November 22, 2010 GMT
Setting off in the Land of Oz

After an hour on the tarmac the plane left LA for Sidney Australia and the Great Escape to Australia has began. We (Robert Thode and Martha Thode) are off to ride as much of Australia as we can in seven weeks, from the 13th of November to 2nd of January. We only have a list of options as to what route to take, but will see how it will unfold as we go.

On arrival we took a taxi to motel we had booked and collapsed after 22 hours on and off of planes. Had dinner in a Chinese place, the food was very good but we are finding out what the effects of the USA economic policy is having on the value of the dollar. Most things are costing about twice what we would pay in the US.

Called up Maggie (of Get Routed who arranged transport of our motos) early on Tuesday and she was there at 10:00 to take us to pickup the bikes. Much of the rest of the day was spent sorting out the bikes, then went to Dave and Maggie’s for a wonderful dinner and much conversation about travels.
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Wednesday we are on the road. Quite late getting on the move as we waited for stores to open at 10 and bought a new GPS unit as my cradle has a problem. I bought one that I can put in my pickup (that’s a ute here). It is not made for motorcycle use so we will see how it does. For those thinking about traveling Oz I really think that finding good data like is in this one should be a requirement. Just in finding where the campground are will make it worth it. We spent the first night out in a motel at a crossroads somewhere along the “Great Ocean Road”.
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All packed up and ready to travel
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They even have a sign to tell me to stay on the left

The Great Ocean Road in someways reminds me of the Oregon coastal hwy. But with much less traffic and more bends in the road. We can take seeing Koala in the wild off the bucket list as we saw quit a few at stops and on the road down to Otway Lighthouse.

We turned north at Port Fairy traveling through dairy land then changed to cattle country, then changed again to sheep in the north. Have seen some crops but the majority has been grass land or forest. It is spring here and farms are cutting silage, most in haylage bales.
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Koala in the tree
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Our first camp

We saw one Wallaby this morning and Martha spotted two Kangaroos. Then later in the day we started seeing the dead Kangaroos that have been hit by cars. We have been warned many time that these creatures are kamikazes and that we should not ride early in the morning or at dusk as that is when they come out to commit suicide. Up and out the next morning having breakfast in Port Campbell then checked out the twelve apostles (big rock stacks formed from wave erosion).

On to Swan Hill where we stayed in a campground next to “Pioneer Settlement” which has been built up with many old buildings and old equipment. We waited till the next morning to go into the Pioneer Settlement and spent about 3 hours. Many old cars, old tractors and old equipment. Neat to see how they solved there problems in trying to farm this ground.

The next night was in Echuca at a “caravan, campground”, although the facilities were not as good as the other campgrounds we stayed in, we found friendly people with camp fire and beer.
Sunday we sought out the back roads and traveled through: Carabost, Glenroy, Kyeamba, Book Book, Wagga Wagga, Uranquinty, Tootool, Lockhart, Urana, Mairjimmy, and Warragoon. Neat names, some that must have come from the natives. We ended up in Tumbarumba, which is a “postcard” perfect town, neat clean and friendly, up in the Snowy Mountains (more like hills so far). Heading today to Mt. Kosciuszko (2229mt).

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Hay baled in field with new crop coming up
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The road was not always straight
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The Hills
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Murry River Cod at 141 lb.

I think we will head back to Melbourne and catch a ferry to Tasmanian if the weather clears there.

Posted by Robert Thode at 05:04 AM GMT
November 29, 2010 GMT
The Snowy Mountains & Beyond

We have spent the last three days in the Snowy Mountains. Monday we got to the park, paid $6.00 for each bike for a 24 hr pass, which we over stayed but did not find where to pay on the way out. We have found really nice camping spots in the park. The first one we scrounged up enough fire wood to build us a fire. Saw some wallabies and a quick glimpse of a wombat. We headed for the ski area at Mt. Kosciuszko with the idea of riding it up for a look about. Once there and we decided to hike to a lookout point from the ski lift dropoff, once there we continued on to the top of Mt. Kosciuszko (the highest mountain in Australia) for a 15 K hike. Had a few sore points the next morning. It was 3:30 by the time we got down from the mountain. Then we tried to get on the internet but the shop was closed by the time we found it. We only rode a short distance until we found camping by a river. While we were fixing dinner a fellow stopped to fill his water bottle and told us that we were by an abandoned airstrip and by evening the kangaroos would come out to feed. So about 7:30 I went to check it out and had lots of fun watching the little characters. I’m guessing there were nearly 40! I have been surprised at all the birds and how colorful ( red & green, red & black, blue, white & black, & green). I remember the kids song about the Cocaberra sitting in the old gum tree and I recognized the sound but with all the birds I couldn’t pick him out to see what he looked like. The mosquitoes ate me alive. I had bites as big as quarters, and I had bug repellent on. But the Claratine works great!
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The long stright road, we soon started into the Great Snowy Mountains and the roads became really great.
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Climbing up Mt. Kosciuszko

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On top of the Mountain

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Here are Australia's highest toilets, another geographic extreme to check of the list

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Camp site

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The roads through the park were great and had good character all the way to Bairndale.

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Hotels in Australia are more pubs and cafe than places to sleep, but most of the old hotels in the smaller towns have had accommodations like you would expect of a hotel in USA.

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After carrying my tire repair kit for over 30,000 miles I finally got to use it.

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More Kangaroo

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We did 27 K of gravel (aka dirt) but I thought it was a great road, other person does not agree.

Have not taken any pictures for a few days as it has been raining most of the time. We went into Melbourne to pickup papers then to motorcycle expo with all the new bikes and goodies.

We have now moved north along the coast. Would have been a nice ride if it was not for the rain. Should reach Sydney tomorrow.

Posted by Robert Thode at 09:31 AM GMT

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