Last ride for 2012

…. so bring on 2013!

I don’t think that I will be riding tomorrow so today’s run with Marty was my last for 2012. It never rains but pours, metaphorically that is, as I was not long home from today’s run and my neighbor Mitch texted to see if I was interested in a twilight ride to Lorne, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it.

Today’s run was on the inland, forested part of the Great Ocean Road and then inland and home through the bush, rather than via the really twisty ocean side part of the GOR. Apollo Bay was absolutely packed with tourists and the traffic in the other direction, that is, towards the 12 Apostles, was very heavy. However, our direction of travel was ideal for a holiday weekend and we had a great run in low 20C temps.

Here’s a pic of the 2012 ‘Bike of the Year’.

Marty’s ZX-14R at Apollo Bay

A pit stop at the Forrest brewery.

Happy New Year to you all.

Ride safe in 2013, cheers Jules.

Our next ride is in 2 days time with what has become the West Coast Procrastinators’ annual NYD run. And the weather forecast is great!!!

 

 

Boxing Day 2012

Mrs Tarsnakes and I took a post Christmas ride. The riding conditions were excellent though the traffic was heavy in patches. Our stops were at the West Barwon Dam at Forrest (point C on the map below) and then at a quirky cafe in an old potato shed at Ferguson, (E on map)  the Otway NouriShed

Being Boxing Day a few of our regular coffee haunts were closed, however, it prompted us to try somewhere new which was a positive experience. I’d certainly stop there again and it’s only a few kilometers from the Otway Fly.

There is a picturesque picnic ground at the West Barwon Dam. It’s a great place to take a break and have a stroll across the reservoir wall. I was told by a caretaker that there are lots of snakes around at present down by the water’s edge – where people often stand to fish for trout.

Mrs T and the ZX14 taking it easy. It was warm enough to be looking for the shady spots.

The NouriShed at Ferguson, Vic. Point E on the map above.

The old potato shed, converted to a cafe and repository of some local timber industry memorabilia. Mrs T’s laughing at the fact that every table has a tomato sauce (ketchup) on it. I guess it speaks to the style of food on offer.

All up we covered around 270 kms of leisurely riding. My next scheduled ride is our annual New Years Day ride with the West Coast Procrastinators.

 

Pre-Christmas on the Great Ocean Road

My neighbor Mitch and I made an early start around 7.00 am to beat the holiday traffic on the GOR. Our route ran from Geelong along the GOR to Lorne where we turned inland and headed to Forrest via Dean’s Marsh. After a brief stop at the West Barwon reservoir we headed to Apollo Bay for a coffee stop and re-fuel. Check out what I paid for 98 octane in Apollo Bay in the pic below. You guessed it – there is only one gas station and it’s holiday season! From Apollo Bay we rode the GOR back to Lorne and encountered surprisingly little traffic. We didn’t stop in the tourist mayhem of Lorne but again headed back inland to Dean’s Marsh and had another pit stop. From here I headed to Colac to visit Steve and Mitch headed home. It was an excellent run in perfect motorcycling conditions, namely blue skies, no wind and around 25C temp.

Yes, that $185.9 per litre! Holiday season profiteering?

Mitch (AKA Sir Skuffy in some circles) can really hustle this modded Honda CB1000R.

Ohlins rear suspension matched to his weight and modded front forks.

Heated grips, bar end mirrors & small aftermarket screen

In a moment of introspection, brought about by this ride and a recent birthday, it occurred to me that I have now been riding the GOR in all kinds of conditions for 40 years now. The run from Lorne up to Colac reminded me of my first covert winter runs along the GOR as an unlicensed 16 year old on my Yamaha 175 trail bike, the occasional ride on Andy’s 250 Suzuki Hustler, and also blasting along the GOR on either of my CB750 Hondas (with the young Ms Tarsnakes on the back), let alone the evil handling Kawasaki Z1R!

On the topic of Kawasaki’s, the ZX-14 performed beautifully and my love affair with the big Kwaka continues! It is hands down the best motorcycle I’ve ever owned. It’s also worth a mention that the 2012 ZX-14R won Two Wheels magazine’s “Bike of the Year” award.

Too hot to ride?

Yeah, probably!  The forecast was for 37C today with high winds and a late change. Actually we were planning on going camping for the weekend, however, Mrs T was too ill with a stomach bug, so I thought that I might as well go riding. I got up early and headed off before it got really hot. It was a good chance to try out my new kevlar lined jeans, rather than the usual leathers. Oh, and I had the joy of a brand new helmet visor that I bought ages ago, but didn’t want to use until the weather was warm enough to stop needing the pinlock visor. My first stop was the Gellibrand store. The township was virtually deserted, probably as a consequence of government advertising re risks of being in the bush on high fire danger days.

Once I hit the hills the temp dropped a bit and it was quite nice riding, despite some wind gusts. On the GOR between Lavers Hill and Apollo Bay I overtook two motorcyclists and they were the only traffic I came across until about 3 kms out of Apollo Bay – a dream run on the GOR! I bought $10 of gas in Apollo Bay – which wasn’t much at the rip off price of $1.65 per litre for premium (that’s around $6.25 per US gallon). Next stop was Forrest for a (non alcoholic) drink at brewery, buy which time it was damn hot outside.

Note the new visor! was unable to buy an import from the USA, so that little Aus standards sticker means we have to purchase locally and pay well above the US online price (despite the global economy and numerous free trade agreements – don’t get me started!!

Forrest marked the end of the enjoyment of riding as it was so hot and wind wind gusts so strong that I would have preferred to have been in the car with the AC cranked up for the final run home. I didn’t mess about and was home by around 1.00pm. Was it worth riding on such a hot day? Yes, but only because I left early, dodged the worst of the heatwave and the deserted roads were a treat. Six months ago in the depths of winter, I would never have conceded that it can be too hot to ride.

 

Freestone’s Roadhaven diner

I’ve been so busy at work and home (and at my son’s new home) that I haven’t had a spare moment to even write up the Snowy’s weekend trip yet. Mrs T and I had in mind to go for a ride today. However, it rained in the morning but then cleared up after lunch so we decided on a quick spin for some coffee down along the coast a little. As fate would have it we pulled up in Aireys Inlet, a place I never usually stop at, and came across a new retro cafe which is a replica of a  classic American diner. Some might say kitsch,  but I loved it! This is a trucking magnate’s retirement project and you will see a little of his car collection through glass windows at the back of the diner. The lass making coffee said that all of the interior fittings had be sourced in the USA. The owner has also renovated the old hardware store next door.

Mrs T loved the light fittings

I preferred the cars!

For a few more high res pics CLICK HERE (Best viewed by clicking on Slideshow)

Snowy Mountains & Vic Alps Cup weekend 2012

This was the second of Bill’s Snowy Mountains rides held over 4 days of the Melbourne Cup long weekend (an Aussie institution!). This was a reprise of the 2010 ride with mostly the same guys. This year we had 9 riders in total, with an interesting mix of motorcycles, including four ZX14’s – now how often do you see 4 of them in one place? The weather and riding was sensational, covering some of Australia’s most twisty roads.

DAY 1 Melbourne to Bright  via Gippsland

OK, it’s about time that I got off my bum and actually wrote about this fantastic four days of riding. My mate Bill did all the planning for this trip, which was no mean feat given that this was over the famous Melbourne Cup long weekend and that it was also the same weekend that a well- known cancer funding raising motorcycle event is held.

Marty and I left Geelong after work on Friday and headed over to the Mornington peninsula via the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry. On the way to Bill’s place we headed up to the lookout at Arthur’s Seat, which offers a really twisty ascent and some spectacular views over Port Phillip Bay.

What a great place for a pub!

We spent the night at Bill’s then headed off Saturday morning and met Phil (blue ZX14), Willem (Honda Crossrunner), Tony (Buell) and Fred (FJR1300) at Tooradin. From there we took some back roads and then hit the boring Prince’s Hwy (Hwy1) to Yarragon where we met up with Peter (ex-cop BMW) and Johnno (ST1300).  The nine of us continued through Gippsland and pulled up at Bruthen for lunch. Bruthen pretty much marks the start of the fun riding as it is at the start of the Great Alpine Road that traverses Mt Hotham on the way to Bright. By now it had warmed up and the sun was shining – this set the pattern for virtually the whole of the rest of the trip.

Johnno & Tony at Bruthen. From here it was up to Mt Hotham and down to Bright.

The non Kawasaki’s!

Tony’s BuellWillam’s VFR800 powered CrossrunnerPhil’s ZX14 – I love this color!

Peter’s Beemer. It’s amazing how many cars slow down when this bike approaches!

Fred’s immaculate FJR

Johnno’s deceptively fast ST1300. Can you imagine a bike this big being ridden like a MotoGP bike? I’m not kidding!

Virtually all of the photos are taken at our major rest stops along the way as these ‘fellas enjoy VERY spirited riding and there is no time for sight- seeing type pics. I’d ridden with all but one of the guys in this group on virtually the same route two years ago and so knew that they are an experienced, skilled bunch of guys who don’t hang about!

This pic is taken at Mt Hotham and you can see that there was still some last remnants of snow about.

The run from Hotham down to Harrietville is predominantly very steep downhill, hairpin bends – some of which are 1st gear corners – or in Bill’s case any corner between 0 and 100kph is a 1st gear corner. We had a really enjoyable run through the hills and met up at the bottom at Harrietville with disc brakes tinkling and motors dumping quite a bit of heat. From there it was a short run down to Bright for the night. All up approx. 500 kms for the day. When we hit Bright there was a stack of other motorcycle groups in town. The pic below shows one other group who were at our motel.

The day finished with a great meal at the pub then sitting outdoors in lovely balmy conditions. There was pleny of banter amongst the guys – a great end to a fantastic day of riding. At this stage there were three things that we didn’t know;

1. a wallet would be dropped in the outside drinking area at the pub – which was discovered at breakfast time the next day, (the story has a happy ending as an honest patron had handed it in).

2. a band in the other pub opposite our rooms was going to make lots of noise passing as music until 1.30am and then,

3. a truck was going to roll up around 5.30am and empty the dumpster full of glass bottles directly in front of our rooms!

And probably a 4th thing – I would be falsely accused of snoring! An impossibility as I didn’t get any bloody sleep!

Day 2 Bright to Corryong with a Snowy Mountain’s loop

We woke up to find yet another glorious, sunny day with blue skies as far as the eye could see. I wasn’t quite so chipper, having been a bit sleep deprived from all the bloody noise. However, a hearty breakfast at Jackie’s Place soon had me feeling OK again, though Marty’s conversation with the owner – along the lines of “… oh you must be her daughter…” was a bit nauseating!

One of the fellas realised at breakfast that he’d lost his wallet, presumably the night before. Bill sauntered up to the pub, which was not yet open, found a staff member and returned with Johnno’s wallet in hand! Yep, some decent person had handed it in, all $’s and cards in tact. Crisis resolved!

After breakfast we fueled up, and headed over the Towonga gap, then made our way to the Gundowring Road, where Marty set the pace in a spirited run to Corryong on his new 2012 ZX14.

Although we were staying in Corryong that night, we still had about another 350 kms of riding in the Snowy Mountains before we returned to our digs. It was mid morning and already really warming up. It was all blue sky and we were in for a day of brilliant mountain riding. Our next main stop was over the NSW border in Tumut – the scene of very substantial parking fines for Bill & I on a prior trip.

From Tumut we headed out past the Blowering Dam and made our way via the Snowy Mountains Highway, then turned off at the Link Road through Cabramurra, then onwards via the Tooma Road where we pulled up at the Tooma  Reservoir to exchange stories and let the brakes (and heart rate) cool down a little. By this stage my visor was so splattered with bugs that I was struggling to see!

Tooma Dam stop. From L to R Phil, Bill, Tony, Peter & Willem

The riding remained brilliant as we road the mountain roads back to Corryong in the late afternoon light. Fortunately we didn’t encounter any ‘roos or brumbies along the way. I was happy at this stage of the day riding next to last in the group! The descent down along these twisting roads with the late afternoon sunlight flickering through the trees, the gradual increase in the temperature and the smell of eucalyptus was just sensational. I’m not a good enough wordsmith to really describe it well, and it is a good example of where some video footage, such as Chillerteks has been using on his site recently, can authentically convey what it was really like. (Check out his video footage of the Omeo road).

I think that you probably know how it goes from here; settle into the digs, get cleaned up, clean the bikes a little (coated in bug splatter) walk to the pub for dinner, a great meal, a balmy night, a few cool beers, talking bikes and riding, then back to digs for a nightcap and bed. None of these fellas are big drinkers, and in my book, that makes for much safer and enjoyable riding when nobody is nursing a hangover! I was well and truly ready for bed after a big day in the mountains. I shared a room with Marty and fortunately in the morning there we no unfounded allegations of snoring!

Day 3 Corryong to Omeo via Granya Gap & Falls Creek

 

 

DAY 4 OMEO TO GEELONG

Full report coming, but here is a link to unsorted high resolution pics CLICK HERE

(best viewed by clicking on ‘Slideshow’ on top right of screen).

Saturday at the Southern Classic

The West Coast Procrastinators took a run to Broadford race track for some classic racing. We’d booked some rooms nearby at Seymour, so a full day at the races and socializing afterwards was possible. I will write a little more when I have some time, so just some pics for now.

There are always some interesting spectators’ bikes at events like this. We pulled up into what was virtually “Commando Alley”. However, this beautiful Moto Guzzi is for Mrs T, a big Le Man’s fan since the 1970’s.

 

Lots of high resolution pics, CLICK HERE

For a great write up that really captures the essence of the event see my mate Steve’s post over at the 79 x 100 blog.