally it was time to meet the SRA members and their families and to grab a group photo.

The Christmas BBQ was enjoyed by all and it was a great opportunity for people to catch up - it seemed like such a long time since last years Christmas BBQ.

Finally it was time for Scooter Bob and me to start the long ride home back to Traralgon.  It was such a nice afternoon we returned through the mountain route and after a coffee in Yarragon we reached home after a great ride and a fantastic day.

Total Distance 362 km

Friday, November 28, 2014

28 November - The (Down Under) Adventures of ScooterBob

My regular readers may remember that my blog of 27 October noted the passing of fellow motorcycle blogger Bob (BobSkoot) Leong in August Riding the Wet Coast (British Columbia, Canada). I never had the opportunity to meet Bob, but we followed each other's blogs and exchanged the occasional email. The outpouring of sympathy and comment from the blogosphere confirmed that Bob, through his blog and through personal contact, which he always welcomed, had touched many people and we will all miss his sharing his almost daily record of his experiences, good and bad, and on and off the motorcycle. Bob had lots of plans for future motorcycle trips and some of his fellow enthusiasts came up with the brilliant idea of ScooterBob. ScooterBob is a small wooden carving of a Vespa motor scooter which at one time belonged to Bob. The brilliant idea is that Scooter Bob would travel the world and be taken on motorcycle adventures, that Bob would have enjoyed,  by Bob's blogging friends and that the ongoing record of Scooter Bob through various blogs would perpetuate the spirit of this enthusiastic and charismatic man.

I expressed an interest in hosting ScooterBob down under in Australia, and last week my post lady delivered him to the front door. Today, on a brilliant sunny Australian spring day I took Scooter Bob on his first Australian adventure to the old gold mining town of Walhalla. This 'ghost' town is located in the mountains to the north of my house and has been a frequent motorcycle destination for me and any visitors who ride with me. Our first stop was the Tyers lookout which provides a good overview of the Latrobe Valley where I live.

This spot provides a great view of the rural landscape dotted with the occasional large power stations.

Walhalla was a major gold producer over a period spanning the 1870's to around 1910. This photo shows the vault where all the gold was stored prior to transport to Melbourne.

The value of gold stored in this vault, in today's money is about $1.4 billion dollars. Today, this town which once had a population exceeding 4,000 now has a mere handful of inhabitants who maintain a small but vibrant range of tourist activities including visits to one of the old gold mines.

One of the few intact reminders of the glory days is Windsor House, once owned by a rich merchant which is now restored and is operated as a B&B.

While much is gone, much remains and a number of dedicated residents have, over the past few years restored some of the key buildings. There are reminders of 'the old days' wherever you look.

My adventures with Scooter Bob will continue for a few more weeks until is time to pass him onto the next of Bob Leong's friends. My rides will go the places I think Bob would have enjoyed. Although I never met him, I think I got to know him a little through his blogs and I know for certain I would have like him a lot.

Total distance 130 km.

Monday, November 24, 2014

22-24 November - SRA Weekend in Halls Gap

Shadow Riders Australia (SRA see link above) is an owners group for Honda Shadow Owners with hundreds of members around Australia.
A couple of our members based in Horsham arranged a weekend event to take place in the Grampians, a mountainous and spectacular part of Victoria located some 250 km West of Melbourne.
I joined up with a couple of Melbourne members early on Saturday afternoon and we then assembled with a larger group on the Western Highway and after a brief catchup and chat the group roared down the freeway headed for Halls Gap in the Grampians. Took a coffee stop in Beaufort and a necessary fuel stop in Ararat where we left the highway and headed for the hills. When we reached the Grampians Motel (picture above was the view from my room) we were joined by other members from as far afield as Albury - a six hour ride away. The afternoon was spent putting a serious dent into a cooler full of ice-cold drinks and this was followed by a really good dinner at the motel restaurant. The menu, service and the food was excellent and if the volume of the conversation was anything to go by a good time was had by all. As the end of dinner approached the motel proprietor lit a huge bonfire on the front lawn and the festivities continued around this huge fire.

At 9:30 the next morning, after a great breakfast it was time to head off on a scenic ride of the Grampians, led by our local members Mutley and Corky. What a ride it was - the Grampians feature a number of spectacular lookouts which provide fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.

Despite ample evidence of destruction caused by fairly recent bushfires our ride was spectacular and over all too soon as we rolled into a local hotel for lunch. After lunch our hosts led us on another spectacular ride to Dunkeld a small town south of Halls Gap. Here we enjoyed afternoon tea/coffee in an outstanding bakery/cafe, for a bit of a top up before the long ride home.

Corky joined us on her recent acquisition - a bright red CanAm Spyder.

Then, it was time for goodbyes and soon a group consisting of those of us based in Melbourne and beyond commenced the long trek home. Luckily I had been invited to spend the night in Ringwood at the home of a fellow rider and when we pulled into his garage at 7 pm it was nice to get off the bike and enjoy a few beers and a BBQ'd T bone steak. No trouble getting to sleep last night but this morning I was woken by a loud thunder clap. Looked at the weather radar and the whole world seemed to be about to be over run by patches of dark blue. Forecast said rain and storms so after a hasty coffee it was back on the bike to see if I could outrun the approaching storm. I think I managed to just stay ahead of the worst of it and only experienced a few drops here and there.
A great weekend and home just in time.

Total distance 1080 km.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

12 November - Foster, South Gippsland

Today was another one of those days when the road beckons. It was sunny, warm and almost no wind so I took the Shadow for a ride with the original intention of going to Tidal River on Wilsons Prom. However by the time I reached Meeniyan I changed my mind and decided to have lunch at Bromleys in Foster instead. As I left fairly late, the return trip form Tidal River would have been a bit late. I never tire of this particular trip, over the Strzelecki's and then a lazy cruise along the South Gippsland Highway with hardly any traffic - an advantage of riding during the week. With a bit of time up my sleeve I decided to make the return trip via the Tara Valley/Bulga Park road and with the good weather linger this was a really enjoyable ride until I got to the Grand Ridge Road. That's when I hit long patches of recently repaired and unsealed road with quite a soft surface. OK, no real problem even on the cruiser, just maintain a steady (and slow) speed and watch out for the soft bits. All was going well until I came around a corner and was faced with this.

Yep, a road crew had just dumped tons of dirt and were in the process of grading and compacting it. The guy with the Stop sign thought it might be 10 to 15 minutes, so I parked the bike, switched off and got comfortable. Soon I was joined by other traffic including a huge timber jinker.
Just as well I was not in a great hurry because for the next 40 minutes or so a collection of rollers, graders and watering truck proceed to turn the piles of dirt into a road - well sort of.
Eventually we were able to continue on our way on the wrong side of the road with the assurance that nothing would be coming the other way. The rest of the ride was uneventful and enjoyable.

Total Distance 230 km.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

8 November - Olinda, Dandenong Ranges.

The last few weeks here in Gippsland have featured some unseasonably warm and even hot days.
This has provided lots of opportunities for quick rides. Nothing to blog about particularly but very enjoyable just the same. A few days ago after initially deciding not to ride the weather just steadily got better to the point where, at about 3 pm the urge became irresistible and I took the BMW up to Licola. This is one of those typical mountain villages which were once thriving due to gold mining of timber industries, but these days are just sleepy reminders of those times. The ride to Licola is through spectacular mountain country overlooking the Macalister River. Really enjoying the BMW (as well as the Shadow) at the moment and have, at this stage changed my mind about selling it.

Today the forecast was for 35ºC and so I decided to wear my mesh jacket to try and keep cool. Not sure how effective mesh jackets are. Below a certain temperature I think they help keep you cool but at some point the hot air reaching your skin actually heats the body. When you think about it, dessert dwellers go to great lengths to keep fully covered. In any case the jacket did enough most of the time to provide a really pleasant ride through the forests around Noojee and Powelltown and then through the Dandenong ranges too Olinda. Lunch and coffee at Pie in the Sky was sensational, and by this stage the weather was so pleasant I decided to ride back through the hills and the forests again. Very enjoyable and very memorable.

Interestingly between Noojee and Powelltown I was stopped for a breath test and a chat with the friendly policeman administering it. My zero blood alcohol reading ensured he stayed friendly.

There were also a lot of other bikes on the road, singles and groups. Quite a few acknowledgments from other riders - nothing showy, just a nod of the head or a lifted finger - just a recognition that those of us who ride know something non riders don't. I like it.

Couple of longer rides coming up, one is a weekend trip to Halls Gap in the Grampians with a group of Shadow Riders, and I'm also in the planning stages for a ride to Maroochydore Qld in March for the national AGM of the Shadow Riders. Looking forward to that.

Monday, October 27, 2014

27 October - Ulysses Club Ride & RIP to a fellow blogger

It was that time of the month again - the monthly ride of the Central Gippsland branch of the Ulysses Club. The weather looked a bit iffy but that's no real deterrent so by 9:45 I pulled up on the Honda at the Green Olive, our regular rendez-vous for Ulysses rides. We had a large turn out today - a dozen or so bikes in some cases with pillions. Our destination today was the Red Parrot Cafe in Noojee but first we stopped for a coffee in Willow Grove.

I've been visiting the Red Parrot at various times and have always enjoyed the coffee and the food. Over the past few years it seems to have become very popular with motorcycle clubs, and gets great reviews from the MC community. Well deserved too - everyone enjoyed today's meals. By noon the weather had warmed appreciably to make for a very pleasant ride home via Neerim South.

Total Distance 190 km

Read some very sad news today. Many of us who chronicle their motorcycle adventures on blogs have formed an informal network of like minded individuals who, while coming from different parts of the world and with different backgrounds, shared one common interest in motorcycles and motorcycling. We often comment on each other's blogs and while we will probably never meet in person, it feels like a circle of friends. One of those bloggers I enjoyed following and whose occasional comments I always enjoyed was Bob Leong using the blogger ID BobSkoot. Bob was based in Vancouver, Canada and he was a prolific blogger not only about motorcycling but about his enjoyment of life in general. He was particularly famous for his footwear - pink Crocs!

I learned today that in the past few months, Bob passed away suddenly and while I have never met Bob, I was saddened to read the news and I will miss the long distance friendship. My blog is featured on Bob's and similarly I provided a link to his on mine. It seems that a number of guest bloggers are contributing to keeping the blog going and so I'll leave the link in place.

Bob's blog is called Riding the Wet Coast and the link is here.

RIP BobSkoot

Sunday, October 19, 2014

18 - 19 October - Anglers Rest - Overnight Camping

Received a call Friday afternoon from my friend Marcus, inviting me to a ride and overnight camp at Anglers Rest, about 30 km past Omeo. Marcus' friend Greg was making up a three man team.
Spent the rest of Friday checking all my camping gear and working out how to fit it on the bike. It turns out that everything - tent, downmat, sleeping bag and Helinox camping chair all fitted exactly in my Viking Bag which I reviewed some time ago here (click here) . Of course there was lots of room left for other bits and pieces as well.

On Saturday Greg and Marcus arrived at 12:15 and without much further ado we were heading east on the Princes Highway on a beautiful warm afternoon. First stop was Bruthen for fuel before swinging on to the Great Alpine Road for the 100km hop to Omeo. Anglers Rest is located a further 30km on the road between Omeo and Falls Creek and this final stretch is spectacular and the road is very winding. Our destination was a camping ground on the banks of the Cobungra River just across the road from the Blue Duck Inn ( We arrived about 4:30 to join a number of other groups already set up and enjoying this wonderful spot. The first priority was to set up camp followed shortly by a short walk to the pub for a few drinks and cigars while lounging on the banks of the crystal clear stream - a perfect finish to a great afternoon. At 6:30 we had dinner at the Blue Duck which surprisingly was quite crowded, in a dining room featuring two open fires. Then it was time to get back to our little camp site and light a fire before finally turning in at around 10pm.
A clear sky bursting with stars promised a chilly evening and it was nice to snuggle into the sleeping bag. Woke this morning at about 7:30 to a very quiet campsite.
By 8:30 we had packed up all the gear and were on our way to Omeo for breakfast and fuel. After one more stop in Bruthen it was time for everyone to head home after a short but magnificent motorcycle excursion.

While on the subject of motorcycle luggage, Viking Bags have recently released information to assist with the selection of the correct bag for a range of motorcycles. Check it out here.

Total Distance 660 km

Sunday, October 12, 2014

12 October - Mt Donna Buang, Yarra Ranges

The weather bureau promised 28ºC today and it had been some time since the Beemer had a good run. The day started off cool but it was very pleasant riding through Shady Creek, Neerim Junction, Powelltown and Yarra Junction. The Warburton Bakery beckoned for an early lunch and then it was up Mt Donna Buang. The road to the summit (1250m above sea level) is sealed but quite winding.
The summit is covered in trees which restricts the views completely which means you have to climb the lookout tower to get a panoramic perspective. Unfortunately it was quite hazy and not really worthwhile taking a photo of the scenery.
The return trip was via Warburton once more and then home via Powelltown, Noojee, Willow Grove etc. By the afternoon it had become quite warm. The Beemer performed flawlessly.

Total Distance 350km

Friday, October 10, 2014

10 October - Good to be back home!

We arrived home yesterday on a flight from Rome via Dubai and Sydney. Tried starting both bikes as soon as I got home. The BMW was raring to go, but the VT750 needed to spend the evening with the battery charger before it too roared into life. Got 12 hours straight sleep and this morning after taking care of the absolute necessities took the Honda out for a little ride and learned a couple of facts about the bike I didn't know. The first thing I learned is that a partly depleted battery (it wasn't totally flat) resets both Trip meters. I use Trip Meter 2 to monitor refuelling (the Honda doesn't have a gauge). After I took off, I checked it and as it was reading very low km's I assumed that I must have refuelled the bike after I used it last time. After riding for about 45 minutes, and some 40km from home, I learned that the low Trip reading was due to low battery voltage and not full fuel tank - the bike unceremoniously stopped, no splutter, no time to think about the problem and no time to change to 'reserve'. Eventually, sitting at the side of the road my jet lagged brain finally worked out the problem and the engine roared back into life on 'reserve'. Never having been in this situation I had little idea what range I should expect from 'reserve'. The second thing I learned today was that it is at least 40km because I reached the BP service station in Traralgon.
Only a short ride today, but it was very satisfying to be back on a bike after an eight week absence.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

1 October - San Gimignano, Italy

Those of you who visit my blog regularly will have noticed my extensive lack of blogging and riding. One or two folks have emailed to check that I'm OK. Let me reassure everyone that I'm fine but I've not had the opportunity to ride for a while because I am currently on an eight week holiday in Europe. Right now I'm staying at a very nice farmhouse apartment in Tuscany. This is the view from my window.
I have a little over a week to go before it's time to board our plane in Rome and head back to Australia. A bike ride is very high on the priority list of things to do. Today we visited Siena one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and recently we also spent a few days in Venice.

So watch this space for a ride report soon. Hope the bike starts...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

4 August - Yarra Valley

The weather here in Victoria has been particularly bad for motorcycling the past few weeks. Cold, rain and high winds - often at the same time, make you think twice before starting up the bike. So, this morning only one of the three prevailed - it was freezing cold but the sky was sunny and clear and no wind so with a couple of extra layers of protection, including a balaclava (you lose most of your heat through the head) I set off for the Yarra Valley with the aim of enjoying a coffee and lunch at the Warburton Bakery.

The ride was absolutely fantastic except for those few bits in the forest where the sun didn't break through the trees, and by the time I reached Warburton all was well except for the feet. I've never come up with a good strategy for keeping the feet warm.

Once again lunch and coffee at the Warburton Bakery was outstanding.

I noticed over the past couple of months that this place is always busy and I can certainly vouch for the food and the coffee. There is even off street parking for bikes and always a few bikers around to have chat with.

Check out their terrific web site :

The ride home was great too and by the time I arrived I was glad I overcame the initial cold of the morning.

Total distance 320 km.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22 July - Photographic expedition in Sth Gippsland

(Click photo to enlarge)

After another long spell of cold, windy and uninspiring weather the outlook for today was sunny and chilly. So, on with the thermals, the second pair of socks and off on the Honda. First stop was Mirboo Nth for fuel to at the local BP. Then down the other side of the hills for lunch in Meeniyan. Some weeks ago I led a Ulysses group here for lunch at the Chess cafe and was very impressed with the proprietor the food and best of all, the coffee. So today I was there by myself and had a chance to chat with Gunnar the proprietor. This kindly 76 year old originally hails from Norway and is quite a chess fanatic. There are always boards set up around the cafe, and when he is not attending to customers Gunnar is usually playing through a game from a book. I really enjoyed my lunch with him and will make a point of going back when I have more time to have a game.

Part of my aim for today was to take some photographs so I took along a camera (rather than the iPhone) and visited quite a few places to get some good shots. I rode up to the wind generator farm in Toora which provides an excellent view across the Gippsland coast to Wilsons Prom. Put together a very nice panorama from up there which look great on my 27" iMac, but I don't think blogger does it justice. If you click on the photo you'll get a somewhat better idea.

From there I continued up to Agness Falls which looked spectacular after recent rains.

Took quite a few photos and was happy with my haul. The return trip was via Tarra Valley and over Mt Tassie and I got home just before it got really cold.

A great day and a fantastic ride.

Total Distance: 239 km

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

9 July - Strzeleckis and South Gippsland

Once again, a long run of miserable weather was punctuated by a crystal clear day with a top temperature of 16ºC. So, after a few commitments earlier in the day it was time to fire up the Shadow and head for the hills, the Strzelecki Hills, which run immediately to the South of where I live.

The Strzelecki Range, is a low mountain range between the Latrobe Valley and Bass Strait. This feature is named after a Polish explorer Pawel (Paul) Strzelecki who led an expedition through here in the 1840's.

Strzelecki (Wikipedia)

At the time he was trying to get to Western Port Bay and only barely avoided starvation in the rugged terrain and vegetation of this region. Today, only 19% of the original vegetation remains, the rest having fallen victim to logging followed by farming. Fortunately there are a few bits of the area which are protected, namely Tarra-Bulga National Park, the Morwell National Park and the Mount Worth State Park.

Anyway, enough geography and history - my first stop was the InLine4 cafe in Mirboo Nth, a little town nestled beautifully in the Strzeleckis. As mentioned in a couple previous blogs, this cafe is rapidly becoming a Mecca for motorcyclists, and even though it was quite a fine day, I really enjoyed my large bowl of Goulash Soup before continuing on with my trip. It was fantastic riding through the green rolling hills before joining the South Gippsland Highway at Meeniyan. From here the ride continued past the wind farm at Toora, through Yarram and back home through Gormandale.
Reached Traralgon just after 4 pm and the temperature was dropping quickly, so it was time to fuel up and go home. Short but sweet!

Total Distance 214 km.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

3 July - Happiness and the Dudley Moore Trio.

It's approaching the middle of winter here - not a time to expect great motorcycling weather. For the past few days though the seven day forecast has shown a little sun symbol for today with a rain probability of 0. A good sign but sometimes not enough, as plenty of sunny days have winds of 40 kmh which is less than ideal for a day on the bike.

So a pleasant surprise this morning - a crisp clear day, with not a breath of wind - unbelievable. So on with the thermals and all the other paraphernalia and off on the road to Warburton via the beautiful hills and forests of West Gippsland. As mentioned in previous blogs, I always wear earplugs when riding because regardless of helmet design, wind noise at 100 kph almost always reached a level where hearing damage becomes inevitable over time. When I feel like it (and today I did) I use Earmold earplugs, custom made plugs into which you can feed sound from an iPod, phone or GPS unit. Today I felt like music and so I set my iPhone up to feed me various albums and by the time I had been riding about 30 minutes I hit the jackpot. With the winter sun beating down on my back I was riding at a leisurely pace along one of those tree lined roads that give you glimpses of vineyards, and green fields and the occasional farm house with smoke rising from the chimney. Combined with the muffled roar from the 750 and the V&H pipes I can almost reach a Zen state of consciousness where everything is in sync and all is well with the world. Right at that moment the first album faded away in my earphones and up came..... The Dudley Moore Trio!

I knew what a marvellous pianist Dud was, but hadn't listened to one of his CD's for years. Halfway through the opening track, I realised that while generally 'happiness' is a baffling and elusive state, I had just found it. Everything combined into an experience which was totally sublime and I almost got to listen to both of his CD's before it was time to stop for lunch at the bakery in Warburton. Only halfway and already the day as a great one. For those of you who enjoy great jazz piano but haven't had the pleasure I can thoroughly recommend the DM Trio - it was Dud at his best.

Here's a reminder:

Dudley is of course most famous for his collaboration with Peter Cooke in the marvellous BBC series "Not only but Also". Back in the 60's the BBC did not archive it's tapes and many of Pete and Dud's shows were overwritten but a few survive. Here's one of my favourite sketches:

Anyway, back to the ride. After a very nice lunch in Warburton I was reluctant to turn the bike back towards Traralgon. The ride home was great too with the temperature continuing to rise into the afternoon. Got home at 4 pm for a beer and a cigar in the backyard using up the last of that amazing sunshine. From the kitchen came the aroma of one my favourite meals - chicken curry with a very dry Asahi beer from Japan. And for dessert? Coffee and apple strudel which I picked up at the bakery in Warburton - oh and fresh cream. Everynow and then, the never-ending 'pursuit of happiness' delivers a jackpot (hopefully) and today was one of those days. Never to be forgotten.

Total Distance 300km

Monday, June 23, 2014

22 June - Ulysses Ride - South Gippsland

Today was monthly ride day for our local branch of the Ulysses Motor Cycle club, and it was my turn to be ride leader. I scouted out an interesting ride through the Gippsland Hills and organised a coffee stop in Yarragon with lunch planned for Meenyian. The weather co-operated - it was one of those perfect sunny winter days, crisp but not a cloud in the sky.

Arrived in Meeniyan at 12:30 and chose the Chess Cafe for lunch. This great cafe is just the shot if you want to get away from the usual pies, chips etc. We settled for a variety of spectacular sandwiches, mine was Swedish meatballs. We hadn't been there long when the proprietor brought out a complementary dish of Swedish meatballs. I can thoroughly recommend this cosy little cafe.

After a leisurely outdoor lunch, enjoying the sunshine and the conversation it was time to saddle up for the next leg which took us to Mirboo Nth.  At this point most were heading in different directions so we said our goodbye's here.

The Ulysses Motorcycle Club is a great opportunity for riders aged 40 and over to join other enthusiasts for rides and social activities. Although originated in Australia, affiliated Ulysses clubs are now establishing all over the world. For more information check here:

Total Distance 226km.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

17 June - One Down, One to Go!

As you know, one of my three bikes, the Honda Shadow VT400 has been sold after serving as my learner bike and all round great ride. It has been replaced by its big brother a Honda VT750. Since acquiring the VT750 a couple of months ago, I have found it to be my bike of choice and my BMW F650 GS barely gets enough of a run to keep the battery charged. Not that there is anything wrong with this wonderful machine. I've put 30,000 enjoyable kilometres on it including a trip to Queensland. You can follow the blogs from this trip here:

The reasons for choosing the Honda over the Beemer are totally related to my advanced age. I hit my 70th birthday a few days ago and lately I have found that the warm embrace of a comfortable cruiser adds more to my riding pleasure than the spritely and high tech blandishments of the BMW.

So, once again with somewhat mixed feelings I am offering the BMW for sale. The bike is a 2010 model F650GS (800 cc twin) and has just completed the 30,000 km service where it received a clean bill of health. It has all the BMW features such as ABS brakes, center stand, heated grips, real time tire pressure monitoring, gear position indicator, self cancelling indicators and trip computer. After purchase I made a few changes, including a lowered seat, taller windscreen and engine bash plate. The bike is set up for distance touring with a full set of BMW hard luggage (including inner bags) and a BMW tank bag.

Like all my bikes, it has been garaged when not being used and has a full dealer service record. When I bought the bike at Southbank BMW, it had a warranty and roadside assist until 2015 included in the the deal. I think (although can't guarantee) that these are transferrable to any purchaser.

Once again, this bike has been a total thrill to own and has performed faultlessly since I bought it.
I'm asking $12,000 and will include a Road Worthy Certificate.

I am contactable on 0407 341819 or by the email address at the top of this page.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

14 June - Goodbye to a great companion

My first riding companion, my Honda VT400 has gone to another home. Steven from Colac and his family drove up last night and were here bright and early to pick her up. It would take more than this short note to express how much I have enjoyed this bike. Elegant, comfortable and well behaved my white Shadow taught me to ride and gave me the experience and confidence to step up the VT750 and the Beemer. I bought the bike in February 2010 and since that time we've travelled 38,000 km together without a single hitch or issue. Oh, apart from the punctured cooling hose incident which you can read about here: stopped by a stick

I hope to enjoy many more motorcycling adventures in the next few years and although she's gone to another good home I have lots of photos and videos to remember the great times we had together.

If you're interested in reading about how it all started click here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

11 June - Wilsons Prom, Tidal River

The BOM promised a fine day today so a ride to Wilsons Prom. This is always a great ride but on a fine day it is spectacular. The route was via Mirboo Nth, and Meeniyan and the first stop was a refuel at Fish Creek. The hotel in Fish Creek has a large ornamental fish on its roof and over the past few years I've been watching it gradually develop a lean and a rather precarious outlook. It has now fallen over and is lying on the roof like a great stunned mullet. It could become a flying fish in high wind - that would be interesting.

Reached Tidal River at about 12:30 and had lunch and coffee at the local cafe. As usual, as soon as I sat down and opened the food I had the full attention of the local rosella's who'll stop at nothing to get to the goodies. They'll perch on your head and hands and seem to have no fear at all as they snatch at anything you're not watching closely.

After lunch it was time to have a look at the beach. This time of the year it is almost deserted.

Spent some time with a couple from Yamba (NSW) who are travelling around Australia by trains, planes and automobiles. For this trip they had hired a VW convertible and were fortunate enough to be able to have a winter day with the roof down.

It was so pleasant at the prom that it was tempting to spend more time but I know from experience that the temperature starts to drop quite quickly after 4pm so somewhat reluctantly it was time to head home. I had time for a quick coffee at the In Line 4 Cafe in Mirboo North.

This cafe, which is a revamp of the old Bullock Dray cafe,  is rapidly becoming a drawcard for the motorcycle crowd and they certainly make a great coffee. The proprietor seems to go out of his way to welcome customers individually. On occasions I have noted 10-20 motorbikes parked out the front. Hope they do well.

Got home just after 4 pm

Total Distance 306km