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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last ride for 2015 …….

….and can’t wait to see what riding 2016 has to offer.

Two up to Timboon ….. and home via the 12 Apostles

Mrs T and I were greeted with a beautiful sunny morning and a forecast of a pleasant 24C for our last ride for 2015. Our destination was the Timboon distillery for lunch via backroads and then home along a short section of the Great Ocean Road. Mrs T actually cheated and drove her car to friends’ place 70 kms away and then rode pillion for the ride loop. We wanted to keep away from the main parts of the GOR due to the recent and ongoing bushfires there.

Map

I made a decision to travel to Timboon along the Carlisle River road which weaves through heavy bush that grows virtually up to the roadside, with just a very small margin of green grass on the road verge. Taking that route in the morning was a bit of a mistake as there were a number of small black wallabies on the road verge who were very difficult to see in in shadows. I didn’t spot the first two which Mrs T spotted and alerted me to. I then slowed down, kept my eyes peeled and subsequently spotted another four. Fortunately none hopped out in front of us!

We pulled up at a nice little spot in Simpson for morning coffee. In what is an otherwise unremarkable little township, there is a lovely little picnic area complete with a small man-made lake.

After a drink and reading some of the info about how the bush was cleared in the 1950’s it was only a short on some quiet back roads to the Timboon Distillery for lunch.

The still

We enjoyed a tasty lunch and were offered a free whisky tasting, which alas we declined prior to riding. As we were leaving we met and had a chat with a great couple from Tasmania who have been touring Victoria for the last week or so. They were aboard a Triumph triple Explorer and were really satisfied with it as a two-up touring machine. Ride safe guys and smooth sailing back to Tassie on New Years Day.

We fuelled up in Timboon to avoid the mayhem of tourist season in Port Campbell and headed for the 12 Apostles in gorgeous riding conditions. The sky was blue, the sun was getting hot but there was a lovely sea breeze coming off the ocean. Tourists were all over the Apostles area, from a distance it looked like a swarm of ants crawling all over the place, so we kept going, hence no pics of the Apostles.

The last time I rode the twisty section of the GOR from Gellibrand Lower to Yuulong I had a brilliant run and didn’t encounter a single car going my way. Today was the exact opposite, and we saw two cars whose drivers exhibited some of the most dangerous and discourteous driving I’ve ever seen. One little Toyota virtually stopped on every curve and failed to pull into the overtaking lanes despite a line of cars following (and the SUV behind sounding its horn and flashing its lights). The other was a black Mercedes station wagon which weaved from side to side, frequently drifted across the double white lines and nearly side swiped a tourist bus! It was scary stuff to observe!

We had a brief pit stop in Lavers Hill and then a really enjoyable run down through the bush to Gellibrand and on to Colac to or friend’s place. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph Steve’s newest Norton single project now that he has completed the latest resto, a 1938 Norton, which you can read about HERE.

I took an easy run down the Princes Highway to get home, having had a great last ride for 2015 of approx 375 kilometers in perfect riding conditions. Roll on 2016 and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

Procrastinators’ day out

The West Coast Procrastinators met for our annual first of January ride and AGM. Marty and I left Geelong in overcast conditions and arrived at Steve’s place (near Colac) to find Andy and Steve raring to go. This year Andy had brought his recently purchased 1973 GT 550 Suzuki along instead of his usual mount, a ’69 Norton Commando. Both Andy and I had owned 1972 models when we were in our teens. After New Year handshakes, a picture of the motorcycles and some banter we headed off to Timboon, Vic.

Steve’s Commando

Andy’s “new” Suzuki GT550.

Marty and my Kawasaki ZX14R’s

Unfortunately we were not that many kilometers down the road when Andy’s bike suffered a “failure to proceed”. Andy has not restored this bike and it illustrates the potential pitfalls of purchasing an already “restored” bike that has been restored by someone of unknown capability.

I took Andy back to Steve’s, where Andy had his car and trailer and he was able to load the stricken Suzuki and then continue on for lunch at the Timboon hotel.

After a few fleeting showers of rain in the morning the return trip was in sunny conditions. We stuck to a series of back roads and avoided the traffic associated with a public holiday and the general 12 Apostles area.

It was another grand ride to start 2015 with for three of the Procrastinators. However, it was still a great way to commence a new year for all four.