November 29, 2010 GMT
Bay of Fire
Monday 29th November 2010 - I awoke this morning to clear blue skies and sunshine, so I packed up the bike and rode the half mile down to the backpackers hostel and checked in there. Then I took the road to Billabong Bay to see the Bay of Fire. This is so named because it is flanked with huge boulders which are covered in a sort of red algae which looks fiery red when the sun shines.
It was a beautiful ride and the ocean was crystal clear with gorgeous white sandy beaches. Another road took me round the other side of the bay where more fabulous beaches were. One even had a 30 minute walk to another beach so, in full motorcycle apparel, I decided to do this. Not the smartest of ideas – I was soaked in sweat by the time I got back to the bike!
Tomorrow I’ll continue south to Wine Glass Bay then on to Hobart.
Posted by Jill Maden at 04:41 AM
Sunday 28th November 2010 – I set off from Bridport to St Helens today. The ride started wonderfully, passing through lots of lilac poppy fields and gentle rolling hills topped with whisping clouds. But as soon as I left Scottsdale the road started winding its way up into the cloud base and before I knew it, I was riding in a downpour. I’d entered a beautiful rainforest but due to the fact that the road had turned into 25km of continuous hairpin bends and I could hardly see through my visor as it was covered in rain and kept fogging up (even my mirrors fogged up!), I hardly dared take my eyes off the road. I did notice some huge green ferns though.
At the end of the pass was a long clearing with nothing in it but a roadhouse. As I was completely drenched by this time, I stopped to warm up. I was so wet my boots had completely filled with water! After a warming cup of tea and an all day breakfast, I stepped back outside to discover the rain was off, so I filled up the tank and continued on to St Helens.
The hostel I had hoped to stay in wasn’t going to open for 3 hours, so, as I was still soaked, I decided to book into a nearby holiday unit as they had a bath available. Oh the bliss of sinking into a hot pool of water. Funny how water can blind you or heal you just depending on the circumstances!
Posted by Jill Maden at 04:33 AM
Saturday 27th November 2010 – As I have 3.5 weeks before I need to be in Whyalla, I’ve decided to go to Tasmania for 2 weeks instead of going east around the coast to Bateman's Bay (as my friends were going to be away). I could have sworn the ferry was at 5.30pm yesterday and that check-in, being 2.5 hours before, was at 3.00pm. So Lou guided me down to the ferry terminal (thank god, as I’d never have found it myself) and got me there for precisely 3.00pm. However the man at the gate then advised me boarding would commence at 4.30pm. I thought this was a bit odd, but didn’t question it, however, when at 5.30 we were all still waiting to board and I was advised that boarding wouldn’t commence to 6.00pm, I fished out my ticket to discover that the ferry was actually scheduled to leave at 7.30pm, not 5.30pm (damn 24 hour clock, I always get confused with it)!
However, the extra wait was not wasted as I met a big group of bikers from Western Australia, and another couple of guys from WA called Pat & Martin. There was also a group of bikers from the Australian Outlaws but they were a bit too scary to talk to.
So this morning the ferry docked in Devonport and I rolled off to start my loop of Tassie. The roads here are much better than on the mainland apart from all the road kill, and, alas, I think a few Tasmanian Devils will among the victims. My route took me east to Port Sorrel, then to Exeter, then across the Batman Bridge to George Town and Bridport where I checked in to the YHA. There was a group of gardening enthusiasts there who were very friendly and one even gave me her number to contact when I get to Hobart. A very intense young man called James also checked in and did his best to convince me he was totally over his ex-girlfriend by talking about her all night! The warden was also very friendly and, as there was a band on at the local hotel we arranged to go together to see it. Unfortunately the whole town experienced a blackout that night when a car ran into a power line, so we had to abandon that outing.
Posted by Jill Maden at 04:30 AM
So the last month in Melbourne was lovely. Apart from a few torrential downpours, the weather warmed up and I was able to get out and about and explore the local, and not so local, area. And, of course, I got to walk the doggies every day. They are such delightful creatures – so friendly and obedient and affectionate. A couple of nights they even burrowed under my covers and spent the night keeping me cozy. And the unexpected bonus from all the walking is that I’ve lost about half a stone in weight and am a lot fitter!
Posted by Jill Maden at 04:25 AM
November 10, 2010 GMT
Wednesday 10th November 2010 – When I returned to Melbourne I was in a bit of a quandary about whether I should sell the bike and get a car. Because I’d be here for a month, it would give me time to sell it, but, surprisingly, I found I wasn’t that keen to do that just yet. However, I explored all the options, like buying or renting a car, putting the bike on motorail, leaving the bike in somewhere like Brisbane then flying to Whyalla, but none of them were going to be that easy or inexpensive. Then, yesterday, I decided to see what I’d get for the bike if I sold it. I took it back to the place I’d bought it and it turned out they weren’t buying any new stock and, even if they had been, I’d have only got about half of what I’d paid for it. So this put an end to my swithering and I decided to keep it. Funnily enough, I found myself feeling enormously relieved with this decision. Guess I wasn’t ready to give up the adventure just yet!
Posted by Jill Maden at 09:41 AM
November 04, 2010 GMT
Wednesday 3rd November 2010 – So I left Lake Boga on Monday and rode the 366.4 km back to Melbourne. It was a sunny day but quite chilly, but nevertheless I made good progress. Somewhere between Echuca and Bendigo a big orange light started flashing on my dashboard. Thinking this was the oil light, I pulled over and poured in half a bottle of oil. However, on restarting, the light didn’t go out. As I was getting low on petrol and needed to find a garage anyway, I decided to press on regardless, all the time thinking “Funny, why would the oil light stay on when I’ve just added more oil?”. Then it struck me, this wasn’t the oil light at all, it was the fuel light telling me I’d gone onto the reserve tank! Doh! Luckily I managed to make it to a petrol station before running out so all was well.
The panniers have made a big difference to the handling of the bike and I felt my old confidence starting to return as I neared Melbourne. Even found myself whooping out loud as the city skyline came into view.
So now I’m back at my friends’ house and looking after their 2 gorgeous whippets for 4 weeks. Hopefully this time won’t be too eventful so it may be a while before I post any more news.
Posted by Jill Maden at 10:24 AM