Sunday 30 September 2012

GS OZ Day 4 Adelaide 337k 4:10hr

Weather had perked up a bit so we rode along the coastal Coorong national park of Mr Percival the Pelican fame. Glorious roads with little to no traffic.

Reacjing Adelaide around 4pm we set up camp in the Grand Chancellor deluxe suite and headed out for Mexican and a movie. Followed by a visit the Rundle Mall pigs

As you can see the theme for this adventure will be that great Australian
tradition the Big Thing. What better to start it off than the Big Lobster of Kingston S.E.

Saturday 29 September 2012

GS OZ Day 3 - GFD rest day Robe again

Basically ate pies, drank beer and watched the Swans win the grand final. This was opportune as the wind and rain persisted most of the day.

GS OZ day 2 - Robe 450k 4:45hr

Port Campbell was a very pretty little town. Unfortunately we awoke to rain so on with the wets. Very windy ride to Warrnambool for breaky.

Bloody oath. Cross winds gusting to 50kts over a six and a half hour ride. Some of the scariest moments i've ever experienced. Ended up blown onto the opposite side of the road a few times. The rain was just an added bonus.

The gear performed well. I was dry and relatively warm. Would not have wanted to be on any other bike either.

Safe and warm in Robe (SA) where we will stay 2 nights so leasky can watch the Grand Final. I will support the Swans by sinking beers and munching on a few pies.

Sry dear reader, no pics today. It's too foul.

Thursday 27 September 2012

GS Oz Day 1 Port Campbell 290k 4:30 hr

Finally left Melbourne for my motor cycle odyssey around Australia. Took for ever to get the last things finalised, installed etc.

Greg Leask is joining me for the first week or two.

After coffee and breakfast of a bacon and egg roll in Port we rode to Anglesea then along the Great ocean road to the 12 apostles and then on to Port Campbell. A beautiful ride coast, forests, farmland, heaps of twisties and bugger all traffic which is weird as its bloody school holidays.

Monday 17 September 2012

First Dirt

Took the GS for a squirt down to Anglesea to try and dial in the wind shield and also see how she went on some dirt. The reasonable Tracks of the Anglhook Nat park were just the thing. I scared my self a few times when the stones got tennis ball size but stayed upright and pottered around at about 40 Km/ h. The bike handles remarkably well and I'm sure the electronics are doing their bit. I went a lot more confidently than I expected.

The wind shield needs to be taller or it needs a little spoiler to reduced wind noise and buffeting to the level experienced when I crouch down about 10cm.

Friday 14 September 2012

New Bike

Picked up the new bike this arvo. Very special. Look fwd to giving her a familiarization ride on the weekend. First impression in port Melb traffic is its easier to ride than Ducati and will be much more comfy.

Ewin McGregor move over

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Melb - Prep Week for next Adventure

Arrived late Sat night and have been wide awake for the first three nights as I recover from jet lag.

As I need to head out pretty soon so as to miss the wet season int WA/NT/QLD this week is all about preparation. Route planning, maps, sorting kit, buying stuff, buying more stuff and getting exited.

I managed to visit the BMW dealer to see my bike being prepped (pictures) for delivery on fri (hopefully). Its looking good and I cant wait to give her a spin.

Folding chair.
Folds to the size of a shoe

Saturday 8 September 2012

Fairwell Europe..... for Now

After an early and sad farewell to KB this am we headed off on separate adventures.

I fly back to OZ today from Geneva and pick up my new BMW 1200GS on Friday which I've bought via my iPhone (when I've had wifi coverage on the tour) from Harold at BMW Motorad Southbank. (See picture, I've optioned up the wheels to cross spoke and will add some protective stuff and paniers before I leave)

Friday 7 September 2012


After sleeping in and having a leisurely breakfast we headed up the Aguille Midi cable car to check out mont Blanc closer up. It is a brilliant vantage point over looking just about everything. We watched climbers heading of in all directions and soaked up the scenery for about 3 hours. If its a clear day you just have to do this.

Went to the MBC micro brewery for dinner to celebrate completing the tour and our next adventures with a few well chosen beers.

KB is heading to fix a passport problem then Italy, Morroco, Tibet and who knows what other exciting directions. I on the other hand am returning to OZ to ride around Australia before the wet season really sets in.

TMB - Round Up


Distance walked = 180 km

Total ascent and descent = 10,000m

Total days to complete = 13

Total walking days = 12

Total rest days = 1

Avg dist per walking day = ~15km

Rainy days =~ 1

Overcast but dryish days =~ 2

Sunny days (read hot) = 9

Avg daily spend = ~80Au

Avg accom = Refugios, twin room or dorm with breakfast and dinner

No of nights in dorm accom = 2

3 fondest recollections

- having nothing to do but walk inc the up hills my favorite (seriously)

- Real Mountains up close

- Cow Bells and Heidi Houses.

3 least favorite parts

- the down hills. My knees are over it

- dorms

- the guide book was not brilliant

Main surprises

- how stunning the mountains are. Every day

- how hard the days were. I must be getting tired

- how old some of the walkers are and how far they walk in a day

- how expensive Switzerland compared to France and Italy

- that I've had enough of walking.....for now

Thursday 6 September 2012

TMB Fini - Les Houches

An 8hr slog to finish up. Beautiful views as we continue along the western balcony (the range opposite mt Blanc across the Chamonix valley). Very steep climbs and traverses with the odd ladder thrown in. After consuming a spectacular omelet at refuge la chat. We started the final 2.5hr descent to Les Houches through pine forests via steep zigzag trails.

Finally a celebratory beer at Les Houches while waiting for the bus back to Chamonix. Absolutely knackered and hoping there are some new knees growing on the back of some mouse in a laboratory somewhere ready for my return.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

TMB Day 12 - Le Flegere

Second last day today. The walk took us up and along the range parallel to the Chamonix valley. It was steep and exposed with about 30m of ladders in the steepest parts. Quite often there were steep drop offs of 100s of meters beside the track just waiting for a wrong step.

We walked a little faster than expected especially given the ladders so we wre at the la Flegere refuge by lunch time.

Unfortunately our last night was dorm accommodation but the view of mt Blanc from my window eased the pain.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Day 11 - Le Tour

After a short walk down from the Col de la Forclaz we started on of the biggest climbs of the tour to Col de Balme. Luckily the gradients were ok so though long it was quite enjoyable.

Finally at Col de Balme refuge we had a coffee. Worst coffee of the tour. Instant I think and the old woman that runs the joint was supper grumpy. Thank god we had readjusted our days to be a bit longer as we originally were planning to stay here.

From the Col it was a pleasant walk down ski fields to Le Tour.

TMB Day 10 - Col Del a Forclaz

Leaving Champex the route takes us down a valley to La Poya before starting the daily climb.

The climb to Bovine was relentless but not too steep and the views to the Swiss alps and valleys kept me entertained. Bovine has a little farm house that makes extra money buy serving meals. I ordered the Swiss equivalent of a plough mans and a glass of red. It was awesome, all meats and cheeses where produced on the farm(see photo) I could just feel the cholesterol increasing.

The trail from here skirts around contours until gradually (Swiss gradually) winding down to the Col de la Forclaz where we checked itno the hotel. The hotel is the only building on the col and is situated on a main road that appeared to be a motorcycling destination due to the spectacular curves.

Monday 3 September 2012

TMB Day 9 - Champex

Unfortunately the Ultra TMB Marathon (168km 10000m ascent and descent 22hrs) was canceled due to the snow so we didn't see these mad bastards speed past us.

Avery pleasant day even though it was raining. Initially we walked along a valley with loads of little Heidi holiday houses with neatly staked fire wood outside. Then after lunch there was the mandatory steep ascent through woodlands with little wooden carvings (mainly if mushrooms) dotted along the way. Luckily it was only about 500m. so relatively easy.

Champex is a little ski resort village with a lake with a few people fly fishing for trout. Quite successfully too. Checked into the Gite and called it a day

Saturday 1 September 2012

TMB Day 8 - Le Fouley

Well 600m ascent first up to Grande Col Ferret was a bit harsh but there was a howling head wind and pelting snow to assist. It's supposed to be summer:-)

After the col it was a beautiful snow covered tramp skirting along the contours down to a river and on to Le Fouley with a brief stop for a coffee at Refugio la Peule. We're in Switzerland now and there are Heidi houses everywhere.

The Ultra TMB marathon will pass through here tomorrow am. But for now the town is cheering the smaller (100km) Courmayeur to Chamonix CCC runners though.