Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ride around Tassie-Day 1 & 2

1 January 2009

The alarm goes off at 5:30am. Now usually this would start the ball rolling on some moaning, eyes trying to pry open, picking up the phone (the source of the alarm) and squinting to find the button that will snooze that annoying noise for another 10 minutes.

But not today.

Today we were heading over to Tassie on the boat for 8 days of riding pleasure. Woo hoo!!

The kids back to their other homes last night so after dropping the boys off at the airport, we got home, packed up the bikes (well, J's bike anyway).

Here are the bikes ready to go!! J bought the gear sack just before christmas. All of our clothes fitted OK as I had a backpack as well however when J wasn't wearing his motorbike pants they took up a bit of room in the bag. Oh well .. just meant nobody could get gifts from Tassie as there was no more room!!!

We arrived at Port Melbourne and went straight around to the gate (just before you drive onto the boat). We were about 6 or 7 back from the front and had about a half hour wait before the gates opened. There were a few bikes at the front so we stopped and talked to those guys. I was getting pretty desperate for a coffee so it was a good thing that the gates opened within the half hour they promised!!!

The team on Spirit of Tassie said that it was a very slow day with only 200 cars travelling across so all being well, we would leave on time.

The crossing was pretty rough and I felt a bit sick - unfortunately too sick to enjoy the bottle of Oyster Bay Sav Blanc we bought from the restaurant at lunch time!!!! I managed to get one glass down however and then had a lie down and a brief snooze in the afternoon.

We docked in Devenport at around 6:00pm and headed to the hotel where we were spending the night. Edgewater hotel - a pretty cheap place ($155.00 a night) but the bed is a king size and was SOOO comfortable. It has everything you need. The pub/restaurant is also not bad - relatively cheap and we did think at the time that the food wasn't too bad (after 8 days we soon discovered that that pub was the worst place we ate at during the holiday).

Anyway ... had some dinner .... off to bed and a good night's sleep as we had a good day of riding ahead of us the next day.

2 January 2009

We woke up to a beautiful, sunny day. Was only going to be in the high teens, but it wasn't too cold.

We left the hotel at about 9:00 (from memory) - the destination was Strahan and we would be heading there via Cradle Mountain and a few other touristy places.

The ride from Devenport to Wilmot was absolutely sensational. The road sat alongside the Forth River for a lot of the way and the scenery was just beautiful.

Lots of great twists and turns but you had to always be very careful about gravel on the road.

We stopped at a lookout just before Wilmot ... a sign caught our fancy "Valley of Views" and we wondered how you get a view in a valley??

Regardless of our inability to understand the valley of the views, it was a lovely little town and there were indeed, some lovely views.

This being one of them!!

About 1km down the road was the tiny town of Wilmot ... a shop (post office, cafe, hardware store and newsagent all in one) and little school and a church is what we found.

We stopped for a caffeine fix (which was surprisingly not too bad) and had a chat to the locals. They asked where we were heading, and when we said Cradle Mountain, they informed us that it snowed there last night so be careful of black ice.

What the??

It's summer for goodness sake.

J had a bit of a laugh at me because I'd forgotten my wet weather pants but I was able to get one back when I reminded him that I could turn my hot grips on and his hands would still be freezing!!

As we approached Cradle Mountain you could feel the temperature drop quite considerably. We slowly made our way up the road and couldn't believe when we did actually see snow on the side of the road!! Oh crap ... then the rain then started ... the freezing cold rain that makes your bones ache!!

We stopped at the Tavern and for the next hour or so watched the weather change from rain to hail to sunshine to rain and hail again. The open fire was blazing and the lamb shanks that I ordered were going down a treat so we made the decision to forfeit the top of the mountain and head out to warmer pastures!!

We stopped for petrol just before we left Cradle Mountain and I had a giggle when I saw that the price of diesel was about $2.70. Unbelievable. So glad we weren't in a 4WD.

The route then took us across the Reece Dam and eventually into Strahan.

Without boring you with the details, it was a stunning ride. So many great corners and places to ride. The scenery is absolutely stunning and changes every 10 minutes or so.

We arrived late in the afternoon at our temporary home for the next 2 nights. A great little self contained unit (again with a king bed .. yay), TV, kitchen, bathroom, laundry etc. Very clean and neat and a 3 minute walk from the local supermarket. We stocked up on food for the next couple of days and then spent the night watching dodgy TV on Foxtel.

Day 1 (of the riding) was outstanding (apart from the cold bits near Cradle Mountain) and I knew that if the rest of the trip was like that, it would be a very memorable time indeed.

Total kms: 296km

View Larger map

Tomorrow ... Gordon River Cruise!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's gone ....

the L plate that is!!

Went for my licence last night and passed!! Woo hoooooooooo!!

Took the L off of Scarlett first thing this morning (even though I didn't ride her to work .. Christmas party today = lots of drinking :-)).

The test was harder than I thought it would be but I got there in the end. The instructor said I was a very cautious rider which is not a bad thing, but with emergency stops I needed to be a bit heavier on the break.

It was pretty different to being on my own bike but I'll try my best to implement some of the things he showed us last night.

This time in 12 months .............. finances pending I'll have a new bike ................... if we are poor I'll dust of the CBR and use her as my new bike.

Yay me!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sorry ... how many corners did you say??

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in Melbourne so J & I met a friend for breakfast and then decided to do a ride.

I had been told that the ride from Eltham to King Lake was pretty impressive so we decided to head to King Lake, then back through Healesville, Marysville for lunch, then via Reefton Spur and Warbuton before arriving home.

The ride to King Lake was exceptionally hard .... awesomely fun .... but really really hard. A lot of 15km/25km corners .. with very steep drops on the side. Very thin lanes as well so I figured the slightest mistake would mean lights out for me!!

Definitely a ride I want to do again however.

We finally got through the Black Spur with no rain or crap on the road!!! That was a positive and what a fun bit of road that is. Must admit, after doing the road to King Lake, the Black Spur seemed relatively easy.

Reefton however is a different matter ... beautiful to look at ... but you really can't enjoy it to it's full extent as concentration levels had to be quite high!!!

J has a little gizmo that tracks our movements. Link below if you are interested in seeing the route we took. We'll be using this for our Tassie trip also as it logs where we take photos (no more "where the hell did we take this photo").


We managed to get back just in time for Sarah's christmas concert too, so a really great day was had by all.

Only real problem was listening to J complain about his sore ass!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Netrider Mystery Ride

J & I joined a group of motorcycle enthusiasts called NetRider .... good community of motorbike folk ... ranging from beginners like myself to your hard core hoons. They have a number of weekly rides ... and Tuesday nights they have a 'Learner rider' ride.

It was such a beautiful night last night, we decided to join them.

We met at a BP Servo in St Kilda ... I was running late and only just arrived on time .... but was very surprised to see how many bikes there were. It was almost like going to a bike expo without having to pay the entry fee!!!

Bikes of every description were there (except scooters. ... I think they know not to show their faces at an event such as this, hahaha).

J was pretty pleased to show off his bike and he got a lot of comments (show off) although I did have a comment on my Scarlett and how good she looked in her colours. You go girl!!

The leader gave the instructions on corner marking, no overtaking on corners etc etc ... and then the rumble of the bikes started. I believe there were 47 bikes there so you can imagine the noise that we made as we sat there. I'm sure the St Kilda residents love Tuesday nights!!

Oh ... forgot to say that although this is a Learner ride .. I reckon there were about 5 learners in the entire group!!

Anyway .. we headed off, through the backstreets of wherever ... over the Westgate ... through some more backstreets (apparently around Laverton, Altona way). As you have probably guessed, we had absolutely no clue where we were.

Loads and loads of turns, quite a few roundabouts and probably some of the worst streets I have ridden on. Hope those people don't pay much for their rates because the roads need some serious work!!!

Apart from a couple of idiots that believe there is only one way to ride .. flat out .... there was a general sense of respect for everybody on the road. There were also a few that felt they had to overtake at every opportunity in case their 'toughness' was questioned, it was great to ride with the group.

We ended up in some late night taxi rank/car wash/drug dealer's lair ... had a burger (mind you, very good burgers), a drink and a wee and then off home again.

It was a really good night, met some nice people and drooled over some very very nice bikes. A dark orange & black GSXR particularly caught my attention .. beautiful looking bike, as did a silver CBR 1100.

Storms are set to hit Melbourne again this afternoon and tonight so it may be the last ride for a few days. Bloody Melbourne weather!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A ride with the Colonel and a service

On Sunday, we were fortunate enough to have the weather gods looking down and smiling at us. While it wasn't particularly sunny, at least it wasn't raining and cold!! (It still kills me that we have used the heater a couple of times throughout November!!!!!!).

Of course J was in dire need of riding his new love. The plan was to go to Dad's to pick up the bikes (long story that is boring and irrelevant to the story as to why they were there), breakfast at Sassy's (Nunawading) and then through the Spur up to Marysville.

At breakfast, J wanted to show the owner the bike ... so out she came ... had a look at his .. then at mine .... then at his ..... looked at me and said 'well yours is cute'. Grrrrrrr. I don't want a cute bike ... I want a mean, tough, beastly bike. Well, maybe not that far, but cute?? Ease up tiger!!!!!! She loved J's bike and of course that just made him grin even more (if that's even possible).

After a lovely breakfast of bacon and eggs, we headed back to Dad's to pick him up so that he could go for a ride with us. Why do we call him the colonel? He grew a goatee (so hip my dad) and it is completely white (as is his hair) ..... so somebody decided he looks like Colonel Sanders and the name has stuck!!!

Anyway, off we went through Healesville, the Spur (where there was loads and loads of crap on the road thanks to the winds and storm) and ended up at Marysville for lunch. I was told yesterday by a guy at work (who has a place in Eildon) that only that morning through the spur, the SES were removing large trees from the road.

We've been through the Spur twice now when it's been wet and/or crappy .... maybe it will be third time lucky soon and we can enjoy some of the corners as the good lord has intended them for the motorcyclists.

Was an ace day .... a few things have clicked into place for me and are becoming easier so that is making riding that much more enjoyable.

Scarlett also had a service yesterday and she's feeling awesome. I was having problems with the gear box ... it felt very clunky and there has been some incidents going from neutral to 1st, where it jumps back into neutral. I thought for a while it was me, being a learner, not really putting it into gear properly but J had experienced it too when he rode her.

Anyway ... whatever they did at the service has fixed it right up. Gear box feels lovely and smooth, and not clunky any more. Steering is a lot tighter (apparently head bearings were loose) and all up, running beautifully.

If only she had more power!!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Go faster .. go faster .....

Yesterday J & I headed out to our usual Sunday morning breakfast place. Weather was spectacular and we decided to drop in to see a friend on the way home. As it so happens, it meant a trip through the Dandenongs to get there. Of course, being a beautiful day had it's downfall ... too many cars holding us up!!

From the moment I got on the bike yesterday morning, I seemed to have my 'groove'. I manouvered through the first 2 roundabouts with ease and didn't feel anxious for the first time in 4 months so I was really looking forward to seeing how I went through the hills. The cars holding us up were kind of annoying but Scarlett and I seemed to be at one with the world .. and all was good :-))

As we left our friend's place, J pulled over to the side of the road. Not knowing what was going on I stopped also .. waited for him to approach and then I heard "want to swap bikes??".

Well ... um ... err .... shit yeah!!!!

He gave me some instruction on how different his bike would be to handle .. so take it easy to start with and see how I go.

The CBR felt big ... really big and heavy so the first thing of note was if I drop it, there's no way I'm picking it up off the ground ....... so ................ DON'T DROP IT!!!

I had a quick vision of hitting the accelerator too hard and letting out the clutch too quickly and me doing a very quick mono down the road before I landed on my ass with the bike sliding down the road. So, accelerator came on very slowly and clutch let out even slower!!! I let a couple of cars pass until I got the feel of it.

Surprisingly it didn't take long before I felt comfortable enough to actually do the speed limit!!

By the time we got to Thompsons Road (about 7 mins from home) I was wanting to keep going further down the road. Riding the CBR was a totally different experience to my poor little Scarlett .... it actually felt like a real bike! I turned onto Western Port Highway (around the roundabout too slowly I'm told) and then opened her up. Boy, you only have to breath on the right hand and she winds up.

I don't think I stopped grinning the whole way home. I looked at my beautiful Scarlett as John got off her and thought to myself "you're lovely ... but you really have to go soon" :-))

Me thinks when J gets his new bike, the CBR will become my new best friend for a while!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Spur

Legend has it that the Black Spur is a ripper of a ride for bikes .... and I would have to agree!!

On Monday we jumped on the bikes and decided to do a ride. J had previously bought a little jigger that tracks your ride and even logs where you took photos (no more "oh crap .. where did we take that pic"). The weather didn't look overly great but we thought the rain would hold off (big mistake).

We headed off from home and headed through Berwick, Emerald and through to Lilydale (what an awesome ride that is). Lilydale to Healesville through the Spur and then on to Marysville. It had been raining so was quite cold but the scenery was still really beautiful. I was pretty anxious as we approached the Spur ... kept saying to myself "please don't let today be the day I come off the bike".

We took it pretty slow due to the wet roads but it was still a whole lot of fun going around the twisties.

From Marysville we decided to head up to Lake Mountain and back through Reefton Spur (which I believe is tougher still) however as we got higher up the mountain, the rain started, the mist came in and visibility was really low so J called it and we turned around and headed back the way we came.

Yesterday the weather was perfect (why didn't we do the Spur then!!!) so we jumped on the bikes again and headed to Sky High for a coffee (top of the Dandenongs). We went back through Berwick and Emerald and through to Olinda. Stopped for a coffee then back down the hill to Knox where we bought a BBQ and then dropped in to see Dad and Liz.

Was a great couple of days on the bike .... it's becoming one of my most favourite things to do!
Now you may also notice that I have been very quiet about the 'L' plates after posting that I was going to get rid of them!!
Unfortunately the backyard took precedence over my test so every last cent is going into that. I'm hoping to take the test next month because as my dear husband so eloquently puts it "I'm not going to Tassie with a loser on an L plate". :-))