DAY ONE I was feeling enthusiastic and wanted to leave at 0700. Matt won’t get out of bed for anything before 8. So we decided to meet at 8.30 outside my place. The night before, bleary eyed from playing Far Cry 3 for a million hours straight I messaged Matt and said we’d meet at 10. Definitely. By 11 Matt had arrived, I’d peeled myself out of bed and we were ready to go. Through Melbourne traffic and out through the boring countryside of Moe, Morwell and Traralgon as we plodded along on the highway. This is only the second time I’ve taken this route and I swore, even more than the first time I took it, that I’d never endure the Princes Highway again. Ugly country side, lots of traffic and boring, monotonous road. On the bright side I had my new Earmold earplugs and just bopped along listening to podcasts as we went. Poor Matt, stuck with the drone of his W650 and here I was, learning about the history of the condom. D’you know some German company is developing a spray on condom? A few hours, a few shit coffees and a few cigarette breaks later MattB and I pulled over at the lookout above Lakes Entrance. Does he know there’s spray-on condoms coming? Nope. Taught you something today then. A huge pale blue expanse of water and coastline stretched out in front of us. Contemplated whether or not we could swim across to the other side. Leant on the binoculars and took some pictures while MattB twists a scene of beauty into one of horror, as our commanding position at the lookout over ninety mile beach turns his thoughts to the pacific campaign. As you do. "I don’t know whether I’d want to be a Japanese soldier, on a big coastal gun." "How’d you mean?" "Whether I’d like the idea that I could blow stuff up, or hate the idea that everyone was aiming at me." That launches me into some ramble about the first World War, and how the Germans, who placed much more emphasis on the machine gun than the allies, would chain their gunners to their Maxim Guns. They also would get better breathing apparatus than other troops, with the idea that they could continue firing well after the riflemen, and even their assistants, had been incapacitated or fled. MattB, good friend that he is, nodded politely and suggested we get going again. Finally, the scenery changes from dull, featureless countryside to waterfront. Fish and chip shops, rusting fishing boats. SUV’s packed with holiday supplies – bedding, boogie boards and screaming kids - replace shitty commodores full of toothless, unemployed bogans. A few hours of this and we rise a little as we get to Orbost. From Orbost we took the Bonang Highway north. I can’t recommend this road enough, and I’m a little surprised it doesn’t feature more often on peoples travels. Maybe it’s because it competes for attention with the spectacular Alpine rides to the West, or because it has some 15k or so of dirt halfway along. But it shouldn’t stop you. It’s still 90kms of twisty roads – on a par with the spurs, but with virtually no traffic on it. All that twisting and turning can be a little bit fatiguing so we pulled over to take some photos. On a private road, of course. After a stop for half an hour we got back on the bikes in the falling light and dodged a few wallabies. I get thrown about on the bike during the uneven gravel section, because you can’t stand up on the Bonneville because the footpegs might fall off. What a piece of shit. After the dirt, with the sun setting we hit the long, 110kph section. Each gentle crest opened up a different view of the country side, drenched in hues of blood red and orange as the sun set behind us. The clouds turn a little purple. I swear admiringly in my helmet. We arrived at the Imperial Hotel in Bombala. Park our bikes out the back in the undercover section Steve, the publican, has cleared out for us. He gives me some shit about riding a Triumph. MattB and I have a few beers, a meal of meat with a side salad of meat and we both end up thoroughly stuffed. There was no one else in the pub except for Matt, myself, the publican and his wife. The town school teacher – who lives in the pub – is away. The publicans give us some maps of the local area, suggest routes to take, update us on the weather and the road conditions nearby. The town is pretty, the beer is cold, the food suitably fattening and Steve looks like he’s drunk more than he’s served. A cop car drives past, one copper inside looking disinterested in everything. Steve melodramatically yells out; "Holy shit! It’s all happenin’ in Bombala!" Five minutes later the cop ambles past again. "fcukin’ hell, this’ll make the papers!" I fall asleep, phone in hand, googling property prices in town. DAY TWO The next day we woke up early, faffed about for a while and I poked around the pub taking a few pictures. Matt points out the bakelite light switches and the ornate lettering around some of the doors. Walked outside and while lubing the chain, noticed a very odd hum as I turn the rear wheel. Possibly a warped disc. Great. Steve leans out the window of the pub and yells out that my bike is, essentially, just a glorified postie bike. I flip him the bird. We rode out to Wyndham, down the twisties that were in terrible, terrible condition, as Steve and his wife had warned us. There were bloody great potholes in the road, loose gravel everywhere leading up to and through half-completed road works. A real shame because in good nick, it’d be a fantastic ride. We got to Pambula and plodded up the highway long the coast past Merimbula and into Tathra, where we took some pictures, stared at the ocean again and managed to not bring up war, human misery or suffering. Unusual for us. The road from here to Bermagui is gorgeous, beautifully surfaced and the scenery alternates between bushland, farmland and the beach. We pull up, get off the bikes, I have a smoke, go for a walk in the water in my leathers and marvel at how loud the waves are. Haven’t been to the beach in years. Matt shows his appreciation for the beautiful scenery by urinating on it. It’s a fairly average commute up to Mogo where I keep one eye out for an old Netrider Mod who works on the roads there. Didn’t see him. True story. The road from Bateman’s Bay to Braidwood was even better than I remembered it. Generous speed limit with fantastic, well-sealed sweepers up the hills was the highlight of the day. Virtually no traffic in our direction but the road in the opposite direction was backed up with traffic snaking its way down the steep hill. A long line of caravans and family wagons stuffed to the brim made a snail like pace down towards the ocean. I spot the occasional local, exasperated, sitting defeated, stuck behind the holiday makers. The strong rich smell of brake pads smoking accompanies us as we fly past them. Forgetting what brakes smell like, I worry for a moment my Bonneville is about to go on fire. Do that road. Great fun. The rest of the trip for that day – tedius and boring - prepares you mentally for Canberra. But here’s a secret. I like Canberra. I like the bad drivers, I like the twisty roads, I like the moribund night life and I like the stifling heat and bitter cold. Riding south through the city, I like the way that Parliament house rises above you and for a brief moment you’re in awe of the capital before you remember the fcukwits that work in it. We visit a mutual friend, his massive collection of classic bikes and talk about Matt’s W650. Our friend, who is also a shooter, starts talking about rare target variations of the L1a1. I get a little more animated and Matt, perched in camping chair, goes red-eyed and looks like he’s about to fall asleep. That night I walked around the caravan park we were staying in, theorizing that it used to be a barracks. Found what looked like the old mess, and then found the armory. I’ve been inside a few of these before. I tried to force the door open because the outside may look like a glorified tin shed but there should be a concrete structure inside with walls half a meter thick. In the dark I pushed and prodded on the door until I realize that behavior like this is probably the reason why MattB is on the phone to his very lovely wife and I’m single. Have a smoke, off to bed. Get a rude MMS off a girl. I send back something about finding an old armory in the caravan park I’m staying in. I don’t get another MMS. I fall asleep. The next morning MattB and I went our separate ways – him back to Canberra and me onwards to Sydney. I took the hume. Nothing interesting happened to me. MattB ran out of fuel and ended up pushing his W650 halfway to Melborne. More ramblings from Sydney, and the trip back to Melbourne are available if anyone is willing to put up with any more of my mumbling writing style.