Hi de hi campers

Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
1
15
42
Trip End Apr 24, 2013


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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Thursday, February 21, 2013

11.15 AM. Monday morning sun shining 20 C and we are ready for the grand departure from Londonderry.

We had been up fairly early in order to finish loading, packing the bags and sorting out all the last minute bits and bobs.

Bluey arrived back from dropping off the kids at school and decided that Wally could do with some lessons in materials handling as he didn't approve of the way the bikes were loaded. In view of his experience gained in the haulage business not much of an argument was put up and the load was re-secured and lessons learned or maybe not!

Alas Bluey couldn't make the ride with us but in a ceremonial sort of way we followed him riding his 'postie' bike to visit his friend and neighbour Steve Leembruggen who just happens to run a business buying and selling pre 1990 Japanese motorcycles.

It's a huge operation and Wally thought he had been transported back in time with the machinery in the warehouse and workshop. There were hundreds of machines and thousands of spare parts including some really rare and sought after models. The day could of been spent moseying around the place reminiscing and getting quite excited especially when confronted with an ex Greg Hansford Kawasaki H1 in immaculate condition but we had to start moving on.

From Richmond it was up into the Blue Mountains to Lithgow. This particular road starts off in such a boring and mundane way changing from 50 to 80 kph so often Wally was beginning to wish he was back in Nz.

However after about 30km and well into the Great Dividing Range the 100kph sign appeared and the road really started to open up just as the traffic was dropping off.

It should be noted that all the locals were behaving themselves with regard to speed but the young lad on the Fireblade following us seemed to spend most of his time with his front wheel in the air. But I guess he wasn't speeding!

It didn't take long for Jan to see her first Kangaroo although I suspect she smelt it before she realised what it was. Road kill is a day to day occurrence here hence the reason we won't be riding at night.

Jan still can't get over the sight of beware kangaroo, horse, emu and wombat road signs!

Bathurst home of the famous 1000km race so loved by Murray Walker soon came into view. The 'Mount Panorama' circuit used to be home to a major bike race but they were banned after the bogs were blown up with dynamite by bikies many moons ago.

The road was now hotting up as we were too with the temperature approaching 30c when we pulled into the town of Cowra.

A couple of minutes in the local tourist info centre and we were soon ensconced in our motel for the evening via Woolies where we stocked up.

Wally also purchased his first Clearskin. At first he was under the impression that was the name for a male contraceptive but the reality is it's an unbranded bottle of wine from one if the major producers and a way of selling off their excess products. Bloody good value in this expensive place.

Not sure what happens around these parts but when we went for a walk about 8.30 we only came across 2 people and every bar, restaurant etc was shut apart for the communal quilters club!

With a 425km ride in front of us on Tuesday we hit the road at about 8.30 and headed off for the town of Cooma following our tour guide Blueys recommended route.

It didn't disappoint, from the rolling hills to the Snowy Mountains.

A couple of points to clarify here though as they aren't really mountains as we would think of the Alps or Pyrenees and not a spot of snow either with the highest point we saw at 1500m!

But the road is what we are really interested in and yet again it was fab.

Despite Blueys best efforts to pass on his luggage securing skills to Wally they obviously didn't quite sink in as after approx 20km Jan pulled to the side of the road.

Wally initially thought this was a test to see if he had been checking in his mirrors. If it was he passed but he failed the luggage test.

Having re-secured the luggage and making the statement 'that won't move again' he had to stop after another 15km to do the job properly!

Took Jans advice (that hurt) and popped the emergency tent in the swag bag.

Problem solved.

Hardly any traffic again and being off the tourist route no sign of the camper van hordes. Plenty of bikes though. Wally was certainly glad he had his black visor on as every time he glanced in his mirrors he was blinded. It wasn't the sun it was the light reflecting from Jans teeth such was the smile inside her crash helmet!

It made all the hard work worth it as she was hassling Wally through the bends.

The tourist office wasn't as helpful as the previous office and we wondered if that was because we were spoken to by a girl form Hertford!

Neither was the motel room but it did the job as we were both tired. Dinner in the RSL club was spot on although we can't get our head around the number of people who play at the pokie machines all night.

Wednesday was another 400Km roller coaster with the aim of reaching Lakes Entrance.

Yet again we followed the prescribed route and took in a 50km leg through the forest around Mount Imlay. Excellent route with the road snaking through the forest only and the wonderful pine scent tempered by the inconsistent road surface which has been ruined by the logging trucks, the only vehicles we saw during this leg.

During a break we had a chat with a Canadian guy who was riding his push bike to Perth!

Wally tried to pick his bike up and concluded it was only a tad lighter that Jans CB400!!

Rather him than us. Back on to the A1 we were soon passing the border into Victoria where apparently the cops show no mercy for the slightest speed misdemeanour.

Jan is now getting used to the vastness of Australia and the chatty way of the natives. Even more surprising was the sight of quite a few bikes on their way to Philip Island and people asking us if that is where we are going.

We even met a retired couple in the town of Bombala ( one horse town) who were on their way too! Only 600km away, can't imagine that in the UK.

Although later in the day Wally was abused by a native native who didn't seem quite as friendly. BB!

We made it in good time to Lakes Entrance which should really be titled Entrance to the lakes!

This time the tourist office were superb and found us some bargain accommodation in a holiday camp. The last time Wally ventured into one of these places Ellie was 4. We liked it so much we even booked two nights so we can check out the area.

Important Notice
Do not read past this point if you are under 18 or of a sensitive disposition
So far this tour Jan and Wally have been rating the quality of the showers on tour.

The crucial points are controllability, temperature and flow rate. For instance excellent rates 5 and very poor 1. Blueys scores 5 the hotel at Fox Glacier scores 1.

However in Cowra Jan considered the shower power to be far in excess of 5 and in fact could even do some damage as it was so powerful.

Keen to try out this wonderful shower and confident there would be no loss of hair Wally attempted a shower at full power.

Unfortunately Jan was correct and the water jet was so powerful it sliced Wally's favourite appendage!! So now Wally has a wounded willy!!

He hates it so much when she is correct.
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