The Steinbock ready for the outback

The Steinbock ready for the outback

It has been an anxious wait to start this trip.

A covid 19 5 day lock down in Melbourne meant state borders closed and my Central Australian adventure not possible.

Life during the 5 day lockdown was not too arduous as I live near the beach

And it was only 5 days till I could catch up with mates again

And undertake preparation for the trip ahead.

In the days of GPS I still love a good map

The 5 day lockdown turned out a godsend.

The outbreak was quickly bought under control and there are no more new cases in Victoria

I recieve my permit to enter South Australia on Friday and today I complete my annual medical tests

Problem of being 63 with some heart disease.

But will soon be off on the adventure which will take in

The Great Ocean Road;

The Coorong;

The Adelaide Hills,

The Flinders Ranges,

The Oodnadatta track and surrounds,

The Red Centre of Australia made most famous by Uluru and the amazing county around it

Into Queensland and down to Longreach,

The fossil area finds around Winton,

Carnarvon Gorge.

0ver 8,000 km to get to my friends eldest daughters wedding near Brisbane.

Wouldn’t do it any other way!

Time to test and set up the new bike – 2

Time to test and set up the new bike – 2

A mob of sheep being hearded along the road side to confirm you are in rural Austratralia

That you are in the mid west of NSW

I waited till it was clear to skirt around the outside of the mob and the sheep dogs and farmer skilfully hearded the sheep into the selected paddock

You also know you are in mid west NSW when you set up tent in the back of the Premer Hotel and enjoy the hospitality and a few Schooners of Old.

But the purpose of the trip north was not to enjoy the mustering of sheep or the taste of a Tooheys old but to test the Steinbock’s comfort for long touring and to test its ability on some of my favourite riding roads. Also to test it on trails I had been reluctant on which to ride the mighty breva.

The Steinbock handled the beautiful roads of the Coffs Coast area of NSW with aplomb taking the beautiful Waterfall Way and its surrounding roads in its stride. AA full tick of approval indeed

But the real test was the Armidale to Kempsey back road that included 127 km of varying road surfaces through national parks and beautiful farming land. (see map above)

What a ride! I also became very aware of how tiring riding on trails iy is compares to road riding.

In the highlands south west of Kempsey are the beautiful Ellenborough Falls. The longest single drop falls in NSW

From to falls east there is there is the Flying Fox Refuge in Wingham on the Manning River

Not far from the coast and its beautiful beaches

The Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac is emblematic of the biker culture in this part Australia

And a travelling piecemeal adventurer can find like souls – lovers of bikes and boats

The test was complete and the ride back to Melbourne was direct and purposeful

As I write Melbourne and Victoria are in a circuit breaking lockdown.

Hopefully, these actions curtail the current outbreak of Covid 19 and I will soon be on my adventure to Central Australia via the Oodnadatta Track.

Stay tuned for updates!

A New Year, a new adventure – A new bike – OMG

A New Year, a new adventure – A new bike – OMG

Well after a 2020 full of upheaval and Australia acting as a island of refuge and safety in this strange covid 19 world it was time to take a change of direction.

Have no fear readers and followers the mighty Breva has not been cast onto the scrapheap of motorcycle blogisms

With over 180,000 Km on the clock at is time for the mighty Moto Guzzi Breva to get some TLC

So its place is on the work table in the shed at the moment

It is time to explore central Australia and the mighty Breva was not the bike for this trip

It was over 40 years ago that I rode a Norton Commando Interstate around Australia

Highway 1 – the main highway around Australia- in those days included around 2,000 km of dirt road up in the north of Western Australia and near the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Heading south from Darwin the Highway turns east and Tennant Creek heading to the east coast and avoiding Australia’s red centre

In 2014 I took the mighty Breva to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia but the red centre still evades me

Its time to remedy this and the I’ve chosen a BMW F800GSA to do it

The aim is to head off from Melbourne in early March and head up through South Australia to the Flinders Ranges and along the Oodnadatta Track to Alice Springs and Uluru

The next 7 weeks will be about setting the bike up for the trip

And honing up my off road skills.

So stand by friends and followers the next adventure is Australia’s Red Centre

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.

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.

Release from the Melbourne Covid-19 Lockdown and a loop around Victoria, Australia

Release from the Melbourne Covid-19 Lockdown and a loop around Victoria, Australia

After four long months and the defeat of the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Melbourne, restrictions were lifted and travel within rural parts of the state of Victoria is allowed.

Time to spread the wings

The route – an 1800km loop around the outskirts of Melbourne – A route I will dub the outer Melbourne Ring Road.

Victoria, is the smallest mainland state of Australia but with a diverse landscape some iconic riding roads, along the coast and over mountains.

This route took in aspects of them all

Starting with a trip in company past the Port Phillip Bay Heads (the Rip) an often treacherous piece of water but calm and benign this day.

Off the ferry it was a ride through the Mornington Peninsula to Cape Schank and its magnificent view over Bass Strait

There is a lovely ride from Cape Schank to the township of Flinders before heading up to the first set of mountain twisties around the base of Mount Baw Baw.

And through some magnificent old growth forest.

After a run on the back roads of Gippsland camp awaited at Bruthen and the start of the Great Alpine Road.

From Bruthen the Great Alpine Road runs up the Tambo River Valley

Up to the summit of Mount Hotham

The northern side of the mountain is the most steep and a bit of a testing ride at times and then just after it flattens out there is a turn off to Mount Beauty over the Towonga Gap Road; with its beautiful views over the Kiewa Valley and the Mount Beauty Township.

Storms were forecast and a caravan was found beside the Kiewa River

After the storm the next morning was cool and the clouds still hung in the Valley

The run was now west through the King Valley

One of Victoria’s famous food and wine regions

With beautiful country pubs

And views over the valley from the mountains that flank it

The final twist for the day was to head north over the Macedon Ranges to Mount Franklin

Where there is a camping area in the crater of this old volacano

And walks around the crater rim

Mount Franklin is near the historic gold mining town of Maldon. See previous post here

The route west was then onto Maryborough and its amazing Victorian Era Railway station built during the gold rush

Then Avoca in the central highlands and central to the Victorian Pyrenees wine region

To the Grampian Ranges and a ride through these amazing rocky outcrops.

By this time the weather had turned wet and cold and it was a dash south across the western district plains to a warm hotel in the green rolling hills of the Otway Ranges hinterland.

A gentle ride along the Great Ocean Road.

An old time favourite ride see previous posts here and here

The overall trip was just under 2000km

So different to being confined to a 5km radius

Yes it was time to spread the wings.

Next week the interstate borders open!!!!

Travelling in the Time of Coronavirus-Quarantined week 2

Travelling in the Time of Coronavirus-Quarantined week 2

The Mighty Breva remain under the cover, apart from the occaisional shopping trip.

Week 2 of quarantine and its a time of discoveries and little pleasures.

It’s a time self contemplation.

A discovery:

A beautiful beer with a quirky connection.

To quote: This premium strength beer from Rother Valley Brewing Company commemorates the notorious gang of smugglers know as The Blues, who defied the Revenue through out Kent and Sussex for over 50years until their capture and transportation to Australia.

My great grandfather was a rustler not a smuggler and was transported to Australia during the Irish famine.

It’s seems an appropriate drink to have with a healthy home cooked meal

The little pleasures:

The small hardy plants of the salt marsh slowly bursting into life and the days ever so slowly grow longer and warmer.

A bit of self discovery:

Quarantine is a little bit like the kestral hovering, seemingly suspended in space and time. But there is a focus and a purpose.

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the last ferry from Santander

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the last ferry from Santander

It was the last passenger ferry from Spain to the UK steaming into Santander

A small group of motorbikes

And lines of cars and campervans waiting for the exodus.

Like a mini Dunkirk escaping an invisable enemy

It was a different crossing to the previous I have had

No promenading the decks as all passengers were confined to their cabins

Running on the spot to exercise on the 24 hour crossing

Back in England

A walk along the beach in Rye Harbour

Through the marsh to gather my thoughts.

Tonight the UK has gone into lockdown.

Things change quickly in a pandemic.

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

I arrived in Jerez de la Frontera the day the Moroccan Govt closed the border with Spain

That was the end of the Morocco trip

I had booked into the alburgue in Jerez. I extended my booking a couple of days so I could think of the next move

In Jerez some sherry tasting a must

No tasting for this adventurer

I guess it was a sign of what was to come.

So I had to console myself with some garlic prawns and red wine

The was hardly any activity in the Square. Some locals and a few tourists, from the USA and UK by the accent

The cafe owners strangely subdued. Maybe they new something was about to happen

Maybe the lost income from the covid19 pandemic was weighing heavily on them

That Saturday night the lockdown was proclaimed for 15 days

Everything to shut except food stores, pharmacies and petrol station.

Stay indoors

The streets of Jerez totally deserted on Sunday mid day

Initally I had thought Id sit out the lockdown in Jerez.

Sunday all seemed OK. A long term rate could be negotiated. Fix it up Monday morning

It was warm in Jerez, the alburgue was modern big grounds to exercise in and a pool. Perfect place to sit out the lockdown

Monday morning all had changed. Tuesday I had to be out.

Thinks change quickly during a pandemic!

Sunday France had declared a lockdown so travelling back through France was off the cards

Frantic work on the phone.

Booked a ferry spot from Santander to Portsmouth the next Saturday.

All the hotels were shut. Where to stay.

Thank you to the good hearted souls who have given me shelter via airbnb

It was a cold ride from Jerez to Valladolid where Im currently staying locked down

It had snowed the night before on the skifields south of Salamanca. But the sun was out

I pulled into a parking bay. Pulled out my little burner and made a coffee and had a snack of cheese, olives and manderine

And though Spain is beautiful even in the time of a lockdown

At 10pm at night in Jerez, in Valladolid and across Spain. People clap and cheer in appreciation of the health workers.

Cause they are on the front line of the pandemic

The Spanish are beautiful people