Autumn to the max

Today the Tarsnakes and the O’s took a run in exceptional autumnal (that’s Fall for those of you in the US) conditions. We repeated the route that I took yesterday, but had a couple more stops, including the Forrest Brewing Co for a morning tea stop and Otway Estate for lunch. Despite stopping at two breweries we didn’t touch a drop – as is our ‘policy’ when motorcycling.

We were pulled over by a very nice fella from the Highway Patrol, who checked our licenses -AND – the Australian Standards compliance stickers on our helmets, which is a first in my lifetime of riding.

I will let the pics do the talking.

Pauline & Dorothy

Marty at our morning stop at Forrest

The Tarsnakes

Pauline gearing up at Beech Forest

Entertainment during lunch

Pauline and Marty at Otway Estate vineyard

It was sunny and around 25 C the whole day – just perfect!

Tire break in

I took a shortish run today for the purpose of breaking in my new front tire. It was quite cool and very overcast when I left but slowly and surely the weather improved over the course of the day.

My route was from Geelong to Forrest, then along Turton’s Track to Beech Forest, down to Gellibrand  and continue on to Colac to visit to Steve, then back home via the Highway 1.

Treaded tire seems to be the newest thing!

An expensive way to protect grape vines from birds

I came across the interesting plaque below

Steve’s been working on the resto of this Norton 500cc twin cylinder ‘Dominator’
The motor is fully reconditioned. It started easily and sat idling beautifully once Steve re-installed the carby.

My head says Ninja 1000, my heart says ZX14!

Checked out the new Ninja 1000 on Saturday. Got Mrs Tarsnakes aboard as well just to size it up for two-up riding. Got the thumbs up in terms of ‘fit’ for a pillion, though she felt perched a little high. The dealership we dropped in at doesn’t have a demo bike so I really cannot seriously consider it until I get to ride one.

Sitting aboard the Ninja 1000 it felt very short and maneuverable, seat height was OK-maybe just a fraction high, however, I felt that I was sitting ‘on’ the bike rather than ‘in’ it. The 3 position screen is very minimalist.

It’s $15,500 ride away at this dealership, though I saw them on sale at $15K ride away in Elizabeth St, Melbourne. 

Loved the black colour and the finish quality looked fine.
ABS is obviously a good thing.

Do you see that ZX14 in the top of the pic above? Well I had a little sit on that as well! Low seat height, great ergonomics, superior finish quality…….but maybe just a little too heavy for me at low speed when we’re two-up? I’ve recently ridden Bill’s ZX14 and know what a superb machine it is. They wanted $18K, ride away, for this superseded 2010 model.

I love black Kawasaki s. My head ‘says’ Ninja 1000, but my heart ‘says’ ZX14 !! Ah well, my history as a member of the ‘West Coast Procrastinators’ will no doubt serve me well.

Post script 23 March – my heart won, new ZX14 coming my way soon!

Southern NSW coast & Snowys Summer Road Trip 2011

This year the crew for the road trip consisted of Marty, Bill, Phil & myself. The motorcycles were respectively, ZX14 Kawasaki, ZX9 Kawasaki,Suzuki V Strom with road tires and my ever reliable VFR800 (which ticked over 70,000kms on this trip).

Sunday evening 20 Feb saw Marty & I catching the ferry over Port Philip Bay to stay at Bill & Margy’s overnight to miss the peak traffic bottleneck over the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne on Monday morning. Monday morning we hooked up with Phil at Tooradin, then headed down the South Gippsland Hwy to Orbost, in light rain most of the way.

Many thanks to Marty for planning yet another great route and to Bill & Phil for being such great fun and reliable riding mates.

I will post some maps and more text when I have time. I’m flat out at work now so will just do some bits and pieces to the write up and label the pics when I can. Also I have some thoughts about a motorcycle dealership  that offered no help when it was needed and a small engineering works who stepped up and were brilliant. Any of the shots with me in them are Marty’s pics.
All the high resolution pics at THIS LINK.

From Orbost the weather picked up and was pretty much perfect thereafter. We ran up the Bonang Road with it’s 1080 bends in 90 kms (and ‘Roos & deer so we were told later) for 3 nights in the tiny, but motorcycle friendly, town of Bombala (NSW).


Bombala’s heritage guesthouse was our base for daily raids out through Southern NSW. We actually rented the near new house next door for 3 nights rather than taking room in the B&B. The owner, Les Atkins & his partner Priscilla were excellent hosts and made us feel very welcome.


I’d highly recommend this place for traveling motorcyclists.   Heritage Guest House

Mt Darragah Rd near the scene of a gravel strewn corner, hidden in the shadows!
Bill & Phil at Eden. the wharf area has lots of great cafes.

Boys at the Imlay Creek.
“They took our parks”- the ZX10 was ridden by a female, former A Grade racer.

Touring Oz in a 50 year old Kombi. Left drive as originally bought in CA, USA. (Then shipped to England for 2 year rebuild, then to Aust).

Bermagui NSW
Old man of the sea …… Jules taking a break

Commercial apple crops under nets at Batlow (NSW).
Side of the road photo op near Batlow
Elliot way, one of my most favorite roads!

Marty, Bill and Phil ready to hit Elliot Way. Not far from here we saw a large mob of wild brumbies to the side of the road. Much to my regret I didn’t stop and photograph them!!

We then headed through the Snowys for 2 nights, staying in Corryong (Vic), and again, a couple of day trips from there before heading home.

Corryong butcher.

There seemed to be roadworks just about every road we took. Guess they have to do it before snow season. Cooling our heals for “…just 5 minutes mate….!”

Alpine Road. Bill aboard the Kawasaki ZX14


Hard to believe that you’re looking at Mt Kosciusko- the hill on the left!

Adaminaby NSW, yep it’s the big trout!

Phil & Marty discussing the size of sunglasses!

Road to the Snowys from Corryong

Marty kicking back at our motel in Corryong.

New memorial to the Man from Snowy River

Near Hume Dam

Flame Warriors

I’m a member of a few motorcycle forums and discussion boards. All sort of folk post there, however, some ‘identities’ do seem to emerge.

If you’re a forum member have a look at the flame warrior link below and check out all of the types in the drop down box – well worth a laugh and you might just recognise someone!

Motorcyclists & successful ageing

Geoff James of Confessions of an Ageing Motorcyclist has provoked some really interesting dialogue as a result of a post on his blog earlier this month entitled “Whats age got to do with it”.

This has included some email discussions which I have been fortunate to have been party to with David L Hough, motorcyclist, journalist and author, from the USA.

Further to that topic I came across this gem linked from It’s well worth a look! (see link below)

What do People Live For

And some more on this topic. ABC TV screened a documentary about an 85 year old motorcyclist. He’s a life long motorcyclist who set himself the goal of doing 52,000 kms in 52 weeks during his 85th year!

You can watch it online HERE 

Viwers outside of Australia click HERE

An Interceptor, a Ninja & a Commando

Marty and I headed down hwy 1 from Geelong to Colac (Vic – approx 90 miles from Melbourne) and hooked up with Steve. From there the three of us took our familiar run to Apollo Bay via the inland forested part of the Great Ocean Road. Just out of Apollo Bay we turned inland and headed back towards Colac via the township of Forrest. Beech Forest and Forest were our main drink stops along the way.

Our route.

 Our first stop after Colac was at Beech Forest. This comes after a great run gaining altitude along some winding roads lined with eucalyptus trees. We pulled in at the ‘Ridge Cafe’ which has a deck that looks out over the Otways bush.

Motorcycles parked in the shade.

The guys taking in the view

 After a drink and chat it was off to Lavers Hill and then along the GOR for a stop and fuel at Apollo Bay. We had a great run along the GOR and it seems like the recent heavy rains have really cleaned the asphalt – the grip today was terrific.

Steve pulling up in the main street of the coastal town of Apollo Bay.

The Commando is approaching its 40th birthday!

Waiting in the shade while the guys fuel up. At $1.42 per litre ($5.38 per US gallon)  it’s a blatant rip off. I’m glad I have a large fuel tank.

After a brief walk around the Saturday market it was back on the motorcycles for a sensational run up through the bush to Forest, then to Steve’s place near Colac. After chewing the fat for a while there under a shady tree, Marty & I headed back down Hwy 1 to Geelong.

This run was a really satisfying mix of great roads, great weather and great friends to share the experience with. January has just about ended and at last we are getting some decent summer weather! Tomorrow’s forecast is for 41C (105F) so it was great to get out today in a very enjoyable 20C-25C (68F-77F).

International Island Classic Phillip Island

I took a run down to Phillip Island with one of the other old West Coast Procrastinators, Andy, for the ‘Island Classic’ historic race meeting.We met up with our mates Bill & Terry when we got there. The weather was perfect for competitors and spectators alike. The biggest concern at Phillip Island is always how windy it will be.Thankfully today was very calm and sunny with a temp around 24C.

The last time that I went to Classic Races at PI was the first time this event was run! Here’s the pin I bought back then.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and was particularly impressed with some of the lap times. A handful of the very  best were only 10 seconds slower than Stoner’s 2010 MotoGP qualifying time. That’s pretty impressive for 30 year old machines.

1938 Vincent HRD
I think it’s a 1962 Azani Special

Andy made comment that the meeting was a bit light on for old British racing motorcycles, especially compared with all the post classic and forgotten era Japanese bikes. A fair comment – my analysis is that PI is maybe a bit too big a track for the really old bikes and that smaller tracks like Broadford probably suit them better.  I happen to love the 70’s & 80’s era Jap  bikes as they are the ones I saw, lusted after and rode during my youth.

A spectator’s lovely 1100 Katana. Mrs Tarsnakes has ridden one of these back in the early 1980’s, alas I never have.

Spectators with classic machines did a parade lap at lunch time.

What I really like about the Island Classic is that you can ride / drive vehicles anywhere around the track, rather than have to park in a designated parking compound. Also, the admission price ($35 for Sunday) includes full access to the pits. This means that it is very easy to take a close look at many of the classic motorcycles and the people who race them. I get a real buzz out of seeing guys roll up on their own historic or classic bikes. The ones I saw ridden in to the event  ranged for a 1928 AJS to a late 1970’s Laverda Jota. The Jota owner (a former Kawasaki dealership owner) was going to ride home 250+ miles that night after the racing finished- lot’s of faith in a well maintained motorcycle.

Seeing a mint CBX1000 and RC45 together and talking to their owner was a real treat for me as well. I’ve mentioned before on this blog how much I’d love to have a CBX!

Mint CBX1000. The owner of this also had the RC45!

A very rare RC45

The classic races are very friendly, open events and certainly don’t have that kind of that market driven, ‘glamor’ event feel of the MotoGP – which is a big positive in my book.

I took plenty of pics, for high resolution pics CLICK HERE

Holed crankcase

I can’t lean any further!

John Whitla’s lovely Jota. Mikuni carbs & Brembo brakes

I was a young teenager when these hit the market – glorious sounding twins.

The track by the ocean – Phillip Island

1928 AJS ridden in. The Gladstone bag ‘top box’ was a nice touch

Maldon day trip

I took a solo run inland to avoid the Otways because of debris on the roads from all the recent heavy rain. I left Geelong under a cloudy sky with the temp around 16C, but expected better weather inland.  I headed through the tourist trap town of Daylesford (having been tailed for around 5 klm by a marked police vehicle) to go to the historic former goldmining town of Maldon via the back roads through Newstead. The day quickly warmed up and before too long I had to pull over and remove some layers.

Here’s the route

Pic below is between Ballan and Daylesford

The ‘roos are a problem and behave much like deer in the USA.

Once past Daylesford I pretty much had the roads to myself. There was some minor road damage evident near Newstead from the flooding of the Loddon River, which peaked late on Friday.

Looks to me like the layer of asphalt was too thin in the first place.

River debris. There were flood warnings for nearby Maryborough so I kept clear.


I had a bit of a walk around but it was so humid and I was overheating, it would have been nice in shorts and a T- shirt, like the ‘fella below actually!

Saw this guy go bye in his “Queensland leathers” on a lovely old Vincent Comet single.
It started first kick after he stopped at a nearby shop.

Said g’day to the dog!

As I was leaving a couple pulled up in an immaculate old Mercedes 190 two-door.

This thing was pristine.

Always some surprises in the store windows in the country – a solar powered snake deterrent!

It was hot and humid and the shady verandas are perfect. There’s a historic vehicle museum in Maldon, but a cast of guys on Harleys with beards like they play in ZZTop were there so I continued on.

VFR resting in the shade

An uncommon color for an Australian Wing.

Two up through the Otways

Mrs T and I took a leisurely loop from Geelong to Forrest, Apollo Bay, Lavers Hill, Gellibrand, Birregurra and back to Geelong.

Total distance 305 kilometers

First stop was Forrest (Vic) for coffee.

1960 Morris Minor

 Second stop was Apollo Bay for art exhibition

I quite liked this Melbourne streetscape

This pastel portrait was good

 The run from Apollo Bay to Laver’s Hill is via the Great Ocean Road. Much of it in this section is actually inland through eucalyptus forest. Lovely big open sweepers for the most part and one section of quite tight curves. Despite being summer holidays the traffic traveling along the GOR from Apollo Bay towards the 12 Apostles wasn’t too bad.

We stopped in Laver’s Hill at Blackwood Gully  for lunch. It has a great outdoor deck area.

 Great lunches.

 From there we traveled inland through the bush and farming land via the back roads to Geelong. The weather was mostly sunny and at around 22C was a nice temp for riding.We need to stop reasonably often as Mrs T gets some vibration via one of the pillion footpegs which eventually makes her foot numb. I haven’t been able to solve this problem yet despite replacing the rubber bush in the footpeg mount recently.