Mid-Life Blues; Lets Go Riding, first up Australia.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Happyidiot, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    WillJen

    Say gidday in the NZ regional forum fOr road/food/accom recommendations.

    Best wishes

    Shane
    #21
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  2. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Burra to Goolwa today 275kms good day but I'll fill in the details tomorrow. To tired right now friends. Big day and nearly 11pm...

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    Terry's BMW GS & Ians 800XCx Tiger on a similar journey to us but in the wrong direction

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    Terry Packing up in Burra SA.

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    Worlds End camping area, actually looked good.

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    Lunch break in Williamtown. 1.5 hours more riding to Goolwa.
    .
    #22
  3. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    Love your part of the world. And a wife that puts up with your idea of a vacation? You have it made, sir.
    #23
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  4. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Thanks for the heads up Shane, I'll do that. The plan is to leave our bikes in Melbourne & hire a large bike for us both too ride two up on for a couple of week in NZ. Apart from buying the airline tickets, we haven't sorted out much else.
    #24
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  5. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Good one chudzikb, you are right Jenny is a good woman. She even sounds believable when she says she is enjoying the ride :-)
    #25
  6. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Tuesday 11th April, cont.
    Easy ride from Burra to Goolwa, we skirted past Adelaide through the Adelaide Hills & Mt Barker. Our departure from Burra was late & we left just after 10am, bidding farewell to Ian & Terry who are from Canberra & on their own 4 month Australia motorcycle tour.

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    Jenny out in front, as we ride along Worlds End Highway towards Goolwa.

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    I temporarily fixed our 7yo Garmin GPS, aarrhh that's better. We will buy a new one once we reach Geelong, Victoria.

    A friend of ours "Rob" has been cycling down the Murray River for the past 8 weeks, Jenny & I had been following his progress on FB & realised with a tiny bit of synchronising we would all converge at Goolwa....Which is exactly what occurred at 4pm.

    Rob is a full time cyclist, who lives on his bike full time with no fixed address, he lives off rental income & some earnings from a small business he runs. Interesting bloke.

    It was great to catch up with Rob, last time we actually saw him was in Port Lincoln about 2 years ago, after we had ridden together from Ceduna down the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Anyway enough about deadly treadly adventures, this is suppose to be about motorbikes !

    After sharing a beer together at the Goolwa Wharf we all rode onto the Caravan Park, just as a light shower of rain past over the town. The night was spent having dinner, drinks & catching up on all the past exploits since we had all gone our seperate ways, two years previously.

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    Dinner, Drinks & great conversation in the BBQ Hut at the Goolwa Caravan Park, $15 per person per night.

    Wednesday 12th of April is a rest day, catch up on washing, some maintenance & shopping. Easter will start on Friday so we need a plan & too time our arrival into Geelong for Easter Tuesday. Jen & I imagine that with Easter & School Holidays the South/West Coast of Victoria will be pretty crowded. So there is a bit of trepidation as to where we will stay overnights. Back Soon.

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    Wednesday 11th April, Breakfast with Rob & Jenny down the trendy Main Street of Goolwa, South Aus.
    .
    #26
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  7. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    Hi folks, I love your spirit. If you need any help in Melbourne, please sing out. Keep on trucking.
    Cheers, Mark.
    #27
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  8. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Let me know if you're flying on Virgin Australia !
    #28
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  9. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Ok thanks Mark, I may just do that. Jenny & I have a few people in and around Melbourne that we know, all up we will be there for a couple of weeks.
    Will
    #29
  10. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    On this occasion Shane we are flying with Air New Zealand, there & back. Similar price to Virgin from memory but could take more luggage on Air NZ (bike & camping gear).
    Will
    #30
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  11. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Thursday 13th of April Goolwa to Meningie 130kms

    Unplanned travel during Easter is a PITA. There are hordes of people trying to escape the Urban Rat Race & have a 5 day holiday. Jenny and I were hoping to bunker down somewhere for a couple of days but everything is booked out, especially along the coast.

    We dragged the chain this morning at Goolwa & didn't get going until 10.30am. Saying our goodbyes to Rob the full time Aussie touring cyclist we took a back road along Lake Alexandrina.

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    Milang looked like a nice small town off the beaten track. Est. 1853 as a river Port.

    We arrive to some hold up in Wellington, unbeknown to us there is a ferry crossing to get over the Murray River. There was a huge queue of at least 70 vehicles most with trailers & caravans in tow.

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    About 70 Vehicles waiting to cross the Murray River on a Ferry that can only fit 6-10 Cars/Vans on it at a time. For better or worse we just ride to the front of the line. Bloody Easter Traffic !

    Conveniently there was a Service Station right at the end of the long line up, since both bikes were down to half a tank of fuel we took the opportunity to fill up. While paying I asked the Indian looking console operator how long the wait would be ? He said "the ferry is small and queue very long, maybe 1.5 to 2 hrs"....like WTF !!!
    He also said "it won't worry you though, you're on motorbikes " I walked out of there wondering if we have priority or something? There are no Ferry Crossings like this in Western Australia so I'm uncertain of the correct etiquette.

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    Ferry ride is less then 10 minutes. A few drivers aren't very happy at us. "Get a bike mate" !

    In the end Jenny & I just past the multitude of stationary vehicles, getting foul looks from people as we rode by, we arrived at the front just as the next batch of 6 to10 vehicles were about to embark. The Ferryman waved us into position and we parked up. I could hear some grumbling about us from a couple of drivers but hey if everyone was traveling light you could have fitted up to 40 motorbikes & heaps of bicycles on the ferry. Not our fault they all want to travel with 4 to 6 tonnes worth of stuff ! 8 minutes later we were across & on the other side.

    Soon after we arrived in Meningie, while having lunch in a small park close to the Caravan Park we decided that being Easter it maybe a wise idea to stay here. I walked to the Caravan Park Office & was informed there were NO Vacancies. After a bit of conversation with the Owner he said he would squeeze us in, down the back for one night only.

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    There is still stacks of room in the non powered tent section. But they think the two motorcyclists are insignificant. Let's just camp on top of them. Bit of karma for jumping the ferry queue. No it's always this way in Aus !

    Back on the road tomorrow, will Good Friday be good for Will & Jenny ?
    #31
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  12. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Notes from my awesome birthday ride today.

    Day 13, 14th April 2017, Friday (Easter)
    From/Too: Meningie to Mount Gambier via Coorong, Kingston SE & Robe
    Distance: 344kms
    Depart: 1000 Arrive 1600, 4hrs riding, stopped at Kingston SE for fuel.
    Weather: max temp 21C fine with some clouds, no wind until right at the end of the day.

    Details:
    Jenny & I woke up to a very foggy, damp morning. It looks like our non-urgent departure time is presently between 9.30-10.30am....up to 4 hours riding with 1 to 2 hours of breaks &/or site seeing. Arrival time at our destination, hopefully before 4pm. Leaving us with 2 hours of sunlight !

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    We woke up to a damp foggy morning in Meningie on the banks of Lake Albert.

    This seems pretty comfortable & enjoyable at the moment. We are trying to slow down a bit as we don't want to arrive into Geelong to early.

    Great Autumn riding weather today, sunny, 21 DegC & no wind. We really enjoyed the Coorong section, an area of shallow salt lakes, sand dunes, water birds & scrubby bushland.

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    Riding through the Coorong National Park was tops.

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    Birthday Selfie in the Coorong Sth Aus

    It was a cruisey ride via Kingston SE & Robe, we had a good look around both towns, very nice. During the last 100kms riding inland to Mount Gambier the temperature dropped & breeze increased. Having no lining zipped into my riding gear meant I felt a bit cold, Jenny had earlier put on a fleece shirt, which helped her.

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    A view of the coastline at Robe, South Australia.

    Around 4pm using the GPS on our smart phones we found our way to the Central Caravan Park located in the middle of town. We set up our tent and since it's my Birthday we decided to head down to the South Aussie Pub for dinner & beers. They were busy, but on the job, really nice evening, the owner Mark even shouted me a Birthday beer.

    Nice day.
    #32
  13. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Happy birthday from Fiji, Will!
    #33
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  14. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Mount Gambier, 12kms on the Yamaha S/Tenere.

    Not much riding today, just a rest day in Mount Gambier South Aus. Seems like a nice town.

    We are in a pretty average tent site at the Central Caravan Park, right next to the kids playground during Easter/School Holidays....ouch no sleeping in this morning. There is also a busy road nearby.

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    Our noisey tent site, not to worry only for two nights.

    The two most exciting things we did today, excluding, washing & blogging were, visiting the Umpherston Sink Hole Garden & Dinner again at the nearby South Australian Hotel.

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    Umpherston Sinkhole Gardens, busy place during the hols.

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    Another view of the Umpherston Sinkhole Garden, Mount Gambier
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    Jenny with Mark the Publican of the South Australian Hotel, Mount Gambier, great service, nice food at a reasonable price & thanks for the cold beers Mate !

    Tomorrow we continue Eastward & experience the western side of Victoria's Great Ocean Road (GOR). Looking forward to it !
    #34
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  15. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Thanks Shane, Fiji hey. Bet it's fun.
    #35
  16. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Day 15, 16th April 2017, Sunday
    From/Too: Mount Gambier SA to Panmure Victoria, via Port McDonnell, Nelson, Port Fairy, Portland, Warrnambool
    Distance: 275kms
    Depart: 9.30am to 4pm time change +30 minutes VIC time.
    Weather: max temp 22C mostly clear skies, no wind, cooling late afternoon.
    Details:
    Really nice riding lots of stops , entered Victoria, staying at a free camp site in Panmure. Started up our MSR Whisperlite for the first time this trip, to cook our gourmet paster & sauce.
    Sorry no dirt or trouble today, maybe tomorrow. :-)

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    The Easter Bunny has been, really, don't know where these chocolate eggs came from. Suspect the Caravan Park Owner...nice ! (that front tyre is looking a little suss)

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    Blue Lake, extinct volcano crater in Mount Gambier.

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    We are at Nelson, just inside the Victorian Border having morning coffee. Here is a sight you do not see every day , a 30" bus retrieving a boat, hey these guys did well.

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    Unbelievably this is the first time we have had to use our dual fuel whisperlite MSA cooker the whole trip (2 weeks so far) prefer camp fires. Worked a treat.
    .
    #36
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  17. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    I

    I'm putting on a brave face mate
    #37
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  18. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Hi Will & Jen,
    great ride report and photos.

    Have you considered the Kawasaki Versys 650? I owned a 2012 for 4 years and put 45,000 km on it including 8,000 and 5,000 km trips fully loaded. Absolutely awesome bike which never let me down. Brilliant handling, fuel efficient and will happily run gravel roads all day long.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway if you want to know more PM me and have a great ride.
    #38
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  19. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    I'm biased (cos I have one) but imho 650 vstrom is better value for money and will do the same job. Not quite as sexy but a very steady bike. 200kg plus though, so not light. Very cheap on the second hand market and plenty of threads on here about their uber-reliability. Came across one the other day about a guy in the states that has done 400,000 miles (yes miles) on his 2004. I've never owned a Triumph but not sure they can say the same. End of the day, of course, none of this matters if its an affair of the heart! I have test ridden the 800 and if money was no object, I would buy one tomorrow. (But I would still keep the vstrom)

    Enjoying your ride report, OZ looks a bit flat though...... doesnt it get a bit boring riding those long straight roads?? (I'll probably be excommunicated for that....)
    #39
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  20. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Day 16, 17th April 2017, Monday, a mere 83km Panmure Vic, to Princetown, took a great shortcut down Rollos Rd to GOR.

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    Previous evening at Panmure before the multitude of Backpacker vehicles arrived, free as well.

    Feeling pretty flat today, my left leg quad muscle is aching badly, I think maybe I strained or torn it getting on & off the bike (turns out it's a pinched Sciatica nerve caught Piriformis) .The muscles around Jenny's right knee aches badly as well (since she had a knee surgery 10 months ago).
    Really slow start to our morning, lots of fog & everything is damp. The day before when we arrived there was no one here, by 9pm there were at least 25 assorted vehicles, comprising of vans, station wagons older model 4wd's, all the usual Backpacker fair.


    Jenny located a great scenic shortcut along a single lane bitumen backroad that cut across to the Great Ocean Road (GOR). Rollos Rd saved us 20 to 30kms of backtracking & I even spotted one koala up in the tall gum trees that ran along the verge as we slowly rode along.

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    Jenny with her travel mascot "Becky Beetle " at the Bay of Islands GOR.

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    A GoPro shot of the GOR Bay of Islands.

    Once on the GOR it was manic, at the 12 Apostles there was literally thousands of people so we gave it a miss and stopped at the nearby Gibbons Stairs (we had a good look at the 12 Apostles 6 years ago while traveling in a Wicked Campervan so didn't feel we missed out).

    We didn't travel that far today excluding a few viewing areas, our only long stops were at Peterbough for lunch & Princetown for a beer. At Princetown it was nearly 3pm so we decided to call it a day and head for a nearby Recreation Ground to camp for the night. Tomorrow we ride for Geelong which is about 3.5 hours riding time away.

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    Kangaroos at Princetown Rec Area.

    The weather is suppose to be as good as today, so looking forward to an excellent ride along the GOR...
    #40