Sunday, August 20, 2017

20 August - Spring is in the Air

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

Total Distance 230 km.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2 August - South Gippsland Circuit

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

Total Distance 220 km.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

11 July - A Honda ride to Port Albert

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

Distance 160 km

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1 July - Oh Frabjous Day

Today, a day I thought would never come, and three months after being struck down by a careless driver, I had my first motorcycle ride - two rides in fact.
Following the surgery and the insertion of two stainless screws in my right tibia, recovery has progressed steadily and for the past six weeks ago I have been walking, initially with the aid of a walking stick, and although there are still some aches and pains, I thought today was the day.
Both bikes had to be jump started, not surprising after three months, and the tyres pumped up, but then it was time to get the Beemer out on the road for a 60km ride and a celebratory lunch and coffee. No problems there and when I got back the sun was still shining (temperature 11ºC) and so I took the Honda Shadow for a 50km ride in the opposite direction. In both cases it was encouraging to find the leg was fine and that I don't seem to have lost too much of my riding skills.
So, on reflection I have a lot to be thankful for. I turned 73 a couple of weeks ago and after a difficult few weeks I can still ride my bikes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

1 April - No motorcycling for a while.

A few days ago, while walking in my home town, I was struck by a car driven by a careless driver who reversed out of a parking bay without looking. The result was a cracked right tibial plateau and two screws to put it all back together again.
I was fortunate that the operation went well and I've suffered very little pain, but I am not allowed to place any load on my right leg for at least six weeks. Like all things you only really appreciate when they are lost, the loss of mobility and dependance on crutches and a wheelchair has reminded me of the simple pleasure of enjoying unrestricted movement. Riding a motorcycle is out of the question of course, and even after I can use the leg I expect it will take some time to regain the strength required to hold a bike upright. So in motorcycling terms all that is left to me at the moment is reminiscing about recent great rides and of course the most recent was my very enjoyable day outing with my brother, which included two of Victoria's 'great' roads - The Great Ocean Road and The Great Alpine Road. During this trip I did manage to catch some footage on my action cam, and the final edited version is now published on YouTube and also repeated here.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

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

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

Total Distance 400 km
Total Distance for the trip 1324 km

Sunday, March 19, 2017

19 March - Day 3 - Castlemaine to Porepunkah

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

Total distance 315 km.