Porepunkah 2017

We had a great long weekend away with friends from the Ulysses Club last weekend, March 3-6. Others left on Friday and spent the first night in Sale and then traveled to Porepunkah via Bruthen and Mt Hotham. We rode up on Saturday and traveled from Geelong via Bacchus Marsh, Boadford, Yea, Mansfield, and then over to Whitfield and along the King Valley. Sunday we took a long loop up to the Murray River, which was a very scenic run. Some more detail to follow, just a few pics for now! Altogether Mrs Tarsnakes and I did 1400kms door to door and the ZX14R performed flawlessly. Thanks again to Ron H (AKA Gentle) for all the route planning and booking accomodation.

The mighty Kawasaki 

Great music on Saturday and Sunday night was the focal point for the group

Sunday’s route

Lunchtime at Walwa

Expensive fuel in Walwa

Mrs Tarsnakes & Tanya in Yackandandah

Downtown Yackandandah on a Sunday arvo

Afternoon drinks at The Rusty Bike

A backdrop of Crepe Myrtles – in Myrtleford!

A pit stop after the run from Whitfield to Mansfield

 

Island Classic 2017

On 28 January I took a day trip to Phillip Island on the ZX14R. The reason for this trip was the annual Island Classic race meeting, featuring teams from the UK, Ireland, NZ, the USA and Aust. I really like this event – not just for the bikes and racing, but also because a standard entry ticket provides full access to the pits and the pit roof area. And it’s quite OK to ride through the tunnel into the centre of the track and anywhere around the track outer perimeter. That’s good access for getting involved in an event. It was beautiful weather with plenty of sunshine and temps around 22 -25C – pretty good for PI!

When I first arrived I headed for the museum to see the new collection of racing winning Cagivas that they have just purchased and put on display.

After a look at the bikes and the info at the Visitor Centre I headed back into the track and straight through to park in the centre of the track. It was great wandering around the pits enjoying all the sights and sounds, and of course, events like this bring out some pretty special spectators’ bikes.

I spent ages peering into various pit garages and photographing the bikes and people fettling them. I’m always more interested in the 1970’s and 1980’s superbikes than the really old British and American iron.

I even managed to get up close to a few of the British team stars during their lunch break. Jeremy Williams, below, is still an incredibly gifted rider. His lap times and race craft was spectacular.

The fella below has won a few trophies at the Isle of Man TT races I believe!

Above: John McGuinness

Above: Cameron Donald

After a really good wander around the pits I headed over to the inside of Turn 4 to take some race photos with my ageing SLR. As I said, Jeremy McWilliams (#99) at age 52 can still really ride at a very high level and led every race that I saw him in.

The big Irving Vincent powered sidecar was impressive, however, the real star exhibit was the priceless Britten.

By around 3.45pm I was done and headed over to my Kawasaki and kitted up to head for home. As I was doing so a fella with some pretty impressive camera gear stopped to chat and take a couple of pics of the Kwaka. I got talking photography him and it turned out to be none other than legendry Team Kawaski Australia racer Murray Sayle! That topped off an already excellent day. A gentle ride completely around the outside of the track to take in all the sights and I was off towards Melbourne in still, perfect riding conditions.

Link to a gallery of photos, CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Major service

On Monday I took the ZX14R to Dynoverks in Boronia to have a major service done. It was left overnight so that the engine was cold on Tuesday for the valve clearance checking. The price quoted here was cheaper than the big dealerships and I’d had a personal recommendation from a former ZX14R owner who had work done there previously.

The major aspects were:

  • Valve clearances adjusted (three were out of spec)
  • Brakes bled and fluid replaced
  • Clutch fluid changed
  • Radiator coolant changed
  • Spark plugs replaced
  • Air filter replaced
  • Oil & filter changed
  • “Inspected” everything that you can think of

I’d really let the air filter go far too long and it was filthy, probably as a result of a trip to the Flinders Ranges. The fact that the bike was still running strongly and  smoothly on a restricted air filter and on spark plugs that had done 57K kilometers is amazing to me.

I dropped in to see Pete de K on the way home. He was cleaning his prized ’64 EH Holden Special. This is a rare colour, low mileage and is immaculate and completely stock inside and out.

The traffic leaving Melbourne had thinned out by the time I got to the Westgate Bridge and I had a good run home. Happy to be back around 8.30pm on a very sweet running Kawasaki. I also received a follow up call from Dean at Dynoverks the next day to make sure that I was happy with their service and how the bike was running.

 

 

 

 

Spring 12 Apostles loop

After months of apalling weather characterised by gale force winds and localised flooding, we finally cracked it for a perfect spring day on Friday. Inspired by a recent video that I saw on Facebook of the Ducati owners club of Vic run to the 12 Apostles, I decided to ride one of my favorite local loops. The route travels inland to Port Campbell, then back along a short section of the Great Ocean Road (in the opposite direction to the GOR tourist traffic) and then inland through some rain forrest. I also managed to drop in on Phil R, a mate from the Ulysses Club, and see his new abode at Deans Marsh. It was a sensational day of riding with little traffic, dams overflowing and the countryside more green and lush than I can ever recall.

I stopped in Simpson for my first break and then on to Port Campbell via Timboon.

Overlooking Port Campbell.

Lunch at the waterfront in Port Campbell.

This was a whole lot more tasty than it looks – proscuitto, egg, spinach and relish. A delicious lunch from an excellent, friendly place called ‘Forage‘ right oppposite the main beach. I actually took my plate from the cafe and walked across the road to be virtually on the beach for lunch.

From Port Campbell I headed just a few kilometers up the road to the famous 12 Apostles. I’ve been to the Apostles so many times in my life I have to admit that I get more of a buzz watching the helicopters than the scenery! (Maybe my son will buy me a joyflight for my next big birthday!)

I love the way that the grazing sheep seem completely unfazed by the chopper landing

From the Apostles I had a brilliant run through the twisties to Lavers Hill (my last run along this stretch of the GOR cost me 3 demerit points and $300 thanks to a newly imposed speed restriction and my inattention to the new signage) and then on to Beech Forest and Turtons Track.

From here it was another 20 kms of twisty bush roads to Forrest, then through mainly open farmland to Deans Marsh. After enjoying Phil’s hospitality I headed off andarrived home around 5.30pm after a magnificient day’s riding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Otways Loop

A week into Spring and it was a perfect day to do a loop of the Otways. My route was from Geelong to Deans Marsh and then on to Gellibrand for a drink and a chat with Paul who had just returned from 6 weeks of riding in Europe on his brand new KTM 690. From Gellibrand I headed up to Lavers Hill then along the Great Ocean Road. I went to the pier to eat my lunch and watched a commercial fishing boat being pulled out of the water. From Apollo Bay I headed to Skenes Creek and then turned inland to return home via Forrest. A great ride in near perfect conditions – sunshine, dry roads and virtually no traffic.

Long winter ride to Halls Gap, 19th June

Halls Gap was the destination for the Geelong Ulysses Club branch Sunday long ride. A couple of days prior the weather forecast looked pretty bad with showers and cold winds forecast. However, after showers on Saturday it appeared that it wouldn’t rain again until Sunday night, although it would be quite a cold day. Eight of us gathered at Waurn Ponds Maccas for the ride led by Rob V and we then met up with another three at Bannockburn. The temp was hovering around 7-8C, until we hit some fog which made things difficult for quite a few kilometres, and the temp halved to around 4C in the fog. I cranked up my heated grips to keep my hands nice and toasty. The plan was for morning tea at Skipton, where we would be joined by the Ballarat Branch and the Grampians Branch – having ridden down (from Stawell) to meet us. Phil and Tanya met us at Skipton, boosting the Geelong Branch representation to 13, pretty good for a long ride (500kms) just a few days before the winter solstice.

It was a lovely day in Halls Gap and we all headed off to various eating spots, although the bakery proved to be the firm favourite – so good were the pasties that some went back for seconds! We socialised a bit and then said our farewells to the Ballarat and Stawell folk and saddled up for the ride home.

By this time the temp was around 13C and we rode quite a scenic route out. I noticed a mob of ‘roos and some emus in a paddock just as we left town and fortunately they were the only ones I spotted. Rob led us down the Yarram Gap Rd to Derrinallum via Vite Vite. At Derrinallum Foles was waiting for us, having ridden down from Wannon on his new BMW F800GS.

From here we made a good pace down the Hamilton Hwy to Inverleigh, where the ride finished. I had a really enjoyable day of riding. It was 515 kms all up which is a long day in low temperatures, made a little more challenging in the morning by icy fog. However, everyone had suitable gear for the conditions and we had an enjoyable, incident free ride with great comraderie within our groups and with the two other branches who joined us for some of the ride.  Again, well done to Rob for planning and leading the ride and to Phil as TEC.

 

 

Rawson overnighter 16 December

DAY 1 – Wednesday 16 December

The Rawson overnighter organised by Graham A was a week later than usual this year, commencing on Wed 16 Dec. And we really benefited as the weather was excellent for both days, which was a nice change from last year’s day two rain. OK, below is a map to give an idea of the brilliant Day 1 route.

Nineteen riders gathered at North Geelong Maccas, with one of the Club’s numerous Peters (we had 5 Peters on one recent mid-week ride!) only riding until lunch time, but then collecting another two at Healesville.

We headed to Bacchus Marsh for morning coffee.

We headed to Bacchus Marsh for morning coffee, and then Graham led us on a really good route to Whittlesea, skirting around the north of Melbourne and avoiding all the traffic. From Whittlesea to Healesville via Kinglake and Yarra Glen the scenery just got better and better. And just to add to the enjoyment it was all blue sky and around 22C ambient for most of this section – perfect riding conditions. Healesville has a large ‘Beechworth Bakery’ franchise with tons of parking around it which was perfect for our lunch stop.

From here on the roads just got better and better. The ride from Healesville through to Powelltown, Noojee, Hill End, Willow Grove and then past Blue Rock Lake and beyond is motorcycling Nirvana. Some of us rode the twisty roads at a nice brisk pace whilst others just bopped along at their own pace and comfort level. This really was traffic free, week day riding at its best. As we neared Yallourn North for drinks, BBQ supplies and fuel the temp really picked up and was in the low 30C’s. From here it was just an enjoyable short run via Tyres through the bush up to Rawson. At Rawson bikes were unloaded, stubbies were opened and the good times off the bikes commenced.

Irish John (Honda ST1300) was unstoppable getting a big fire going, which served as the focal point for the evening. It was a really nice balmy evening for cool drinks in great company.

DAY 2 – Thursday 17 December

Some stayed up late and partied Wednesday night. However, most didn’t given that it had been a hot afternoon in the saddle and the departure time had been set for 8.00am on Thursday morning for those returning to Geelong with Graham.This departure time was based on the forecast 36C temps for Thursday. Poppy and Peter were heading on to Bright via Mt Hotham and left early. Bill and the ST1300 crew had decided to head for the coast and spend the night at Phillip Island and lingered longer. Another couple of riders just didn’t make the 8.00am departure!

We headed off in the cool morning air down through Erica and retraced our route through the bush to Noojee for early morning coffee. It was another absolutely brilliant ride at a ‘brisk’ pace with virtually no traffic around.

Downtown Noojee on a Thursday morning

Even though it was early, the sun already had some sting in it and there was no doubt it was going to be damn hot. The lovely old lady at the Noojee store dutifully made coffees, dispensed pies and sausage rolls from her ancient pie warmer and even offered a packet of mixed biscuits for free for the fellas. Talk of travelling back via the Reefton Spur was replaced as and the collective wisdom was to get home expediently to avoid the worst of the heat. Jimbo decided he would take a more scenic route home and the brains trust gathered around his map to assist his route planning.

Above: Men at work

Graham led the rest of us via Yarra Glen, Christmas Hills and Kangaroo Ground, I think, to Diamond Creek. At this stage I didn’t know that I was writing this ride report and I really didn’t pay much attention to the route! At Diamond Creek we had another breather and from there on it was home via the Western Ring Road and Princes Highway. The traffic on the Ring Road was actually quite heavy and the ride was less than pleasant, made worse by the heat and a couple of downright homicidal drivers. Once off the Ring Road it was a short run back and we pulled over for a hasty debrief in 36C heat.

Once again the Rawson ride was a great success and one of the best Club rides for 2015. A great bunch of people, brilliant roads and no rain or rider incidents, what more could you ask for? Thanks again to Graham A for organising and leading and to Phil R for tail-ender duties on both days.

Some high resolution pics HERE, then click on ‘Slideshow’.

 

What is a ‘new ‘ tyre?

Over the past few weeks I’ve had some new tyres fitted to the ZX14R. First a front a couple of weeks ago and then a ‘new’ rear today. But just how ‘new’ is new?

As I was re-installing the rear wheel I caught sight of the manufacturing date stamp on the wall of the tyre which has the numbers 4014. My understanding is that what this means is that this tyre was manufactured in the 40th week of 2014. Therefore  it’s about a year old. So is a one year old tyre really a ‘new’ tyre? I don’t know what the industry standard is. Any suggestions?

I’m not sure if jacking the bike up from the exhaust collectors is a great idea either!

When time came for the ‘new’ rear, I decided to take the wheel out at home and just have the tyre fitted at the shop.

A new low ….

… temp for me to start a ride in this morning!

I wound up doing around 365 kms for the day, all in sub 7 C temps.

Lunch at the Moto-Bean cafe Malmsbury, (see prior post) then later that day at Mt Alexander with the Ulysses Club members. Fellow Ulyssian from Melbourne (and former prolific blogger) Raymond Herd met us at Ballan for morning tea and then rode to the cafe with us. Just as we were leaving when another friend and Ulyssian from Bendigo, Rob H, showed up. Sorry we didn’t really get a chance to have much of a chat Rob!

Rob’s Victory has a heated seat as well as grips. A luxury touring machine.

Grassy’s new Honda CTX 1300

Unfortunately it was a boring run home from Newstead onwards, however, I wanted to get us back as quickly as possible as the temperature had remained under 8C for virtually all of the trip and there were a couple of new riders who were feeling the pinch with the combination of the distance and cool temps.

 

Bloggers rendezvous

A comment on one of my posts by Chillertek from the famous The Road to Nowhere blog indicated that he was down from Sydney and holidaying along the Great Ocean Road with his family. An email and a phone call later and we had tee’d up to meet for an early morning coffee in Apollo Bay.

Now I really get a buzz out of meeting people who I’ve come to know online, or ‘virtual friends’, in the flesh. My son insists that ‘online friends’ are not actually real friends – whereas I beg to differ!

Mrs T and I headed off at 7.00am and took the inland route to Apollo Bay via Forrest. I love riding in the early morning, MrsT less so. Though a chilly 7C in the hills, it was quite pretty with some fog swirling up through the gullies and the sun breaking through the gum trees. Here’s the route we took

Anyway, we had virtually just pulled our helmets off in front of the Apollo Bay bakery and Chillertek and his delightful family turned up. Sitting down outside in the sunshine in front of the bakery, we had an enjoyable conversation over coffee – easy when your both are motorcycle enthusiasts. Well an hour (plus) passed bye quickly. I was mindful that team Chillertek  had a trip to the 12 Apostles planned, so we didn’t want to hold them back any longer.

Pic courtesy Chillertek ‘The Road to Nowhere blog’

Steve, it was great to meet you, Kate and the girls. I will take pleasure in telling my son that online friends ARE indeed ‘real’ friends! Hope that you folk had a great day trip to the Apostles via some of what I consider to be the most scenic parts of the GOR. Hopefully you will have a pic or two that I can add to this as well.

MrsT and I had an excellent run back along the GOR to Lorne where we stopped for brunch, and then sat by the beach for a little while before heading home. Lorne has a huge population of sulphur- crested cockatoos about the town.They can live as long as humans (or longer) and I think this old fella might have a few kilometers on his odometer!

It turned out that the AFL grand final day is actually a pretty good day for motorcycling and socialising with like minded people.