I thought I had it under control by the time we'd arrived at the Jetstar check in. Bing! Check in for Maroochydore now open. Junior and I were first in line. I looked at the man in the chocolate uniform with orange trim highlights and apprehensively approached the counter. I had been lead to believe that it would be okay to carry a helmet on board as hand luggage. Ooops. Mr Check-In advised that helmets have to be checked. Of course! Uh oh, momentary freak out. Junior pleaded that the lady he had spoken to advised that it would be okay. (Mixed messages.) Not in today's security environment. No budging from the Jaffa Gestapo. One Shoei Kato helmet naked and chucked around in the luggage/boot of the aeroplane. Suddenly, he looked like an angry clown and we needed to hurriedly repack the Ventura sacks with helmets. Thank goodness we brought them. Fortunately, Mr CheckIn was accomodating and placed our stuff in a tub with fragile stickers attached. Phew. We were on our way to swan around in the Q club for breakfast. It was my first time on Jetstar and it was okay. I'd heard some disturbing things about it in the past. But, now they allow you to call up and book your seat prior to the flight. Hoorah. We made it to Maroochydore, largely unscathed. It's always a bit of athrowback at these smaller airports where you need to walk down the steps onto the runway and then across to the airport lounge. Junior had cable tied his luggage locked and was wandering about seeking a knife to cut through it. I left it up to my comrade to decide which form of transport we'd take and finally we were off to Ducati Noosa, Noosaville in a taxi. Instantly, I noticed how much brighter the light was this far from Mexico. It wasn't that much warmer than Victoria, but the humidity added a little extra with which to acclimatize. We passed through Coolum and the big rock and it became apparent that there were a shedload of retiring types in these parts. Added to that loads of roundabouts. The old taxi was a bit lost in Noosaville and it was just as well Junior was navigating. Finally, we made it to Ducati Noosa. Junior's bike had arrived. So too had another Turismotista's helmet, on display at the front counter. It looked as if it had been ground down the road, but apparently it had been caught up in the Jetstar conveyor belt. Nasty. (to be continued...) As soon as we'd bundled out of the taxi, I was checking out how my helmet had faired. Eureka, it was intact. The padding and the Ventura bag had helped. What a relief. Junior was happy too, as his bike had also arrived safely. It was early in the Turismo, but the coffee vendor and travelling masseuse were set up and business was building. I called No. 44 and he soon arrived on his scooter. We were off to collect Rosalina. She too had arrived safely and was just around the corner from the motel. We dropped off the bikes and gear and walked into Noosaville. It was late in the afternoon by now and we were getting very hungry. Gympie Terrace was the go and Moondoggies was it. Lovely Spanish food served by a lovely fraulein. Welcome to paradise. Scantily clad girls everywhere. I contemplated calling the Munkey, but thought it best not to rub it in. Turismo -2, time to pop in to Ducati Noosa for a quickie. Peruse the bikes a 620, 695, S4RS, Paul Smart, etc. More southerners had arrived. One having been on the road for seven days. He was in need of a massage. Another set of unlikely lads, one leaning across his MV with broken and displaced indicators. Hmm, what had he been up to? Not keen to talk, better leave him in peace. Next stop Hastings St. Noosa. No. 44 had advised that there was a nice piece of motorcycle parking right in the middle. Excellent. This area is a bit like Toorak Rd with less clothing. The cafe seating is set up to witness the passing parade. Arrrriiiibbbbbaaaaaaa! But, first to the beach. Absolute Bliss. Ozone to the max. Perhaps, we were out of place with camouflage Draggins amongst G strings and nekkidness, but, I was there for the ambience. Just had to pimp it up with a Gelati. We sat for quite a while and marvelled over the canesters, while Junior theorised as to the recent generalized/generational increase in size as a result of steroids in KFC. May I recommend the nougat. Not too sweet. Dinner at Gusto. Yummo. We feasted like Kings. You could here the sound of Termis rising all day long. Turismo -1. This is the day to pick up the Turismo pack, the route map, bucket hat, t-shirt, bum pack, stickers, name tag and lanyard. I had Il Mostro checked over by the NFImporter Ducati mechanics. Thank goodness I did. They discovered that the clavis brace on the rear brake was not secure. Potentially problematic. I asked SS about the S4RS Ohlins front end and stoppers. He pointed me in the direction of the Paul Smart front end and suggested that might be an option; temptation. The sky was grey and the humidity seemed to be rising. I decided to buy a set of MotoDry pants just in case. Caught up with brothers and sisters from all over Aus. Acclimatisation coming along. It had gotten to the point where anywhere you went around Noosaville you would hear a Duke coming or going. The morning had finally arrived. The launching point was the sailing and rowing club. The parking lot was marked out by the massive inflatable Ducati arch and three hundred Ducatis. Turismo -15 minutes. There was no way that I was going to get my coffee in a line of thirty. (Reality check: ride 120-200kms and then stop for cafe and petrol.) I wandered around in a daze. There was much drool-worthy stuff. We were blessed with the presence of the head of Ducati; Frederico Minoli, who was so pleased to make it. This was his first Turismo and he would ride wih us for the full journey, before flying out to the final round of MotoGP at Valencia. I wanted a mission and for my sins they gave me one. The plan was Noosa, 500km, Ballina, 500km, Yamba, 500km, Pt McQuarrie. A total of 1500km over three days. Concourse and Viva Las Vegas at the final dinner. WHorrrreriight. It was mentioned that there weren't many large lunch venues, so it was best to eat when you could, however if you made it to Beaudesert by 1 or 2 they had been warned and would provide a hearty lunch. The speeches were over and the police helped us leave Noosaville. Oh man, we brought the Noise. I gotta say its always a bit of a rat run with three hundred bikes leaving at once. Generally, its pretty easy to find the way as the team head out early and leave bread crumbs. After a series of round abouts and a short sprint on the freeway we were into the twisties.It was not long before we were onto the roads with a fine layer of gravel on top for good measure and I noticed that many of the guys coming past had QLD plates on. Bagging it up on Multistradas. We passed through a few one horse towns and some were pulling over, but the name that rang a bell for me was Melany. (No good to stop too early.) Great spot for breakkie.