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.

 

 

New Year’s Day 2012

Happy New Year to all who follow Tarsnake’s blog!

The West Coast Procrastinators got their act together again to reprise our New Year’s Day 2011 run. The aim for the day was to ride some back roads and then enjoy a leisurely lunch to usher in the New Year at the cafe at a distillery in the tiny Western District township of Timboon (Pop 850). This place is just inland from the famous 12 Apostles and the gas processing plant for the Casino Natural Gas off shore rigs is based nearby.The motorcycles present were two early 1970’s Norton Commandos and two big bore Kawasakis.

Andy had a gift for us –  a couple of personalized stubby holders each!

Let me tell you a little about the “Procrastinators”, just in case you are new to Tarsnakes. In addition to his Norton Commando, Andy has numerous other motorcycles. Complete and running are a 500cc BSA twin, a lovely 1972 T250 Suzuki Hustler, and an old 350cc Panther single. Under restoration are a 450 Ducati and another BSA. I’ve probably missed some of his machines, as there are numerous other motorcycles in various states of completion.

Other than his Commando, Steve has another complete and rideable 500cc twin cylinder Norton Dominator, a Norton 500cc single and a 1970′s RD350 Yamaha (which he rode to some of the most remote parts of Australia on back in 1979). He also kindly houses my wife’s rideable, but incomplete, early 1970′s 175 Yamaha CT1 dirt bike. Both of these guys were my mates from our teenage years, when we came together with a love of motorcycles and riding as our common bond.

Neither Marty nor I are are into restoring old motorcycles. He’s my main touring buddy (and features in most rides reports on this blog) and we’ve been great friends for the past 26 years.

Our route. For a bigger map click HERE

I had some new gloves to try out. They are Held Steve II’s, featuring kangaroo skin palms. They are a recent birthday gift from Mrs Tarsnakes.

Marty and I met on the edge of town. The blue sky, a forecast top of 35C and the lack of traffic looked very promising for a great day of riding. I guess many folk were still in bed being New Year’s Day.

About 40 minutes later Marty and I arrived at our rendezvous point near Colac (Vic) which is approx 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Melbourne. From here we headed to Timboon via Cobden.

Lunch venue. The Timboon Railway Shed Distillery

The motorcycles in front of the distillery. Steve’s Norton in front.

Andy’s Commando

Me astride the ZX14.

The West Coast Procrastinators doing what they do best!

It was time for some lunch and we secured a table out on the decking. The temp was climbing, I’d say approx 26C by this stage. Some had beef, some had pie & some had fish. The background music included a Derek Truck’s band number so all was good.

No whisky for us, but at least it was local.

I’d heard of an old timber trestle rail bridge in the area so we asked for directions and headed off to check it out. “Watch out for snakes down there” our waitress warned. It was down a dusty, corrugated gravel road, but certainly well worth a look.

Arty shot as suggested by Marty.It was really hot down in this valley, maybe 35C and no breeze to be had at all. The bikes were parked in the shade!

Here’s a framed shot of Steve.

The bridge is now used as part of a bicycle path. One of many “rail trails” in the Australian countryside.

Two brave motorcyclists walk across the bridge towards a large black creature with horns.

Two brave motorcyclists return, the horned creature stands its ground!

By the time we rode the few kilometers back up the corrugated, gravel road Andy was concerned that his clutch wasn’t feeling quite right nor functioning correctly so he and Steve decided to head for home back along the way we had come, rather than taking in the 12 Apostles – Great Ocean road loop.

Marty and I said our farewells and headed off to the coastal township of Port Campbell. We fueled up and the rode the GOR through the twisties to Laver’s Hill. At Laver’s Hill we turned off the GOR and headed inland to Beech Forest and then Forrest via Turton’s Track. from there we headed back to Colac to see that the Norton devotees had arrived home OK, which thankfully they had!

We sat in Steve’s shed and chewed the fat for a while, then Marty and I saddled up and headed back to Geelong via Hwy 1. All up, 385 kms of scenic and really enjoyable riding with mates.

Summer has finally arrived – it’s forecast to be 41C (105F) here today!

To see this report on Pashnit motorcycle forum click HERE

Two Zeds to the 12 Apostles

We finally got the two ZX14’s together for a post Christmas ride. Pete and Robyn were on a trip from Melbourne to country South West Victoria and team Tarsnakes arranged to ride part of the trip with them. They rode from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and met us at our place in Geelong. An ideal run would be to ride the whole Great Ocean Road, however, the reality of such a ride with all the Christmas holiday traffic heading to the beach resorts really makes such a run just too frustrating, so we rode the back roads inland to the tiny township of Gellibrand and joined the GOR at Laver’s Hill.

Here’s our route

It was a little cooler than forecast for a summer’s day, but quite OK never the less.

The two big Kwakas together for the first time at our Gellibrand coffee stop.

The old saying that it’s a small world is often very true – it turned out that Paul from the store (an avid dirt bike rider) and Pete actually went to school together many years ago.

Pete and Robyn aboard the red one.

Plus team Tarsnakes on the black one

From Gellibrand it seemed to take no time up through the twisties to our lunch stop at Lavers Hill.

Good food and magnificent views over the Otway Ranges.

The traffic along this part of the GOR towards the 12 Apostles was as expected – namely bloody awful, especially along the best bits!

We had a look at these.

I’ve edited all the people out of the following shots, but trust me, the place was jam packed with tourists like never before.

The Tarsnakes – 31 years married and still having lots of fun messing around on motorcycles.

 

Mrs T, Robyn & Peter

 

The sandstone cliffs are crumbling – all that rubble at the bottom is new rock fall.

The choppers were on constant rotation and still the queues for flights were long.

From here we split up and went in opposite directions, Peter & Robyn headed further west and we headed back the way we came. We were then running against the flow of tourist traffic and had a brilliant run on the curves through the Otways and then just had 80 kms (approx 50 miles) of freeway back to Geelong.

All up it was a great day’s riding and it was fun to have the two big Kawasaki’s together, observe each others bike in motion and really appreciate their incredible capability as two-up Sport- touring motorcycles.

To see this report on the PASHNIT motorcycle forum, click HERE

Post script 2nd January 2012

Peter & Robyn dropped in on their way home having ridden parts of the GOR today. But this was no day to be riding a motorcycle, it was 40C (104F) when they left for Melbourne!

 

SATURDAY 8 September, springtime in Oz. I woke up to a magnificient spring day, perfect for motorcycling. I met Steve down in Colac and we headed for the 12 Apostles. We stopped just out of Colac to check out the Otway vineyard & restaurant as the next venue for our group of friends to get together for dinner.

Otway Vineyard, a stylish venue with friendly staff.

This is near Loch Ard Gorge, along what is referred to as the “shipwreck coast”. A famous wreck was the Loch Ard, you can read about it by clicking this link.

http://www.heritage.vic.gov.au/page.asp?ID=245

12 Apostles – in name only. This day was about as good as it gets down there with no wind and a comfortable temperature for motorcycling. Often it’s either blowing a gale or unbearable hot.


355 ks, another grand day.