Grenfell, NSW and the run home through the mid west

Grenfell, NSW and the run home through the mid west

The little town of Grenfell is famous for a couple of things

The birthplace of Henry Lawson

And of my mother

Its a pretty town in the mid west on NSW

I only stayed a night

Just wanted to touch my mothers spirit

Its 27 years since her passing

The during the pandemic I have heard here voice a lot

She was born just before the 1918/1919 pandemic and was a stickler for hygiene

Michael, wash your hands, have you got a hanky, always cover your mouth when you cough

Probably the teaching of her mother

There was a beautiful dawn the next morning as I looked out from the balcony of the hotel.

And I was soon heading back through the NSW mid west plains back Melbourne.

The Motorcycle as Art

The Motorcycle as Art

The motorcycle has been used as a symbol in many ways;

the rebel,

the outlaw

the philosopher

The revolutionary

the freedom seeeker

the speed freak racer

the dare devil

and many more archetypes

The book Sons of Thunder in its anthology of writing covers many of these

To a rider their bike is a work of art

But as a public artform curated in an Art Gallery

This was special

The beautiful old Moto Guzzis took my eye

as the the Norton Commando and Laverda Joto-bikes I once owned

There were bikes so stylish

And bikes record breakingly fast

There were the off road bikes

And the electric bikes of the future

And my favourite – amazing hand built Britten

Still amongst the most innovative and eye catching bikes ever built

So if you love the image of motorbikes, the art of motorbikes and you are in Australia, head to the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane

whoops I nearly forgot the helmets

and if you go don’t forget to buy a tshirt!

Is Yamba the most iconic beachside town in Australia?

Is Yamba the most iconic beachside town in Australia?

Yamba sits where the Clarence River meets the Pacific Ocean

The rolling white surf of the ocean

Crashing into the salt water pool at high tide

These pools are such iconic scenes of beaches on the norther NSW coast

Where you can swim in the ocean water that in Spring is a warm 22c

Looking back to land from the waters edge

The white sand and the matching cream coloured Surf Lifesaving Pavilion lead your eyes to the Pacific hotel

The perfect place for a cold beer and a meal on a summers day.

The smooth water of the moorings in the Clarence River are such a contrast to the pounding white surf of the ocean just the other side of the headland

and looking west of the Clarence river

The sunset is breathtaking

On the way to Yamba from Coffs Harbour there is one of my favourite camping spots.

It’s in the Yuraygir National Park the Illaroo campground.

I had first visited this place with a dear friend.

There was a big thunder storm due

So I pitched my tent and shelter in behind the sand dune and its scrub

and walked down to the beach to await natures lightshow

I wish I had the skills crashes of thunder and the forks and sheets of lightning that filled the sky that night.

Hitting the road on the Mighty Breva as Australia is close to Covid 19 free

Hitting the road on the Mighty Breva as Australia is close to Covid 19 free

The internal borders on the eastern seaboard of Australia finally started to open as the community transmission of Covid 19 is eliminated.

It was time to load up the mighty Moto Guzzi Breva and hit the road.

Time to visit dear friends interstate that I hadn’t seen a long while

First stop was the lovely old town of Carcoar,and the lovely camping spot on the banks of the dam

From Lithgow through to Singleton the Bell Line of Road and the Putty Road is a spectacular ride across the top of the Blue Mountains.

The Blue Mountains were badly burnt in the terrible Australian bushfires last summer, but it was great to see some regeneration.

Off the Blue Mountains it was the backroads to the beautiful Pacific coastline north of Sydney.

Rattling over the old timber bridges that are distinctive part of the NSW backroads.

On the way from the mountains to the coast.

On the northern NSW coast mountains and the sea come together and on a hot summer day there is the ocean or a run up the Waterfall Way for a freshwater dip.

To Dangar falls in Dorrigo.

A route enjoyed by many beautiful bikes.

And at the bottom of the Waterfall Way is Urunga.

Where the Kalang River flows into the Pacific Ocean.

And the big old hotel offers a cold beer, a comfy room and a good meal.

The Mighty Breva meets the Mighty Murray in North East Victoria

The Mighty Breva meets the Mighty Murray in North East Victoria

I had approached the Upper Murray from the long way around

Starting from Yarram in South Gippsland

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A small town famous for its street murals.

Its winter and the high roads over Mt Hotham and Falls Creek are closed so it was the low road

Bruthen to eskdale

A pearler of a ride from Bruthen north to the little Village of Eskdale 223 km of curves and into the Upper Murray Region.

Has to be the greatest unrecognised rides in the world.

It was damp cold and at a pass through the Alpine National Park it was 1c and my mind turned to thoughts of black ice on the road.

A cabin waited for me at the Eskdale Caravan Park

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Welcome refuge after a long wet ride

A good night sleep and onto my next destination

The Great River Road starts at the bridge that connects Victoria and NSW at Hume Weir and follows the winding course of the Murray upstream to Khancoban at the base of the Kosciusko National Park.

The Road is around 180km of scenic windy road along the Murray River.

The views of the Murray are special especially if you take a bit of time and pull off into some of the river side reserves and camp grounds.

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The weather was cold but clear and not too bad for riding if you have the right gear.

But the joy of winter camping is campfires

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As the Great River Road is developed as a tourist road the is are well layed out scenic  stops with interpretation on the river and pieces of sculpture

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The camp facilities along the road are great quality. Especially at  Walwa where you can camp with great facilities and a campfire right on the banks of the river.

The road finishes at Lake Khancoban in NSW

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The scars of the recent bushfires are there, both on the landscape and in the stories of the locals

But the land and the people are resilient and signs of renewal abound

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And of course there is something  very special about a winter sunset inland

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A bit of greenery and a lucky turn in the hinterland

A bit of greenery and a lucky turn in the hinterland

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It was a sunny clear still winters day

The air was crispy cold as I headed out of the city and into the rural hinterland of Melbourne

As I passed over the Murchison Gap  the rich green farming land was rolling out in front of me – a sight to see

The little back roads winding through the hills and farmland beckoning

But it was a holiday weekend and the roads were slowly filling, even the back roads were starting to bulge with caravans being towed by big SUVs.  Post the Covid 19 lockdown I think all Melbournites were keen to get out of the city.

After the lovely tourist town of Marysville I was heading for the Black Spur only to hit a long line of traffic

A sign to Warburton   a quick to the left and I was on a little road through the forest

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The road soon became a gravel track

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And I was in the tall trees and giant tree ferns of the  Yarra Ranges National Park

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The surface was a little damp and slippery in places

But no traffic just the smell of the bush and a through this beautiful piece of old growth forest

Such a lucky turn, a piece of serendipity on a little days ride.

Maldon in the Central Goldfields of Victoria, Australia

Maldon in the Central Goldfields of Victoria, Australia

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In many ways Maldon is the little town that stood still

Built in the 1860’s during the height of the Victorian Gold Rush

It remains largely unchanged

 

There is a lovely 2 hour ride to Maldon through the Central Highlands of Victoria

Past the farming and old logging towns of Greendale and Trentham

To the Spa centres of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

The Hepburn – Newstead road is a little ripper

From Newstead perched on the Loddon River its a gentle curves and sweepers through scrubby bush to Maldon

And its Gold mining history of diggings and old gold processing building ruins

 

And like all good old country towns there is the little quirk

The little Triumph motorcycle shop.

Looking as old as the town and the Triumph Motorcycle itself

Not surprising as Maldon host the a major highlight of the annual All British Motorcycle rally

The ride from the Newstead Racecourse camp ground to Maldon

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One of my most memorable visits to Maldon was to see a round of the 2013 World Motorcycle Trials World Championships

Held on a specially designed course on the side of Mount Tarrengower

Which provides a beautiful view over Maldon

What a beautiful ride on a crisp winters day!

Apollo Bay to Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road

Apollo Bay to Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road

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Apollo Bay Fishing Harbour

To get to Apollo Bay there is the route along the eastern part of the Great Ocean Road or

The Road over the Otway Ranges from Forest

After travelling via Anglesea and Lorne last week this time it was over the Otways.

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Tucked between the Otway Ranges and the sea Apollo Bay remains one of my favourite places to visit and to stay.

From Apollo Bay heading west along the Great Ocean Road in the midst of the Otway National Park is the turn off to Cape Otway and its impressive light house proud upon the steep cliffs of the Cape.

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A beacon for shipping on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast

Past Cape Otway the landscape and the road changes.

East of Cape Otway the road is narrower often clinging to the cliff face and the corners tighter, with patches of dense rainforest.

The sandy surf beaches nestled between rocky headlands like Lorne, Wye River and Apollo Bay

West of the Cape the road evens out more sweeping curves than tight corners, the land an open plateau across the top or the windblown cliffs with offshore the rocky monuments carved by the prevailing wind and sea.

From Port Campbell the view back along the sandstone cliffs toward Cape Otway in the late afternoon light is a sight one never tires of.

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The Great Ocean Road continues onto Warrnambool from Port Campbell, but my route took me north through the coastal hills and farming land to historic Camperdown

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And its famous clock tower.

Then road back to Melbourne.

It is so wonderful to be able to do this ride again free of traffic like it used to be 40 years ago, when sections of the road through the forest was still gravel and tourist coaches had not been invented.

The lockdown provisions in Victoria still preclude staying away overnight.  All the hotels and camping grounds are still closed.  It was nearly a 10 hour trip by the time I got home in the cold and the dark but what a ride and how good to be free!

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 8 – Home in Australia

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 8 – Home in Australia

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Egret hunting in Koroit Creek

Free as a bird

After 14 days locked in the Gilded Cage of enforced quarantine

It was such a relief to be out in the fresh air and sunshine

On my bicycle

On my favourite loop around the bay

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Pelicans fishing and looking across Hobsons Bay

And then time to get the Mighty Breva on the Road

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On the Great Ocean Road

With a mate

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Over the last 10 or so years I have avoided the Great Ocean Road as a ride

The road has become blocked with tourists coaches heading for the main attractions along the road

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So I had missed the grand vistas looking along the cliffs and across the ocean

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The bike in the rhythm of the winding road as it winds along the cliff face, and through the forests

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But this day the roads were empty, the sun shone upon me and the joy of riding this magnificent piece of road was one again enjoyed unhindered.

 

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 7 – Quarantine in Australia

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 7 – Quarantine in Australia

Back in Australia and in mandatory quarantine

14 days seems easy but not for a wanderer

Caught in a gilded cage

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Moonrise over Melbourne

A room with a view

Five star

But maybe its just Welcome to Hotel Coronafornia

‘We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave’

Its all part of the war on Covid 19

The WAR

I have a song by War playing in my head.

‘Four Cornered Room’

The refrain

‘As I sit in my four corned room’

And though this cage is nicely gilded

For me

Luxury is no substitute for liberty

My home on my travels for the last half dozen years

In Australia and Europe

Has been my little tent

And the amazing places we have visited

Which have included:

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Route Napoleon, France

Garvov, Romania

St Leon sur Vezere, France

Picos de Europa, Spain

Hirtshals, Denmark

Snowy Mountains, Australia

The Coorong, Australia

Daintree Rainforest, Australia

So as I sit in my four cornered room

In a gilded cage of 5 star luxury

I know nothing can compensate for the loss of freedom of movement

Though confinement is hard I have passed 7 days of the 14 in quarantine

The light is bright at the end of the confinement tunnel

And life will slowly return to normal

As I write this cannot help but reflect on how cruelly Australia is treating refugees it holds in indefinite detention

In terrible and dangerous conditions.

Their only crime escaping tyranny in search of liberty 

Australia has certainly become a world leader in confining people