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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    Photos not showing up bud
    #61
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  2. sages

    sages Been here awhile

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    Pics working for me in Perth. Maybe they haven't arrived in enzud yet .. :lol3
    #62
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  3. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Thanks Shaggie & Sages, No photos ? I've checked & they seem to be working this end, please let me know if they still don't load up & I will try again.

    Ok we have escaped the big city lights, back to a regular RR....

    Day 26, 27th April 2017, Thursday.
    From/Too: Melbourne to Foster, via Cape Paterson, Inverloch & Fish Creek.
    Distance: 210kms
    Depart: 1030, Arrive 1530, stops 1.5hrs, ride time 3.5hrs.
    Weather: max temp 15C raining on & off, we dodged most of it. SSW Wind 15km/h.

    Today's Story:
    Jenny & I were in the mood to escape Melbourne, it rained all night & was still coming down at 8am when we got up. The three of us (yes Bill my Dad was staying at the St Kilda Unit with us) all packed up our gear leisurely.

    The Air BnB owner was adamant that we be out by 10am. Bill's Uber Taxi was due to arrive at 10am and take him to the Airport. Jen & I dumped all the bike gear at the bikes, then headed to the entrance gate to see Bill off. It's a little tricky to get our bikes out as we need the Unit key Remote/Transponder to open the gate.


    While still raining we waited to see off the "Old Boy" out the front. At 10am on the dot the cleaners arrived, a man & woman in their late 30's. We realised who they were when they couldn't find the key in the "Special Place". We helped them gain access to the empty unit, the Bloke seemed cool but the Woman seemed pissed that we were still there ! To emphasise the fact she wasn't happy she nearly parked on top of our bags/helmets & pretty much blocked the Honda in. I decided it wasn't worth making a scene & just worked around the small brown Holden Captiva, SUV.

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    "Get Out" your week is over ! Carlisle Street St Kilda, now to not get too wet.

    After a bit of mucking around we got the bikes packed & manoeuvred out of there, while the rain continued to come down but did seem to be easing. There was a quick stop at the Op Shop to hand back the clothes/shoes we had bought cheap to make ourselves look acceptable for the dinners & functions while in Melbourne. Then we made our way out of there, predominantly along the Napean Highway, which mainly hugs Port Phillip Bay. Some how with the help of our new Garmin GPS, "Destiny2" we made it to the South Gippsland Highway via back roads.


    The rest of our ride today was great, though a little cold. There was a stop for lunch at a Cafe in Tooradin, then we followed the coast as much as possible, only getting slightly wet once. At Inverloch we cut inland towards Foster, the traffic was light & we rode through what appeared to be mainly Dairy Farms. We rode along "B & C" roads it was good fun. No GoPro today so only a few photos from some of our stops. More action shots soon.

    All I've loaded up on YouTube of this tour so far is our Ferry crossing at Wellington, S.A.



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    Checking out the Beach, Cape Paterson, a kind elderly lady walking her dog offered to take the snap for us.

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    Twin Reefs, east of Cape Paterson, nice windy road.

    The current plan is to stay in Foster for 2 or 3 nights we are staying at the Foster YHA (youth hostel) which is very reasonably priced at $65p/n & quite comfortable. After a week living the high life in Melbourne we need to rein the travel budget of $120 per day back under control. Tomorrow (weather permitting) we are going to look around the local area. Our primary focus is the nearby Wilsons Promontory which we have never visited before. All good fun, still beats working ✌️

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    After 210kms we arrive at the Foster YHA, it's only a 200mtr walk to the shops, yeah we can manage that !
    .
    #63
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  4. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Living the dream guys....great stuff!

    Your riding gear looks good. What is it exactly? Any thoughts on it? Would you buy it again?
    #64
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  5. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Oldbeer, our plan is quite simple, travel the world overland until we have either had enough, grow bored (doubtful), no longer are physically fit enough or the money runs out.
    We don't want to lock ourselves into any particular mode of transport as we enjoy them all & each method has it's pros/cons. Wether it's by Motorbike, Bicycle, 4WD or VW Kombi Bus.

    The general idea is to tackle the harder stuff (for us) first. Like riding Motorbikes through India, Cycling across Western Europe. We also have a rough travel rotation worked out. Extended tour (4 to 6 months) of a Developed Country, then Developing Country, followed up with the easy option of short Australian tour. Then repeat, lastly we also would like to spend a few of the summer months, occasionally at home near Perth, West Australia. Best weather anywhere IMO ! Yes you are right, both Jenny & I are currently "Living the Dream" & loving it !

    Riding Gear. We have met a few really nice people through Horizons Unlimited, particularly HUWA, they have set us both straight & said get rid of the Kevlar Jeans, lower end Black Textile Riding Jacket. The general consensus has been purpose designed Adventure Riding gear. We have opted for the lower end, Rev-It Jacket & Pants, they have been terrific so far & no complaints. At about $1000aud for the Jacket & Pants they now seem like pretty good value. They incorporate lots of vents, pockets, water proofing & cold weather riding combinations, comfortable too.

    For boots I'm wearing low cut Forma Adventure Riding boots & Jenny is still making do with Blue Steel Leaders Boots (non-steel cap).

    I hope this answers your question, we are still learning & are quite new to the Adventure Motorbike Touring so still have heaps to learn, it's all part of the fun......Will

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    Happyidiot...Decked out in the Rev-It Adventure Riding Suit purchased off Xander at Overlander Adventure Equipment, Perth.
    #65
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  6. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Day 27, April the 28th. Sight Seeing around Foster, Victoria. Headed down to Wilson's Promotory, 146kms.

    Max Temp 18C, lots of rain & in the afternoon 50km/h westerly winds, during our ride back to Foster.

    Great sleep last night, so good to be clear of the City. Being at a Youth Hostel meant we nearly had to share our 2 bedroom unit with a Father & Son from Germany (traveling Oz) but there is a problem with the free Wifi in the Units so they opted to return too the communal dorm where the free Wifi was working. We are just using our own Wifi purchased through Telstra when the decent free stuff isn't available .

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    Home in Foster for the next few nights, nice small 1 Pub, Farming Town. The YHA is excellent value $65p/n for the two of us & even an easy walk into town.

    After a very cruisey morning (read lazy sleep in while it rained outside) we got our act together & headed about 60kms to the National Park of Wilson Promontory. The rain had stopped & the weather apps said we should be all good with only a slight chance of getting wet. All I can say is don't trust weather apps.

    When the first shower came through we stopped at a Bakery/Cafe in Yanakie to avoid it. Once we were in the Wilson Promontory NP there was no chance of avoiding the inclement weather so we just eased up on our riding & dealt with it. I must mention our gear kept us both pretty dry !

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    We stop at the Darby River in Wilson Promontory. Discovering that the bridge had been washed away in 2011, stranding 380 people camping at Tidal River.

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    Apart from the road being slippery it was quite a good ride through Wilson Promontory to Tidal River.

    To get the most out off Wilson Promontory you need to be into bush walking, surfing & fishing. Jenny & I just enjoyed the vistas & ride on this occasion. During our return ride we stopped at a cool looking Art Deco Hotel at Fish Creek, it even had a large dead fish on top of its roof....true !

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    You thought it was a "Tall Story" didn't you ! Can you find the dead fish
    #66
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  7. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Thanks guys.
    #67
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  8. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Days 28 & 29 (149kms)

    On Saturday (20th April), Jenny & I pretty much did nothing, I guess it was a rest day. We did go for a walk around Foster which we discovered was originally a Gold Mining town called Stockyard Port & that in 1871 Paddy Hannan (who famously discovered gold at Kalgoorlie & the Golden Mile) had worked there. Other then that not much else happened, disappointingly neither of us took one photo during the whole day. That's a first for this trip, unsure what it means, probably nothing. We are just "killing time" before we fly out to New Zealand next Tuesday I think.

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    Foster, tyres are back at correct pressure. Bikes are fuelled up, Happyidiot's are ready to roll.

    Sunday (21st April) saw us up and about before 8am (the sun comes up just after 7am at the moment). It was the usual routine of coffee, breakfast & packing up our gear. I had a quick chat to 4 cyclists who are on an extended weekend ride from Melbourne & had arrived the previous evening.
    At 10am we fired up the Bikes & headed down to the BP fuel station after topping up our tanks I wanted to check our tyre pressure as my rear felt a bit squishy during the Wilson Prom ride.

    The BP fuel station air compressor had no pressure & there was definitely an issue with our tyres. The Console Operator reset the compressor and while putting in some air I discovered both rear tyres on the bikes were at 34psi ??? The front was ok at 36psi. Motto to the story always check your tyres after someone else has "played" with them, I try not to assume things but on this occasion I'd thought surely the Business that fitted the tyres would know what pressure to put in them or maybe after a week in Melbourne they just lost some pressure while sitting around ? I don't really know, we are carrying a pressure gauge & quality 12v air pump along with a puncture repair kit, but it resides in the right hand side pannier, so difficult to get once we are all packed up.

    The weather was reasonable for riding, cool (18C max) no wind with some cloud about. We are headed for Sale a mere 120kms away, where an old mate of mine "Alan" lives, he is a pilot. We were good friends in our teenage years, but unfortunately the tyranny of time & distance has gotten in the way of our friendship, I think we have only caught up 4 or 5 times over the past 30 years.

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    Agnes Falls.

    We took a scenic route which included some dirt roads, twisty C roads & the 59 meter high Agnes Falls. From some of the higher vantage points you could see the vast lake system that makes up the Gippsland Lakes Area & seperates the Mainland around here from direct access to the Ocean. This area deserves further exploration.

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    We took a wrong turn down a dirt track & ended up on top of a hill looking towards the Lakes & Ocean.

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    Riding along the back roads to Sale, don't go over 100km/h, we are told, Victoria is a no tolerance State.

    Around 2pm we finally arrive into Sale (pop: 14500) & with the help the GPS "Destiny2" easily found Alan's place in the "Burbs" of Sale. Great to catch up with Alan, tomorrow we'll have a look around Sale, wash the Bikes & Clothes & get organised for the mad dash back to Melbourne on Tuesday, which is the day we fly out to NZ.

    .
    #68
  9. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    So do you have a plan for NZ? Everything sorted this end?
    #69
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  10. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Monday, 1st of May, 2017, Sale, Victoria.....Day 30.

    After a top night catching up & swapping stories with Alan, we all went to bed at the very reasonable time of 11pm still half sober.
    Alan currently works as a Helicopter Pilot, taking workers out to the Oil Rigs in Bass Straight. He is ex-RAAF (Aus Airforce) & has had a very interesting life.

    Yet another leisurely morning waking up in a QS Bed in a real house instead of the tent & sleeping bags. Alan took us out to the Port of Sale for breakfast, then we went and checked out the famous Swing Bridge. Built in 1883 it pivots in the middle to allow the taller boats access. We walked around and had a bit of a look at the waterway, Some people were catching Carp, which is a feral fish to the area.

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    "Bro Pic" of Alan & Will at the Port of Sale.

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    Jenny & Alan, checking out the Historic Swing Bridge, built in 1883.

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    The Swing/Pivot mechanism had been vandalised about 6 months ago, they are still repairing it. This means the taller boats are stuck upstream.

    Later it was back to Casa Alan's , Jenny got the washing done & I gave the Bikes a spruce up. Alan has recently obtained his "L Plates" for a Bike so I offered to take him on a short ride with Jenny's Honda so he will have a few clues as to which LAMS Bike to purchase next time he's in Melbourne.

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    Alan goes for a ride on Jenny's, Honda CB500X, he only recently obtained his Learners (2 day course in Vic.) so understandably he was a little cautious.

    Tonight we head out for dinner at the Pub & tomorrow we ride for Melbourne, then fly to NZ. Need to be on the road by 10am for our day to come together as planned...

    .
    #70
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  11. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Oldbeer, Jenny's Mum was originally a Kiwi, then she saw the light ! (just joking my Kiwi mates) ... so she actually has an Uncle, Aunty & lots of Cousins who live on the North Island. Our primary goal is to catch up with them.

    We were planning to hire a Big Bike between the both of us then see what happens. My left leg is significantly better then when we were on the GOR but still hurting a bit. Getting on the S10 is still difficult & stopping for Red Lights still freak me out. So for various reasons, initially we are going to hire a "Space Ship" then later hire the Big Bike. We are taking all our Bike gear with us and won't be happy if we don't get to ride the North Island on Motorbikes.

    So it's catch up with family (& friends) & Tour the North Island kind of trip over 4 weeks....Will
    #71
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  12. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Great stuff. If you end up in Auckland and need any help with anything let me know and if I can help I will. Lots of great rides in the NI as I'm sure you already know.
    #72
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  13. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Would enjoy to catch up, will PM you once we arrive. Will & Jenny.
    #73
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  14. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Day 31, 2nd May 2017, Tuesday.
    From/Too: Sale to Melbourne to Auckland NZ,
    Distance: 265kms
    Depart: 1015, Arrive Melbourne AP 1600. Depart Melb.AP 1855, Arr NZ 0000.
    Weather: max temp 15C often at 11C raining on & off, we got pretty wet, some small hail. West Wind 45km/H.
    The Story Continues: "Huge day finding our way go New Zealand".

    Massive day, after a great couple of days staying with Alan in Sale it was time to head for Melbourne Airport & fly out to New Zealand. After the usual routine we headed off out of Sale into darkening sky's, oh no this isn't going to be fun.

    It was freezing, there was even some small pea hail as we punched through each storm bank. Just out of Melbourne the new GPS started to play up. Water ingress ? I did have a plastic sandwich bag over it and it is quite protected behind my bike screen.

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    Hiding from a rain storm at the Shell in Trafalgar, still have another 100kms to go.

    I repeatedly switched it on/off and somehow we found our way to St Kilda where we had to stop by at the OPSM and pick up some new glasses for Jenny, that she had ordered a couple of weeks earlier. Then it was onwards towards Melbourne's, Tullamarine Airport. The GPS had a massive freak out just before we were suppose to get on the Toll road to the Airport, so we missed our turn & from then on things went a bit pear shaped. Once we had crossed the West Gate Bridge at the start of Peak Hour we exited and tried to regroup.


    Our smartphones can Bluetooth to our Sena Intercoms and we can listen to Google Map directions through our headsets, the only downside is we are unable to talk with each other (yes this is really a hassle in the city). The plan B is what we did, negotiating the secondary roads across the city. Jenny rides a bit less aggressively then me, while I do tone down my riding style when riding with Jen, i.e. less lane filtering, sitting behind slow cars for longer then I usually would, etc.

    I found myself in one tight spot so went for a gap and snuck through an Orange light leaving Jenny stuck further behind at the Red. Of course we got split up in the heavy traffic, when this happens the idea is to pull over at the first safe chance you get, which is what I did.


    Somehow Jenny then rode past me & I didn't even see her. After 5 minutes of waiting I'm starting to become concerned as to what may have happened. I'm about to try & ring but Jen has got in first & is about a kilometre further up the road. All good for now. We join up and continue onto the Airport.


    Eventually we arrive at Busy Beavers just before the next storm front hits, Busy Beavers is one of the long term car/bike storage business, where we are leaving our Bikes for the month while we are in NZ. The cost is $106 per bike which seems reasonable. It is now 4.15pm & we are due to depart at 6.30pm. Time is against us so no mucking around, pay, grab the gear we will need, still in our full riding gear get on the shuttle bus for the 10 minute trip.

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    We put the bikes to bed at Busy Beaver in Tullamarine, Melbourne....see you two in 4 weeks, be good !

    In the end everything turned out ok & we were in the air by 7pm on an Air New Zealand plane bound for Auckland. At 12 midnight we land at Auckland Airport. Getting through customs was simple enough and at 1am we hopped in a wreck of a Toyota Prius grey import taxi for the $37NZD fair out to the Spaceship Base.

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    Auckland Airport. Taxi Stand. It's now 1am local time, Jenny puts on a brave face, we are both tired, sore & dirty. Our helmets are in the shopping bags.

    Jenny had arranged an after hours pick up & that went smoothly enough, even though everything was in the dark so it was a case of using your smartphone torch to see. We decided it wise to get a few hours sleep first so set up the bed in the back of the small van, set an alarm for 5.30am, as we thought it best to be out of the Spaceship yard before the staff arrived at work and by 2am we were both all snug in bed on a cold clear 5C night.

    We left the Spaceship Yard just after 5.30am and headed for a beach on the east side of Auckland to catch one of the first sunrises in the world for Wednesday the 3rd of May.

    The Beach we stopped at is called Mission Bay, which seemed well named as it had been a major mission getting there !!! An amazing amount of cyclists & joggers were up training in the dark before the morning traffic became to heavy. The sun was up around 7am, we had some breakfast at a local Cafe & decided on a Caravan Park to rest up, shower & get organised for our NZ tour. We are staying at the Remuera Motor Lodge, it is inner city & a bit of a dive, luckily the staff are nice. Only have to deal with it for one night...

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    After getting some sleep in the Van, we check out the Sunrise, Mission Bay, Auckland. FYI, about $50NZD per day for the van, it has camping gear, fridge & bed....not bad but not as good as riding the bikes.

    The NZ Plan: Ok Ride Report Readers, the next couple of weeks are Car based & catching up with Jenny's Kiwi relatives. I'm also trying to let my left leg get better (it's heaps better now then when we were riding on the GOR in Victoria, about 3 weeks ago, I could barely walk 50mtrs then).

    After that we will hire probably one big Bike or maybe two smaller capacity Bikes & continue exploring the North Island on them for a couple of weeks, before returning to Aus. to continue our ride up the Australian East Coast in search of warmer riding weather.

    Since the next couple of weeks isn't Adventure Motorcycle Touring related this ride report will have a hiatus until about the 18th of May. If you're curiosity gets the better of you feel free to have a peek over at our blog, which we will continue to regularly update. https://wiljenblog.wordpress.com/

    Until then take care.
    #74
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  15. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Family time is good! Hope the weather gods treat you well.
    #75
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  16. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Sent you a message Oldbeer.
    #76
  17. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Got that, responded to your email...
    #77
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  18. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    New Zealand tour is going good, we've covered a fair bit of ground in the Spaceship Van, scenery has been great, some amazing sights.

    We have caught up with a bit of the extended Kiwi family. Must say we are missing our bikes, that are currently parked up in a large Airport Parking Shed back in Melbourne.

    Have organised a hire BMW GS1200 that Jenny & I'll ride around on for a week starting May the 23rd. So expect the RR to keep rolling again soon. My left leg is feeling heaps better now (thankfully). Happy we did this NZ side trip.....Back Soon.

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    Weather has been a bit cool & wet, but at least most of the other tourists have gone home. Still getting the occasional clear day.

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    I did get out on this Bad Boy for a 30 minute ride in Tauranga yesterday. 150cc of brute power, it belongs to Jenny's Uncle Dave.

    .
    #78
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  19. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    You be careful on that young fella
    #79
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  20. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    23rd May

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    We were fortunate enough to get a seriously great buy on 2 new Shoei Modular Helmets. To good too refuse, the new Sena Intercom was regularly price. Whacked it all together & it's working a treat. Old HJC Helmets have been mailed home.

    Hi to you all, apologies for the lack of RR updates but our Bike Touring has been put on the back burner during the first 3 weeks traveling New Zealand. We have missed the riding, though not getting wet on a few of the days was appreciated.

    We spent the first 2 weeks touring in a Spaceship Van (Toyota Estina) that we could camp in & then a week in Jenny's, Uncle Dave's ex-Postie Van. More often then not we actually slept at one of Jenny's many long lost Kiwi relative places which was good ! All up I think we spent 6 nights actually sleeping in the Van & traveled a total of 3000kms all over the North Island. I must say it's been pretty good fun & we found ourselves well off the Tourist Trail on more than a couple of occasions.

    The reason for not riding a bike during the first 3 weeks of our NZ side trip tour, came down too, two reasons.

    Cost, the Bike option is at least twice as much as renting the small Camper Van & that doesn't take into account that we would have to stay in Motels, etc.

    My injured left leg, I strained/tore a muscle while in South Australia & during Victoria's Great Ocean Road section I could barely walk 50 metres. It's feeling about 95% better now.

    Finally the Planets have aligned & all is good in the "Happyidiots" world. Yesterday we picked up 2011 BMW GSA1200, it has a mere 85000kms on it !!! Looking over the Beast of a thing there are a few clues that it may have actually been ridden from Alaska to Ushuaia (Argentina), or vice versa, it has a couple of unusual stickers on it, scratches, dings & other marks that represent a hard life of adventure riding.
    Maybe one of you Advrider's have seen it on a blog somewhere ???
    Let me know if you have.

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    So after a big effort yesterday, (see the blog for details) Jenny & I found ourselves in Auckland's North Shore at Cycle Spot BMW doing a deal with Fergus "Ferg" . Everything went smoothly & according to plan. I thought we were getting a GS, so was slightly surprised to see it was a GSA, "doesn't that have a massive fuel tank" I'm thinking, like 33 litres I recall or some such crazy amount ! Once the paperwork is completed I head out to take a closer look at this huge yellow/black thing.....gee it looks BIG !

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    I don't mind admitting I'm a little nervous, as we load our gear into the GSA's panniers. Jen & I have culled quite a bit of stuff. Leaving our two large black travel bags at one of the Auckland based cousin's house. But we still have shit loads. I haven't seriously carried Jenny any distance as a pillion for about 4 years (she likes to ride herself these days), we both are a bit over weight, we still have heaps of crap & my left leg has only just come good after being dodgy for about 4 weeks. How much will this outfit weigh with us both on it, fully fuelled up, at least 25kg of gear, about 500kg is my rough guess....Super Nervous.

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    After chatting to another Kiwi rider, saying goodbye to Jenny's Auntie Dianne, who drove us up to Auckland from Tauranga (I did do 2/3rds of the drive), we both mounted up while Ferg & 4 other people watched us. We looked the part & had also bought a couple of new Shoei Modular helmets, which were nice & shiny. I fire up the GSA, boxer twin, click the selector into first, release the clutch & stall it....bummer.... !

    Ferg now looked more worried then me. Attempt number 2 & we are off...now where are the bloody indicators ??? Still don't think much of the indicator set up, never knew you could get worse setup then the Harley ! Oh which direction are we going GPS Jen ?

    So first impressions of a worn out 2011 BMW GSA1200.
    Actually it's not to bad, is it as good as my own 2013 Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 ? I do like the Boxer twin motor, it's got character & the seat is similar but feels slightly higher, it is on it's lowest setting, I checked. Jenny thinks the pillion is a little rougher. My own bike feels better but excluding my bias there is a difference of 65000kms & who knows how many hard dirt track miles. The real elephant in the room is the $10000-$15000 difference in price on the new bikes, enough said, I'll give you my final thoughts in a week.

    In the end we head north & find our way out of Auckland while the afternoon peak hour traffic builds up. After 60Kms and about 1 hour, 20 minutes riding time we end up at a Motel in Matakana. Dinner at the Pub then finally a real room to ourselves.
    #80