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Can't believe it's over already

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by maplegum, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. Dales Creek - Horsham - Halls Gap- Dales Creek.

    Friday 3rd December 2010.

    It was time to depart the hills of Dales Creek and head out on my 1st road trip on my little Suzi. We were not going to let the threat of heavy rains and storms dampen our enthusiasm, cause it’s just water right?


    To begin with, we had nothing to worry about. Clear skies as far as the eye could see. We decided on the more scenic route rather than take the mind numbing Western Highway all the way. We had the Tom Tom programmed and our maps printed out and our verbal checks of destinations in check. !st stop was to be in Ballarat to get fuel, then head to Creswick. Ivan rode ahead of me as we headed along the Western Highway. I was sitting on about 100kph as the wind was pretty strong and was throwing little bike around. How I wish my windscreen had arrived prior to leaving – what’s the bet it’s waiting for me at home. Timing huh.

    So, I’m heading along the highway and see Ivan has taken the Creswick turnoff waiting on the side of the road. Why on earth did he take that turnoff? We had a plan to go to Ballarat for fuel 1st, then head out to Creswick. We had decided not to take ‘that’ Creswick turnoff as it would have taken us through daylesford which was too fat out of our way. I started to think he had pulled over just to wait for me and that he would pull out again to follow me once he saw me ride by. Nope, that didn’t happen. I stuck to the ‘plan’ and stopped for fuel in Ballarat. Waited and waited for Ivan to show up but it didn’t happen. I grabbed my phone to check to see if he had tried to call me. Sure enough, a message from him. I called him back.
    “Where are you?”
    At the petrol station in Ballarat just like we had planned! Where the heck are you?”
    “At the turn off for Creswick”
    “Wrong turn off stupid”
    “Wait there, I’ll be there in a minute”
    Ivan arrives and we start debating on who was right and wrong. I was right naturally. I could not believe that we were only 40 minutes into our trip and we had already been separated and had our 1st fight, right in front of the customers at the petrol station!
    Ok, back onto the road with a full tank of fuel and a better understanding of the route that should be taken. Just as we got outside of Ballarat, we were stopped for road works. Kinda cool, my 1st road works stop! The workmen were on the left hand side of the road, doing, well, workmen stuff. We get the green light to ride on with Ivan ahead of me – when Ivan decides to make use of the orange cones that the workers had set up. He thought it was the perfect opportunity to test out his maneuvering skills. As he was weaving in an out of the cones, the workers were looking at him with disbelief. He is just a big kid at heart.

    Both Creswick and Clunes were pretty little towns. We didn’t stop at either of them; we just kept on pushing through to Avoca. Toilet stop time, a girl’s bladder can only hold on so long.



    No, we didn’t do the pub stop but you just have to get a photo of the local pub right? Oh, and the local toilets. We stopped for a couple of pasties from the bakery and a big ol’bottle of water. The humidity was really severe, especially bad when you are geared up.

    Hmm, the sky was looking dark and kind of stormy by now. I haven’t ridden in real rain yet, just a light sprinkling of rain. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t too concerned, we had wet weather gear anyway, and it’s just water right?

    Hear that? That’s a storm brewing. A BIG storm. A cumlias nimbius cloud. That’s the stormy type of cloud so Ivan tells me. We could hear the rumble of the thunder – it was trying to tell us that ….. we would get kind of wet real soon.
    And we did. Landsborough. That’s where the heavens opened up. But like I said, that’s ok cause we were prepared with rain gear. We had to pull over to side of the road as we got hit hard. Ivan should have pulled over sooner, before the rain started, and got us changed into the wet weather stuff. I must remind myself to bark at him for that one. Anyway, we are crazily getting our gear out of our bags, packing away our air hawk cushions and sheep skin covers cause we are old farts now and dressed for comfort, not speed.
    “Umm Hun, these pants won’t get up over my fat thighs!”
    “ Huh? Really? But they are huge, they should fit”
    “Listen, now isn’t the time to be reminding me of how fat I am, I’m getting bloody saturated here”
    BANG!!! BANG!!! Lightening strikes the ground right beside us. Seriously, it did. Or it seemed as if it did. I panic and try to ride my bike off back onto the highway in front of a truck. Only problem is, the bike isn’t started and I’m just madly pushing with my feet. Still don’t know what the heck I was trying to do, I was scared……and very very wet by this point because I am now too fat to fit into the rain pants! So once again, Ivan tells me off for almost riding into the path of a semi trailer, and I get all sooky cause not am I only fat, I’m wet and stupid too!
    Back onto the road. I wanted some practice in the rain and I certainly got it, plus some. I swear it was hailing. Golf ball hail stones. Ouch and not fun at all. Don’t like this rain stuff. I want to go home now. The thunder is cracking, the sky is black and I’m dripping wet. The top half of me stayed dry with my wet weather liner, my feet stayed dry in my new boots, my hands stayed dry in my gloves. It was just my bottom half that got soaking wet. And doesn’t that feel bad. Humid and wet sticky pants. No one can really enjoy riding in the rain could they? I mean, you wouldn’t go out in that stuff on purpose right? Right????

    By the time we arrived in Horsham, we were ‘almost’ dry. It’s kind of hard to tell in the end what was wet due to the humidity or the rain. We arrived at Horsham Harley at 3.30pm. Ivan’s bike was booked in there for its service so we decided to hang around the shop drooling over new bikes and gear. Found myself loving the look and feel of the Triumph Bonneville. Think I could see one of those bikes parked in the garage as my next bike. I feel as if I’m not being loyal or faithful to my little Suzi speaking about other bikes. So I’ll stop right now.
    Being the loyal Harley Horsham customers that we are…or at least Ivan is, they offer us overnight accommodation in town. Bonus. Apparently we are staying at the Exchange Hotel. We are given our directions and off we head. As we pull up, I notice it’s an older looking pub but that’s ok, it’s character right? Wrong. So wrong.


    Here I am inserting the key into our room from heck. Check it out. The room certainly didn’t set the scene for any romance let me tell you.



    No air conditioning. My god we were so hot. Maybe I lost about 5 kilos? But then again, we were drinking so much water that I now have massive fluid retention. We just had to get out of the honeymoon suite and get something for dinner. Somewhere air-conditioned please. Please. Moe’s, the Mexican restaurant was a recommendation. That’s all we need, hot Mexican food with stacks of melted cheese and the works. I’m too hot and sweaty to even think of anything else. We found a seat right under the air-conditioning vent, beautiful. Had this core body temperature lowering margarita. Worked wonders.

    Back to the hotel, a room that even the backpackers would hesitate to stay in. At least we had a fan and a window though. There was no TV so we were left with just each others company. Luckily I still wasn’t shitty. That could have been awkward with no TV as a distraction. We did have some magazines though, life savers! Ivan didn’t get through too much of his magazine before he was snoring. Oh great. Snoring. Could life get much better than this? Well things were about to change, drastically. It seems that Friday nights in Horsham brings out all of the ‘P’ plate drivers and every Bogan within the Horsham district. They all have something to prove, and all outside of our classy hotel window. Burn outs, engine revving and all the stuff that P plate drivers like to do. People outside the pub yelling out encouragement. There was so much noise, so much commotion. We are not city people, I don’t do ‘noise’ anymore! Ivan finally wakes from his snoring slumber to the sound of a gun shot. BANG!!
    “What the hell was that”?
    “Sounded like a gun shot hun”
    “Well jezuz, don’t stand in front of the window with the light on, they can see you and might shoot at you”
    Right at that moment, a gun shot to the head seemed like my ticket out of that place.
    “Hun, I want to go home, this isn’t fun anymore”
    “Kind of like the Bronx isn’t it?”
    My only saving grace was that I found earplugs in Ivan’s bag. I managed to get some sleep once and for all. Still not to sure what the bang noise was, really did sound like a gun though.

    (Stay tuned for the other days, working on the diary now)
  2. Brilliant write up. Love it!
  3. now THAT'S a ride report {BANG :rofl:}
  4. Saturday 4th December.

    We are gone. Guess we will just pay for our own overnight accommodation next time, out of Horsham!

    Today our trip was taking us into Halls Gap. We jumped on the bikes and tried to put the terror of the previous night behind us. It was warming up real quick too. Going to be a hot, humid one. Yuck.

    We took the more scenic route via Wartook and onto the Northern Grampians Road/Mount Victory Road. We hit some locusts. Glad I had the visor down, can’t imagine they would taste so good.


    We were getting pretty excited by this point as we could see the ranges in the distance. Couldn’t believe how dry it was out in this part of the country though. Very brown, not much green stuff around.


    It’s so hot. Did I mention that already? Humid, can’t breathe, these bloody biker clothes are a killer. Air- mesh jacket and all. Stupid heat.

    We notice that the road starts to change as we hit Wartook. Kind of twists and turns… lots. Let me mention that Ivan has this ‘hidden inner 5 year old’ in him and it doesn’t take too much prodding to bring him to life. I think he nearly peed his pants with the excitement of it all. ‘Depends’ anyone?


    So we hit the twisties and hit them hard. Well, Ivan hit them hard. I just hit them soft. I’m still not ready for the ‘full Rossi’ . I was ahead of Ivan doing my 45kph as suggested on the signs.

    Vroooommmm >>>>>> Ivan shoots past me.

    Chug chug chug. Hey well would you look at that, I got up to 50 around that bend. I’m feeling pretty awesome by now.

    Vroooooommmmmm>>>>>>>>> Ivan flies past me in the opposite direction.

    Chug chug chug – Should have dropped it down to 3rd for that corner.

    Vrooooommmmmm >>>>>>>>> Ivan dashes past me again. Smart ass.

    The ‘inner 5 year old’ has come out to play.
    He stops up ahead of me, I pull over beside him.

    “How fun is that!”

    “Yes dear, lots of fun”

    We do the typical tourist thing and pull into see MacKenzie Falls. That water looked so inviting cause it was so humid. Did I mention that? HUMID!!!!


    Getting tired now. Those twisties took it out of me. Dealing with a 5 year old husband took more out of me though. We could see clouds starting to form over the ranges. Please, please don’t rain. Just get us to the cabins in Halls Gap, then rain!


    So we arrive at our cabin. All I could think of was – please be nicer than last nights’ accommodation-. No more gun shots, please please. Maybe the folk of Halls Gap aren’t so gun friendly, and not such a big population of P plate drivers.

    As Ivan would say “we lucked out”. Stupid Canadian saying has me all messed up. By saying that I think he means we are “out of luck” but no, it means we are in luck. Bloody foreigner.


    Note the ‘bikers stuff’ trying to dry it out. Cause it was humid.

    Well our cabin was certainly more ‘romantic’ than the hotel the night before. Too bad we were hot and sweaty for all the wrong reasons.

    For all of those that are interested in the details of the cabin park, here they are.

    D’Altons Cottages
    Glen Street, Halls Gap.
    Google it for further info, I don’t have their number here. At $100 per night it was good value and the most amazing setting.



    We sat on the porch and watched the boy kangaroos fight it out for the lady roos


    Don’t go to Halls Gap for grocery shopping. We attempted to do our trip on the cheap by going to the supermarket and buying food and cooking it ourselves in the cabin. Walking through the supermarket we realised that we needed to take out a 2nd mortgage just to eat. $12 just for a frozen dinner meal.! We left the trolley of food behind in the middle of the supermarket as we could not justify paying that. Went and ate take away food instead.
    We got back to the cabin when Ivan says

    “ I know what’s missing”

    “ ????”

    “Alcohol, I’m to ride into Stawell to get some”

    “Righteo, have fun. I’m crashing out on the bed”

    Ivan arrives back to the cabin loaded with alcohol. Got drunk that night. I needed it.

    Tomorrow is another day, stay tuned
  5. Looks fab!!..... see!!.. you had a blast!!.... =D>
  6. This is like a soapie...... lol
  7. Maplegum my dear, you write sensational ride reports! That's just brilliant. You have now made the slight tactical error of setting the standard, staking out the high ground. Now it will be expected of you.

    Tip: All men have an inner 5yo. As a grown up woman, I'm surprised you didn't know this. LOL. Riding a motorcycle is like half a litre of red cordial, unmixed.

    Riding in the rain is a bit like trekking across the Rockies - it's 'fun' and 'sensational' and a 'once on a lifetime experience' after you've finished doing it. While you're doing it, it's a bit ... did we mention it was humid?

    You took a set of weatherproofs that you hadn't actually tried on?

    Seriously, I'm really enjoying this - I want to see the rest.
  8. Good alternative to Horsham is Mount Zero Cabins, at the northern end of the Grampians. For next time. (I assume there WILL be a next time?)
  9. quick tip with mesh jackets and hot weather; soak the jacket in cold water and put it back on; coolness lasts for long enough for you to appreciate the difference
  10. Great reading, keep 'em coming please!
    And I envy you heaps for touring L-plated on a 250 =D>
  11. ah, there have been a couple of epic 250 long-distance rides documented here, including a Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane-return effort, also by a lady, some years ago.....
  12. You tour on anything, I remember coming home on my Ls on my zzr250 through the Buladelah Range (before it was bypassed) full moon no one else on the road, its what got me addicted.

    Cool trip.
  13. Good ride report. It captures the feel well.

    My daughter did a couple of trips Melbourne-Mt gambier return on her Spada some years back.

    When I was studying externally at Mitchell CAE (now Charles Sturt Uni) I used to do two trips a year from Barmera (SA) to Bathurst. I did that a few times on an RD350 Yamaha and one memorable trip, two up on a 380 Suzuki.

    I thought that was pretty good till I met a guy there one year who'd ridden from Brisbane on a 180cc Yamaha.
  14. Sunday 5th December.

    “What do you want to do today?”


    “Is that all? Just twisties?”

    “Is there a problem with that?”

    After eating a breakfast large enough to feed a starving nation, Ivan decides it’s time to make tracks.

    We suited up in our sweat suits and instantly loose the 5 kilos we put on at breakfast time. Yes, it’s still humid. I’ve grown accustomed to the taste of sweat on my upper lip, the feeling of sweat dripping down my back, the frustration of trying to put on leather gloves with sweaty hands. You really do have to be insane to enjoy this. Another thing. Ivan can break all world speed records when it comes to getting his gear on. How does he do it? Too hot to even think about it at the time, but now that I am in the comfort of my air-conditioned office I just wanna know.

    I oblige and let the 5 year old husband get his thrills on the twisties once again. I kick up my awesomeness level by doing 52kph around one of the more friendlier twisties. Yeah, I’m pretty bloody hardcore now, all 52kph of it.

    Cut the husbands thrills short by wanting to visit Lake Wartook and doing some ‘living on the edge’ tourist stuff. How excited does he look? Contain yourself there Ivan. You have a heart condition, this just might be too much for you.





    We head away from the lake and lookouts. We head for Roses Gap Road. The guy at the petrol station tells us that it’s a good road, part gravel. Same with Mt Zero Road. I can you a piece of advice here? Do NOT listen to the man at the petrol station. I had a little ‘incident’ at the petrol station/trailer park/holiday park too. My bike was parked too far back to reach the fuel nozzle so Ivan asked me to drag my bike forward and he would fill-er-up. I had my helmet hanging over the handle bar. As I turned the handle bar to straighten the bike up my helmet fell off. Straight onto the gravel, then rolled about 6 kilometers. The servo guy started chasing my helmet as it rolled down the gravel. Out of nowhere, the wind picked up and made my helmet act like a piece of paper in the wind. The servo man couldn’t catch my helmet! He finally caught the thing, brushed it off and handed it back to me. I think he was trying to save my embarrassment when he said “don’t worry, that sort of stuff happens a lot”. I just knew Ivan would be shitty at me but I blamed him cause really, it was his fault right? I mean, he is an experienced rider/biker and should have pointed out that I should have removed my helmet before moving the bike. Yeah, it’s fault and I let him know it.

    Now, where was I? Oh that’s right. Roses Gap Road/Mt Zero Road. Now, if you were paying attention, these are the roads with good gravel surfaces..... apparently. The ride was actually pretty spesh. Loads of pretty (can you say ‘pretty’ when you are a hardcore biker?), scenery.


    Here I am being super awesome on my bike on Roses Gap Road.



    So, we turn onto Mt Zero Road and there is the gravel. The sign said ‘Gravel Surface next 10 klms’. Pffft, piece of cake, I can do gravel. Do gravel all the time around the roads at home. So, Ivan the 5 year old wonder boy speeds off on his ‘made for the gravel’ Buell ( well made for the gravel a hell of a lot more than my lil Suzi). I was eating his dust. He does donuts in the gravel, spins the wheels, all the stuff he used to do in his dirt bike riding days. I was having trouble just staying out of the stupid soft parts of the gravel and sand!

    Ivan stops up ahead of me.

    “How you coping Lone?”

    “ Oh just great Dear. Nothing like a few kilometres of straight out bumpy brain shaking roads”

    The road surface was so bad in areas that the mild headache I started out with (and no, it wasn’t a hangover ok!) was now a thumping one! The stupid road had turned into a million tiny roller coasters. I don’t even remember what that is called when the gravel gets all of those bumpy bits in it. The bike vibrated so badly that I couldn’t even keep a steady speed. The throttle kept getting ripped out of my hand! Oh, the fun just doesn’t stop.



    So, Ivan has now disappeared out of sight. Gone. I finally catch up with him at a camp ground entry. I was shitty that he took off so quickly and left me behind eating his dust, but couldn’t stay shitty as he took some awesome video footage of me on my bike heading towards him. I’m so awesome on my bike, seriously!
    So, Ivan looks down at his trip counter thingy at notes that we have already done the 10klm of dirt track as noted on the sign. The dirt road must end just up there a little bit. We chug down yet another bottle of water and take off once again.

    “You can’t be serious!!!”

    “Another 10 klms of dirt tracks? Sign must be wrong, sign was meant to say that we have just done 10klms of dirt tracks.”

    So what do we do? No choice, keep on riding. There was no way out of this dirt hell. The old air hawk cushion was given a work out, as was my back, my hands and my poor aching head. The heat was killing me, I’m so bloody hot! Who’s idea was it to get me black biking clothes anyway? And, a black helmet? A black, scratched up helmet (still Ivan’s fault by the way). No amount of water or shade could help me now, I was officially broken. My biker spirit was broken. I’m not having fun anymore.

    Oh hang on, there is road up ahead, real road. The black stuff! I could have kissed the road at that point. Not shitty or broken anymore. Still hot, just not broken.

    I just want a shower. No, actually, I need a shower. It was a neccesatity now, for the health of all others within 100 metres of me. Ivan says he doesn’t stink, but he does.
    We get back to our cabin, freshen up and decide to suit back up into our wet sweaty bike clothes and go get icecream. Icecream, mmmmm. It was our lucky day as the shop was just closing but I think the lady could see the desperation on my face and served us up a ripper cone. I was ‘in the moment’, just me and my icecream and didn’t even notice that the heavens had opened up yet again. Crap, more rain.

    We head back to the cabin getting wet, again. That’s ok, it’s just water right? I’m sure we have some kind of serious fungal infection now, we are constantly damp.

    Time to cook up dinner. Time to drink. Actually, the other way around. Drink 1st, then eat. What was I thinking? Must be the heat messing up my priorities.


    Was hoping for an early night that night as tomorrow we were heading home. Stayed up till midnight watching some real life crime show – I’m sure I saw the residents of Horsham on that show.

    Stay tuned for the final day, the trip home.
  15. In awe of your awesomness. Nice descriptive and informational ride reports.
  16. Washboarding?

    Great writeup maplegum, very enjoyable read.
  17. Can't wait for this soapies season ending finale....lol
  18. Monday 6th December

    Death by perspiration, that’s what this. Yes, in case you were wondering, it’s still hot and sticky. My clothes have not dried out from the bucket-o-sweat from yesterday. I’ve now become accustomed to ‘peeling’ my clothes off. I need to oil myself up just to get the bloody things back on. They won’t just slip on easily. Need lube.

    It’s a bitter/sweet feeling today. It’s back to the mundane stuff called life. Looking forward to getting back on the bike and riding in a different direction to get home though. We had planned on an early start to beat the heat of the day, cause it’s been hot you know. And humid.

    Now how does that happen? I’m not coming home with any extra stuff but I am having to sit on my bag to get the thing done back up! Bag must have shrunk.... in the heat. Ivan has a huge bag. Just when you think you can’t fit anymore in there, he undoes another zip and whamo, the bag expands to allow the 2 bottles of alcohol we need to bring back home. How excellent is that!? Inventions hey....

    I head out to check on lil Suzi and pack her sore little aching back with the over packed bag. She has been a trouper. She carted me with my fat bum and my loaded bag around this entire trip without any complaints. Come to think of it, that’s probably why Ivan likes his bike so much, it doesn’t complain, doesn’t answer back. His bike must be a male. Put Ivan on a girl bike and it would be bitchin and complaining all day long.
    After a quick breakfast trying to eat up all the left overs we say goodbye to the little cabin. Gonna miss this place. We decided to head via Dunkeld, south of Halls Gap. It was a great ride through there. Get this....I had to put on an extra layer of clothing as it was cold!!!! Who would have thought....

    Here we are heading out of Halls Gap. I’m the good looking one.




    The trip home, other than the 1st part of it was rather non exciting really. Oh, other than the fact that Ivan got stung in the face, right under the eye, by a wasp or bee. We rode into a little town and there was a swarm of these things right in the middle of the road. Ivan rode right through them. One of them took it personally and attacked the Canadian! Gold! Ivan pulled that motorcycle over in a flash and did the ‘I’ve just been stung’ dance ripping his helmet off quick smart. They left me alone cause I’m the nice one out of the 2 of us.

    Made it back to Ballarat by lunch time and stopped for lunch. My lower back was permanently locked into the sitting position – I swear I could hardly straighten up. Most people complain about a sore bum, but it was my back that was causing me grief. But, I’m hardcore now so I just sucked it up. I’m no princess. Really I’m not.
    From Ballarat it was right back home. Oh, forgot to mention, I have those hill starts worked out now. Big high 5 to me! That is, until we were heading out of Ballarat, stopped at the traffic lights at the top of a hill. Ivan and I were 1st in line at the lights, with me behind him. Ok, go, green light now. Feathered the clutch (look at me talking bike language now) and had the momentum to go. Now was not the time for Ivan to take off extra slow. I nearly rammed my bike up his bum. I got the wobbles, let the throttle off and almost stalled it, right in the middle of the intersection. It’s hard to yell at your husband under a helmet hey?

    We made it home and was actually glad when I parked lil Suzi away for the night. She is a champion. Ivan’s bike is not a champion, his bike is just a show off. And so is Ivan. Anyway, lil Suzi and I don’t care, we have nothing to prove. We made it! We are awesome.
  19. =D>

    Awsome write up!
  20. Nice one Maplegum..I always enjoy reading ride reports,not nearly as good as being along for the ride..but a taste of your adventure...thanks for sharing.