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Hornet has buzzed off

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by hornet, Oct 15, 2005.

  1. I'll post a proper ride report later this evening, but after coffee and riding back to Albury last night (freezing) I got back to Wollongong at 3:10pm this afternoon. Total mileage 2342 kms, and thanks to a lot of wonderful people for making the trip a memorable experience!! :D

  2. How good would it be to travel 900 kays from Wollongong to Melbourne to be greeted by four whole days of fabulous weather, great company and a spectacular ride? Sound like too good to be true? Well it isn't, because I've just done it.

    I promised myself that I would get down to Melbourne for the GP and the Netrider Dinner. As it turned out responsibilities at home this weekend precluded the GP bit, but I decided to come down for the dinner anyway.

    Deafwish, of course, wanted to meet and swap Hornet notes, and lids found a good hotel room in the city for the night of the dinner, and I booked that, so all was prepared. Then stookie offered to put me up at his place for the time I was down; "Just give me a ring when you get near and I'll come and navigate you to my place".

    So, I set off at 5:15am on Tuesday morning to come down the coast road. Not being too adventurous, I didn't partake of any more entertaining side-roads, though I will next time. Thanks to the Hornet's meagre 16 litre tank, stops were frequent and appreciated, but one stop wasn't planned, because about 60 kays north of Orbost it started to rain.

    As I was putting on wet weather gear I was thinking the Bill Cosby "Noah" sketch; 'This isn't just a shower, Lord, right? OK, you and me, Lord, right!'
    It rained hard and constant from there to Lakes Entrance; passing semis in the rain is not fun! However, in all the varied conditions I was again amazed at the little bike's versatility and flexibility. The modern machines do EVERYTHING well, don't they?

    Dozens of bikes parked along the waterfront at Lakes Entrance, and creeping cold convinced me to stop for lunch and a jumper, which I hadn't packed. An hour later the sky had cleared, deafwish had been on the phone for an update, and it was time to go.

    At Taralgon, while I was filling up, xxsteve rang. "I'm just up the road a ways, why don't we meet and you can come to my place for a few minutes for a coffee?" Being one never to refuse coffee, I agreed. I also got to see our custom Hornet 599 stickers; have a look at deafwish's bike next time you see it; classy work, steve. Then it was back on to the boring M1 and a 30 knot headwind for the last of the trip into Melbourne.

    At the intersection of Bourke Road and Whitehorse Road I waited for stookie to arrive for the last few kays of the trip back to his place. Expecting to see and perhaps not hear the Honda V-Twin (Hardley-Davidson :LOL:), instead I see a red Ducati flash past with a tall rider and a shorter passenger. Screams to stop and stookie and Lil introduce themselves with much laughter, as it's just started to rain again. We tippie-toe along the wet trams tracks back to stookie's place, where the phone rings.

    It's deafwish again, are we coming out for a coffee if I'm not too tired, and have I seen the "Where's Hornet600" thread? The answer is yes to both questions, so after suitable interval to bring gear inside and catch my breath, my hosts mount up their respective steeds and we head to St Kilda for a very civilised plate of hot pasta, some insipidly cool coffee, despite specific requests for HOT coffee, and a blue Hornet to blast down the street, turn round and stop next to our bikes, and deafwish to introduce himself.

    Fatigue quickly overtakes social skills, and deafwish has to work the next day, so we head off relatively early and collapse into the arms of morpheus. (yes I know, he was the god of dreams, his father Hypnos was the god of sleep, but have you ever heard someone say that he collapsed into the arms of hypnos???)
    Anyway, that's enough for Tuesday, Wednesday was another day altogether!
  3. Wednesday morning, peeped out the blind, and BRILLIANT SUNSHINE!

    I decided to ride over to Berwick to see Scorpion Leathers. So, ask my genial host for directions. Stookie says the usual 'left here, go down to the lights, follow the tramlines, etc, AND here's my street directory'

    Needless to say I got hoplessely lost within two minutes.

    I saw lots of bikes doing very adventurous things in traffic, so while I took 20 minutes to find my way back to stookie's place, I followed their lead and did some lane-splitting. What fun, for two reasons. First of all, no-one seems to complain, and secondly, the roads in Melbourne are wide enough for you to do it without breathing in each time!!! And once you're in 'pole position', the world is your oyster (as long as you know where you're going, otherwise you're just adding to the 'being lost' experience!!)

    Anyway, much to stookie's amusement I arrived back and admitted defeat about navigating round Melbourne.

    Not long after that a rumbling in the driveway signalled the arrival of Lil, and next thing I know we are all saddled up and riding to Berwick. Once again I was impressed with the Melbourne drivers; they changed lanes with some sort of logic, and the slowies stayed to the left. I wish I could have filmed it for the drones in Sydney!!!

    Chris at Scorpion was very helpful, and having lightened the old credit card a bit, we returned to get ready for the Netrider Dinner, the reason for my trip.

    Those of you who were at the dinner don't need to be told what a good night it was. The food was great, despite the kitchen staff being stretched to the limits by our presence and the presence of two other car clubs. And I got to meet heaps of people who up till then had been just nicks on the forum. And I was bowled over by the hospitality and the warmth of my welcome. Thanks to all of you, and you know who you are, if I mention any I'll have to try and remember all, so I won't.

    I don't know if it's something to be proud of or not, but I was the last to leave! Back to stookie's place, and having left the key behind, I waited for his return, and, another cup of tea later, hit the sack.

    Plan for the next day? Visiting some old friends (non-motorcycling type) in Melbourne and the Yarra Valley.
  4. Thursday morning; BRIGHT AND SUNNY, what luck!!

    Thursday was visiting day, but bike navigation was not to be a problem. I'd figured out how to get OUT of the area where stookie lives, and how to get back, but the people I wanted to visit were all in places that I knew.

    So it, was going to be easy, right?

    Well, it would have been if anyone had been home! Three strikes, in Croydon, Warburton and Ferntree Gully, and I was out. A lovely ride, especially up the valley, but no-one home! Disappointing, too, to note that the many overtaking opportunities that used to exist on the road between Lilydale and Warburton have been cruelled by double-unbroken lines. I noticed, too, that the curse of the old, unpredictable car/driver combination that frustrated me so much when I lived in the valley, has not changed!

    Back at stookie's however, something far more interesting is brewing (apart from his great tea-making skills, I mean). farawayman is suggesting a ride up the legendary Reefton loop for Friday, and a few interested Netriders plan to join in. I figure this has got to be good and bad. Good because farawayman LIVES there and so ought to know the road, bad because he might be a real hot-shoe and make my mediocre riding skills look even more mediocre. Then I check his profile; he's got a K100. Again, that might be good or bad. But then the phone rings.

    It's deafwish, suggesting a coffee over at Williamstown. I hesitatingly agree; it's blowing a gale outside and although I've driven over the Westgate plenty of times, the bike might be a different matter.
    However, it was a good ride again in non-threatening traffic, assisted by Melbourne's good road signage.

    Shooting the breeze for a long coffee break with Darren, and then we head off back across the bridge as he heads home, WRX and Hornet in convoy. Once again, as with Lil and Stookie, my leader stays in sight and signals intentions early so I end up where I should be.

    Just off the road down into the Burnley Tunnel I pull up at a set of lights right next to a burning EA Falcon, and get startled by one of the tyres exploding just as I draw level!! Fortunately at that stage the light turns green and I depart rapidly!!

    Back at stookie's, his many skills turn to a sumptuous pasta meal and more conversation about music and bikes, and riding, before a relatively early night as the old guy girds up his loins for what might be a great ride up the Reefton, or a complete humiliation at the hands of a an ex-police K100! Either way, I can't wait.
  5. Come on Hornet, stop farting around, I want to find out what happened.

    The suspense is killing me.
    :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
  6. Patience, my friend, that's tomorrow's instalment!!!
  7. Careful.

    You qualify for that statement if you're in a car :LOL: :p :wink:
  8. Thats Just Brilliant!

  9. jd, I'll get you for that! :LOL:
    So for those who are bored/annoyed/amused by the Hornet Diaries, here's the last installment. I will be signing autographs in the foyer afterwards!!! :D

    Friday morning, guess what? ANOTHER sparkling day!
    Stookie's kitchen fires up a fabulous breakfast, then it's on with the gear and off to meet farawayman in Warburton for the rite of passage, the Reefton Ride.

    We arranged to meet at 10:00 but muggins underestimates how much time it takes to get there, and I arrive at 10:30 to find Dave just putting away his mobile and telling me to ignore the message he just sent. I'm relieved to find that he is a gentleman of more mature years, as is his bike! I feel a little less threatened about what is to come. We enjoy a quick coffee and a 'get to know you' chat, before donning the helmets and heading out. (Unbeknown to us, booga is wandering aimlessly in the main street of Warburton looking for us, and we leave without him. Sorry mate, next time.)

    Despatching the restricted zone of the town, Dave immediately ups the pace as we head towards the Reefton road. Already I have a problem; he's on an older BMW with skinny tyres and I'm riding quite hard just to stay up with him (or I THINK I'm riding hard. What is the REAL road going to be like???) I soon find out.

    We turn on the Reefton road proper and it's on for young and old. Dave immediately begins to disappear into the distance and my worst fears start to be realised; I can't ride for nuts if a well-ridden K100 can get away from me so easily. Discouragement sets in big time. I'm not going to stop but I'm already working on what I'm going to say when I arrive at the top half an hour later than he does!!

    Then, a Reefton Road revelation (aka Damascus Road in similar terms). It occurs to me that I'm riding the bike all wrong, like driving a car, in fact. Drive through the corner, change up a couple of gears, brake and change down for the next corner. In the mean time Dave is in one gear and just driving between the corners. So the next time I'm in second coming out of a corner, I leave it in second and let the engine rev around to 8 - 10,000 rpm. The Hornet screams it head off, but at the next corner, I hardly have to use the brakes at all, I can concentrate on late entry, apex and power up at the apex, and it all suddenly feels so much easier.

    For the rest of the road I never got out of second and third, and hardly touched the brakes, AND I caught up my trusty guide, just in time to stop at that spectacular break in the trees on the left and take some pics of the glorious countryside. I don't want to stop for long, just in case whatever it was I'm doing right magically disappears, but I need not have worried. 30 years ago I rode my screaming RD-350 Yamaha like this through the ten-mile on the Putty Road; time takes away some of your useful memories, as well as most of the painful ones.

    It seems like only a minute and we are at the top and stopping for another photo shoot. I haven't touched a peg on the ground, I haven't been hanging off the seat or anything outlandish, but I've kept up, and when I look at the rear tyre, I have used all of it, right up to the edge. The front tyre too, has that stippled effect of having been hot, and the gravel from the verge is sticking to both of them. I am chuffed, elated, excited, and madly babbling, much to Dave's amusement. For the first time since I bought the bike I feel as if I have gone some way to using its obvious performance and potential. Photos all round and then onwards and upwards.

    We ride madly up to Lake Mountain and down again; (I presume the YELLOW road line is because it snows up there??) and down the switchback road to Marysville, and coffee and cake and more insane cackling, because now (yes, I know, performance is relative) I'm staying right up with a man who knows the road well and can ride it well.

    Then it's across to Healsville and Black Spur. I've driven it dozens of times when I lived in the Valley, but first time on a bike. We dispose easily of a timber jinker and a dozy tourist and proceed into Healsville at a merry clip.

    I remember a road that runs over the top of the ridge behind the town and comes out in Launching Place; another nice mountain pass, but a careful couple of kilometres of dirt road on the Launching Place side; the 16" front wheel on the Hornet is VERY nervous in dirt, note to self.

    Back to Warburton I bid goodbye to my impromptu tutor, and visit some friends I haven't seen for 8 years, and then back to Melbourne for Coffee at Southbank.

    And I get to see the legendary line-up, meet a few more Netriders who weren't at the Dinner, and before I know it it's time to go, aiming for Albury that night on the way home.

    The rest is a painful blur. Arrive at Albury at 12:30 am having nearly run out of fuel because NOTHING is open in the towns between Broadmeadow and Glenrowan Road House (and their maccas was closed, grrrrr). Saturday zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz up the Hume to home.

    So my thanks to all the people who made this a memorable trip. To stookie and his fabulous hospitality, and lil as well, for advice and laughs and navigation and more fun than anyone has the right to expect. Netrider truly does connect riders, and I am grateful to all of you who contributed to a trip that I will never forget.
  10. Well was good to catch up with you Paul, I am looking forward to the new 599 arrival next time you are down.
  11. Sounds sweet Paul! The bits about you hitting your rhythm and the elation etc made me want to run out of the office and sign over my soul to sumoto right now ;)

    100 posts! Woohoo! \:D/
  12. Justin it's probably a dangerous thing to say, but I haven't felt like THAT for many years, probably exactly as many years since I haven't ridden like that, which, in retrospect, is too many.
    I'm very grateful to my dear brother who nagged me back onto a bike again, and everyone else who's been part of the re-education process! It does reinforce what I have always said; there is no human experience that is anything like riding a motorcycle.
    Roll on summer and a more nirvana roads.
  13. CRICKEY :shock: :shock:

    and i thought WAR and PEACE was bad

    shhhez, peeew
  14. Awesome Paul, awesome ;)

    My Dad is 59 and goes white in the face if I go even a little bit quick around a corner in my car, it's bloody terrific that you still get excited and enjoy the performance of your bike, I've never met you but I'm betting it keeps you young.

  15. You should see me when I REALLY get going, fred!
    (and there weren't any bikes in War and Peace, so why did you bother??) :LOL:
  16. Sounds like you had a ball!!! Glad you had such a great time. :D

    Looking forward to getting down your way - just don't hold your breath for a while yet!!! :LOL:
  17. How could you ride all that way and not go to the GP, surely you must have had a hell of a lot of riding buddies making the trip down for the GP as well that you could have hooked up with?
  18. So you old goat, passed by my place in Traralgon and didn't say hello??

    Seriously, call in next time. 1k off h'way.

    Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I think you did by reading your story.
  19. Scooter I had originally planned on going to the GP, even had accommodtion organised, but commitments on Sunday in two places intervened, and so I came down just for the Netrider Dinner and to meet as many of the Melbourne crew as possible, (and ride Reefton)! Got to do all of them!!

    NEXT YEAR, if someone asks me if I am available that weekend, guess what the answer will be???

    Maybe then, or if I come down again before, you can show me some of the ttttterrifying roads you ride!!!

    AND BRIAN, sorry I missed seeing you, I actually stopped in Taralgon for fuel and I knew one of the regulars on the forum lived there, but xxsteve rang while I was there and invited me to his place so I pushed through to Beaconsfield. Next time for sure, and you can show me some of YOUR terrifying roads!