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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by djeady, Aug 11, 2019.
What a dream of a trip! Great photos as well, thanks for sharing!
Up early and started to pack up. Went for a little walk along the beac, then had a nice shower, but there was no easy place to make coffee.
I chatted with a couple of the other campers as I packed. One said his brother (now deceased) had been a Shakespearean actor at Stratford and there was a building named for him. Didn’t get the name unfortunately.
Stopped at the little cafe by the waterfront and had a nice coffee and a huge bacon and egg bun. I was trying to decide where to go. Finally decided to head up to the Flinders Ranges and stay at a place called Wilpena Pound.
I had a nice ride up - not as windy as the day before. I went through a big town called Whyalla which reminded me of Hamilton - huge steel plants- before stopping in Port Augusta.
Port Augusta was pretty, but a little run down. I needed to get a new charging cable for my GoPro and another phone charging cable. I was successful at this and after a quick lunch headed north.
I stopped in Quorn to buy groceries and beer, but couldn’t find the fuel station. I carried on to Hawker where I was able to get gas. The station was closed even though it was mid-afternoon, but they had a card access system so I was able to fill up.
I rode in to Wilpena Gap and checked in for the night. They didn’t charge me the park access fee because they didn’t feel a motorcycle should have to pay the same as a car.
I found a nice campsite and got set up. The flies were a bit intense, but putting a hat in helped.
There were kangaroos everywhere and they didn’t seem bothered by having people around.
I went over to the barbecue in the bus bay and cooked my dinner. While I was cooking I spent a fair amount of time trying to dissuade one kangaroo from using the paper towel dispenser as a snack bar.
He was very friendly though and happy to have a little head rub like Barney.
Later, when I went in to the washrooms there was a kangaroo snacking in toilet paper, pulling it off the roll. Not sure if this is good for them? Maybe the kangaroo equivalent of junk food.
I went back to my tent and read for a while before falling asleep. There was a nearby camper practicing 60s songs in a guitar and he was pretty good, but his girlfriend had a terrible voice.
Looked for a place to make coffee in the camp kitchen and there was nothing, so scrounged a few branches that were on the ground and lit up the Kelly kettle.
Had a nice shower and then l loaded up the bike and got ready to go. When I did my preride checklist I discovered I had neither tail light or brake light - not good. Likely problem was just the bulb, but I wasn’t going to be anywhere I could find one until early afternoon.
I also found that one end had fallen off my boom for the GoPro somewhere during the day yesterday since both ends are the same I turned it around and taped the end with them missing parts to the handlebars - that will work for now.
Headed out towards Blinman for what turned out to be a great day of riding.
I saw a spiny echidna crossing the road and stopped to try and get a picture. It saw me coming and wedged itself into one of the u-channel posts that support the guardrail, so didn’t get much of a picture.
A bit further on I stopped at a site that had some rock carvings. I followed the path, but didn’t see anything and carried on into a little river valley where I was surrounded by kangaroos and some shingle backed lizards.
I walked back out and this time found the carvings - they were small and pretty faint.
Stopped a couple more times to take pictures at lookouts, then carried on to Blinman.
Blinman is a riding destination for bikers from Adelaide- ride there Saturday, stay the night and ride home Sunday.
Had a pie and pint at the pub and then headed south again.
Great ride back through the Flinders Ranges, then stopped at Hawker and they had the bulb I needed - bought a 2 pack. Discovered the brake light switch was sticking so freed it up and adjusted it and all is good - probably what caused the bulb to burn out.
I turned off on R M Williams road and headed south towards the Barossa Valley. Beautiful sweeping farmland - mostly wheat and sheep. Great vistas to ride through.
ASI got further south the sun was going down so started looking for a place to stay.
Found a great free campsite in Tarlee behind the community hall and set up my tent. I took some pictures and then went over to the pub across the road. Unfortunately they had stopped serving dinner about 1/2 hour before. I asked if there was anything I could get and after a bit of back and forth she told me she could probably do fish and chips. She came back out a few minutes later and asked if I liked curries - she had what she called a “Muslim beef curry” which could just be heated up and it was great. She said she does two curries a week - the other is usually a Thai green curry with chicken which is one of my favourites and I’m sorry I missed it.
I was going to have a glass of wine with the curry, but all they had in the middle of Aussie wine country was a New Zealand wine in a cask!
I settled for a blood orange cider that was really good.
Afterwards I went back to my tent and fell asleep under the starry skies.
Up early. No easy way to make coffee, so packed up and headed out.
Plan for the day is to get new tires and an oil change as well as a couple of other minor maintenance items. I stopped just up the road and the bike wouldn’t start afterwards. Figured out is the loose ignition switch and was able to get it going, but it cut out briefly several times on the way to Barossa Motorcycles.
They didn’t have tires for me, but were able to fix the ignition switch and do the oil change etc.
They directed me to GC motorcycles in Adelaide who confirmed the had the Mitas tires I wanted and could install them today.
I rode in to Adelaide and when I got there they couldn’t find the Mitas for the rear - turned out it had been sold that morning. I got Metzeler 3 Sahara’s for the same price.
I went off to have some lunch while they did the installation.
They called me during lunch and said the rear brake pads needed replacing so I said go ahead.
This led to a bit of fiddling around as once again the rear rotor was heating up when I rode, but eventually got it sorted and headed off.
Traffic through Adelaide was quite heavy, but eventually I got south of the city and turned off to go to McLaren Grove which I’d been told was a great place to use as a base for exploring some wineries.
I checked in to the campground and set up my tent, then headed off into town. I’d been told Oscar’s was a good place to go and so I headed there, but it was closed.
There were two other guys trying to get in to the place at the same time. Turned out they were in agricultural software sales from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We headed across the street to the McLaren Hotel to try there. We decided to sit together and chat over dinner.
The menu looked good and then the waiter came over and explained they had several specials based on beef short ribs - apparently they had a bunch of extras from an event.
I ordered the short rib stew and it was fabulous - like a boeuf bourguignon, but made with short ribs. I asked for a wine suggestion and was told “just order the house wine and I’ll bring you something special”. He brought over a glass of an absolutely incredible locale Grenache. It was so good I happily ordered a second.
$35 Aus for a fabulous meal and two glasses of great wine. Can’t go wrong there.
I walked back to the campground, stopping at the big Coles to get some muffins for breakfasts.
When I got back to the campground I realized I had left my sweater (jumper for the Aussies) at the campground office. I could see it sitting on the counter, so no big deal.
I retired to my tent for the night and had a beautiful sleep under the stars.
GC Motorcycles, an Adelaide motorcycling icon for sure.
Up once the sun was up - a bit chilly - and made coffee, had my shower and started a load of laundry.
Chatted with the couple in the caravan across from me as I packed everything up.
I went out to the office to pick up my sweater. When I had checked in the lady at the desk had correctly pronounced my surname and commented on it. She is from New Zealand and has a friend in Christchurch with the same surname. She had messaged him and he had made the same comment I did - if the spelling is the same we’re probably related somehow. She gave me a slip of paper with his contact info and said to call him when I was in Christchurch.
I asked her about wineries in the area and she gave me a map that showed the locations - there were more than 60 and she suggested a few that would be worth a visit. Then she asked if I had seen the d’Arenberg cube.
I finished packing up and headed to the d’Arenberg winery which was just a few minutes up the road. What a spectacular site.
First there is the building itself which is absolutely stunning. Then there was the surprise that they were having a Dali sculpture exhibition in the building.
You enter at the bottom and the first floor is a gallery of bizarre art and sculptures as well as some paintings. I had a look around and then took the elevator up to the Dali exhibit and spent quite a bit of time walking around looking at the sculptures and also the amazing space itself.
Afterwards I went up to the top floor where they did the wine tastings and tasted a number of their products, many of which are available in Ontario.
Afterwards I went out and walked around the grounds a bit. They had a tent set up decorated like a circus sideshow tent and inside they had an incredible collection of old fortune telling machines and other sideshow automatons.
I left d’Arenberg and headed to my next destination which was a small, but up and coming winery called ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ where I did a tasting as well. A small but good selection of whites and reds. Also very soft on the palate - would be good sipping wines.
I had lunch in their little restaurant - a really nice porchetta sandwich.
It was a beautiful day so I decided to head over to the beach for a couple of hours. I sat in the sun and went for a couple of quick swims - the water was quite cool.
I got back on the bike and headed towards the highway to head south. I was just turning into the highway when the bike died. No electrical power to the lights or ignition.
I did a quick check over and determined the problem was the ignition switch.
There was a small car repair garage across the road and I went in there and asked if they could help. We managed to push the bike across the highway and into their service bay. I walked them through how to take the ignition switch off and we found that the solder connections for both power leads had broken off. They resoldered them and after a bit of fussing with getting the switch re-assembled properly, all was good. They didn’t want to charge me anything but I gave the young guy who had helped $100.
It was still daylight so I rode south to Victor Harbor. Did a brief stop to look at the Buddhist temple that was being built along the coast with a giant Buddha statue. I found a campsite in Victor Harbor and set up my tent and then rode back in to town to find food. The first cafe was just closing, but the pizza place across the street was still open and I had a nice pizza.
Then I rode back to the campground and climbed into my tent for the night. First time I’ve set up my tent in AstroTurf!
I think South Australia is out to get me.
Nice start to the day. I got up and had my coffee and muffin, then packed up and headed out.
Spent a few minutes exploring Victor Harbor. They actually still have horse drawn trolleys that go through the town and out to the pier.
All of these little towns in the south have some absolutely gorgeous older brick or stone homes and other buildings. I think the milder climate has contributed to their preservation, because there hasn’t been pressure to replace them with something more modern and efficient.
I rode for a while then stopped for a coffee and a pastry.
One of the people who is interested in buying my bike is south of here in the general direction I’m going so I made plans to drop in and see him.
I rode for an hour or so on the expressway, then turned south to go along the coast. After 40 minutes or so I stopped to look at a pink lake that was actually pink.
When I got off the bike I realized my left pannier lid was gone along with the bag that was attached to it containing all my clothes and toiletries.
I rode back up to the freeway, but didn’t see it. I headed back across the freeway after a few minutes I saw a SA police card on radar duty so I swung around and stopped to talk to him.
He put a radio call out to the truckers and after a few minutes got a report back that my bag was sitting on the shoulder I rode back up and made 3 passes through the area, but no luck. The bag is big and orange so I definitely would have seen it. I stopped to file a missing property report on the off chance that someone would turn it in.
I headed back down the expressway, this time staying on to make time to try and keep my appointment.
30 minutes short of my destination my exhaust suddenly got loud and I felt the rear end of the bike slide backwards away from the front - very disconcerting.
I pulled over and quickly determined that both front bolts for the rear subframe had sheared off.
Two people stopped and offered help, one even offered the loan of a car, but what I needed was to get the bike back to a place where it could be repaired. The farmer whose place I had stopped in front of said there were a couple of places in Keith - 30 km back up the road- that could do the repair.
Next problem was getting the bike there. I called the RAA and asked if they had an affiliation with CAA and they do, but it was still going to cost me extra because of my remote location.
I killed time taking pictures of the sunset until I realized I had ants climbing up my pant legs and biting me so I had something more immediate to deal with.
The flatbed showed up after an hour and when he tilted it I was able ride the bike up and he tied it down and we headed off to Keith.
He dropped me at the local motel - it was $150 cash for the excess towing charges - and we unloaded the bike and checked in for the night. First time I’ve been in a hotel room since the underground one in Coober Pedy. The front bar at the hotel was still open but all I could get was pizza so I had pizza for my second night in a row, washed down with a couple of beer. I saved the extra pizza for lunch the next day.
I walked back to my room and tried to sleep - it was actually hard to adjust to the bed after all the nights in the tent.
How many mirrors have you busted?
At least you can change your for sale advert to include 'recently renovated' to the description.
Damn, that is some tough luck. Hopefully, some people will help get you on your way.
Sorry to hear about your troubles. Hope this works out without it costing you too much.
Had an ok sleep - a bit strange to be in a bed in a hotel room.
Had some breakfast and then organized stuff a bit before taking the bike to the shop around the corner that the RAA had recommended.
The owner said sure, no problem - you get it all apart and I’ll do the repairs, then you can put it back together.
By 9:30 the work was done and he only charged me $50!
I asked if there was a sheet metal shop around that could make me a new pannier lid and he pointed me towards a shop at the east end of town. The owner there directed me to another place on the west end of town. The engineering guy came out and had a look and said sure, no problem.
I left the case with him and went back to the motel and packed up.
By noon I had a new pannier lid that looks great for $66.
I stopped for a quick lunch of my leftover pizza from the previous night and a cold drink at a little park and reloaded the pannier.
I rode down
to meet the fellow who was interested in the bike - still very interested, but he has to round up the cash.
I drove down to the next major town and did some clothes shopping at Target Country. Managed to get jeans, a nice shirt, underwear, socks, a belt and a sweater (jumper) for just over $110.
At this point I discovered my debit card was missing. I phoned my bank and cancelled the card and made arrangements to have a new one shipped to my friends place in Wollongong. Then I went into the camping/fishing store next door and bought a new dry bag to put things in.
I rode down to Port Macdonnell and booked a campsite and set up my tent.
Then I rode back into town and had a massive burger in the bar at the hotel - couldn’t finish it.
I rode back to the campground, did some sink laundry because it was warm and breezy and I knew things would dry well, then called it a night, falling asleep to the sound of waves.
How many kilometres now David ?
It’s a guess, because the speedometer died in Queensland, but I think about 30,000. I’m on my 4th set of tyres.
Woke up early and took some pictures of a very pretty sunrise, then rested for a bit before having my shower.
Made coffee and had a blueberry muffin then packed up to go.
I called home and found out my wife had to have our old cat put down. We knew it was coming because he had a growth in his jaw that was growing quickly. I’ll miss him.
I finished packing up and decided to head back up to Mount Gambier to get toiletries and a few other small things.
I also had to fix my rear brake which had stopped working late yesterday. Turned out to be a small leak at the banjo bolt on the master cylinder and a quick tighten followed by a top up and bleed was all that was needed.
I did my shopping and then had a chicken wrap and an iced tea before heading south again.
I also stopped to withdraw some cash using a backup bank card.
In the way out of Mount Gambier I stopped to look at the blue lake which was formed by volcanic action and is Mount Gambiers main source of water.
I rode back south to the Princes Highway and then continued along the coast.
It started to rain lightly and I wasn’t concerned because the forecast only called for 1-2 mm of rain. It kept getting heavier and heavier and there was thunder and lightning. I rode on for a while trying to get out of it, but finally stopped in a town called Port Fairy. I got a room at the hotel and hauled my bags up. I was completely soaked head to toe. I changed into some dry clothes and since the rain had stopped for a bit I went for a walk. The town has a large collection of heritage buildings and is quite interesting.
As I walked past the Lecture Hall there was a sign advertising a play that was opening that night and advising that tickets were available.
I walked back to the hotel and had a roast lamb dinner and then walked back over to the lecture hall to see the play.
It was called “My In-laws are Outlaws”. It’s a farce about a young married woman who’s husband takes her home to meet his family after telling her for years they were all dead.
The mother in law hatched a plot to murder her daughter in law so her husband will go after the killer and once he has had his revenge she will hold this over him so he takes over the family’s criminal activities.
Good cast, lots of stereotyping and a great little hall to see a play in.
I went back to the hotel and had a beer, then called it a night.
Got up and spent a bit of time fixing the straps in my tank bag, then had a shower and got packed up.
My coat was still wet from yesterday’s rain and I debated finding a laundromat where I could throw it in a dryer, but decided to live with it.
I finished loading the bike and then walked across to a cafe where I had coffee and a breakfast sandwich.
I stopped at the gas station to top up and then headed out towards the Great Ocean Road.
I stopped at almost all the scenic spots and took lots of pictures.
Typical of Australia (and the rest of the world), if there’s something to look at there will be a horde of people.
Some very spectacular sight, though, regardless of the crowds.
At some of the spots there were quite a few antique sports cars - Triumphs, Cobras, etc. I talked to one of the drivers and they had come over from Perth specifically to drive the Great Ocean Road.
I stopped in Port Campbell to have a lunch of fish and chips and then carried on.
The last of the major attractions along the road heading east is the Twelve Apostles and this is a major attraction. You stop and park at a visitors centre across the road that has room for hundreds of cars and then you join the throng going through the tunnel under the road and out to the viewing platforms. It’s worth it though.
I decided to ride in to Apollo Bay. The last part of the Great Ocean Road is a great motorcycle road that curves and climbs through some quite high hills. I didn’t really get to enjoy it though, because the rain had started up again and it was quite cool. Would love to ride it on a warm summer morning.
I got to Apollo Bay and my next challenge was to find a place to stay. I considered camping, but everything was quite wet and the temperature was supposed to go down to 7. It’s Melbourne Cup Final weekend and lots of people from Melbourne had come down to the coast. There were no rooms available. I finally wound up in a bunk at a backpacker hostel that cost the same as a campsite and was at least going to be indoors.
I walked out to the Main Street and looked for a place to eat. Finally settled on a little seafood place and had a mixed platter.
Afterwards I walked back to the hostel and called it a night.
Those are some seriously good sights! A good day for you, absent the rain. Stupid rain!
I assume your pretty close to Melbourne now, if you need anything here, or in Geelong let me know.
Still happy to host you if u need somewhere to stay.
Josh and Stef
Thanks, I’m in a nice hotel in Melbourne and will sort out plans for tomorrow in the morning.
Had a surprisingly good sleep at the hostel. I was the first one to go to bed and I didn’t hear a sound when the others came in.
I was up early and had a nice shower, then started to pack up. Put my coat, towel and gloves in the dryer as they were all quite damp. $2 well spent.
Headed out and continued along the great ocean road, stopping periodically to take pictures. Amazing road and amazing views. Lots of motorcycles on the road and also lots of bicycles (push bikes here). I guess it’s just about perfect for a long weekend ride. Amazing road and amazing views.
I stopped in one town to buy fuel and had a coffee and a blueberry muffin, sitting at a picnic table in the park across the road from the service station, as there was nowhere else to go.
Continued on the Great Ocean Road, finally turning off just before Torquay to head north and get on the M1 into Melbourne.
I was going to meet Spencer Wilson Wynn’s who is involved in our theatre group (Mr 50/50,as well as helping with the door and acting).
He is in Australia one year working holiday.
I met him at the house where he is staying and after stashing the bikein the back carport, we walked around the corner to a nice cafe where we had lunch. He’s enjoying Australia, but wishes he was getting out more to see the country. He talked about going to Adelaide, and I encouraged him to do so, telling him about my visit to the d’Arenberg cube which is a short distance southeast of Adelaide.
The rain was threatening again, so I decided to stay in Melbourne and looked for a hotel room. I found a place that had said it had availability and headed over since they didn’t seem to be answering the phone. No one answered the door when I got there and when I finally got them on the phone they said the website was wrong and they didn’t have any rooms available.
After some searching I found the Ibis Melbourne Swanston which had rooms available and also had secure parking - at additional cost, of course.
I checked in and hauled my gear up to the room then went out for a walk to The Queen Victoria Markets.
The markets were just closing when I got there, but I was still able to wander around and see things. I bought a mango the same as the one I’d really enjoyed a couple of weeks back - I learned the variety is Calypso, and I’m looking forward to having it tomorrow morning.
I strolled through the compact downtown for a while before heading back to the hotel and having a brief rest.
Just a note that the architecture in Melbourne is amazing, from the cottage style row houses, to ornate individual homes, to elegant old commercial buildings and ultramodern skyscrapers. If you come here, make sure you have lots of storage space on your phone for pictures.
I researched places to eat and decided I would go to a pub castles The Marquis of Lorne which had a reputation for the quality of its food and its selection of local beers.
It was a bit of a walk away (1.5 km) but the walk would take me past the Melbourne Museum which I wanted to see anyway.
I walked to the pub, pausing to walk around the museum and take some pictures.
When I got to the pub I ordered the special which was lamb shoulder and had a nice pale ale to go with it. It was very tender and tasty.
After dinner I headed back to the hotel walking along Brunswick Street through Fitzroy, then crossing through the park and over to Carlton.