The 100th Anniversary of Moto Guzzi at Mandello de Lario

Dear friends and followers this post is an unabashed dedication to Moto Guzzi. My Brevas have carried me faultlessly for near on 200,000km in Australia and 100,000km in Europe over the last 10 years. Many of you have followed those adventures.

Coming to Mandello in many ways is the culmination of my European Adventure. An adventure that started in 2016 and has taken me from the west coast of Ireland to the Romanian coast of the Black Sea and from the Actic Circle in Norway to the edge of the Sahara in Morocco. And so many places in between.

It was a huge celebration in Mandello. The official estimate is that 60,000 people attended the party.

A celebration of the great marque Moto Guzzi and motorcycling in general. The party had been delayed a year due to the pandemic so everyone was ready to celebrate.

A must view part of a visit to Moto Guzzi is the refurbished museum.

There is even a mighty Breva in the museum.

But the main action was in the streets.

And of course Mandello put on the food and wine.

Absolutely amazing gelato cups

Local wine and Pizza with my mechanic mate Baldrick

And a spit roast oven big enough to roast a whole cow!

Saturday night the music played loud. As the locals and visitors alike tucked into the cow with polenta.

Five amazing years travelling Europe, meeting beautiful people who are now friends. Falling in love in Europe with Europe, guided by the goddess Europa.

Thank you Moto Guzzi the motorcycle marque on the Lake Como, the Lake of Dreams. Happy 100th Anniversary!

Gorge du Verdon a walker and rider’s dream

The Gorge du Verdon in Provence offers spectacular riding and views from the top of the Gorge and walks up the cliff face and through the Gorge.

Unfortunately due to the long drought in Europe the water levels I n the Verdon River were low but the views still spectacular. And the cold water inviting for a soak on a hot day.

Castellane was my base for exploring the Gorge.

The imposing rock at the edge of the town provides a first glimpse down the Gorge.

Point Sublime is about 17km along the Gorge Road from Castellane and is a starting point for a number of Gorge walks and for canyoning.

The short ride to the Point gave a taste of the riding joys to come but first day was hiking.

It’s about a 300 metre decent down into the gorge a 1 km walk.

At the bottom of the gorge the first stop has to be a dip in the river.

The walk along the Gorge floor follows a tracks, sometimes beside the river, sometimes cut into the cliff and sometimes a tunnel through the cliff.

The next day was for exploring the road around the top of the Gorge and ended up doing some storm dodging and chasing but what views!!!

Some have said the Gorge du Verdon is amongst the most beautiful places in Europe. I won’t argue.

It certainly makes a wonderful backdrop for the Mighty Breva.

Dear friends a lot happened between La Rochelle and Castellane. I’m in Tuscany now and a lot has happened since Castellane. Sometimes adventuring gets in the way of blogging. Luckily this is a discontinuous narrative and I can fill in the gaps later.

It’s all packed up and time to Go Go Go!!!

It’s my last day in Melbourne before I fly out to the Northern Hemisphere

First time in a couple of years, 2020 when I was locked down in Spain and the UK

I took the mighty Breva for a little ride to warm up the oil before it went into hibernation.

I have to admit late April and almost summer weather in Melbourne

Almost made my question my decision to leave ALMOST

But I did get a last swim in for the season

There is an method to storing motorbikes

Both bikes got a good wash, petrol stabiliser in the tanks to ensure the fuel doesn’t go off and over inflating the tyres to ensure no flat spots. Then there is hooking the batteries up to chargers so they are not dead when I return in 6 months or so.

My dear biker friends if you haven’t got a lift table to work on your bike do!!!

No more laying on the concrete to get to the sump plug or trying to get the oild tray around the centre stand. Agh Bliss.

So my Melbourne bike fleet is all packed away and my Northern Hemisphere Breva is serviced and ready for its next adventure.

There is always something quirky in a blokes garage.

Mine is a clinker rowing boat I built back in my sailing days.

The bow seat makes a great hanging space for my riding gear.

It’s a long haul flight from Melbourne to London.

And by the time I got to London the full planes on the flight left me in no doubt that long distance air travel was back following the pandemic.

It is two years to the day that I left London at the first of the covid 19 onslaught on a repatriation flight back to Australia.

It’s time to recommence the journey I was on then when I was locked down in Spain on my way to Morocco.

It’s spring here and the flowers in the local park add colour to the day.

And the familiar sites of London, the old Red telephone boxes and the red double decker buses are there.

In a couple of days I pick up the mighty Breva ii and make make final preparations to catch the ferry to Spain late next week.

So yes cautiously international adventures are back.

So let’s raise our glasses and have a drink to that.

It was time to cross the continent again!

It was was a short few hundred kilometres ride north from Esperence to Norseman.

Norseman is the Western Australian town at the start of the 1400 km stretch of road across the arid south of Australia commonly called the Nullabor crossing.

Basically between Norseman and Ceduna in South Australia there is little more than conveniently spaced road houses.

There was a storm brewing across the wheat fields so I stopped a couple of nights at the Norseman Pub for the weather to clear.

The pub is welcoming and the town though small has some examples. My room opened up onto the balcony where I could brew my morning coffee.

The road in places runs close to the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. The cliffs are certainly a feature of the crossing.

In the Australian winter months the Bight is a breading ground for Southern Right Whales. Unfortunately by the time I got here they were on their massive migration b ack to Antarctica for summer.

There were a was a stop at a roadhouse and at the little village of Penong on the crossing

Penong has an amazing windmill collection including the biggest in the country. These were used mainly for pumping water out of bores in this big dry land.

And now I’ve stopped in the lovely coastal village of Streaky Bay. I’m having a beer with a view.

And have a beautiful camping site on the beach under the shade of a big old Silky Oak tree.

I’m on the last bit back to Melbourne and on my next leg I will cross the route I took heading north into the Flinders Ranges back in March. Nearly 8 months ago having covered 26,000km.

There is still 1500 km to go so I hope I’m not too early in paying a little tribute to the Stienbock the BMW adventure bike that has gobbled up the miles and the challenges over these many months.

But the Streaky Bay jetty was a perfect spot to pose infringement of the sunset and under the stars.

Central Australia Adventure 8 the end of the Oodnadatta Track and into the NT

The northern section of the Oodnadatta Track are in the traditional lands of the Arabana people.

It also contains some relics of the Old Ghan line.

Such as the Algebuchiner Bridge and the old station area at Oodnadatta

An attempt to ride north to Dalhousie Springs ended in a bog and inglorious retreat

So it was another night at Oodnadatta the as the desert dawn sun lit the road in front in front of me it was time to complete the final 200kn of the Oodnadatta track

And onto the Northern Territory

And head to a very lush and green red centre.