Category Archives: Trips

Trip we went to

Reefton Spur

Reefton Spur

After riding backroads around Emerald and Gembrook on Friday after work Greg and I met with Kee and all decided to ride Reefton Spur early Saturday morning. Kee is going to be the camera man and STIG 2 in 1, racing his BMW 135i coupe with GoPro mounted on the bonnet ,filming us.
We decided to meet at Gembrook for a morning coffee at 8am and then head to Reefton.
Andrew SMSed at the right time last night asI had almost forgotten to send him the invite.
Everyone arrived at Gembrook around 8am but cafe was closed and we decided to go to Warburton and have coffee there.

Gembrook Cafe, Vic
Gembrook Cafe, Vic

Greg also called Wooly while at Gembrook and told him we were doing Reefton this morning. Wooly got ready within minutes and caught up with us in Warburton. Now we had 4 bikes and car: that is 2.5 BMW bikes 800GS, 1200GS and Husqvarna TR650 Strada(its probably 80% BMW) and Suzuki DR400. All of us had a knobby tyre set on the bike.
We had a cup of coffee with choice of pies and cakes . I had a carrot cake so now fully energized we headed down to Reefton.

Warburton Bakery, Vic
Warburton Bakery, Vic

I have started off a little bit slower and in first corners I was decelerating harder before entering a corner, then I got into a rhythm and started to hold throttle at a more constant position just slightly slowing down before a sharper corner and then accelerating gently out of the corner.
By the middle of the Reefton Spur probably 20 minutes from the start of the twisty road I was a lot smoother on the throttle , though in two corners went a little bit wider and touched the middle line. I didn’t want to lean further as I was worried I’m going to run out of the rubber on the front tyre.
Through those turns I used up all of the front rubber and the side chicken strips started disappearing completely and I am not a footpeg scrapper. The rear tyre still had probably another 5mm of the usable rubber you can see it by different color and texture of the rubber surface on the edge to the color of the rest of the tyre after the ride.So you can still lean a bit more on the rear tyres but i didn’t want to have the front wash out.
With other less knobby or a more rounded tyre you can probably lean further safer but these ones I better be a bit more careful.

Reefton Spur
Reefton Spur

We stopped half way through at the intersection with the Woods Point road for a bit of rest. Regrouped and took off again. Kee was now filming with camera mounted at the back of the car on the boot facing forward, filming himself and bikes through the windscreen
After that we stopped for a rest at Marysville.

Marysville, Vic
Marysville, Vic

After Marysville we rode Black Spur the road going to Healsville. Andrew went straight home. I refueled at Healsvile and we went further to Kinglake,
One stretch of road near Kinglake was really narrow and corners were even tighter.Cars could barely fit into the lane. Good thing that the speed limit was only 60 and upcoming traffic was not going too fast.I was getting a bit tired with cramps in the shoulders started to appear when we passed St.Andrews and got to Warrandyte. After that we all went home.
Overall it was a good day and lots of fun riding those twisties. It was my second time on Reefton. First time I went there last year on my back then Suzuki GS500 with “L” plates on.That would have been only 1-2 months of riding that I have done since getting the license. That time I was really stressed, every corner was making me use a lot of energy and concentration. It was taking me longer to process all the information, I was paying too much attention to whats in front of me instead of whats around the corner. Didn’t know what line to take, how to lean etc.
I am still learning now, but I think some of the things are being automatic now and I dont have to think to much about it. Its still not natural but its getting a bit more fluid now, at moderate speeds I can go from corner to corner a lot smoother then before and sometimes not even using brakes.
I was avoiding Reefton Spur over the last year as I thought it was too hard and I need more practice before next attempt. Now I think I can go there more often to practice those cornering skills.

Riding gravel roads in Gembrook

On one of the weekends we decided to meet with Greg(on Husky) and Andrew (on BMW R1200GSA) at Gembrook for coffee and go a for a ride after that.
I thought we were just gonna do the local twisties but Andrew wanted to do the gravel. I didn’t even put the adventure boots on and was not really prepared to do the off-road today and Greg was in the same boat saying he would have brought the tool-bag just in case.
Oh well we decided to still do it.
The gravel roads were moist from the rain that was going on for the last few days.Some patches were reasonably dry but the ones in the shade were really moist with few puddles of water.
All was good until we took a left turn I think towards the Power lines section in that area. It was slowly going uphill and one section on the right had all the trees chopped, some sort of logging track.
That is where I had my first slide which is not in the picture. I was trying to go around the puddles went closer to the curb side and then turn left but front washed away and I slide into the curb , it was soft and at walking speed so no issues.
I looked at the surface and it was wet slippery clay stuff not much of the gravel in the section.
Andrew had TKC80s on his 1200GS with traction control and ABS ON Greg still had knobby Pirelli Rally in the front and Mitas 09 at the back they felt some wobbles but it was not as much issue as it was for me on my new Pirelli Scorpion Trails.
They were holding fine on gravel and on drier stuff but on the wet clay they were just like skates on ice. They felt and looked like slicks after mud filled up the thread groves in the tyre.
They asked me if we should turn around and go back to the main gravel track I said I will try again and went first now.

taking a nap
taking a nap

hand brake u-turn
hand brake u-turn

Only managed to do another 100 meters before another slip.This time rear was caught in the little rut and washed out coming around towards the front so the whole bike went sideways to the road and slid from left side of the road to the right side while still being upright and then fell again into a soft stuff mostly leaves and grass so there were no issues. It happened so quickly that the guys didn’t even see how it happened. It was similar to a police stunt u-turn using the handbrake to do a 180degree u-turn.
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This time we decided to turn around and take another route.The other section was alright it was more gravely and bike was staying upright.
Andrew let me test ride his 1200GSA, it was my first time on 1200GS.First I could not even take it of the side stand, his seat is high and he dialed his electronic suspension to the highest mode too.So I was barely touching ground.If I am touching ground with my right foot I can’t reach the side stand.So he removed it for me and switched into the 1st gear and then I went.It was so heavy at standstill that I couldn’t move it but as it started moving it felt very light.
The gears felt lower then Versys and sound coming from the engine was interesting too. But i was surprised how clunky the gearbox was I was expecting the opposite from the German engineers. Anyway the standing on the foot pegs and riding in the saddle both were comfortable for me on 1200. The only issue would be the height and the weight of the bike. I also always liked the look of the 1200GS bikes and I got the GS bug again now.

Fallen tree
Fallen tree

Few minutes later we swapped the bikes back and got to a section where a big fallen tree blocked the road. First thought was to turn around as we are not in 4WD and not carrying chainsaws with us. Then decided to ride around the tree through the high grass, ferns and bushes. When I road the bike through that stuff it felt like it was suspended in the air while riding over the brunches grass and other soft debris.

Apart from injured pride, it was a great day out overall, lots of fresh air and emotions.

Day 1 Melbourne to Horsham

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First day of the trip
Finally packed all the gear: cloth,food, tent,sleeping mat, sleeping bag and other camping gear.
I was a sunny warm day with temperature floating just below +20C.
Finally we took off i think it was around 5-6pm .
After we left home just couple of blocks down the road I have noticed one of my mirrors was getting lose, I would straighten it and with a bit of wind and acceleration it would fold back so we needed to stop and make a quick fix. We probably spent good 10 minutes searching for the right size allen key, I was almost ready to go back home to get it when Greg finally found it. Removing the spring washer and re-tightening it again seemed to have worked.
Next stop was in South Melbourne servo on Kings Way to get some gas,as Greg was turning into it, his front washed out, he barely saved it by putting a foot down. He had a new Pirelli Scorpion Rally knobby tyre installed on the front for the trip and haven’t scrubbed it in yet.
Next fill up was in Ballarat, temperature dropped significantly ,we were freezing , the hands and the whole body was freezing.
I went around the back of the servo and put the the thermals on. The servo assistant started cracking up some jokes about Horsham as soon as he found out we are heading that way.
Next hour and half was reasonably boring ride in the dark to Horsham.
We got there probably around 9-10pm. We stopped overnight at my brother in-law’s home. Had some food , drink and went to sleep. That was the end of the first day with total distance covered only around 316kms (technically i think we only rode for an hour in daylight).

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Luggage pannier rack

Worked for 2 weekends on these pannier racks with my dad. Its taken about 10 hours of welding and grinding in total  and 4 hours of priming and painting.

On first attempt we used the tube bender from Bunnings. We spent couple of hours bending the pipes to match the Ventura rack but the handles of the tool were bending before the pipes would. So i have returned it to Bunnings after an hour of use, with both handles fallen off, bolts and nuts come of too. That pipe bender is only capable of bending garden hoses i think.While it would be nice to have a pipe bender at home hydraulic or similar, we still had to go and make rack just by bending all the pipes around the knees.
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On the night before the long trip ,not perfectly shaped but close enough we got the rack ready. We tried to follow the shape of the Ventura rack, but It came out bit wider near the seat and the brackets that we welded on to go under the seat into the same spot where Ventura racks were appeared to have a lot more flex then original Ventura. so we decided to add another set of brackets as there was another set of holes  we could use on both ends of the pillion grab handles. 
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That gave it a lot more stability and rack was flexing a lot less. we then added side pannier frames ,rectangular loops, it was now getting more solid. Tested with the heavy rear bag and tried to shake it. It could still flex a little bit, I didnt want to have a tired metal in those places where we bent the brackets so we welded little plates to the side of the brackets to stop them from flexing. Now its very solid.
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I sanded it and used a round file at place where joints were.
It was already around 8-9pm when i started applying the first layers of prime coat and being in a hurry and having to leave around lunch time next day I had little time to spare so I was applying more layers of primer every 20-30 mins as soon as it touch dry.
Then started sparying with black paint and primer started to float above the paint in multiple places. I guess it wasnt set yet.
I have applied probably 2-3 layers of paint on top and started installing the rack around midnight.

even next day when we left to horsham when i taken the bag off the rack the paint still wasnt set properly in some places as touching the bottom of the bag was leaving stain marks.

After the trip a lot of the paint got stripped at the places where bags were rubbing it and playwood that supported the bags also was like abrasive to the paint.
now i might take it of again and do it properly this time spray and dry for few days before recoating and leave to set for few days idealy in the sun

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Trying the rack on the bike

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Fuel and Water containers

As we are going to the Australian Outback where the Gas station are as frequent as polar bears in Moscow
,some OZ people actually believe its still the case – bears walks the streets and everyone just drinks litres of vodka every day to prevent the blood from freezing.
While there might be just enough petrol in the tank to get from most of points A to most of the points B. Some Gas stations only operate during certain hours of the day and there is a chance that some might run out of fuel.
I was thinking of extending my range a little, I didn’t want to pull a fuel cistern behind me so I wanted something compact and within the budget.
There are few nice cans on the web like Rotopax, they are not too expensive but I don’t have hard panniers to attach them to.While a collapsible can like a bag from the wine cask would have been good for my setup I think they are around 100$ mark and still need to wait for them to be shipped interstate which I might not have enough time for now,
so I have found really cheap solution at SuperCheap Auto 15$ 5 Litre plastic fuel can looks good, its skinner and taller then standard cans, and fits well on the passenger footpeg with 1-2 straps.
I got 1 petrol and 1 water container. Water is as rare in the Outback as petrol too. I bought a 2 litre camel backpack for that as well,but I think it would be more comfortable to carry nothing on your back

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Wiring electrical chargers etc

On the trip I need to charge few devices: CB Radio Uniden UH076 – cigarette lighter plug, GPS Garmin car type- USB/Cigarette lighter, IPhone – USB,
GoPro battery chargers -cigarette lighter x 2 ,plus I got a portable USB battery bank- charged via USB and Scala Rider Intercom – USB)
Total : 4 USBs and 3 cigarette lighter plugs at the most with most likely 2 USBs and 2 cigarette plugs at the same time.
1st plan was to create a circuit-board/distributor box with one incoming wire and multiple outgoing wires with bullet connectors. Then cut and convert all cigarette lighter plugs to bullet plugs.
including the cigarette to USB adapter.
Then I thought doing the same distributor box with multiple connectors but using Anderson connectors.
when I realised it would still take a while to wire all that,I decided to run a cable from battery to the handlebars and have an Anderson plug on the end. I bought 1 splitter box which has cigarette lighter plug on one end and
3 cigarette sockets and 2 USB sockets on the other end. so I will replace plug with Anderson connector and will connect to the main wire with the same anderson plug which dangles
near handlebars
all the devices when connected will be sitting in the tank bag, where it will keep it away from the dust and rain if any happens.
Main wire at the battery end I crimped using eyelets and added in-line fuse holder, Connecting eyelets to the bike battery was a !#%!$%$ nightmare.
the nut on the terminals which fell into the bike intestines few times is hard to keep in place, and bolt is too short to reach it even if nut sits on the battery.
so the nut needs to be in the air for the bolt to reach it especially after you add few extra eyelets to the terminals, I have now 3 extras( 1 for the LED lights,1 for the under-seat plug and now the front connection)
to make it work you need to jam something into the battery terminals first like a bit of cardboard or I used wire rubber insulator ,
then jam the pesky nut there, only then you will have some luck of getting them hooked together.
who ever dealt with that probably understands me now how frustrating it can get.
So if you gonna project manage the trip preparation process, this battery connection should be done as a task of its own, after accomplishing which you can have a beer!
Also next time I might try using a longer bolt.
It was quite fiddly to route the cable so I had to remove all the fairing and fuel tank to make this work easier, and that way I could place them into the same spots as other cables and tie them properly

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Choosing boots

Last week of preparations before the trip to Flinders Ranger and the Australian Outback
This weekend I have been running around between bike shops, Bunnings,Masters, Jaycar and SuperCheap Auto.
One of the items on the shopping list was the adventure boots which would offer more protection then my city riding AlpineStar Touring boots but also wanted something reasonably comfortable.
after searching around ,a bit of research ,and trying few boots, Forma adventure boots looked like the best choice. They much comfier then standard off road boots , comfier then couple of other brands boots I have tried,
still offer good protection,
they are waterproof, they dont feel like ski boots ,you can still walk in them like normal hiking shoes and not bunny hop like Armstrong on the moon , the sole is similar to the hiking boots , so it wont slip in a mud, sand or wet grass,
as oppose to some AlpineStar boots i have seen which had flat sole, and with RRP price of 350$ they are 50% cheaper then Alpinestar or SIDIs which go for around 600-650 at PeterStevens.
I have spent few hours at A1 store deciding what size to get – 41 or 42. 42 was a bit lose with normal sock but fits ok with hiking sock and makes walking easier(still a bit of movement around the heel).
41 fits all-right with thin socks but big toe touch the front of the boot, and starts pushing against the wall during walking, but sitting on the bike is fine.
so been trying them on and off few times and decided to for the 41s after trying them with thicker sock, which sort of fixed the problem of toe touching the toecap
yes this boots have a bit of toecap,not sure if its metal,plastic or just hardened leather, my touring boots dont have it, and maybe the toecap is actually the cause of this discomfort
when I was choosing hiking boots I also found the Catterpillar boots uncomfortable in that area with them having the toecaps,
so opted out for the ECCOs at that time. I love ECCOs,I have 4 pairs of different kinds, the most comfortable shoes, can recommend anyday ,
and none of them had any issues over the years.I have had some for about 9 years , I wish they did motorcycle boots ,
as they would be the most comfortable motorcycle boots.
sidetracked a little here, so I got the 41s with the hope of them stretching and moulding to my feet a little
here is the picture of them , side by side with touring shoes:

Friend of mine has the same boots and used them on couple of trips to outback in NT and back
where he tested them in river crossings and a fall in a soft sand, where he said his bike fell on him , yeah not him falling off the bike .
sort of like jockey been thrown by the grumpy horse over the barrier, and then because his leg was stuck in between the bike or foot-peg
and the panniers he pulled his bike along during the flight, so when he landed on sand , his bike landed on top oh him ,
he was twisted like a pretzel but the boot kept the foot straight and protected from twisting and pulling the muscles or whatever that can be pulled
and my road boots they are quit soft, fit like a sock but also can rotate around a little like a sock too.
so here are some of the reasons I decided to go with Formas. Will probably also write a report on them ,how they performed on the trip

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Motorbike Trip to Horsham via Great Ocean Road and Daylesford

Motorbike Trip to Horsham on Suzuki GS500 ( via Great Ocean Road and Daylesford)

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the route we have taken

last year in the end of june 2013 we decided to go for a two day ride  to Horsham.
We could’ve take the shortcut and get there in 3 hours via the freeway but we taken a more scenic route via the Great Ocean Road. We left city around 8am on Satturday , as I remember now the weather when we took off, was not the best. It was really cold around 5 degrees, foggy and to make it worth when we approached Geelong it started raining. At 100km/h it cools you by another 10 degrees. Even though I have waterproof suit and waterproof gloves, after riding in this weather for an hour your fingers go numb. Would have been nice to have heated grips or at least bark busters to deflect rain and wind. Another thing was a poor visibility I worried that it would be harder to ride the waterfront twisties in such conditions.

We stopped at Anglesea for 5 mins to stretch the legs. As we left Anglesea  rain stopped and sky cleared. It was a lot nicer to ride now, it didn’t feel as cold and suit started drying up. In about half an hour we got to Lorne and stopped there for a late breakfast.

The coastal twisty road continues up until Apollo Bay after it goes inland,  we  refuelled there and continued towards Warnambool.  We hit few patches of rain before we got to Warnambool but the road was still nice via inland, very green, humid and air filled with rainforest fragrance. We decided to have lunch somewhere near the waterfront and found a good spot near the Breakwater Rock Pier, the food at Pavilion Cafe & Bar was quite good and it had nice view of the little bay.

Warnambool
Warnambool

the original plan was to go to Portland next but we were running a bit late on time and the final destination for the day was Horsham so we decided to skip Portland and ride via “C184” highway to reduce the time we ride in the dark to avoid all the wildlife.

Half way between Macarthur and Hamilton we found a nice lookout with a view to the Mt Napier. We didn’t have enough time to visit the old volcano and explorer surroundings there but taken few nice

Mt Napier lookout
Mt Napier lookout

photos with some nice green paddocks at the back, which reminded me of WindowsXP desktop background.

It got dark just before we got to Horsham. We didn’t want to meet too many kangaroos as we were passing Grampians on our right, as this time of the day you see them more often . they are very active at dusk and dawn, come out to feed and could end up on the road.

We stopped overnight at relatives place in Horsham. I was a bit tired, it was my first long ride on the bike. My shoulders and wrists were sore, knees were cramped. I think Suzuki GS500 is a bit small for me for long distance touring, about 600 kms in one sitting was a bit hard but its perfect for shorter distances and commuting around town. I also think I was holding on to the handlebars bit too much too and might have been a bit stiffer then needs to be,  that could’ve also contributed to the muscle ache.

We left Horsham early morning at dawn . We headed to Grampians via Wartook and Halls Gap.  The fog was very thick that morning, you couldn’t see further then 10-20 meters. It was so thick that it was forming a droplets film on the visor, I had to wipe the visor with my hand every few minutes. It was crowded with kangaroos too, crossing the road, jumping out of nowhere, running alongside the road, so we were riding very slow on those twisties with eyes wide open.

We soon arrived at Halls Gap, where we had our morning coffee, coffee  was quite average but was enough to get us to Ararat, where we had a better coffee and a proper breakfast.

When we finished our breakfast sun was up and cleared the fog, the ride got easier and roads straighter, so we got to Daylesford via Avoca and Maryborough in no time. We searched  for natural mineral springs near Daylesford, there were few signs there but we couldn’t find any springs in the wild. We had some nice lunch at Daylesford .Taken few photoshots of Trentham Water Falls and went to Melbourne.

On the second day of riding I didn’t feel as much shoulder pain as day before , because I tried to relax the grip a little but still could feel the knee cramps so I needed to stop every couple of hours to stretch.

Overall it was a good relaxing trip, mind clearing and refreshing. Covering around 1000kms over the weekend. It was my first long road trip on the bike and Im looking forward to the next one.

Walhalla town

last Friday which  was a public holiday (Anzac day ) in Australia, we decided to do a day trip to famous Walhalla town.
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Star Hotel
Star Hotel

This town is popular  for gold-mining heritage, it features buildings that were built during the gold rush, old mines, couple of camping grounds,  mountainous terrain which is popular with hikers and 4wd drivers, trees with very bright yellow and red color leaves at this time of the year, which could make you feel that you are in Europe – just a nice and relaxing place to visit.

old gold vault
old gold vault used to hold 70 tons of gold

The plan was to go for a few walks, have some meal and coffee in town and go back to Melbourne. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny, with few cool drafts at the bottom of the town or when in shade. It taken us couple of hours to get there. The road to Omeo was a straight line freeway with not much to see which was quite boring, but after Omeo it transforms to a nice twisty road with wide sweeping corners and lots of green trees on both sides. This road is great for motorcycles, I have done it before on the way to camping grounds north of Thomson Dam. Saw few bikes in Walhalla,  but there were a lot more four wheel drives covered in mud passing through the town and stopping there for coffees.

We had some coffees and sandwiches there too at the cafe next to the “Star Hotel” .
Walhalla 25 april 2014 - 29Altogether i think we found three places that sell beverages and meals but they didn’t have much variety of food just sandwiches, pies, focaccia at one place. I was hoping for a more substantial meal like steak or something similar, actually a wood fire pizzas i think would well here, the smoke will lure in most of the tourists. Also not sure what you can have there for dinner if you decide to stay there overnight. Probably good idea to bring some snacks or easy to cook meal with you and cook it at the nearby camping grounds.

There are few tours you can do while there, you can go to the Extended Tunnel Mine tour which takes about 1 hour to complete  and runs every 1-1.5 hours. You can take a ride on the train which is also an hourly service I think.
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we didn’t go on any tours this time as we wanted to explorer everything by foot slowly, not rushing anywhere and not depend on any time schedule. We left it to the next time we visit town as we definitely want to return and possibly camp there for a night

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Trip to Wallagaraugh River(Mallacoota) and Mt Hotham

approximate route we have taken
approximate route we have taken

Pre-Xmas trip December 2013 my first camping trip on bikes!

Straight after work I rushed home, tied all the luggage to the bike, rode to Gregs place and we left Melbourne after 7-8pm, For the first night we stopped somewhere between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance, we had some coffees, muffins and chips at makos in Bairnsdale , then probably rode for another half an hour . it was already past midnight when we turned off the highway into the bush. We then kept riding for another few minutes on gravel in complete darkness, when Greg said:  “wait here I will check this track going to the right” – , i said:  “Ok” , stopped and waited for a minute or two, before I heard on the intercom grunting and heavy breathing, i asked “are you alright ?” Greg said “yeahhh, fineee”. Grunting continued and a minute later he said: “OK, come over, help me lift the bike, i dropped it”. He was a bit unlucky to do a u-turn . I wasn’t much help either in lifting the bike , i had injured my back hitting too many balls at the golf driving range, and was struggling to even do up the laces even more lifting the bike. but we managed to lift it up, nothing was damaged not even scratched as it was almost stationary drop. This is not even 1200GS , I wonder how those guys manage to lift their bikes in the middle of nowhere especially if they are on their own.

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Camping spot between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance

Anyway, we found this nice camping spot few minutes later, very green, next to some water puddle or creek it was hard to tell in the middle of the night, as we started to unload our bikes and setting up tents,  zillions of little sand flies or their relatives came out of nowhere and started getting into my eyes ,ears, mouth just everywhere, I think if you could run quick enough and with your mouth open you could probably eat equivalent of a good steak amount of flies. It was really annoying, I haven’t had such experience in probably 15 years (last similar experience was back in Kazakhstan during fishing in some lake) I thought “what have I got myself into, if all camping is going to be like that, I probably will not go camping anymore”. I wanted to put my helmet back on and ride off asap. I probably winged for another 15 minutes.

Greg said don’t worry they harmless,  only attracted to light and don’t actually bite.  “Ok” I thought, tried to ignore them and tried to not use torch as much, so eventually we both lost interest in each other, I didn’t care about flies and they didn’t care about me. We setup the tents and I got the alcohol cooker going to boil some water to make tea. It was probably already 2am when I hit the mattress.

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Lakes Entrance

Next morning we had breakfast at Lakes Entrance, filled up the tanks and asked the gas station attendant where we can get fresh prawns. He pointed at the boat across the road that just arrived from the sea. We got 2 kilos of freshly caught and boiled in sea water prawns and took off to Mallacoota.

Arrived to Wallagaraugh River Retreat (upstream from Malacoota) just after lunch time.

Wallagaraugh River Retreat
Wallagaraugh River Retreat

Setup the tents near caravan converted house on the nice plush grass.  Had the prawns for lunch , they were not bad , juicy but smaller then Queensland tiger prawns.

Wallagaraugh River Retreat
Wallagaraugh River Retreat

After lunch we went fishing caught some bream.

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Bream

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I wasn’t as lucky as the other guys I only got one undersized bream which I released and the other ones wouldn’t hook on, just take my prawns  and leave my hook naked. During dinner where we consumed what we caught in the evening guys talked about a black snake that they saw few days ago in their caravan and annoying frog that was making noise last night. That certainly made my going to sleep very relaxing and comfortable. I was holding my breath and stopping my heart to listen to every rustling,  thinking it was a snake wondering around. The Wallagaraugh River Retreat is a fantastic  place to visit, its very relaxing , very green, lots of animals, kangaroos come really close, parrots that you can feed from you hand, pelicans etc.

Wallagaraugh River
Wallagaraugh River

Next day we did more fishing and left retreat in the afternoon. Our plan was to ride to Omeo and camp around there. We picked up some beer at Bruthen and probably few minutes into riding we noticed it was getting dusky. We decided to look for nearest camp spot as riding twisties in the dark for few hours didn’t look very attractive, especially with few twisties  having gravel patches. Few minutes later we saw a turn off to a bridge across the river. We explored  it and as we crossed the bridge we saw the ambers still glowing in what looked like a recent fireplace , probably someone camped here last night. So it was decided to stay here, next to the river and the highway.  Brought more logs and made a proper fire, cooked some camp food ( canned beef, powdered soup,noodles etc) popped few beers and sat their staring at the fire and stars.

on the way to Omeo, setup tents near the highway and river, this is between Double Bridges and Tambo Crossing
on the way to Omeo, setup tents near the highway and river, this is between Double Bridges and Tambo Crossing

That spot actually felt a lot more relaxing then even last nights retreat by the river. I think it was the remoteness, no more people around  and the spontaneous unplanned camp location, it all just made it so much better.

IMG_3095
on the way to Omeo, setup tents near the highway and river, this is between Double Bridges and Tambo Crossing

Rain woke me up in the morning . I went to the river to brush my teeth, the water was really warm so I took an opportunity to dip myself there. It was nice and refreshing. After cooking breakfast we headed towards Mount Hotham via Omeo.

The ride to Omeo was really wet, and it was getting colder and darker from heavy clouds  We stopped at one of the cafe’s there to warm ourselves up with coffee and some pastry. One guy told us he just came from Mount Hotham and it was hailing there and road was slippery.

Omeo
Omeo

First thought was to turn around and ride back to Bairnsdale, but then we manned up and continued, decided if we encounter any issues we would just take it easy and take our time. Lucky for us sky opened up and road dried up a little.

Mt Hotham
top of the Mount Hotham

As we approached top of the mountain temperature dropped to about 10 degrees that felt freezing to compare to yesterdays above 30 degree temperature with even Wallagaraugh River temperatures hovering around +30.  Except for taking photos we didn’t spent too much time there.

We headed to Alexandra town where we had proper meal before going to Melbourne.

Alexandra
Alexandra

After three days of riding and clocking around 1300-1400kms , I didn’t feel as tired as I thought I would be. I was actually more tired a week later when we drove cars to Adelaide and back covering almost similar kilometers on nice freeways and in a comfy car, staying in hotels and spending few days in Horsham on the way to and from Adelaide.

There is something about travelling by bike, even though you are exposed to the elements, have to be very minimalistic about what you bring with you, its still feels better  and more enjoyable then cars. Its hard to explain and you can probably only understand after trying it.