Australia 2019 - an Epic ride - a Serial report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bigjohnsd, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    I’ll be riding with my friend Brian Maddy (Festar) in South Eastern Australia and Tasmania.

    This SPOT link will become active on November 15th and expire on December 13th.

    https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=20e4f5dc8bcac45bbe

    This is our plan at the moment but who knows after the first stop sign!

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    Lots of fires in Australia which may cause us to deviate from our “Plan”.
    #1
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  2. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    959
    Location:
    Where the girls are green and the grass is pretty.
    I bet you'll spend longer in Tasmania !
    #2
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  3. marcomatose

    marcomatose Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2016
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada
    spent 2 1/2 months there in Jan, Feb and march. it is a great country with awesome people. I covered the area that you plan on seeing and much more. If you want call me 775-969-3357 I can inform and advise. Your going to have a fantastic time, enjoy
    #3
  4. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Thanks for the kind offer, but my Aussie Mate that comes and rides with me each year here in the US is my personal guide for this adventure. Festar Thursday.jpg
    #4
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  5. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Spot link active and tested SAT by SWMBO!
    Festar met me at the airport yesterday morning after a long 14 hour flight from LAX. There were a lot of fellow sardines packed into the 787-8. I paid extra for an aisle seat, thank God, so I could get up and walk when I wanted to. Got only a few hours of sleep, but enough.
    This morning, Monday here in OZ we took the bikes for a little test run. See the Spotwalla link for our 250K route.
    We rode through some recently burned areas and then had coffee at the great lakes along the coast before taking a twisty inland route back to Taree.
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    Our route today
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    Note the "Red Arrow" for keeping on the left side of the road.
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    Beautiful place for Coffee
    We had a few bike issues on the FJR but think everything is now all good. Battery was weak, suspension needed a little jiggering to handle me versus Brian.
    We set forth tomorrow our first days route is supposed to be From Taree to Oberon 7 hr 22 min (349 mi)
    https://maps.app.goo.gl/LXHc1jnU5vRHN8JVA but alot will depend on Fire Status and how much smoke we encounter along the way.
    It was fun to be back on an FJR today, but, given my druthers I'd still opt for a GSA! JSNS
    #5
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  6. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Day One - Executed generally as planned. We are staying in Oberon above a Pub in the Royal Hotel. Doesn't look like it is has been refurbished since the before WW1. But it is $70 AUD ($1 AUD = $.67 US) for the two of us and the bathroom is just across the hall. The cell phone didn't hold its charge so there aren't any pictures tonight. We ran in heavy smoke as far as Singleton, then it got warm, 38C - 100F, but it is "dry heat, and the wind was howling. We saw several bush fires from a distance, One Of the roads we wanted to take, the Putty Road, was closed due to fire so we routed ourselves two valleys to the West. No real plan for tomorrow other than to end up in Young, NSW at a friend of Brian's fir e the evening. A fair number of bikes in the road, some Harleys, they don't wave, a fair number of various adventure bikes, and lots of Standards and Sport Bikes. Brian's FJR has a Gel Comfort Seat, 400 miles out the hurt on BigJohnSD's keester, I miss my Laam!
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    Highlight of the day was a lap around the MT Panorama Race Track at Bathurst NSW. https://www.mount-panorama.com.au. [​IMG]
    #6
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  7. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Thursday - Saturday
    Thursday we headed South to/the Australian Alps. It was a long day, some 500 Kilometers, long at max speed limit of 100 KPH and actual speeds of 35-65 kph through the twisty routes Brian has led us on.
    Thursday's Route
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    We left the lowlands of Southern NSW but not soon enough! The heat exceeded 44 Centigrade and even though it was dry heat, real freaking dry, it was just plain hot. I've always gotten great service from my wetted sleeve LDComfort shirt, this time was no exception, but the sleeves would only stay wet for less than an hour per soaking. My skull cap would only provide cooling for about 30 minutes.
    During the course of the day we covered lots of ground and terrain.
    Of course after the first 100K we had to have some sustenance. A small town cafe provided a nice "toastie" and a Flat White.
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    We stopped for a map and water at a visitor center and i captured this info:
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    The countryside reminds me alot of the California Central Coast, rolling hills, Eucalyptus trees, lots of two lane roads, some nice and smooth, some goat trails that Carver would love. The country is in the second year of a drought, it is really dry, normally these hills would be green and lush. In some places Farmers are shooting their livestock because they don't have food nor water for the animals.
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    It is difficult to get pictures along the way because there are no shoulders on the roads and like a dumb shit I left my point and shoot on the move camera on the dresser at home charging the battery :(
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    I risked life and limb on a gravel shoulder with a 500 meter drop off to get this picture. It reminded me of one of the many Sierra Foothill canyons I've ridden with Bugs.
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    A typical 100KPH Speed limit road with every almost every curve signed at 35-50 KPH.
    Watash at a "high Point"
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    The "Mate" at he same point
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    There are "Bush Fires" all over NSW and Victoria where we are headed next. You can see the light haze in this next picture
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    About 1630 it was 44F, we were both parched and happened across this Tea Room/Post Office a bottle of cold sparkling water was $4 which I Gladly paid.
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    The Murray River is the boundary between New South Wales and Victoria. The biggest difference I've noticed has been that once in Victoria Brian keeps within 1 KPH of the speed limit!Victoria has a "Zero tolerance policy: and speed cameras are no notice![​IMG]
    We ended up spending Thursday night in Tallangtta, Victoria. We splurged and got an air conditioned motel room instead of a room with a fan above the local pub :)
    Friday - Tallangatta to Tallangatta via the Alps:
    Our Route
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    Very technical roads, some had lots of leaves and sticks from a windstorm the night before. No shoulders, No photos, I have only a few to post. Breakfast was delayed until almost noon in Omeo
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    A view of the Alps from above Omeo
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    An information filled Kiosk that doesn't show well
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    Mt Hotham - The "Bear Tooth of Australia"
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    Saturday - Moving Day - we left Tallangatta this morning about 0830 and arrived at Colac Victoria about 1700. No pictures today. We traversed varying country which got greener as we got further South and West. Wheat fields just being Harvested, Large Round Bales of hay cut and stacked, cows, sheep, less road kill, more traffic.
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    Sunday - Tomorrow - The Great Ocean Road!
    #7
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  8. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

    Joined:
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    2,203
    Location:
    SW. Idaho
    sounds like a insulated thermo for morning ice water filling might be in order.? thanks for the pics n report.
    #8
  9. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Sunday - November 24th - A Lap on the Great Ocean Road!
    Many aren't aware of the Great Southern Ocean, Australias Southern Coast across from Antarctica.
    Today we rode a portion of the Great Ocean Road -much akin to the fabled and well regarded California Highway One.
    We left our Abode in Colac about 0800 and rode East and South to intercept the Great Ocean Road at Lorne. The road to Lorne was very similar to riding from the Monterey Valley over to the coast in California, narrow road, 100 kph speed limit, lots of 35-55 kph signed corners. Hard to pick out the bumps in the dappled sunlight but we made it safely. Most folks in cars would use the slow vehicle turnouts to let us by when they were holding us up. Lots of bikes out, saw more Ducatista today than in Italy I think.
    Our first view at Lorne
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    After a quick photo we stopped for some Fuel.
    It is "Schoolies" week here in Victoria, lots of recently graduated 18 year olds spreading phermones and pollen on the beaches. So as not to violate the rules of the host I have purposely not posted any pictures of long legged, full breasted, scantily clad Aussie's of either sex.
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    The scenery kept getting better
    https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycle-Trips/2019-OZ/igBtzbLG/0/bc43ce4f/L/20191124_095411-L.jpg[/img ]
    The road more twisty but smooth for the tourists and not much traffic headed West away from Melbourne.
    [Img]https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycle-Trips/2019-OZ/iC8K5s8G/0/e30806cd/L/20191124_095406-L.jpg
    We stopped briefly at the "12 Apostles" a site much akin to Cannon Beach in Oregon.
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    We observed Surf Lifeboat training
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    Before stopping here at the sight of an 1893 shipwreck that killed 11 people and 1,500 sheep.
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    We returned to Colac about 1630, fueled and washed the bikes. I did a little maintenance on the FJR.
    Our route for the day looked like this - about 400 kilometers
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    #9
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  10. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Tuesday - November 26th
    Brian and I arrived in Devonport Tasmania to a rainygloomyday.
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    We were met by his old riding Mate Phil Cobb who drug us to his house where his lovely wife Karen had prepared a full fry-up breakfast for us.
    After breakfast we mounted up and rode a good deal of Northern Tasmania.
    Coffee at the Burt Munroe Cafe - a crazy kool place!
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    Video Clip - https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcyc...dRvf/0/1337ee97/1280/20191126_095125-1280.mp4
    Pictures from inside the Burt Munroe Cafe
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    After Coffee I was in the rear, seldom catching glimpses of Brian and Phil as they "assaulted Tassie!" until they waited for me at the turns.
    A few pictures from the day
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    The Highland Lakes of Tasmania - it was 6c here at about 5,000 ft elevation.
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    After a few hours the weather cleared up a little bit, the sun came through the clouds and we found ourselves atop another mountain.
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    As usual, Brian befriended a bevy of aged beauties
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    After a full days ride of 350 Kilometers
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    we took Phil and Karen to a nice dinner at a local Pub.
    Wednesday - November 27th
    This morning it was colder and grayer when we left Phil's for breakfast. We rode West along the coast to a bakery in Ulverson for a date with a Scallop Pie, damn fine it was.
    Next stop was Penguin, the only town in the world named Penguin I'm told.
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    The Penguin Library was comprehensive
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    We rode over a few mountains and it got colder, wetter and windier so we stopped to warm up by a fire
    Brian's Tenere didn't have Heated Grips this morning, but it does now!
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    Cool Mural inside too
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    Coffee and Pizza warmed the inside too.
    In view of the crappy weather we headed back to Phil's so we could install Brian's new Heated grips!
    Grips Installed and tested SAT!
    Todays truncated route about 250 kilometers
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    #10
  11. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Thursday November 28th - Moving Day
    We left Phil and Karen Cobb's at Port Sorrell this morning and headed South West. We covered a little bit of ground before lunch stopping briefly in Railton to view an assortment of Topiaries then on to Sheffield to view the many Murals and rendezvous with an old friend of Brians who is kindly allowing us to stay in her vacation home in Strahan on the West Coast of Tasmania. We climbed the central mountains and road across the central plateau all two lane twisty roads 100 kph speed limits, lots of FJR friendly 55-70 kph sweepers.
    Todays Route/track:
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    The Topiaries of Railton:
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    Then on to Sheffield for the Murals and a fine lunch at the local bakery, sorry no food porn today.
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    The Many Murals of Sheffield
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    Each mural is an entry in an annual competition, many of the next several were annual winners, you may be able to read the red and black plaques at the top of the pictures
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    I especially liked this one entitled "Homesteaders"
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    This mural documented the life of a local Doctor in the town of Sheffield - he was quite the doer!
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    This mural documents the story of a local Blacksmith/Inventor
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    After Lunch we rode the 170 kilometers from Sheffield to Strahan at a brisk pace. Arriving in time for a Gelatto.
    Our home for the next three days -
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    Tomorrow a boat ride up the river to learn a little local culture and see some sights.
    #11
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  12. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Friday November 29th, a day off the bikes and on a Big Red Boat
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    https://worldheritagecruises.com.au/#gordon-river-cruises
    We woke to temps in the mid-40's but forecast to be sunny. We opted for a boat tour of the largest harbour in Australia - Macquarie Bay and the associated Gordon River.
    We started with a coffee prepared by this outstanding Barrista/owner
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    After boarding our vessel we enjoyed a smooth ride out to
    and through Hell's Gate at the mouth of the Harbour briefly entering the Great Southern Ocean in the Roaring Forties.
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    Hell's Gate
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    Outside Hell's Gate the swell picked up considerably
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    Coming back into Hell's Gate
    After returning through Hell's Gate, a narrow, 60 meter wide channel, we sailed up to and inspected a Salmon/Steelhead farm.
    Acquaculture is a big deal in Macquarie Bay due to its unique blend of fresh and salt water. Only Fish are raised, the water is not saline enough to grow Oysters or Mussels.
    After the Salmon Farm we ventured to Sarah Island, the sight of an infamous early British/Australian prison where repeat convict offenders were incarcerated at hard labor building boats out of the local Huon Pine, an exceptional wood for ship building.
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    Sarah's Island - 12 acres of Hell!
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    Following our tour of Sarah's Island we cruised up the Gordon River to view the World Heritage Site Wilderness area and a few of the Huon Pines in their natural habitat.
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    While touring the World Heritage site we ran across Mr. No Shoulders sunning himself atop an ancient Huon Pine Log
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    Our guide said a family lives inside the log and that they often see one of these deadly inhabitants on the log. The Tiger Snake is apparently a frog eater, but quite deadly if it bites a human.
    After our tour through the rainforest we cruised back to Strahan and visited one of the local saw mills where they handle salvage Huon logs that are recovered from the riverbank. There is no longer an active Huon Logging Industry as all the trees of any size were cut down in the early 20th Century. The good news is that as these trees are very slow growing, less than 1mm diameter per year, the young trees which are all over the place, will be big trees in 2500 or so. The trees harvested in the early 20th centure ranged up to 3 meters in diameter and 40 meters in height, kinda like Redwoods and Sequoias in the states
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    Our track for the day
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    Australians pay more for food. On the way back to our abode we stopped in the local IGA market. I was amazed at the food prices
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    Local scallops were $38 per kilo, local Salmon and Sea Trout, raised right here, were similarly priced.
    Tomorrow we ride again, likely a route from Strahan to Zeehan to Tullah and back to Strahan. Sunday will find us moving South and East towards Hobart, then we will head up the East Coast. The East is supposed to be a little drier as the West and South are showing rain early next week. We head back to the Mainland on the evening of Thursday December 5th.
    #12
  13. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    A little loop ride in the rain today. About 260 kilometers. Rained on and off, temp in the high 40's F.
    To hard to get the phone camera out to take photos of with all the rain etc. Sorry!
    Route today was [​IMG]
    Although it is spring here, almost summer, we are trying to head East over some 1,000 meter mountains which we expect to get S N O W tomorrow afternoon, evening. I did not pack for snow! Electric gear in Spearfish. Brian doesn't even have a sweatshirt. Should prove interesting!!!
    #13
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  14. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    No internet Sunday evening. We missed the snow but ran in rain for most of the day in our way to Hobart. Around noon, right after a classic Aussie Burger including pickled beet root
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    We stopped to visit "The Wall".
    Check the following link for spectacular pictures as no photos were allowed inside.
    https://www.google.com/imgres?imgur...mAhUKfX0KHSnrC8gQxiAoAHoECAEQHA&iact=c&ictx=1
    We made a fortuitous stop for coffee and a snack in the afternoon about 2:00pm.
    Several "dodgie" motorcyclists all [​IMG]
    left the cafe just before us a Katana, Ducati, Blackbird?
    We were slowly catching them, running at a bit over the posted limit. We noticed that the lead bike for pulled over for something, better them than us!!!!!. We have only seen two Tasmanian police so far.
    Sunday's route: [​IMG]
    View from our room:
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    Our evening in Hobart adventures centered around:
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    Monday December 2nd
    Our track today:
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    Once again a cool day with temps in the 40s and low 50s (8c-15c) some rain, lots of wind. We rendezvoued with Brian's Mate Phil Cobb at noon and he led us on our way to St. Helens where we are tonight.
    Tomorrow we will head further North as well as riding some more local curvey roads.
    #14
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  15. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Tuesday & Wednesday December 3rd and 4th
    December 3rd - Return to Port Sorell
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    We left St. Helens about 0900 and took the best roads North and East. It was cool and quite windy, wind warnings were for 100 KPH winds and I believe we experienced all of that on more than one occasion. there was lots of tree limbs and stuff on the roads to look out for and then there were the inevitable showers.
    Australia has provided lots of cannon fodder for the British Empire over the years, they remember their contributions in every town and village. Every town has an RSL - returned Servicemens League, a place somewhat akin to our small town American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War clubs, but in Australia many of these clubs are the locus of social acivity serving drinks and food.
    In St. Helens I took pictures of these two plaques in the center of town.
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    Not having any idea how they would tie into the park we would stop at the next morning.
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    These trees, Gum Trees, we know them as Eucalyptus, were all planted to honor the WW1 dead from this small village. The trees eventually expired due to/old age and have been carved to represent tghe individual soldiers.
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    Phil and Festar insisted on a dairy rich lunch across from this old General Store.
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    We timed our trip to hit a Wild Animal Refuge at feeding time, it proved quite informative.
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    This Wombat was quite friendly and the young man that led us through the park was very well informed and did a great job of showing and explaining all about the different wildlife.
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    Tasmanian Devils - Feeding on a road kill Wallabye.
    Feeding a Grey Kangaroo
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    I had some opportunities to take some photos of the countryside while going to dinner, the North Central coast is quite agricultural and here are some pictures.
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    The white tubes shield Rasberries
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    A field of Pyrethria, used to make an insecticide Pyrethreium
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    This morning, Wednesday December 4th we startd with breakfast at the Chocolate Factory
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    I kicked off my day with a Hot Chilli Chocolate and a Chocolate Belgian Waffle
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    The lilly was fully gilded as the waffle came with Ice Cream, Whipped Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce. It was damn good!
    Brian was a little more restrained having bananas and bacon with his Belgian Waffle
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    We re-rode some of the roads we rode earlier in our visit as the weather was slightly better, at least it wasn't pouring all day, but it was cold again with temps as low as 4c today.
    A few more Pastoral Settings of the Tasmanian countryside:
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    The Platypus is nocturnal and hard to view, this one stood out well.
    Our route today
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    Brians Tenere is at the local dealer for a service, we changed the oil on the FJR tonight and fixed some pop rivets that had come loose on the panier hinges. Tomorrow morning we will attend to haircuts and retrieve Brian's Tenere before boarding the Spirit of Tasmania for our return to the Australian Continent and continuing our adventure. We have coverd right at 6,000 kilometers so far.
    #15
  16. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Short report tonight. Got off the "Spirit of Tasmania" in Melbourne this morning at 0630, met Brian's friends in Geelong, Victoria, where they were having brekky while one blokes squeaky belt was being attended to at the Triumph dealer.
    After Brekky we headed South and ran the Great Ocean Road from East To West, a repeat of what Brian and I did ten days ago. See pictures from then.
    We are in Ballaratt, Victoria tonight heading for Omeo, Victoria tomorrow night. Retracing our approximate route as some of Brian's friends haven't ridden these roads, and more importantly, Maddy's First Law of Motorcycling - "you haven't ridden a road until you have ridden it both ways! "
    Today's route:
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    #16
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  17. GP640

    GP640 Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,417
    Location:
    NW AB
    Just catching up. Looks like an awesome ride.
    If you like a good single malt, try Sillivan's Cove. Tassie made and really quite good.
    #17
  18. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Spearfish, SD
    Great run through the Australian Alps today, we are eessentially going back the route we came adhering to the Maddy Axiom "You haven't ridden a road until you have ridden it both ways.
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    Three of the guys had only seen snow once before so they walked up and had an impromptu snow ball fight. Seems hard to comprehend, not being intimately familiar with snow.
    When we got to Mitta Mitta I noticed that the front tire on the FJR was "Toast" a combination of lots of camber on the roads, lots of braking into 25 KPH corners, chip seal like pavement and a Fat Ass on the FJR rendered the Front Pirelli Angel GT unfit for further service in the mountains. I rode from Mitta Mitta to Wagga Wagga very carefully, I rode the left hand curves normally but rode the right hand bends like an old lady on a Sportster, the tire got me the 230 kilometers it needed to get me. Doesn't look much worse than it did in Mitta Mitta.
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    So, we shifted to "Plan B" - Tires in Wagga Wagga Monday morning.
    Our route today:
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    F O O D P O R N A L E R T
    Almost forgot, we ate at the local Pub tonight,
    2 for 1 dinners, you pay for the more expensive meal and get the cheaper meal free.
    I enjoyed -
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    Rissole - a ground meat concoction with Dianne Sauce, Salad and Mashed quite good.
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    ABC Chicken - Avacado, Bacon, and Cheese on a broiled Chicken Breast. Brian liked it
    These two meals cost me $20 AUDor $10 each. $10 AUD = $7.25 USD
    The rest of the group had deep fried Lamb Cutlets
    [​IMG] which were $26 AUD for 2 meals. At these prices one can't afford to eat at home.
    #18
    Amphib likes this.