Touring with Gibbo
Tassie Targa 2018:
As usual, this is someone else's fault. I actually can't remember who the guilty person was, but it would be one of the 'usual suspects' of the UNEMCC. Having 'conquered' the half lap in 2017, and with club mantra 'one long run a year', I guess there is some logic, no matter how well hidden.
If you have read the half lap drivel, you will know it was 4/3/2/1/3/2/1 in terms of the number of lunatics on the run at any one time. It all worked just fine, mainly with pubs and some camping. Bill and I have done the Tassie ride before, about 10 years ago, and it was a hoot. Probably the best riding I have ever done. I was on the Mantis then, this year it's the Vulcan with considerably less ground clearance.. could be interesting.
This gig is a week in Tassie (25th November, 2018 and back 1st December) over and back on the 'lime juice tub' leaving Station Pier, St. Kilda, Melbourne. This time there are 7 lunatics, and this time pubs and units all the way, cutting down vastly on the amount of crap we have to carry. It will be interesting to see how 7 of us ride together through the almost no straight roads in Tassie.
The plot is we arrive at Station Pier from all part of Oz on 25th, and take it from there.
Compared to the 1/2 lap, this is pretty easy. Here to Tassie, round Tassie, and back I reckon that's an oil change and about 5,000 kms. I have met guys on un-gentlemanly bikes like Ducatis who 'do' Tassie (at Warp 4 speed) carrying only changes of undies, socks and and the odd T-shirt. While this may be their gig, it is essentially uncivilised. Some comfort, the normal crap for we have a breakdown, or, blow a tyre thinking is needed, as well as room to store the best quality fruits of the grape and barley are essentials. We are all in our 60's and none of us are on 'crouch rockets'.
Down To The Boat:
As per usual, I took the road less traveled to Parkes (see Extended Tour 8) overnighting with friends, and then down the dreaded Newell (truly you only do this if you have too) to Jerrelderie. The Caltex servo there has the best 'Works Hamburger'; then to Echuca/ Moana (overnighting in a B&B, which was excellent, thanks Rosemary and Neil), Ballarat (to see my daughter) and then to the boat. The side winds from the west for most of the trip were a bitch. The Castlereagh Hwy was the worst with my tank bag blowing off 3 times, caught each time in the crook of my arm. I experienced 'red rain' in Parkes, so much for a clean, well waxed Vulcan. I have talked about Parkes and surrounds before, but a quick look at the Old Port of Echuca is worthwhile. It was all pretty quiet when I was there, but it did look like you could spend a few quite relaxing days on the Murray.
I have been riding up here in NSW riding for 7 years, never a point, never an issue with the 'boys in blue'. I was riding slower in Vic, in the 'nanny state' for less than 1 hour, and you guessed it, booked for speeding 8kms over the limit. That's my last time in Vic., for maybe a decade. I just cant bare the stupidity of the 'not even cops' arseholes behind the speed cameras. This has nothing to do with safety, it's all about fleecing the road users of their hard earned dollars. Words fail me. It's hard not to swear.
This route is not a bad way to go, depending where you want to be in Vic. The big plus is very little traffic, except for the Newell. It had the obligatory heaps of trucks. What I don't get is the Newell is a pretty average road and its 110km limit. There are so many better roads that are 100km, and then there is the freeways which in Vic are often 100km... will someone explain this to me... I don't get it.
The 'Spirit' is pretty kewl both ways. Cabins are comfy, but you cant swing a cat, and well appointed. Met all the boys at Station Pier in Melbourne. 7 bikes and 7 brothers, all part of the legendary UNEMCC. All riding together again, as we have for more than 40 years.
* Fuel up before you get on the boat.
* Take the miminum up with to the cabin. Perhaps pack your tank bag with essentials. You can leave your helmet on the bike.
* Beer is at bar prices.
* Give the pizzas a miss (dreadful) and go for the 'all you can eat for $27' option. It's good value.
* They do fart about a lot loading the ship, so not a lot of reason to get there early. Find a good pub.
The 'usual suspects' and the bikes. 7 bikes, 7 lads. 3 bikes on historic plates, 3 horizonally opposed twins, 2 parallel twins and 2 V twins. Only 1 Japanese bike (mine) and no sports bikes, they are simply uncivilised. This is at Springfield Lookout on the first day in Tassie. This was about the time the Norton started leaking oil over the RHS of the rear tyre... Not good!
L to R: Kog, yours truly, Roothy, Grant, RC Bill, Dave and Rod. Seniors on the road... What could possibly go wrong????
No point in rushing aboard, some of the lads were just a bit too casual and almost missed the boat.