|05-02-2012, 05:47 AM||#16|
Joined: Sep 2007
The final instalment
Time to finish this Epic – and apologies for taking so long.
Wednesday morning saw most of us a bit bleary eyed and a call was made to make it a rest day for tired bodies and to catch up on some overdue bike maintenance. HuskyGirl & I were due in Hobart to meet up with Bronx & Ross who, having ridden with the spanner from Newcastle to Melbourne had elected to fly to Tassie with their wives Lise and Jeanette for some R&R (truth is they get sea sick and didn’t want to risk the voyage on the Spewit of Tasmania). We got a bit wet getting back to Hobart from the Tasman Peninsula but after a hot shower and freshen up (and several loads of washing) it was lovely to spend the afternoon and evening in the Constitution Dock - Salamanca area.
The next day HuskyGirl elected to stay in Hobart to work and act as tour guide for the day, taking the non-riders to MONA and then to Wursthaus. This meant there was a spare bike so Bronx got to ride at least one day of the Tassie leg of the Cancer Ride. With Bronx mounted on the Husky (dwarfing it would be a better description) and me on the soft bike we headed back down towards the Tasman Peninsula and met with the remnants of the Man Cave Crew at Dunalley – MonoMark having decided to bail out the day before. From Dunalley we headed North through the Marion Bay area then through the Wyelangta to Orford. It was a beautiful morning so many photos were taken along the way, especially looking East towards Maria Island.
At Little Swanport we said goodbye to Tony who had to head back to Lonny while the rest of us had a cup of tea (being hardcore) and then headed up the “M” roads onto the tiers around Mt. Tooms/Tooms Lake.
This was lovely forestry road riding and obviously hadn’t been used by logging trucks for some time as there was leaf litter everywhere.
After a while Wicksy took us off down a track in a Westerly direction towards the Macquarrie River. It was at this point the Husky decided that there had been no reliability issues with any of the bikes on the trip to date and so being of Italian descent it was going to have a “tanty/dive/dummy spit”. After an hour pulling every electrical joint/plug/fuse/Canbus union apart and cleaning them Wicksy discovered that the cable junction to the negative terminal on the battery had completely parted way. So much for tracing everything back from the battery – check both terminals, not just the positive. We could bore you with a video and the blah blah, but at 2.2gb, it will be available through mail order!!! Well HuskyGirl just hasn’t got around to loading evidence of her bike breaking.
Underway again we came to probably the most technical section we’d experienced on the trip so far. No bridge was ever built across the Macquarrie River from the M Road so we had to negotiate the rock shelves – the soft bike trialed through it unsighted, the Husky got through in a wayward fashion with some direction and the Stelvio bludgeoned its’ way through. Wicksy’s Strom on Tourances needed a bit more encouragement but got through the rocky river bed nonetheless. Once out of the upper Macquarrie River area it was again into some lovely but rugged foothills farming country before we traversed through plains to the historic town of Ross and the bakery for a (very) late lunch of very good Cornish Pasties (my Grandmother was of good Welsh Tin Mining stock so I know).
Brian and Wicksy had to get back to the White Beach Man Cave while Bronx & I had the key to the unit in Hobart. We thought we’d be back in Hobart at 15:00 with a couple of hours to spare before Ross and the girls got home so we were now on a mission. Once again we were chasing the litre+ bikes but this time it was down through the Mud Walls Road to Colebrook, Campania and then Richmond where we parted company with the “Cave Dwellers”. The reception in Hobart wasn’t too bad and the slab of rib eye purchased from Wursthaus (and the wine), along with HuskyGirl on chef duty, all seemed to ease the pain (especially Bronx’s bum from the Husky’s bit of 4X2 seat).
On Friday morning HuskyGirl and I rejoined the fray. As we crossed the Pittwater causeway just after Midway Point we saw Wicksy coming the other way at a clip. We waved as we knew the meeting/starting point was Sorell – he was on his way home to dump his camping gear as it was no longer needed. Even after breakfast at Banjos and then meeting up with Brian and Cary (who’d rejoined us) at the Sorell Woolies we were still waiting for Wicksy to turn up. In the end a phone call revealed that he’d got home and decided to do some house work so we thought bugger that and we would start our day’s ride and he could meet us at Buckland later on.
Brian led us through some more interesting country to the East of Sorell through to Nugent, country that reminded us of some of our favourite parts of rural France (see – Tassie does have it all). The flat light that you experience at that time of the morning in the South Eastern part of Tasmania is very special and should be experienced by everyone and makes even the most marginal country look special.
Wicksy eventually turned up at Buckland and from there we headed North through Tunnack, Stonor and eventually out onto the Midland Highway near Jericho. Then through to Lower Marshes before HuskyGirl and I took a minor diversion through to Bothwell where we met Kevin & Karen the English couple doing the RTW with their “roofed” Guzzi.
(side note: we hope they are both recovering after their recent mishap on the Hume in Victoria).
Later we rejoined our riding companions and blasted North on the C528 to Interlaken, a road that reminded me of the Dargo High Plains Road in Victoria only better.
So, to keep this crazy zig-zagging route going we came down off the Great Western Tiers on the Tunbridge Tier down to the Midland Highway then up to Ross for more Cornish Pasties. From Ross we then went South East, past the road we’d come out on yesterday and met up with the M Road again. We followed the M Road North as far as the Lake Leake Road then West and North into Lake Leake proper to spend the night at the Lake Leake Inn.
With the bikes garaged the light drizzle that we’d been experiencing as we rode into Lake Leake was turning to sleet so we settled in to appreciate the warm bar, hot shower and tasty beverages. The others on their way from the South (Corne, Chris) and the North (Fossilator, Dave) who were joining us for the night would be even more appreciative, when they eventually rode in an hour or so later. After a fine meal we settled back in the warm bar for one or two nightcaps.
Needless to say there were a few slow starters the next morning but after a hearty breakfast we were off to Avoca using the Northern section of the M Road through to Royal George and St Paul’s Plains to meet the rest of the Lonny crew.
After topping up the bikes in Avoca we headed up the Rossarden Road (B42) and just as it was starting to get interesting we found the Northerners (& Tim) all gathered on a run off area on a corner. After the usual greetings and checking out the assorted bikes - which seemed to have changed from the previous weekends’ mounts and also seemed very lightly loaded, it was back into Avoca to refuel these bikes. After an aborted attempt at St Paul’s Dome it was back to Avoca again (the track to the Dome we were advised by some locals was overgrown and had lots of fallen timber across it – an ominous sign for later in the day). Brian & I swapped bikes for the short return trip so I finally got to ride the Stelvio, and Brian reacquainted himself with the 610. I liked the Stelvio more than the 1200GSs that I’ve ridden but ultimately it’d take a fair bit to sway me from the KTM V-twin these days. Back in Avoca Del discovered that he had a flat front tire on the 990 so that took up some time to fix.
I didn’t realise it at the time but Wicksy & Cary had decided that the lightly loaded dirt orientated steeds (950SE Erzberg Edition, KTM 450 & 690E) that had appeared for this weekend were a sign of something serious – so they scuttled off to show Cary the famous Jacob’s ladder leading up to the Ben Lomond Plateau.
So back up the Rossarden Road the rest of us went. Clive was leading the group through tracks that he used to take commercial groups through but admitted that he hadn’t ridden them for a couple of years so couldn’t guarantee what we’d get. I don’t know the names of any of the tracks but we were obviously skirting the Eastern side of the Ben Lomond Massif with the ultimate aim of dropping out of the bush at Pyengana – at the famous Pub in the Paddock. With such a large group and some heavily laden “Big Bikes” each creek crossing became a major team effort to get through. The first two crossings or so were relatively easy, with the team ready to help keep a stalled bike upright or pull it up over the rocky lip and get it on its way.
The last river crossing however was a real doozy, being the remnants of a washed out bridge. 5 metres across a rocky, dark river then a muddy uphill bank with a right angle turn then more mud running parallel with the river before negotiating the remains of the bridge foundations. A few bikes fell over and some others got bogged but eventually we got them all through.
Having survived that ordeal 200 metres up the track we came to the first of several sections of fallen trees. The lighter dirt bikes flew through this but the bigger bikes struggled – so again with lots of hauling and adjustments to the “track” we finally got them all through. It was a huge couple of hours riding and everyone did really well to get through – a real team effort and one that I will remember for a long time for the sense of camaraderie and achievement of getting all the bikes through.
It was now quite late so the decision was made to head directly to the Pub at Pyengana. Once there we discovered that Dave had hurt his foot pretty seriously with a flying branch and had decided that his best course of action was to ride back to Lonny and seek medical attention there rather than risk taking his boot off at Pyengana.
Having farewelled Dave a few who were planning to camp (HuskyGirl & I particularly) decided the opportunity of a warm bed in the Pub after such a tough day was too good to refuse. Wicksy & Cary turned up after their afternoon exploring the less challenging roads in the region, and soon after that KTMGeoff arrived on his impressive sounding 950ADV. A slightly more subdued evening followed because everyone was stuffed – but an enjoyable night was had nonetheless.
The next morning was clear and cold with a thick frost covering everything. Clive had departed early as he had an engagement back in Lonny while the rest of us slowly thawed out the gear and packed up. After egg & bacon rolls at the Pyengana Roadhouse we farewelled Chris, Corne & Wicksy who all had to get back to Hobart & further to prepare for their coming work week. Geoff was leading the remaining group through his backyard for the mornings’ ride through to Scottsdale and managed to give a few frights by taking them down some gnarly drop offs (imagine a Stelvio reaching terminal velocity). HuskyGirl had injured her wrist in a crash on the fallen logs the previous afternoon so we elected to take the more leisurely route into Scottsdale.
At the Scottsdale Relay for Life event we once again got to experience the great Tassie sense of community just like at Smithton R4L event the previous Sunday. Another beautiful day in Tassie and another magnificent turn out for such a great cause. Steve Foster had the honour of closing the event for the Cancer Council of Tasmania again and presenting the awards. Some of the speeches were quite emotional, especially those recognising the sacrifices made by carers of cancer sufferers.
After the Scottsdale R4L event had finished we headed to Bridport for lunch and after exchanging photo files and e-mail addresses said our final goodbyes. HuskyGirl, Brian, Tony (who’d joined us again at Scottsdale) and I travelled back to Tony’s place in Lonny where the video transfer process was started. As we had a boat to catch we then farewelled Tony and headed off towards Devonport with Brian who we waved goodbye to at Deloraine. As we sat in the traffic queue for the boat we spied Cary & Fossilator chatting at the side of the road so we stopped and said another farewell to Steve.
Being able to participate in 2 of the Tassie R4L events neatly book ended our week of riding in Tassie and gave the Motorcycling Against Cancer Ride a real presence in that State. We met some great people over the week - some of whom I’m sure will become friends for life. We rode some of the best roads in Australia and had a real ADVENTURE. Thanks to everyone who joined in the ride and contributed to the cause, and thanks particularly to Wicksy & Brian Hughes who not only helped plan the route but took the week off to participate, to Chris, Josie & Jacob, and Big Tony for all their assistance leading up to and during the week.
The 2013 Tassie leg of Motorcycling Against Cancer Ride promises to be even bigger & better than this years’ AUSSOM event (thanks Cary) so put the 3rd week of March 2013 in your calendar NOW. Stay tuned for updates.
|05-04-2012, 08:18 AM||#17|
Joined: Apr 2011
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