Saturday, January 24, 2015

Scooterbob visits the 3 Sisters


I got up early to take scooterbob for his first outing in Sydney. I have decided on a trip up into the Blue Mountains, which is both a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the world and it also has some great motorcycling roads so hopefully we will get to do a bit of both and have some fun along the way. If your wondering why they are called the blue mountains, then one only has to look at the photos to see why.

It is going to be a hot day today(32°C/90°F) so I decided to leave early just after 7am. I couldn't put my camelbak on as I had to put scooterbob in my backpack so fingers crossed. Heading up into the mountains early was starting to look like a bad idea as I hit fog and mist, but luckily most of it burnt off as the sun came out and it ended up being a beautiful sunny day. First stop is the 2 look outs at Wentworth falls. There was some low lying fog in Jamison Valley this morning. Amazing views up here.




For the non Australian readers the Blue Mountains is a part of the great dividing range which runs up the east coast of Australia The blue mountains are a dissected Plateau carved out of sandstone bedrock. The mountain ranges are not very high as far as mountains are concerned and range up to around 1189m (3901 ft) and have precipices dropping away suddenly of up to 760m (2493 ft). Eucalyptus trees grow throughout the valleys of the ranges and the oil released by these into the atmosphere creates the blue haze which the mountains are named after.

I saw on google maps another lookout I had visited before so I thought I'd check that one out for a different view. Unfortunately for me 4 mini bus loads of tourists had beat me to it so it was a bit hard taking photos. Those Japanese tourists are sitting on the edge of a massive drop easily a couple hundred feet.





Scooterbob admiring the view
I was a little worried about bob in that last shot above as I thought he might roll off the rock backwards, he was sitting precariously. Lucky he didn't as there would have been no way of recovering him if he went off the edge. I moved on from here and headed around towards Echo point which is the home of the 3 sisters.



Scooterbob at Echo Point

Scooterbob, meet the 3 sisters
 The three sisters is essentially a unusual rock formation. The character of the Three Sisters changes throughout the day and throughout the seasons as the sunlight brings out the magnificent colours. The Three Sisters is also floodlit until around 11pm each evening looking simply spectacular set against the black background of the night sky.

After bidding the 3 sisters good bye I followed the Blue Mountains Drive around the cliff tops and passed by scenic world which is basically another place to fleece the tourists of their hard earned. I stopped by eagle hawk lookout again with spectacular views of the valley and the 3 sisters.








Looking straight down from eagle hawk lookout

I'm sure Bob would have loved to visit the blue mountains. There are plenty of little places to visit up here. Fantastic coffee shops, cafes and antique stores and those magnificent views everywhere. I moved along a bit to check out some more views. It was getting very hot now especially seeing as I was stop/starting a lot because I was taking so many photos. I was also getting hungry and thirsty. Time to find something to eat after one more picture.



I decided to stop in at Mountain pies and get a coffee and a pie. They have won awards with their pies. Again for the non aussie readers our aussie pie's are a pastry base filled with meat and cooked in the oven. I ordered a pepper steak pie. It had chunks of beef and actually had green pepper corns inside. Beautiful, washed down with a coffee. If your ever in the area stop in and try one of their pies. They are fantastic.





With lunch finished it was time for me and scooterbob to head home back to Sydney. It was so hot today and I missed my camelbak dearly in the heat but still it was a great ride and a fantastic day out.



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Jenolan Caves Road

I'd woken up early this morning hoping to start out scooterbobs Sydney adventures but when I looked out the window I was very disappointed. Rain, rain and more rain and it doesn't look like it's clearing anytime soon looking at the weather radar.





So until it clears up a bit here's a little video I made up from the ride down into Jenolan caves last week.


Friday, January 2, 2015

New Years Day Ride

I decided on heading out for a decent ride on new years day to kick the year off. I thought that this would be a great day as most people would be still in bed from a big night on the booze from new years eve celebrations, so hopefully there wouldn't be many people out and about. So the destination for today's solo ride was the Taralga hotel for lunch taking in as many twisty bits in between as possible. I decided to take my camel back today as it was going to be in the 30's. I'm glad I did. It's also double demerits here in NSW so I'll have to be careful.

First up was riding up through the Blue mountains via the bell's line of road. I've always liked the area around Bilpin where the tree's are evergreen, with apple orchards all along the road side. You can even come up here and pick your own apples. There are plenty of fruit shops along here too selling apples, apple pie and anything with apple in it.


Apple Orchards


Bilpin Post office & store

Leaving Bilpin behind I headed up into the Mt Tomah and Mt Bell sections of road where it becomes a bit more twisty and fun. It's funny how you build up a perception of how fast you think you can go on the road, then do a track day and suddenly find some new found speed. These sections whizzed by very quickly with little effort.

 I took a small detour down one of the dirt tracks to a lookout for Mt Banks. I didn't go all the way down but I still had some spectacular views of the canyon walls with Mt Banks on the left of that.


Mt Banks

I couldn't hang around for too long to look at the views as there was still a lot of riding to do to get to my lunch destination. I continued along until Bell where I turned off and crossed to Mt Victoria and headed down Victoria Pass. It was an excellent choice as there was hardly anyone around this morning, my hunch was right everyone had a big night and the roads were empty including highway patrol cars.

Victoria Pass Motogp track


The monument below was put there in 1832 when this section of road was built. The stone bridge was built by convict labour to cross the last point between the 2 ridges as the only way down from the mountains on the western escarpment and it was completed in 1832. It's pretty much unchanged today. There's a lot of stone work in that bridge. I wish they would upgrade the bridge to 2 lanes each way like the rest of the road here.



I soon turned off the great western highway and headed out towards Jenolan Caves. And started the long climb back up the ranges for the sudden drop down into the gorge where the caves are. No pics of the caves today as I've taken pics of them before you can find them here.



Plenty of wildlife to be on the lookout for

I arrived in Oberon for a quick fuel stop. Every time we've stopped here for fuel its been 20-30c dearer than anywhere else. Today I found out the BP in town was 6.5c per litre cheaper than the shell so if your riding  through try the BP(soon to be caltex) first.

Rather than ride out through the boring bit to black springs I'd back tracked out the Jenolan Caves road to shooters hill road which takes you down onto the abercrombie road and Taralga. I love this bit of road its very scenic and also high speed(but also very good at cruising speed). The road is basically here for the logging trucks and is very wide and very smooth much unlike other roads around here. There was a couple of kangaroo's that had been hit and were laying on the road just over a crest which became a bit tricky to negotiate at speed.



I was like brap, brap, brap.....lean over, then brap, brap. brap



As I was doing a solo run today there wasn't anyone to take photo's of standing next to their bikes so I had to get in some of the shots. Here's my first selfie.


As I got closer to Tarlaga I put the gopro on going down into the gorge. Not much to look at when I watched it back so it didn't make it onto the blog today. A bit furthur down the road I noticed that there was about 20 odd wind generators on the hills just out of Tarlaga. I don't remember seeing them before. Might have to take a closer look.




I got into town just before 12pm right on time for lunch. I was pretty hungry by now. There was only 2 people in the pub today, still it was early. I hope they are doing lunch today as I didn't ring ahead and it is a small country town. As luck would have it they were doing lunches. I ordered a steak sandwich and an ice cold beer to wash it down with. I can recommend the steak sandwiches here. It was fantastic. About 20 minutes later the pub had a good crowd in.







It was 1pm and time to get going again, I took a quick detour out to the wind farm to have a look at it. These definitely were not here last time I came out here. I saw a notice on the wall of the pub which said something about 50 odd wind generators would be installed as part of the project.

Just one of the blades on these things is the size of a semi trailer that's how big these things are. They are huge.

It was starting to get hot standing out here in the blazing sun in full leathers so it was time to keep moving. I was basically retracing my steps back to Oberon for fuel then home.









On the way back I stopped along Shooters Hill road at a turn off on the road. I was wondering what was down the road, it looked inviting so it was time for another quick detour. It turns out this road was just as good as shooters hill road with big wide smooth tarmac with forested verges all the way along with the road being like a roller coaster ride. This is R1 territory.





They should have locked me up, sorry your honor I couldn't help myself...did you see the roads on my blog. You would of too if you had an R1.






It turns out that the road comes to an end, well an end of the tar that is, but it continues on further. The road was only about 10km or less but oh what a road. So that was it for me I turned around and had to ride those sweet sweet roads again. Can you tell how upset I was about that?

Please please tar the rest of this


I'd made it into Oberon with the fuel light on for about the last 50kms. I filled up 16 litres for 238kms which is 6.72lt/100km. I normally get around 5.6lt/100km. These roads do make your bike thirsty.

By the time I left Oberon with a refilled camelback I went straight back down Duckmaloi rd and up Victoria pass and back along the bells line. It was hot, bloody hot. It was making me tired faster, so I slow it down to the limit across the bells line. I saw my first highway patrol and it was about 4pm. Not bad for today. It was 35°C when I got back into Richmond. I was knackered in the heat after a full days ride. The camelback was a life saver in the afternoon heat. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face for hours after. What a fantastic day and a great way to see in the new year.



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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Year in Review

Well another year has come and gone, I know I say this every year but where the heck did it go so fast? What a year of riding it has been for me personally, probably not the most riding I've ever done but some of the riding achievements for me were life long goals like riding New Zealands south island and riding on the track at one of the worlds best Motogp circuits, Phillip Island Australia.

It was a bit of a slow start to the year with a couple of short rides around local roads like Wisemans ferry and up into the Blue mountains for a bit of a look around. There are many spectacular look outs to be found in the blue mountains, but you need to look a little further for great riding.

Sandstone walls near Wisemans Ferry



3 Sisters and Jamison Valley, Blue Mountains

Then in February we achieved a life long goal of both mine and my brothers that we had talked about for years (around 18 to be precise), a riding trip around New Zealand. This was the most anticipated trip ever and something I'll never forget. This trip had everything you could possibly want in a motorcycle ride. Winding coastal roads, winding mountains road, spectacular rivers and lakes, and some of the most beautiful mountain vistas and lush forest scenery all in between. It was even better because I got to ride it with my older brother who I used to ride with all the time but in the last 10 years we have both moved long distances apart and haven't ridden together since. So it was fantastic to ride with my bro again and to share in the special place that is NZ. The best motorcycle tour ever bar none. The blog that followed took longer to put together than the actual trip so it was epic on every level. We did just over 3900kms in 10 days.


Overlooking Alexandra towards the remarkables

Near Mt Cook village with Mt Sefton in the background


Magnificent Mt Cook
Here's a short video of us riding up the legendary Arthur's Pass.







Then in April after I came back from NZ I had decided that it was time to retire my old quin leathers. They had served me well over the last 18 years even coming through a crash at Eastern Creek raceway with only minor cosmetic damage. I'd ordered a nice new set of Tiger Angel leathers straight off of their website. They have a pretty comprehensive measuring system. All arrived in time for a test ride up to the Oxley Highway, another trip I haven't done for about 6 or 7 years. The leathers were a little bit big around the chest, and I've also lost some weight since getting them so they are a little loose around the top, but otherwise are a great product.


We had the regular crew back together that we would normally do our snowy ride on and it was another overnighter staying in Walcha and riding the Oxley highway. One of NSW premier biking roads, loads and loads of tight twisty bends.
The Oxley Highway, where bikers sell their souls just to ride this road

Through winter we got several good rides in some of them being so good I couldn't tell if it was winter or if it had turned to spring. We had some nice warm winter days to blaze away at the Putty road, a favourite of mine. And my good friend Brad bought himself a brand spankin new Z1000 and came out for a ride with us. Come on mate pull your finger out and get some more rides in with us will you ya slack bastard.




The  end of winter saw me just doing some servicing of the bike, throwing in new brake pads & fluid, oil & filter and then got the rear suspension rebuilt. A couple of short rides at the start of spring showed that the rear shock seemed to be working pretty good but the downside it also showed how bad the front suspension was, so I also got that rebuilt in preparation for the coming track day at Phillip Island. A couple of more rides up into the blue mountains and we were attacked by swarms of bee's and dive bombed by kamikaze magpies. Thats spring for you.

September saw some sad news from over sea's from the blogging community when we heard that Bobscoot from Riding the Wet Coast had suddenly passed away whilst on holidays. Just about every biker on blogger knew Bob either via their blogs or by actually meeting him. Long may you ride on bobscoot.



Then in October we had a family holiday down to Victoria and along the great ocean road. This was a good trip as it had been about 15 years or so since I had been down there and I also got to meet this fantastic bloke and his lovely wife.....



Jules and Mrs T from the great blog Tarsnakes. I got to check out the mighty ZX-14 in the flesh, everything about it is impressive, and Jules had even fitted a GPS. After that we cruised leisurely along to the 12 8 Apostles.




After getting back home we had some really hot weather at the end of October and start of November which is a great start to the summer season, not so much fun riding in 33°C+ heat though.




Then in late November I ticked off another bucket list item by riding around at Phillip Island. Unfortunately I didn't get to ride the track on my slicks like I'd hoped but it was still one of the most fun things that you can do with your clothes leathers on.









I started out the year with 60,551kms on the clock and finished up with 64,411 kms, couple that with the 3900kms we did around NZ then it turns out I did a credible 7,760 kms this year. Not to shabby for me with the little sammich munchers still stealing from my new motorcycle fund.

Lets hope that 2015 brings in some new weaponry to my stable. As you would all know that one bike is never enough, I think the R1 needs to have a friend to share the garage with.

Happy new year to all my loyal readers and here's to a fantastic year of riding in 2015. See you all on the road. And stay safe all.