Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 5 - Bright to Canberra

Again, I was blessed with beautiful mid 20 weather, though it was cool for my early start thanks to fueling up the arvo before, and I was out of Bright at 7:30 am. On my way out of town I was greeted by a kangaroo watching me ride by on the street in Bright. I was so excited to see a *live* Kangaroo that I forgot to take a picture!
The road to Mount Beauty is a beauty.

It is winding, good surface and a couple of lookouts that show beautiful views of the surrounding country.

It is everything you could ask for in a great road, only I wanted it to be LONGER!

It goes for about 30km and as I wound my way down to the bottom of the mountain, turned left and headed towards Tallangatta.

Instead of taking the highway I took the turn off to Red Bank Rd as an alternative (for those with the top 100 rides atlas, it is actually all sealed, unlike what the atlas indicates, bastards and their bitumen.) This was a beautiful section of country rd, with fast straights and nice fast sweepers and a few short sections of tight twisties and it was a great alternative to sitting on the highway and it takes a more direct way to Tallangatta.

I stopped at Tallangatta for breakfast, having a bacon & egg roll and a local choccie milk and then off again and not far out of town had a brief meeting with the local cops (who pulled me over, disco lights and all, but it was just for a license check and breath test, he was prolly sus cause I am prolly the only motorcycle to ever travel the Murray Valley Highway and not speed hehe

I took the turnoff to Granya and was glad to see that I had left other people behind on the highway and enjoyed having the road to myself again and wound my way around the mountain again on beautiful twisty rds that just make the time past so fast!
I then rode along the Murray River Rd that skirts along the Murray River.

Wasn't much river to speak of, but the scenery was beautiful regardless.

I turned and crossed the border at Jingellic and then took the Jingellic-Tumbarumba Rd to Tumbarumba. This was a great road that was again fast, with nice sweeping corners

that you could see criss cross in front of you before you got to them

Stopped at Tumbarumba for fuel and decided to press on to either Batlow or Tumut for lunch as I was undecided if I would take highway from Tumut or put on my big girl panties and take the dirt rd again.
Beautiful vistas of rolling hills covered in pine trees outside Batlow stood before me

and stopped off at Sugar Pine Walk. This is where they have cut down a line of pine trees and you can walk up between these amazing 250ft pine trees that would be amazingly beautiful in winter!

The pine trees made me feel insignificant, but in a nice way that made me appreciate being alive and what I have.

I searched Batlow for an apple pie, to no avail and amazingly despite the myriad of fruit on offer at the roadside, do you think you could buy a freakin apple? No!
Peeved at Batlow, I continued to Tumut where I stopped for lunch and had a think about whether I again wanted to try the only rd that had truely worried me, esp with the chance of not having a rear brake and it being afternoon and the rd being where they apparently cross breed horses and wombats!

I decided I wouldn't let this rd get me, and that if I didn't do it again it would have beat me and Icouldn't let that happen and that I would prolly avoid it in the future because of it. I also REALLY wanted to do Mountain Creek Rd again, cause I really enjoyed it, so I sucked it up and took the rd and it wasn't as bad as I remembered (plus it helped that I knew the worse part only went for about15km out of Wee Jasper) though in the rougher stuff my rear brake decided to die again as I was winding down a mountain with tight twisties. I slowed down to a crawl and used the clutch and throttle to keep the speed right down.

As I was about 6km out of Wee Jasper, I caught up to a truck that was wetting the road, so now I had no rear brake on a wet rough windy rd ! I suddenly became overwhelmed that I had taken a wrong turn (dunno how, I hadn't turned!) but the scenery wasn't familiar. There was another guy there on a massive piece of machinery (I think working on the road, though I dunno how, there certainly was no work done on that rd.) I stopped and asked him if I was on the right track and he tried to open his door to answer my question but was limited by his controls, so then he tried to move the machinery so that he could open the door and given he was already half off the rd to let the truck wetting the rd though, he then was spinning his wheels and the truck tilted to the side and I was horribly embarrassed that I almost caused this poor guy to stack the machine over because I had to ask if I was on the right track!
The rd was really narrow, just as it had been heading out and I thought that I didn't really remember this part, and wondered WTF would happen if two vehicles other than bikes crossed paths. As I entered into Wee Jasper, I came in the opposite side and it dawned on me that that part of the road was divided! So the WHOLE FREAKING time in and out of Wee Jasper, I had been paranoid I was going to meet a logging truck head on, but the rd was on fucking way, a SIGN MIGHT HAVE BEEN NICE! Anyway, better to assume it isn't one way, than assume it is and end uplogging truck roadkill! Although, there were convex mirrors on some of the corners, do any of the locals know if its one way or two???

Enjoyed the nice sweeping ride back into Canberra via Mountain Creek Rd and Uriarra Crossing.

More pics from this day

The next day I just took the Hume back from Canberra to Syd cause I slept in and figured I can do that ride another time 

Day 4 - Melbourne to Bright

I was going to do the dirt section from Mansfield to Jamieson, but was advised by mates not to do it on my own, so they gave me an alternative route instead.
I left Melb and headed along the M1 to Pakenham, where I promptly got lost, but with the help from a local got back on track and was heading to Gembrook.

This was an absolutely magical section, a 100kph zone, with sections of 35kph advised twisties! It was a nice road, picturesque, and twisty! I continued from Gembrook to Yarra Junction and then to Warburton. I headed down a back road because I saw a sign to toilets, and found a beautiful spot next to the Yarra. But if you are in Warburton, don’t expect much to eat before 10am.

Just out of Warburton, I took the Mt Donna Buang turn off. The lookout was closed, but I was taking Acheron Way anyway. I again found myself riding on gravel in heavy fog, but again it had such a majestic feeling that I loved every second of it!

Eventually the fog lifted and I enjoyed riding looking at the massive tree ferns that lined the road.

It was at this point that I discovered I had no rear brake! Yay on dirt and can’t stop, that is always handy. I suspect it is from where the pedal was bent after my adventure in Watagans, but am going to get it looked at regardless.

I then headed up to Taggery and then onto Thornton. I was told to take the Snobs Creek Rd turn off just outside of Eildon. Apparently I wanted the Eildon Jamieson Rd, but I figured out I was on the wrong road when it turned to gravel after about 1km, instead of the 20km of bitumen I was expecting and I turned around and continued on and found the right road. It was 61km of twisty road that hugs a mountain and winds it way around the edge of the national park. Again, I was on a narrow twisty mountain road with a sheer drop, so was taking it very easy. There was a lot of motorcycle hazard signs, and the road was covered in leaf matter.

After 30km, there was a 20km dirt section, that is in similar condition to the main road at Watagans, but more corrugated on corners and again SO twisty and with a sheer drop (can you tell by now I am paranoid about these sheer drops?? Hehe). I again lost my rear brake part way through so crawled my way though. Then there was a fast twisty section to Mansfield.

The first section of the Mansfield-Whitfield road, is very straight and I was wondering how this managed to make it ways into the top 100 rides in the motorcycle atlas. But then the road alternated between sections of 35/40 corners and faster twisty sections, all in a 100 zone.

I then had a quick and uneventful trip up through King Valley, Edi, and Moyne and then turned off to Oxley, Malwa and then down through Myrtleford to Bright.

More pics from this day


The next day Melbourne put on a 37 degree day for me, but I ventured out to Tiger Angel anyway, and now I REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY want an Elements suit.

I had dinner with a few friends on Tuesday and on Wed caught up with the TWF Melb Crew.

Day 3 - Bombala to Melbourne

When I left at 7:30, it was freezing cold and cloudy. I started to wonder where summer was, and giggled when I thought that what were the chances that you could plan a trip in the middle of Jan and have mid 20s temps heheeh. I was very quickly out to Delegate and over the border, woooooo hoooo! I stopped off to look at the first settlers huts and then continued on to the Bonang.

Not much you can really say about the Bonang, except...

What do you think the chances are that I know 3 of the people that put those stickers on? It is pretty funny that I go so far from home and I know that I know 3 of the 5 ppl that put those stickers on. Hell I might know the other two and not know it!

The fog was really low on the Bonang

and it got considerably worse on the second gravel section, to the point where I had about 5m I could see in front and didn’t know I was in a corner until I was in it!

Luckily the fog cleared before the Wallabies came out to play and they decided to get off the road pretty quick anyway. In 105km of twisties, I passed 2 cars, 3 trucks and 1 cop.

About 50km from Orbost nature called and I didn’t want to wish the 50km of twisties left away just to get to a toilet, so grumbling to myself that men have it easy, I pulled over and hid myself in a pine tree, because knowing my luck, while I hadn’t seen a vehicle in a fair while if I dropped my dacks in view of the road and truck load of guys would come past at that very moment.

I hit the road again and all too soon, I rolled into Orbost where I passed a couple of kids, where one of the, who would have been about three gave me a thumbs up, which I returned and he rewarded me with a huge grin, ahhh yes, it was a great time to be alive and riding alone! I took the back way to Bairnsdale through Bruthen and had an early lunch in Bairnsdale.

From there I took the M1 to Melbourne and this section turned into a tour of fast food joins and petrol stations along the way in order to give my arse some relief. I rolled into Melbourne in perfect time, Soos had just got home from work and Tits got put to bed.

More pics from this day

Day 2 - Canberra to Bombala

I left Sue’s place at 7:30 and got petrol and then headed off for Uriarra Crossing. I stopped on William Hovell Dr to take a pic of the view and my camera shut off, the batteries were dead. No problem, so I put in my spares, that I discovered I hadn’t charged since I had last taken them out of the camera, doh! So then I decided I would go to a servo to get batteries, because I didn’t want to miss taking pics of my ride to Tumut.

Finding a servo in Canberra, is NOT easy. After riding around for 15min, and considering going back to the one near Sue’s place, cause at least I knew where it was, I finally found one in Hawker. As I rode up the street, I thought I had passed the point where I needed to get into the servo, so I did a u-turn, and over the bike went. There were people in the servo watching me, people that drove around me on the road. Did any of them come to my assistance? NO! So I finally managed to pick the Tenere back up with legs that were shaking like leaves and then I put the bike on the side stand and just left it exactly where it was, I was not moving it until my legs stopped shaking. Cars continued to drive around me :roll: There was a decent patch of oil on the road and I tried to figure out where it had leaked from, but couldn’t seem to find it and it didn’t drop any oil after that. A few days later talking to Wolf, he suggested perhaps the oil was already on the road, and that may have contributed to the bike sliding down, and that made sense and made me feel less stupid because I didn’t just drop the bike doing a u-turn, and also more stupid because the thought didn’t occur to me and also because I didn’t see the oil cause I was too busy looking at the servo! At least I now knew that if I dropped it on a remote road that I could pick it up myself. I finally got batteries, put them in the camera and was finally off again. I was then too pissed to take any pics for about 30min heheh

From Uriarra Crossing, I took Mountain Creek Rd, which was a beautiful road that had a couple of very short gravel sections.

Mountain Creek Rd, then meets up with the nice twisty section just before Wee Jasper. I wound my way along the twisties loving every second of it, and having to stop myself from stopping every 30 seconds to take a photo.

After Wee Jasper came the first part of dirt for the day and it scared the shit out of me. It was a series of 20kph corners, around a mountain with a sheer drop on one side of the road and the road was rocky and corrugated. I practically walked the bike around all 15 terrifying km that continued like that, and it was made worse by the fact I didn’t know when it was going to end. This was taken in a nice section where I felt like I could stop and not get collected by another vehicle should it come around.

After that, the road was still dirt and gravel, but in a little better condition, but more importantly, was in flatter country where I didn’t envisage myself hurtling to my death down the side of a cliff. I suddenly realised how glad I felt that I had borrowed the Spot and that I could have ended up using it sooner than I thought. The rest of the 30km of good gravel I covered quickly, generally sitting on around 70kph, dodging the gargantuan speed humps in the form of dead wombats. When it came to making the choice of taking the 27km unsealed road to Tumut or the 31km sealed road, I chickened out and took the sealed, because I was terrified it might be might the first section, and secondly, because it was getting close to lunch time and I hadn’t even got to Tumut yet and wanted to be in Bombala that night and the last section before Bombala was dirt.

I filled up both the bike and myself at Tumut and then took the Snowy Mountains Highway to the Berridale turnoff.

The scenery along there is just amazing and the road is very very nice. That is one highway were you don’t get bored because you either have the most amazing vistas or you are in sections of 35 kph twisties. Dark clouds loomed and the road was wet, but luckily I seemed to be dodging the massive rain cloud that stood before me. I wasn’t going take any chances so pulled over and put the wets (and jumpers) on. I got sprinkled on briefly before the turnoff to Berridale. Not far after the Berridale turnoff I stopped to take a pic and noticed that the fairing that was cracked from my previous escapades had broken and was loose. I wasn’t far out of Berridale, so I continued to there and got fuel and then I got out my gaffer tape and did some surgery and was ready to go again.

From Berridale it was nice 19km of country rd to Dalgety, where I took the turn off to Bombala via Ando Road. I was excited about taking this road cause a friend had suggested it and said it was really nice dirt rd. The “gravel next 28km” sign loomed, but they are TARRING THE FREAKING ROAD! Another 10km the bastard bitumen went for! Though it was beautiful bitumen, and they are apparently cambering all the corners etc, though it will be dangerous for motorcyclists to keep their license on this road, cause there are some REALLY nice straights and sweeping corners and plenty of places for the cops to hide ;) I was enjoying the dirt road so much (I was going between 80 and 100 the whole time) that I flew past my turn off at Gunningrah Rd (mind you the sign is tiny.) I turned around and got onto Gunningrah Road. This is more of a road that services the farms and there is lots of grids and you are riding through open farm land. The sheep seemed scared of the Tenere and would bolt in the opposite direction. The cows were interested enough to look up, but not do anything about it. I absolutely loved this road, I felt isolated and free and it was rocky and bumpy and I loved every second of it! At the end there was a beautiful 10km of bitumen into Bombala. I found my way to the Imperial Hotel, where Steve the owner let me park my baby under cover in the back section of the hotel, I got an awesome room for $25 a night and I was entertained by the locals and then ended up chatting with Steve and Virginia, the owners until about 11pm. I can 100% say I will be back to stay at the Imperial, the room was great, the food was good, and they were really nice.

More pics from this day

Day 1 - Syd to Canberra

Day 1 – Sydney to Canberra

On the morning of my trip, I got up bright and early because I was excited and couldn’t sleep. My mother had told me to wake her so she could say goodbye. I woke her up and she said she would help me carry the stuff down to the garage so I could pack my bike. Off we went down stairs and as I was putting the saddle bags on and I look over at Mum and she just swayed sideways and went down like a tonne of bricks. I ran over to her and she had passed out, but her eyes were still kinda open. I wanted to call the ambulance, but she refused so I sat her against the car while I continued to pack the bike and next thing she is on the ground again! This time I didn’t take no for an answer and the ambos and a family friend was called. The ambos were there within a few minutes and her colour returned a little and with much reassurance and protest I left for my trip, leaving Mum in the hands of the family friend.

I got petrol and then looked at the time and I was only 90min behind schedule, argh! I decided to bypass the Nasho and Mac Pass and KV because I was running late and just took the Princess Highway to Nowra. Along the way I was looked at with distain by some Ducatis near Wollongong because cars were passing me, but damn it, they might have been out for a latte, but I was on an Adventure and it was about getting there the fun way, not the fast way!

From Nowra, I cut down the back of Nowra and then took Braidwood Rd, which turns into Nerriga Rd to Braidwood. This was my first section of dirt and was fun, except for the fact that the 4wds cept tearing past resulting in me needing to slow to a crawl cause I couldn’t see a thing. I stopped off at Tianjara Falls, but sadly there wasn’t much water falling!

I also encountered a couple of trucks spraying water on the gravel rds, one was nice enough to stop the water as I rode the past, the other wasn’t. Then there was road works on the road as well and so I got stopped. The guy walked over and I had my visor down and he said “oh sorry mate, just gotta wait for an escort vehicle”. I put my visor up and said “that’s cool” and his response was “SHIT! You’re a girl!” I had been told by a friend that I should stop in at Nerriga pub, cause they are trying to trendy it up, but that they hadn’t seen a woman in there for while, and with this guys response, I started to wonder if there ever saw a woman before at all in these parts.

From Braidwood, I took Kings Highway to Bungendore and then Bungendore Rd and Macs Reef Rd to the Federal Highway, and then the last 12km into Canberra. I finally rolled into Canberra about 3 and caught up with a mate, before heading to my friend Sue’s place to stay the night.

More pics from this day

Monday, December 29, 2008

Minor Setback

Well apparently the Engineering place isn't open until after New Year, so we are just crossing our fingers (or wings) that they can help us out next Monday! It isn't long now, only a week and a half away! 

Pretty much everthing else has come together and now that we have screws from Coventry Fasteners, the windscreen can go back on, which might happen tomorrow (or today, now!) So between now and next week, it is just the task of crossing everything hoping Overkill can do what we want next week!