Friday, April 29, 2022

The return trip home

The trip back from tassie was always going to be a let down, I'm mean how could it compare and the weather forecast wasn't looking good today with rain and showers for Melbourne. We said goodbye to Flyboy and Andy as they both were headed for Adelaide.


We just managed to skirt around the rain riding along the freeway and got as far from Melbourne as possible before stopping at the Wallan service centre. We said goodbye to Craig and Geoff here as they were heading home today. The rest of us were heading north with no certain destination known. We'll see what happens was order of the day.

A few stops here and there along the way, picking up Stu in Broadford as he seemingly got behind then went past as we stopped for breakfast. We meander through Beechworth and on up to Holbrook. It was around 2:30pm so Doug called a few pubs, nothing in Boorowa, Scotty suggested Tumbarumba. The Tumba pub had rooms so that was were we were heading. Going down Jingellic road Stu pulls over and says let's turn around, the skys were black and foreboding, so we approached Tumbarumba from the Rosewood side from the north. Storms were approaching and it was raining to either side of us. We just made it into the pub before the heavens came down, how's that for luck?

When we were getting fuel in Holbrook I saw some USB cables and bought one to try on my Africa Twin, plugging the phone in it started working and the maps came up on the dash. This made navigation much easier, wish I had that at the start of the trip, the one I had kept vibrating lose and I eventually lost it so borrowed Flyboys cable.

It was bucketing down outside but we stayed dry, Stu found the $10 cocktails, so we had about 5 each until they ran out then went back to beers.

Cheers for an awesome tour, the hard core crew

Got two hands, just need two mouths....

Scotty ordered the T Bone, when it came out it was about an inch thick and covered the entire plate. Biggest T Bone I've seen in years.

We retired to the common room upstairs after closing for a couple of end of tour drinks. We would be home tomorrow.

Cheers and thanks for reading this far.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Tasmania 2022 Day#8 - Saving Tassie one pub at a time tour

Sadly today was our last day in Tassie, loading up the bikes we fueled up, oiled the chains and checked tyre pressures. Funny the front tyre was down 4psi and rear was down 5 psi. It seems that the tubed tyres leak somewhat more than tubeless. I always seem to top them up every couple of weeks.

We headed out of Queenstown via Zeehan Highway and then turned up the B28 via Lake Plimsoll, it was only 30min out before we took a short stop to have a look over the lake. Beautiful mountain scenery here on the west coast.

It was only a short stop as we keep going onwards up the Murchison Highway and then took the turn off towards Cradle Mountain. As it was a nice sunny day I thought we should have some great views over cradle mountain from Black Bluff lookout. 

There were 2 Asian tourists in the carpark when we parked up the bikes. The guy started looking at our bikes and was hysterical with joy when we all pulled up, he tried to communicate with us with his broken english; read very broken english. Turns out he was a motorcyclist back home, showed us photos of his ride. Very funny him oohing and ahhing at all the bikes.

Climbing up to the top of the lookout we had superb views over the valley below and all the way out to Cradle mountain. Spectacular scenery, the last time we were here it was covered in cloud.

The chinese couple took some photos of all of us standing around the pinnacle, new boy band cover photo time.

It was time to get going again, so I thought that I might be able to get some photos of the guys along the road somewhere so headed off to look for a spot before they were ready. At the speed they ride I reckon I'd have about 2 minutes to find something and setup. Not much time really.

Flyboy came back after he went past as I was packing up my camera, didn't have the heart to tell him I slipped and panned too quickly when he went past and probably missed the shot. So we then rode together to catch up to the boys. 

We finally caught up to them as they were getting ready to head in for a coffee at Cradle Forest Inn at Moina, I decided to order Scones with jam&cream. They tasted as good as they looked and the coffee was nice and strong. It was saturday and lots of bikes were out today, a few bikes were stopping in here so must be popular with the locals.

Flyboy said there a nice little lookout on the left a few kms out the road we'll go have a look. The others kept motoring on so we quickly checked it out. There seems to be endless lookouts all over tassie all with various levels of spectacular.

Next up was the ride across to Sheffield. At Gowrie Park found this large mural painted on a shed along the roadside.

As we were head to Sheffield I saw a sign to the right that said Paradise 3kms. We both stopped and did u-turns and went back and headed down the road. Unfortunately Paradise is just a locality and nothing there just a house or two. I didn't even notice a sign, but google maps shows there was one.

Still a excellent little diversion in some beautiful countryside, I came around a sharp downhill right hander and suddenly a bee/wasp flew inside my helmet that was slightly cracked open for ventilation and was buzzing around in front of my eyes. Lucky I had my internal dark visor down as it was caught in-between the two, but nearly ran off the road trying to get it out. 

Paradise Road

We stopped in a Sheffield where the guys were filling their pie holes with all sorts of goodness from the bakery. I was still a bit full from the scone but couldn't pass up an opportunity to save another bakery, so got a small sausage roll/spinach roll. They were awesome. Gee the jackets getting tight on this tour.....

Sheffield is best known for it murals painted on the buildings, there were a couple right next to the bakery. I didn't have time to go searching for more as it wasn't long before we were heading across to Beaconsfield. Flyboys workmate was also going to meet us there, he was riding an Africa Twin as well and was also getting on the boat tonight.

We rode out to Beaconsfield and then across Batman bridge to Georgetown, there was a strong side wind riding along here that was blowing us all over the place. I was kinda over it by now and to be honest didn't really want to ride out there as Flyboy said it was a shit ride, he was right. Georgetown was a small fishing village, the pub in town near the waterfront looked nice however. Time to head back, via some brilliant backroads from Beaconsfield to Devonport, it was getting late so no photos and I was having too much fun.

Rolling into Devonport the guys were looking for somewhere to eat. Flyboy mentioned he was going into the city centre so I thought I would go take a look, the boat doesn't depart till about 9:30pm or something like that. Both Flyboy and Andy went to a car wash to wash the bikes, so I joined in to get most of the dirt off from the western explorer and the bugs.

It was rather cold out waiting to board the ship. It seemed to take forever, as we chatted with a few of the other riders there. A couple of shots of Fireball warmed us up somewhat while we waited.

TASSIE Epilogue

Another successful tour of Tassie completed, no one died which was good and there were no crashes which was great even though I tried my best with the wallaby incident.

Tassie is such a great place to ride, there are so many good twisty roads with awesome views of mountains, lakes, farmlands, forests, beaches and historical places. Plenty of dirt roads too for even more adventures.

Thanks to a great bunch of guys for such a memorable trip, without you guys it wouldn't have been the same. All good riders, and great company. There were many tall stories told in the pub at days end, good times. Shout out to our fearless tour captain Dougie, for booking all the important stuff. Thanks Legend.

We booked all of our accommodation, mostly pubs in advance. Lucky as most places were booked out. Our first day was 26th March and last was 2nd April, 8 days in total. The temperatures were good mostly, although we did have a few cold days near the end of the trip, earlier in march might be a better option but it was still good until early April but I probably wouldn't plan a trip later than this. Most of the accomodation at the pubs cost between $50-$75 which is great value. Fuel prices were sky high at around $2.30 - $2.35 per litre, but have since dropped to more reasonable levels($1.80).

I did 2873kms around Tassie on my trip meter, average 359km per day which was a good distance I think and I did over 5000kms for the trip in total. You could do more kms per day but I feel that you would end up missing a lot of things, as it was 8 days was good but still a bit short. I think you would need a good 14 day trip here just so you could see and do a lot of things. Camping would make it cheaper but could be bad in wet weather.

We did our best to inject some much needed funds into the local pubs and bakery's, although the bakery score looks pretty low, we did spread the love to some local cafe's, no franchise places for us. 
Pubs Saved Counter:              11                
Bakery's Saved Counter:        6

Day 8 Map Reference

Monday, April 25, 2022

Tasmania 2022 Day#7 - Saving Tassie one pub at a time tour

I was up early today so went out and Flyboy and Craig were about so we wandered up main street looking for a coffee. We found a reasonably average coffee at the train station where all the crowds were today, it was busy as the train was about to leave. I've done this Western Explorer train ride down to Strahan with my wife and 1st Daughter about 10 years ago. It was actually a lot of fun and would recommend it to anyone. It has some really steep climbs and has this abt rack and pinion system to get the train up the hills, apparently the only one in the southern hemisphere.

Today's ride was going to be another different ride. As we have 2 days left in Tassie and I wanted to do the Western Explorer which is dirt, it would be better to do it today rather than the day we have to be boarding the boat for the north island because if anything went wrong out there we would be stuck. So the other guys took to the tarred roads with a few loop rides and Flyboy and I took to the gravel roads up the Western Explorer route. I can see this is going to be a big day looking at the map.

We got underway just after 9:30, running about half hour later than I would have liked, we took the twisty Zeehan Highway which is a great ride to Zeehan, plenty of twisty bends. Riding north out of Zeehan it was just after 10am, the sun was flicking inbetween the tree's making it difficult to see, with the constant flicker of bright light and dark shadows of the tree's. Suddenly I see a kangaroo about 1 meter in front and to the right of me heading towards me. "FUCK" I thought and then, a big thump through the bars/bike followed by some weaving. I then slow/pull on the brakes but have to setup to enter the next turn. After the turn I come to a quick halt. Flyboy pulls up alongside from following behind. We both exchange a few more "Fuck" words, then turn around and go back around the corner to have a look and inspect the damage. 

I hit this Wallaby at about 110kmh on the gas as I couldn't see him and had no reaction time whatsoever. Probably turned out to be a good thing being on the gas at the time and we were only 2 km's out of Zeehan. Sphincter is definitely puckered.....

Africa Twin 1, Skippy 0

Inspecting the bike there was no damage at all, smacked the critter fair on the front tyre I reckon. How lucky that was I can't describe. The next 30 minutes had me riding along at 90-100kmh, I'm sure Flyboy was getting annoyed at my slow speed but something like this does things to your mind. 

As we popped out of the tree lined forests we could see the ocean in the distance, coming down the hill below there was a massive wind farm up ahead. Probably a great place to have one here on the west coast. We stopped for a few photos' before proceeding onwards to the Corinna turnoff.

Turning down the Corinna road towards the ferry, I stopped for a quick pic. The road is super narrow here and is all dirt on google maps, but found about half of it was tarred now. The dirt was good compacted gravel and easy to ride. 

We arrived at the pieman river and stop as we can't go further. There is a button to press to call the Fatman Barge across. The barge is big enough to put about 2 cars on or 1 car and 2 motorcycles. Corinna is on the other side of the river. 

The Barge came across picked us up, a couple of minutes later we were in Corinna. We stopped at the Tarkine Hotel to pay for the barge journey. 13 beer coupons for the ride one way. We stopped also for a coffee and sat out the front. Geoff would of been on his second beer by now I reckon.

Everytime someone would press the buzzer the guy would have to come out of the hotel and go to the ferry and ride it across. He must get sick of that everyday, quite an inconvenience. 

It was now 11:30am and time to get going. Taking off down the road from here was all gravel, turning onto the Western Explorer about 3kms from Corinna, continuing straight would have taken us to Waratah.

The landscape change drastically going along the western explorer, we started in thick forest with winding road then it opened out into vast hills with views as far as the eye could see over hilly bush terrain. We couldn't have asked for a better day to do this trip, sunny and about 20°C. The surface on the southern end was a little slippery in places but rather good otherwise.

We came to Donaldson river lookout on the western side of the road. The views from here had big hills on one side and forests on the other, with the river running through the middle somewhere down below.

Donaldson River Lookout

One minute we would be riding up and down hills through forest then next we would be riding out on open plains over the hills where you could see what was coming over the hills in the distance. Made for spotting oncoming vehicles easy as you could see there dust kicking up. But we probably only saw 3 cars going either way, that's how remote this road is.

Every now and again we came to a really steep section, and they had tarred that little bit, it helped getting up and down them, would be narly in the rain if it wasn't tarred. In all there were about 4 little sections like this which last for maybe 1km or less.

The last 10 kms of the road opens up into a very wide road and the surface is super grippy and easy riding. I was doing 110kmh along this last section until it came to the T intersection at Tarkine Drive. I waited for Flyboy to catch up as he was staying out of my dust trail.

Good to see Tasmania is full of responsible shooters. 

It was now 1pm and we were a little hungry, so we made for Arthurs River. To our disappointment it was even smaller than I'd read about, there was only one shop and it was this tiny little cafe below, as we entered the girl behind the counter said they have no power an electrician is coming so she can't cook anything. So ham cheese and tomato sammiches it was for us then. I asked about fuel as I wasn't going to make it back to Zeehan. She said no fuel here you need to go to Marrawah about 15 kms north. We sat in the shade and discussed options on the return route whilst munching down our lunches.  

We saw two signs about the ferry hours, one sign said 7pm, the other 5pm closing and the alternate route to Zeehan was through Waratah, which would be 150 kms out of the way with no fuel as they were closed due to covid from a few days earlier. This could be bad if we got to the ferry and it was closed. We also discuss riding around and down through Hellyer gorge to Queenstown, except that was going to be 292kms and about 4 hrs. The sign also said 2 hours from Tarkine Drive to Corinna. We were a little unsure how we would go, minimal photos stops from this point was in order.

We blasted up to Marrawah and filled the bikes with 91, that's all they have then came back to Arthurs river, it was now 2.25pm by the time I stopped at the bridge and took these photos.

The first 10kms of dirt we rode side by side to minimise one rider being so far behind because of the dust, until we started hitting the hilly twisty section then went single file again. There is one really interesting section that rises up over a pass that has these really tall gums trees that rise up really high. I didn't stop to take any photos of that maybe next time but was spectacular.

I actually think the road rides better from North to South and the scenery is more spectacular in this direction and the riding is also better. I had to stop at this hill top for a photo, only 1 of 2 spots on the way back I stopped for a photo, we didn't want to miss the ferry.

We arrived back at Corrina just before 4:30pm, the publican confirmed the ferry was running until 7pm today. Flyboy said let's have a beer, I'm good with that but I said let's jump on the ferry as its about to go and we will have the beers on the other side then we don't have to wait on the ferry to come back. 

Happy boy with 2 beers in his tankbag

Fatman barge driver looking bored 

Riding off the barge we parked up on the other side. Opened the cans of beer high fived each other and said cheers. A well earned beer today I must say. There was a small path here that lead into the woods we went for a quick walk. It lead up into the hills to a grave site of early settlers.

The beers went down a treat and now it was time to get going as it was getting late in the afternoon and I really didn't want to encounter any more skippys today. It was 86kms from here to Queenstown through some twisty roads and still a bit of dirt. Getting into Zeehan both petrol stations were closed, so lucky I didn't risk trying to make it here. I would have run out by about 1.5 litres and had to syphon Flyboy dry then we would both probably got stuck here. Lucky there were no Tuono's on this leg otherwise they'd still be out there.

We got back into Queenstown about 5:40pm and the other boys were sitting up having drinks. We retired to the bar for drinks and dinner. The boys were amazed at me hitting the wallaby and not coming off. The pub closed early tonight about 9pm, but the barmaids allowed us to buy take aways and sit in the bistro area. After the wallaby incident and about 180kms of gravel roads today I really needed a few more drinks.

Pubs Saved Counter:              10                
Bakery's Saved Counter:        5

Day 7 Map Reference