Tuesday 5 March 2013

More Walkabout

First day back at work and I'm surprised at the weight I feel and find it difficult to put it into words. Miles Franklin kindly sums it up for me
"My sphere in life is not congenial to me. Oh, how I hate this living death which has swallowed all my teens, which is greedily devouring my youth, which will sap my prime, and in which my old age, if I am cursed with any, will be worn away! As my life creeps on for ever through the long toil-laden days with its agonising monotony, narrowness, and absolute uncongeniality, how my spirit frets and champs its unbreakable fetters — all in vain!"
Consequently,  (Silver lining and all) I was going to close this blog but I have decided to maintain it just to keep myself honest by capturing all the adventures I manage to cram in, to spite work and the black dog.

Monday 4 March 2013

Walkabout_C'est tout! .......... for now :-)

My years walkabout finishes today,

  • Walking over 1,600km across Spain, UK, Iceland, France, Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand
  • Sailing 100nm on a hired yacht up the Croatian Coast
  • Cruising 3,207 nm to the top of Norway and back
  • Backpacking in Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Scotland, UK, NZ, Iceland and Spain
  • Riding my motorcycle over 26,000km around Australia
I'm not tired, not one little bit. I have however, made millions of great memories, lost a bit of weight,  enjoyed my own company and that of others.

I did not have any epiphanies, but did make some personal observations as follows
  1. One thing that became abundantly clear to me though was that one can accomplish and awful lot for not much money when your not working 5 days a week to earn the money you think you need to support a lifestyle that you think makes you happy but ultimately doesn't and that's even if you like your job.
  2. Ultimately the concept of "career" is not a substitute for life.  Its a mechanism of business/society to extract the most work for the least money by fucking with your perception of self and societal worth. Its just making me think positively about devoting most of my time to something I probably wouldn't do if you didn't have to.
Its my job (if you like) is to address these some how get some balance. Work less and live more. My current (ie the average person in Aus) situation of working 100-200 hrs for one day off that I'm too stressed to enjoy is very unhealthy and ultimately unsustainable.

I'm not sure how I'll cope with a return to mainstream, but here goes.

Gippsland last fling

With return to work looming ominously next week I headed out to my mate Theo's in Gippsland for one last fling and taste of freedom. I rode out Friday lunch time to arrive in time for the usual hospitality including inspecting and playing Theos new guitar purchases, a cigar, a Guinness and great Meal.

Next Morning we set off for Wilsons Prom in largely fine but variable weather conditions. The Strong wind made some parts interesting for the wrong reasons but on the whole the ride was fast and fun.

We reached Tidal River around lunch. After a walk on the beach, sweating in our motorcycle gear in the now briliant sunshine, we procured a coffee and viddles. We returned via Foster and Yarram with the final squirt through Tarra Bulga and over Mt Tassie. As has become customary Theo, Rosa and I e finished the day with some great food at the local Indian restaurant.

Sunday at about mid day I pointed the Beemer toward home. Work tomorrow :-(

Saturday 23 February 2013

GS OZ _Fin

Arrived back at Port Melbourne at 6am this morning.

Thats it. I've now completed a complete circumnavigation of Australia (inc Tassie) on the trusty 1200GS. A total of 26,000 km and who knows how many memories (many of which I've already forgotten, bloody memory).

I have still to ride from Adelaide to Alice to have completed the Australian motorcycling "figure 8". But I'm sure I'll do that in winter with Leasky some year.

GS OZ_TAS Devonport

Last day today and decided to take the road to Exeter then the B71 and B72 to Deloraine. A bit of a round about way but better than the A1. From Deloraine it was out to Mole Creek and up the mountains to Moina stopping for our usual last look at the Tiers country at the Round Mountain look out. The last leg was along the Forth River to Devonport for a Guinness or two before boarding the Spirit of Tassie.

Bye Bye Tassie until next time.

I can remember my motorcycle trip to Tassie on my first bike, the Ducati. My skills were non existent, each curve a death threat, my back ached, distances took for ever and I was passed by every vehicle on the road. Now it is effortless, fluid, fast and fun and I do the overtaking, but one thing remains the same, Tassie, ts roads, its scenery, its people.

Friday 22 February 2013

GS OZ_TAS Launceston

Waving goodbye to Bicheno it was up to St Marys for Pancakes before the awesome ride to Launy via St Helens and Scottsdale.

Thursday 21 February 2013

GS OZ_TAS Bicheno

Today we rode up to Bicheno my chill favorite spot in Tassie. We did detour to do the B34 Lake Leak road to Campbell Town and back on the way. Again this road was even more fun than usual with the Beemers poise and my riding improving.

Bicheno was idyllic as usual. We sat in the sun on our veranda overlooking the bobbing fishing boats in the bay and polishing off a few rumbos and cigars. Then it was time for our customary swim in the ice cold water to rejuvenate before walking to dinner at Cyranos, a little french restaurant (read Gem) for some fine food, wine and a chat to Madame Chef.

It doesn't get much better than this.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

GS OZ_TAS Rest Day Hobart

 Raining today. I had wanted to go to MONA by ferry but will do that another time when its fine. Instead we went to a movie (Lincoln) in the arvo and sampled a Curry for dinner.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

GS OZ_TAS Hobart

Strahan to Queenstown for coffee and then to Derwent Bridge for Lunch. This section is probably my favorite in Tassie. I never get bored with this and I'm riding better than ever so its even more fun. The road from Derwent bridge to Hobart is nice but the surveying is average so it drags a bit. Still the worst roads in Tassie are better than most of the good roads in other states.

Tucked up in the Hobart Grand Chancellor by 4pm and ready for a rest day tomorrow as the weather looks a bit rainy.

Monday 18 February 2013

GS OZ_TAS Corinna to Strahan

Broke camp and rode to the Corinna punt the "Fat Man" to cross the Pieman River. From hear the dirt eased and soon we were on sweet tar to Zeehan for Coffee.

Whilst in Zeehan we rode up to see (and ride through) the Slip Tunnel. The Slip Tunnel connects two sides of a mountain for mining purposes that have long since past. The tunnel is just big enough for a car but once in you cant open the doors. Apparently couple freaked out recently and got stuck so now it is no closed to all but pedestrian access.Unless of course you can squeeze your bike between the bollards as we did. A bit of fun and the ride up was very pretty.

Speaking of fun. As the day was still young we decided to take the long way to Strahan via Rosberry-Lake Pimsol-Queenstown. Yee-Haaaa what a road, well surveyed, good surface, no traffic, no cops, twisties, sweepers, fast straights, spot on scenery, etc etc.  The Beemer, her new tires and slightly more competent pilot ate this up.

Still buzzing, we checked into the Hotel in Strahan and celebrated with a beer overlooking the harbor as is customary.

Sunday 17 February 2013

GS OZ _TAS Western Explorer

Awoke at 5:30 AM to the ships intercom announcing our arrival at Devonport. The disembarkation procedure for motorcycles is vastly improved this year and were onshore at 6:45. After our ritual Pie, coffee and procrastination at Banjos bakery we rode west to Stanley to begin the Western Explorer adventure.

The Western Explorer starts in earnest at Marrawah  so we had a pub lunch and a corrugation smoothing beer at the local pub before setting off on the 160k's to Zeehan of mostly dirt road. Leasky was a bit tentative, so we had been asking locals about the roads condition along the way. Responses varied from "heavily corrugated not maintained in 20years" to "good, no problems" ie they didn't have a friggin clue. One woman claimed "it was ok but you have to whatch out for the bull dust", Bull Dust? where are we in NT.

Anyway we decided to give it a go and turn back if it wasn't any fun.

The road is silica based made from tailings from a nearby mine at Savage River. it is, therefore, a white snaking track through a green wilderness of forest and button grass plains.  Its truley spectacular when your not looking 50m ahead at the road. It is steep in places but the steepest sections have been tarred. Also it wasn't was very corrugated at all and whilst the odd place had sandy build up that freaked Leasky out to the point of declaring it was "the worst ride of his life" it is a solid road and we rank amateurs(dirt) could avg a speed of 40-60k.  Not much call for standing on the pegs either.

5pm we decided to camp so found a little place off the road to unroll our swags struck a fire and settled in for a peaceful night talking shit.

Friday 15 February 2013

GS OZ_TAS Tassie Chapter

In another last minute Decision I'm taking the Beemer for a lap of Tassie to really complete the round OZ concept. Leasky is coming along and this time were doing the western explorer, a dirt rod down the west coast.

Boarded the spirit Tassie around 6:30 and now watching Melbourne disappear in the distance under a spectacular electric storm.

Saturday 9 February 2013

NZ Abel Tasman Track

Just completed the 3day Abel Tasman track. Dense fern covered tracks with glimpses of brilliant blue ocean truncated each day with an idic campsite on a secluded beach. "Sweet as bro"

Friday 1 February 2013

NZ Routburn Track

Just completed the 3 day Routburn track. It's reportedly one of the top walks in the whole wide world and I reckon its pretty bloody good.

Day 1 from track head to Routburn falls hut was a hard up hill slog through spectacular Lord of The Rings mossy forests with glimpses of snow caped peaks at the higher altitudes.

Day 2 to Mackenzie hut was alpine heaven. Think lake districts or Scotland but surrounded by European Alps like snow covered peaks. Magic stuff.

Day 3 was back Ito LOTR forests and views up the Holliford Vally to the Tasman. The sand flies made an appearance today for the first time little bastards. Arrived at the divide where we our transport shuttled us all back to Queenstown.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

NZ Meulers Hut Walk

Did the walk up to Meulers hut today 6hrs return and 1100m climb. The views from the hut were spectacular even if the climb was a bastard.
We enjoyed lunch at the hut watching and listening to the avalanches that were in full swing with the midday sun.

Was absolutely knackered so needed a power kip when I got back.

Monday 28 January 2013

NZ Mt Cook

Hired a car and headed up to Aoraki (Mt Cook) for a couple of nights. Stopped on the way at Arrow town for a coffee/brunch lovely little spot but a bit ye olde Devonshire tea'y.

I've never been to Aoraki. It's beautiful. Like being in Europe without all the pretence and people. The evening was spent with a beer and steak at the Mounraineers cafe overlooking Mt Cook.

Early to bed so as to start a walk early tomorrow.

Sunday 27 January 2013

New Zealand Treempin

In a last minute decision I booked a Flight to NZ (queens town) to meet up with KB and tick off a few NZ sth island classic walks. Have Routburn booked and the see what else takes my fancy. Thinking a week or two.

Queenstown is as beautiful as ever.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Pier to Pub

I foolishly entered the Pier to Pub again this year whilst riding around OZ. well I returned just in time to participate meaning the only training was last years swim. So headed down and stayed at the Wynhoven's at big hill the night before. This gave me a chance to catch up with Ollie and Cindy at Aireys Pub after a years absence.

The swim was very pleasant. Long (pic from start line) but I enjoyed it. Too much obviously as I clocked my slowest time ever.

The regulation celebratory BBQ and beers at the Corchette holiday estate was sensational, much merriment with Ollie, Cindy, Simon, Sarah and their bub.

Heads a but sore the next morning the trip back to Melb was postponed till midday.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

GS OZ Day 104 HOME in Port Melbourne 168km 2:00hr

After 104 days, 23,540km and a million memories, I have completed my lap of Australia on my trusty BMW R1200GS managing to keep it shiny side up.

After a big sleep in this morning at Theo and Rosas' I headed off on my last days ride of the tour. Arriving without much ado in Port Melbourne in the afternoon I did a compulsory lap of beach road to let the brain know it was real. Then I made the final right hander and there I was in my drive.

I wonder what it'll be like tomorrow, not packing and climbing aboard?

Now the next adventure Mmmmm? This trip was so much fun I've a good mind to have a weeks sleep and do it all again.

GS OZ Day 103 Traralgon Walhalla

Theo and I headed out on the Beemers to Walhalla for a coffee run today. This is a classic coffee run ride with loads of twisties. We sat to drink our coffees on the banks of the creek and indulged in the usual chat that riding and these surroundings promote.

The ride back was just as fun and after a quick stuff around to find oil for my Beemer we settled in for a BBQ dinner.

Sunday 6 January 2013

GS OZ Day 102 Traralgon 145k 2hr

Woke this morning and headed of to Metung for breakfast with Frank, Suz and Anna. Over eggs we hatched the days plan to go for a sail on the Gippsland lakes on Franks Hobbie Cat. So back at the farm all the equipment was made ready whilst I returned Franks beloved Ducati (pic) into its rightfully home on a track stand in his lounge room after yesterday's coffee run.

The rigging of the cat took a wee bit longer than expected as it needs a little maintenance and several key bits either broke or fell off. It t was late buy the time i pushed Frank and Anna off into the water possibly never to be seen again, so I had to get Suz to drive me back to the farm so I could leave for Traralgon.

The ride along the highway was woefully slow so I switched to the back way through Maffra etc arriving later than expected at my mate Theo's for a few celebratory beers and a cigar.

Saturday 5 January 2013

GS OZ Day 101 Metung 245km 3:30hr

Falwell to the Fuller clan and then south to Gipsland. I organized to stay at My mate Franks farm near Metung. Suz had driven up from Melbourne with a friend Anna.

Franks farm is like a multi building Manland. Firstly theres the house complete with Ducati in the lounge and verandas overlooking the property. Then there's a party shed with bar, fire bins, facility for kegs inc taps etc. Next the toy shed with Franks collection of motor bikes(5) and a wwII jeep. Finally the workshop shed including a smattering of quad Bikes. This is Heaven

it was the Quad bikes that Frank suggested we try first. what fun Frank rode one with Suz clinging for dear life on the back and Anna ridding the other with me on the back. the property is basically a fun park for these bikes we bush bashed thrashed them in circles pushed some steeps and generally invested their carbon footprint wisely.

Next up it was on to the motor bikes. Frank on his Beemer with Side car (wheel chair fits nicely in the side car) Suz on the back, me on my Beemer, Anna on franks Beemer GS and Brian on the Ducati. The ride was beautiful following the Tambo river to the Bruthen Brewery for a cleanser and a squirt back home via Metung to pick up BBQ supplies. The BBQ that evening was a great chance to meet some Franks rather extended family.

What Fun

Friday 4 January 2013

GS OZ Day 100 Merimbula 345km 4:00hr

Finally said my farewells to the Leung clan and headed down the coast to Merimbula to staying with Dave and Annemarie at her parents. I'd never been to this town before and was quite impressed with he surrounding areas. We drove and walked in the national; park (pic) after lunch and walked the town after dinner.

Thursday 3 January 2013

GS OZ Day 99 Berry Again

I had intended to leave today but i dicked around so long that couldn't be bothered. I then convinced Meg to watch a DVD in the arvo and follow that up with a Movie in Nowra (Life of Pi) with Lucy. To cap the sloth day off we ordered pizza.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

GS OZ Day 98 Berry

Sloth Day coffee. Play with the kids etc

Tuesday 1 January 2013

GS OZ Day 97 Berry

Down to the beach this morning after cleaning up from the night before. Caught one wave and had fun with the kids learning to surf.

I the arvo I took Ming on the back of the Beemer and we explored the hills behind Berry which was a bit of fun. I think Ming was distracted from the ride due to his ears being squashed in the helmet.