Vic High Country and Snowys 2018

I was lucky enough be again invited to join Ron H (aka Gentle) and his mates on another multi-day tour he’d organised. Gentle is absolutely brilliant at route planning, transferring the routes to gpx files and then sharing them to those in the group who have a GPS on their motorcycle. There were nine of us in total on a very diverse range of bikes. Actually there were a few “twos” – two Ron H’s, two identical Victories and two Harley Davidsons. The rest comprised a Bontrike, A BMW R1200RT, a Suzuki V Strom, my Kawasaki and a brand new Triumph XR800. Everyone rode to their capabilities and to the road conditions and we had no dramas at all.

Pre-ride day (Friday 2nd Feb)

The Geelong contingent met at a servo on the ring road and we just headed through Melbourne out to the other Ron H’s home at Kilsyth where we were all staying for the night. Many thanks to Ron for opening his home to the five of us from Geelong, plying us with Canadian Club and to two of his delightful daughters for making coffees, buying pizzas for us and generally making us welcome.

DAY 1 – Sat 3 Feb: Kilsyth to Orbost

We were all up pretty early, drinking coffee, loading gear on the bikes and raring to hit the road. Peter soon rolled up and we then followed Ron H to a nearby bakery were we had brekky and rendezvoused with Max. It was a beautiful sunny morning, around 23C when we headed out through picturesque Dandenongs out to Powelltown and then on to Moe, Sale and Bairnsdale via backroads. After a fuel stop in Bairnsdale we headed to Bruthen for lunch. It was hot and sunny when we fuelled up yet by the time we arrived at Bruthen a few drops of rain on the visor had turned into a short-lived torrential downpour. As we had lunch and sheltered from the rain, unbeknown to me a bee also sheltered in my helmet (hanging on the mirror). Unfortunately my head and the bee did not get on well and as I wondered for a moment why my intercom was buzzing, I wound up with a bee sting on the top of my skull! There was a stack of motorcycles at Bruthen including a large contingent of Harleys spotted at the pub as we left town.

Below: some of our diverse range of motorcycles at BruthenLindsay’s trike – it’s cornering ability astounded everyone once we hit the twisty stuff!

“Get off that phone Gentle”!

Gentle led us on a very relaxed run in dry conditions with a detour through scenic Lakes Entrance and then over to Orbost where we checked into the Orbost Club Hotel.

I paired up to share a room with Jim C and warned him of ‘rumours’ of my snoring. After a shower and a cleansing ale, some of us ate at the pub and others went to a nearby Chinese restaurant – everyone was satisfied with their meals. We actually ‘hit the hay’ pretty early. Whilst the Orbost Club Hotel was comfortable and clean enough, it had some signage that was quite extraordinary.  I’ve stayed in some rough joints over the years, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Needless to say, none of their accessories were required by our crew!

Then this ‘fella started up around 5.30am the next morning! Yes, a pub with a rooster.

Day 2 – Sun 4 Feb: Orbost to Bombala

We’d planned to leave around 8.30am but virtually everyone was up and ready to roll before that, so we checked out a little after 8.00am. I led off and from Orbost we headed  along the Prince’s Hwy towards Cann River. The ride through this forested part of the highway was really enjoyable in the cool early morning air with virtually no other traffic on the road. We fuelled up the bikes at Cann River and then headed over the road to a diner for breakfast. With the bikes and bodies fuelled we took off up the Monaro Hwy. I led off, followed by Lindsay. Once we passed a couple of cars we settled into a good pace through the sweepers. Even though it’s a highway, this section of the Monaro is a lovely ride. Every time I looked in my mirrors all I could see was Lindsay’s headlights blazing and a huge grin on his face as he hooked the trike through the twisty stuff!  Once over the border into NSW we continued towards Bombala and then took a right turn up the Imlay Road. Again, this was a great piece of morning riding although we had to stop three times for roadworks. At one of the more lengthy stops I struck up a brief conversation with the lass on the Stop / Go sign. When it was our turn to pass she gave us a big grin and said to her colleague at the other end via her walkie-talkie “I’m sending my badass bikers through” – it kept me laughing for some time afterwards! We passed through Eden then on to Merimbula for a leisurely lunch. By now the sun really had some bite and there was barely a cloud in the sky.

Lunch stop in Merimbula

Gentle led off but once we hit the twisties of the Mt Darrah Road he flagged us to pass. Max headed off at speed and wasn’t seen again until the outskirts of Bombala. I took off next and couldn’t see any lights behind me for quite a few kilometres. It was a terrific run with lots of great corners, climbing from the coast up through the bush. Then I spotted a solitary headlight in my mirror, which got closer and closer – it was Ron H on the Victory and he was really hauling arse, I certainly couldn’t have shaken him! We pulled over when the road straightened and Max was waiting. Ron and I ‘high fived’, celebrating sharing some great, but safe, riding at pace. Congratulations Ron – you have the only Victory cruiser I’ve ever seen with no chicken strips on the tyres!

The fast guys on the Mt Darrah road! Ron, Lindsay, Peter & Max.

Gentle pointing out an optional twisty roads route for the next day.

From here it was just a short run into Bombala and to our digs at the once majestic Imperial Hotel. Raconteur owner Steve welcomed us with plenty of banter and drinks to signal the end of a really enjoyable day’s riding in perfect conditions. We settled in our rooms, several with dripping and running taps – there seems to be no shortage of water in Bombala! Steve took our meal orders early, and later proceeded to cook an excellent dinner for us all. My export quality steak from the local butcher was just sensational. Whether the lads had steaks, seafood of vegetarian pizzas – everyone rated their meal as 10 out of 10. As was the cooked breakfast we enjoyed the next morning, which in Peter’s case his doggie bag from brekky also provided his lunch, a very smart move.

Doing what Gentle does brilliantly! Peter, Phil & Jimbo contributing to the routing plans.

A rare shot of John with a stout – it’s usually a good shiraz!

DAY 3 – Mon 5 Feb: Bombala to Corryong

Word and pics soon


Hot, damn hot!

The 25th ‘Island Classic’ at Phillip Island was run this weekend. Unfortunately I pre-purchaced my ticket which locked me in to going on Sunday, when much of Vic was forecast to be around 39C. I should have driven my nice airconditioned car – but I like to go to motorcycle races on a motorcycle when I can. For the Melbourne leg of my return home the ambient temp guage on the Zx14R was hovering around 40C. Below are a few shots of the action. I’m sure it was a pretty tough gig for the riders competing as well.

Click on this link to see a gallery of my pics CLICK HERE

Rawson and Bright December 2017

The December 13th run to Rawson is a Geelong Ulysses annual event. The first day of the 2017 ride had a weather forecast of 36C, after days of unusually cool summer weather. I’m not sure what it actually got up to, but it was damn hot for riding. Unfortunately we encountered a lot of roadworks that we had to stop at throughout the morning section of the ride which involved skirting around the north of Melbourne via backroads. The heat radiating off the engine / radiator was just about unbearable with the dual fans forcing a blast of heat straight up at me.

Pic above by Graham Aitken

After lunch at the Healesville Bakery we headed off through the beautiful bush roads through Powelltown and Noojee and onwards to Moe to stock up on food and drinks for the evening. Most of the riders just wanted to get to Rawson as quickly as possible due to the heat, however, Gentle led a small group of six who wanted to take the road down to the historic township of Walhalla. It’s an excellent road with just one bend after another and tall timber all around.  I did a ride through town to take some photos and then met up with the other fellas at the quaint little pub. We then had a great run up through the twisties to Rawson with Marty leading, to cap off a really enjoyable day of riding, despite the oppressive heat.




























We got to our digs in the caravan park, which is a bush park, and got the riding gear off, and then had a shower and got into shorts as quickly as possible.  We self- cater at Rawson and after a few beers had the BBQ’s fired up and our evening meal cooked. It was a lovely warm evening sitting under the tall eucalypt trees yarning with the crew.

Two Rawson pics below by Peter Barclay 

On Thursday Marty and I headed off for Bright, via The Great Alpine Road, rather than heading home with the others. We stopped Bairnsdale for lunch and to top up the coolant in Marty’s ZX14R. We had a brilliant run to Omeo where we stopped for milk shakes and then headed to Mt Hotham and onwards to Bright. The descent from Hotham wasn’t that enjoyable as virtually every downhill, left hand hairpin bend had very soft tarsnakes all through them. It wasn’t great feeling the front end squirming about on each corner.










































We pretty much had the Bright Brewery to ourselves. It was the perfect spot for some craft beers on a hot afternoon. We strolled around to visit Peter Rees and John Allen (who still rides extensively and rides well at age 82 is a real inspiration) at their motel and had an enjoyable time yarning with them.  After a counter tea at the pub we headed back to the Riverside motel to watch the cricket. I actually didn’t see much of it as I kept nodding off to sleep! Two days of intense riding and heat finally caught up with me and I was out like a light by 9.30pm. We were up fairly early and hit the road. The cool morning air of the Ovens and then the King Valley was an absolute treat. At the end of the King Valley we pulled into Whitfield and enjoyed a cooked brekky at the General Store. I love this area and we camp on the King River fairly regularly.














I was thinking of dropping in at Stringybark Creek – the site of one of Ned Kelly’s battles with the police, however, a local informed us that it was approx 10kms up a dirt track so we gave it a miss. We thoroughly enjoyed the twisties between Whitfield and Mansfield and rode through to Yea for fuel and lunch. From here it was pretty much a straight run through to Strath Creek, Broadford, Bacchus Marsh and then home.

All up I covered 1250 kms of really enjoyable riding, mostly on twisty bush roads of Gippsland and then the Vic ‘High Country’. The Ulysses crew were great company on the first day, and as always, Marty was a great riding mate for days two and three.



A day at the races

Mrs T and I headed for Phillip Island on a chilly Sunday morning – fortunately in the car! A round trip of near 600kms after a day out in elements is just too much for us at this time of year. We haven’t been to the GP for a few years now and we picked an absolute thriller to attend. It was great to meet up with and have, an albeit too brief, chat with Chillertek from the famed Road to Nowhere blog who was down from Sydney for the weekend. There were a couple of brief showers throughout the day. The morning Warm Up was on a wet track, however, it remained dry for each race. The corner speeds of the MotoGP bikes when the track was wet in the morning were just plain frightening! With typical PI weather we even found ourselves needing some sunscreen late in the afternoon to prevent sunburn!  We secured a good viewing spot on the fence at turn 10 (just around from Lukey Heights) in the morning and spent virtually the whole day there. Below are a few of my pics from the event.

The only downside to the day was taking 40 mins to get out of the carpark! However, we had an unevenful trip home with lots of interesting motorcycles to look at along the way. Actually, we were amazed at how many riders and pillions were not wearing gear that was in any way suitable for drizzly, then wet and cold ride to and from the Island.