Thursday, 19 November 2009

Sydney to the Central Coast.

Sunday 8 November.
After nearly 20 days riding my bike south to Victoria then Tasmania and all the way back to NSW in near perfect weather I woke up this morning for my last hour of riding to my place and my kids in the Central Coast with clouds looming and the skies about to open up....and ofcourse it did!
I could not believe it! Although lightly, it rain all the way from Sydney to least I can say the gear stood up to the test! Specially the "Rainoff" over gloves.
All in all, I could not have asked for a better trip though. I got to do my first ever motorcycle trip in arguably Australia's best twisting roads.
The bike? it did not miss a beat and apart from the little petrol incident (Not the bikes fault ofcourse!) all I had to do was turn the key each morning and it would be ready to go with me on my little adventure.
I am extremely lucky I can do something like this and I hope that I can continue to do it for a long time yet and into much more faraway places. It is such a beautiful thing to get up each morning, jump on a motorcycle and ride somewhere, anywhere!
I've travelled around Australia by car and campervans and although travelling is always enjoyable, when you travel by car, you're just another tourist and locals just want your money.
It didn't matter how big or small the town was where I stopped in for petrol, lunch or for the night. Every time somebody would want to start a conversation....Which way you're heading?.....where're you riding from?.....what kind of bike is that?
In Lois Pryce's book "Lois on the Loose " she quotes someone else saying something along the lines of....."Travelling by car is like watching a movie but, travelling on a motorcycle is like being in a movie"....and I think I could not have come up with that myself....

Melbourne to Sydney

Saturday 7 November.
After the previous night of a feast of Venezuelan cuisine and the best that South America's greatest wine making countries have to offer at the "El Gran Bar" restaurant, I left Melbourne at around 10.00 am and headed straight up the Hume Hwy again.
Although my original plan was to come back through the Snowy Mountains, Ralph's invitation had put an end to that so I needed to put in a good effort to get home at a descent time on Sunday.
The weather again was perfect..... (Off course? I was riding my bike that day!) I made good progress and would have reached Canberra by 6.30 pm. But, being eager to get home now, I said to myself, what if I keep going to Goulbourn rather than taking the exit to Canberra?(Where I was planning to spend the last night)....what the heck? it’s almost an identical distance from here! I kept going knowing that ones in Goulbourn I was only two hours from Sydney, and three and half from the Central Coast.
I could be sleeping in my own bed by 9.30 tonight I said to myself.
Now, I know for a fact, (from previous mishaps) that I can get around 250 Km out of a full tank on this bike. Actually, 247 km to be more precise.... (Shut Up Patch!!!)
My reserve kicked in at about 190 km and the signs said.....Goulbourn 15 km.......Goulbourn 12 km......Next thing, cough, cough!! Noooooooooo!!!!!
I was out of petrol in the middle of the Hume Hwy 10 Km out of Goulbourn at 7.00 pm with only 206 km on my odometer counter....
I can only put it down to the extra weight on the bike???
Anyway after an hour of cursing myself, the road service turned up with 10 ltrs of unleaded for which I had the pleasure of paying $2.00 p/litre.
This meant that I did not reach Sydney until nearly 10.00 pm and by then I was really bugged, so I dropped in my brother's house and spent the night there.

Back in Melbourne

Thursday 5 November.
I boarded the ferry this morning for the crossing back to Melbourne at around 8.30 am. And in contrast with my crossing into Devonport ten days earlier, where there would have been at least thirty or forty other motorcycles, I was the only one...being a weekday the boat was not as crowded.
The trip itself was a very smooth crossing and I spent the nine hour journey catching up on some reading. I disembarked in Melbourne at around 6.45 pm and made my way to Ralph & Mary Ann who had insisted I come back and stay with them on my way back before continuing the following morning on my way home.
They were organizing an architectural presentation at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and asked me to go straight there from the ferry terminal.
When I got there, Ralph came out to meet me and after asking how my Tasmanian adventure had gone he said, we’ve been invited to a "Venezuelan Night" tomorrow night in town! Why don't you stay an extra night and come with us?
I said, Mmmmm....I really want to be home by Sunday....then Ralph outed the magic words.... there'll be a selection of Argentinean & Chilean wines to try.....
What can I say....? I am human after all....!!!

My last day in Tasmania.

Good Bye Tassie....

Leaving Devonport for the crossing back to Melbourne.

Really bad view of Launceston!!! but it'll have to do as it's the only photo I took there.

I thought I'll keep going all the way to Perth...

Wednesday 4 November.
After my forced lay off yesterday I woke up this morning feeling a hell of a lot better. The weather had done a 180 degree turn too and I was starting to think the motorcycle gods where firmly on my side.
I left Triabunna around 10.00 am and rode north along the east coast towards Swansea. The lost of a day’s riding yesterday meant I was going to have to cut my trip short and will miss out on riding all the way up to St Helens and then northwest towards Derby, Scottsdale and Launceston.
Although the sun was out and the rain was gone, the temperature had dropped considerably and the wind chill was cutting through my gloves and jacket zipper like butter. I had to stop and for the first time during this trip I pulled out my rain gear to help me shield the wind chill factor.
I've got a pair of "Rainoff" over gloves and they worked a treat. I normally wear a pair of thermal gloves under my riding gloves, but these worked better as the thermal ones tend to make my fingers and hands feel a bit stiff and tight inside the leather ones.
From Swansea, I cut across straight to Launceston where I had lunch and then off for my final leg in Tassie towards Devonport and my last night in this beautiful island before boarding the Spirit tomorrow morning.
I arrived in Devonport around 5 pm and stayed at the Argosy Motor Inn in East Devonport where I had a nice buffet dinner and watched a bit of TV until the usual pack of overweight, loud, fifty something Harley Owners Group turned up and took control of the remote control and I decided to call it a night.
These guys were everywhere in Tassie and apparently there was some Harley's meeting on, so some 2000 Harleys had made the crossing that week. And off course they would look at me on my little Japanese bike and give me no respect what so ever.
But, I got comfort in the fact that these wankers had spent $30,000 or $40,000 on a bike to do the same trip I was doing on an $8,000 Jap bike. And they're so tough that they all have to go out in packs as they're too scare of doing it on their own....

Stuck in Triabunna

I spent the day drinking plenty of water and watching telie...

Tuesday 3 November.
I woke up this morning and as I bent down to put my boots on, I nearly hit the deck as the whole room started spinning around....
At first I didn't think much of it but after I got up, it progressively got worst. I think all the walking around Port Arthur the previous day in my heavy motorcycle gear and not enough drinking of water had really caught up with me and I was dehydrated.
Last night when I arrived at the local caravan park and asked for a tent site, I was offered for an extra few bucks to stay in their shared backpacker's cabin, which meant not only not having to pitch the tent but also a bed and a TV in the kitchen area. As it turned out, it was Melbourne Cup Day, and outside the weather was really crap.
Rain & wind where going sideways (first day of rain in this trip) and as I looked out the window feeling really dizzy I said to myself..." Yep, I am really sick today".... and decided to stay put.
Drinking plenty of water I watched Corey Brown riding "Shocking" win the Race that stops the nation.