I had a couple of days to get to know where I was, try to accomplish some "home" goals, getting my mobile number re-established, internet, preparing to have things and people organized to move back into my house, etc etc. I really got to know the trains and trams of Melbourne! I was never a fan of this city before, but I'm most impressed with the public transport system! I was really into hitting the ground running with projects, that I didn't take time for photos. Ridiculous! So I borrowed one online at this website, http://us.123rf.com. Boring, I know.. ;-(
But! Good news! Literally the day after I arrived, Robin Box from Safari Tanks and Touratech called me. I can't remember in my mad 6 month planning to take this journey in 2010, how I got on to Robin. I think I had questions about some Touratech products. He graciously gave me partial sponsorship on those things. And then one day I got a call about the Safari tank he was recommending. I never heard of one, but when I heard the story, and he offered to send me one free of charge.. well okay then! I really didn't know what I was doing setting up my bike and I think he caught on to that. But it's special people like this that has made the journey for me, and this was the start of it.
Robin knew I had a few days to wait for my bike so he invited me up to his family home near Wangaratta, about 3 hours north of Melbourne. So, I took the train! Haha, well for that public transport system? There is a buckle in the train lines, so they put us on buses instead. Oh well, it was a nice ride and one I didn't have to navigate or think much about.
Into the R & V Aqualine warehouse, they built this business way out in the country and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw size of the factory.. on a remote farm! Heaps and heaps of Safari tanks in all different sizes and colors... everywhere! Very well organized and super impressive. I have always said since day one, that my Safari Tank that Robin so generously offered is my all time favorite accessory. Forget the leather purse or pearl earrings, I'm in and have been in love with my Safari Tank the entire time! I know I've said it a million times, but stock fuel capacity on my bike was only 12 litres. With the Safari Tank, he gave me an extra 14 litres making it 26 litres when both are full. This completely made travelling to remote areas possible. Now I can only imagine how much I would have missed in the best remote parts of the world if I didn't have this extra fuel tank to take me farther. Freedom and peace of mind. I can't be more proud to get to know the people who have helped me so much. And I'm more than happy to say if you need extra fuel capacity on your bike, check them out at Safari Tank Website
While in the "Safari" shed, I'm eyeing a new Triumph Tiger 800 equipped with one of the Safari Tanks. Robin asks, "Do you want to take it out for a spin?" I initially told him no, because I don't want to fall in love with another motorcycle until I know I can get a new one for myself. Plus I still don't have any riding gear as it's still on the shipping crate with my own bike. He says, "You can borrow my daughters gear! What size are your feet?" I tried on her boots, they fit perfectly. I tried on her Touratech jacket, it fit perfectly. No more excuses, Let's go!
It was a big bike! It felt all right but so much bigger in comparison to my own that I didn't go crazy on it... yet! ;-) Robin kept saying, go faster.. open it up!!! That man has speed in his blood!! It was only a small ride. But I really enjoyed it and would love to do MORE! ;-)
The following day is Sunday and the Box family take me out (in a car) to show me around. I just keep noticing the smell and the sounds of my favorite Aussie birds. The Kookaburras, Cockies and the Galahs. Beautiful Lorikeets. It feels so good to be in familiar territory and I'm really recognizing I'm nearly home... The bird photos are not mine. I just threw them in so people from overseas knows what I'm talking about.
Thanks again for a super fun weekend.. Big thanks for helping an ignorant ol' girl prepare a motorcycle properly for a huge trip around the world! With that Safari Tank and the Touratech Panniers, I couldn't be more grateful.
Couldn't wait to get to the warehouse and unpack Tony from the little crate. Did he survive the smallest crate of all? Yep! Perfect and I didn't have any quarantine or cleaning fees. My toothbrush cleaning job in New Zealand worked again! Ivan from Bikesabroad was there and he helped me unpack and put the bike back together again. I love the photo of him on my bike. I love the smile that motorcycles bring to peoples faces as soon as they're on one!!
Once I got organized and packed up the bike, It was time to hit the road!! Riding out of Melbourne city was entertaining. I left my Australian gps map card in America with a stash of other things a couple years ago, and I neglected to pick it up last time I was there. Not to worry, this is MY country and I know my way around. For the most part. The city was easy enough, I found my way with only one unnecessary diversion.. haha. The main highway south to Geelong and on to the Great Ocean Road. All of these roads I'm familiar with and easy peasy all the way back to South Australia from here.
Well I didn't get to far, only to the coast, a town called Anglesea. The bike was revving up on it's only especially when I took a left turn. The throttle cables were installed on the wrong side of the bar causing them to be too short and straining. There's no hurry getting home as I'm not due in to Adelaide for a few days, so I park the bike in a very abandoned camp ground (winter!!) on the ocean and had the place to myself. Love that!
I went back to Geelong and a great mechanic helped me sort the cables out, and a couple of other tidbits that I should have attended to, easy done.
Now, time for the Great Ocean Road! I've travelled this road twice in my life already. I've stopped and seen everything before, so it's less eventful than it should be on a world journey. Yet spectacular enough that I'm so happy to be experiencing the curves this time on a motorcycle.
I've marvelled at this house every time I pass it, but this time I thought to take a photo. I also remember seeing it on an Architectural Building show in Australia in the past. Yes, I love those shows.. But I can't help thinking that it's a bit surreal after riding to very strange places on this motorcycle in the last 38 months, that I'm now in places I know well and seen before. It would take a special person to think of building a house on a stick like that!
What's also cool is that this is a week day during winter. Otherwise this road is full with tourists during summer or the weekends.
Morning Walk!! Soooo happy to be here.
It was so funny to come across the Plovers. The silly dears have laid eggs next to the parking area. A lot of large sqauwking and those raised wings. Ooooooo, I'm so scared, little one!
I see your eggs are safe. The screeching calms down and now I think she wants to sell me a new watch under the jacket.. ? Tourist business is slow at the moment.. ;-)
Back on the great road..
Just out of curiousity I stopped at Logan's beach. When I pulled up, I saw several cars, so it might be a good day to see if the Southern Right Whales are around. Yes, they are!! Probably a bit hard for you to see in the photos, but there is one on the right about 2/3 down.
Not a clear photo but with the zoom and crop I got him! Little baby was doing tiny breaches! So cute. It just makes me feel good to stop and see the whales. I'm glad I did that, familiar or not.
I decided to stop for the night in Port Campbell. I stopped into the camp ground first. It put me off a bit, and I thought, I've done enough camping and stayed with the most amazing hosts in Melbourne. Tonight is a hotel night! It's been a really long time since I've stayed in one. The cheapest I could find of course! This lovely hotel in the photo has much cheaper rooms out the back. How many times in my life I've stayed in Outback pubs, and this one is a classic beauty.