ON THE ROAD AGAIN - TO TASMANIA!
I decided to travel to and from Melbourne via the Hume Hwy mainly because of the bushfires. (He did the trip just after the tragic bushfires of February 2009. Elwyn). I figured that the Hume would be kept open as much as possible, and the bushfires were elsewhere anyway. I had considered crossing over to the coast road on the way back but Ann – the “child-bride" I mentioned in the previous story – had asked me to call in at Molong where she works. I got lost getting into Melbourne but one great thing down there is that one of the toll companies doesn't charge motorcycles; so I incurred no expense. I got onto a tollway coming back out of Melbourne but it is free for bikes as well. Yeah! Once on the boat, I took the advice of various people and stayed with my bike till they had tied it down. I wasn't happy with the way they were going to tie it down so asked them to put the tie-downs over the bottom triple-clamp. The boat trip was quite smooth, although sleeping in the recliner chairs is not so flash. A cabin would be a better idea if you planned a long ride after disembarking. The meals were reasonable and reasonably priced. I got lost again getting into Launceston (do we see a pattern developing here? Elwyn), where my brother lives, but he found me by accident while on his way to the supermarket! Spent the first 2 nights in Launceston. I then headed for our uncle’s place in Hobart via the East coast while my brother went direct. I went via Scottsdale, St Helens, Bicheno and Sorrell then Hobart. I visited the family and then stayed with a mate of my brother’s. The next day I went off by myself. I rode out through New Norfolk to Lake Pedder and then stayed at Bronte Park. Struck about 50kms of rain, the only rain in Tassie, and had a 'roo jump across the road in front of me late in the day. Only pottered over to Queenstown the next day because I wanted to do some washing. Found a Pub with Motel style rooms and a laundry and set to work. Next day I traveled out to Strahan and Zeehan before going on and staying at Penguin. The next day it was back to Launceston. I stayed at my brother’s for a few days. I went out to Longford where there used to be a road racing circuit (public roads closed off) and also to the Motor Museum in Launceston. (Highly recommended! I’ve been there. Elwyn). Like the 'round Oz trip, I didn't do a lot of sight-seeing as we've been to Tassie 3 times and hired cars so I just wanted to ride the corners and visit family. The roads are brilliant for bikers! A 400km day can be a long day because you can't necessarily travel quickly. Fun though and would be even better if bike was unladen. There were plenty of other bikes on the road too. An easy 100kms up to Devonport and on to the boat for the return trip. Plenty of bikers as it was the Thursday before the World Superbikes round at Phillip Island, and many were coming over for that. I got a bit lost again (yep, definitely a pattern! Elwyn) getting out of Mud Bourne on the way to Phillip Island and arrived at Cowes about 20 minutes before Ann. The unit she had rented was quite comfy. We spent Friday and Saturday looking around, including the compulsory visit to see the penguins, and then I went to the World Superbikes races on Sunday. I enjoyed that and also went to the AMCN expo at the track. Packed up Monday morning and managed to get through Mud Bourne without getting lost! Stops on the way home were Holbrook and Molong, although I detoured into Wangaratta to return a coat hanger I had inadvertently taken from the Motel I stayed at on the way down. (Now there’s honesty for you! Elwyn). I clocked up 4,300kms in all. Did an oil change in Launceston before I left. I had difficulty getting the particular Motul Oil I use. I decided to ring Andy, who works for my mechanic in Newcastle, to clarify something, and he put me in touch with the Tassie distributor who then delivered 4 litres to the local Suzuki Dealer for me. He knows people everywhere from his racing days! (At this point I should explain that Steve had some after-market carby parts fitted a while before he left. Elwyn). The fuel consumption was high, at about 17kpl compared to around 21kpl before. I have since contacted Ken Wootton by email. He is the former editor of AMCN who is looking after the ZX12 Kawasaki that they fitted a carby kit to. It was this story that sent me down this path. He suggested that a 15% increase in consumption could be expected. More power, more fuel needed! I didn't adjust the chain the whole time and nothing fell off so I can't really complain. I should probably mention that there were other trips in between the 'round Australia one and this. One was an adventurous one along dirt roads ("tracks"?) to Birdsville, and then there was his trip to Townsville for the Ulysses AGM in 2008. If we ask nicely he just might get around to finishing the story of his trip to Birdsville! Well, Steve has been tripping around again. I suppose he thought that, having done his around-Australia trip on his previous Suzuki DR650, he ought to give the new one a decent run. So he went to visit his brother (and some other relatives) in Tasmania. This is his story. Oh, there aren’t any photos of his trip because he didn’t take a camera! The photo on the left was taken by me when he stayed the first night of the trip at our home. This was taken as he was about to leave the next morning - with a 550km ride ahead of him to reach his next overnight stop. Anyway, enough from me, I'll hand over to Steve to tell you all about the trip.
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