I am the original 'Uneasy Rider' .. not especially blessed with much natural motorcycling talent, nor am I a particularly courageous motorcycle rider.
Nevertheless I went 'Right Way Round' New Zealand (at least twice) followed by a wonderful ride around Australia.

Then it was up to southeast Asia, around Indo-China, across southern Central Asia to the Middle East, Asia Minor .. and finally into Europe.

Right Way Round - all the way home .. from New Zealand to England, 2-up on a Honda Transalp.

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PROGRESS SO FAR - Distance covered across Western Europe: 6,411 km [3,984 miles] - as at Thursday, October-22nd, 2015

Sunday, 2 May 2010

A Home Run

Friday, April-30

Port Augusta - the 'Crossroads of Australia' , so called because of its unique geographic position as a major service centre for travellers crossing westwards along the Nullarbor Plain .. and also because it's the southern gateway to the Northern Territory via the Stuart Highway.

TIP: If you're looking for accommodation in Pt Augusta, then you will have to search very hard indeed to beat the Acacia Ridge Motor Inn. We highly recommend it; as it's definitely one of the best value-for-money motels we've stayed in so far, anywhere around Oz.

But we need to move on, further southwards .. towards the township of Gawler, northern Adelaide, which is 'just down the road' at a mere 294 km [183 mi]. We have a date with our longstanding friend, Jeremy .. and his new bride, Carol.

I'm referring to Jeremy of the Massingham clan, with whom I lodged in their Bournemouth-based hotel from November-1997 -to- March-1999. Should've only been a temporary accommodation arrangement for maybe 2-3 weeks during which time I intended searching for another apartment/flat to rent; but my stay with the Massinghams ended-up lasting 17 months! And good times they were too .. :o)

As we've plenty of time on our hands, we decide to avoid the A1 Highway .. and ride to Gawler along the more rural back road through the Clare Valley, called the 'Main North Road' .. if that makes sense! This lies to the east of southern Flinders Ranges, and is accessed via Horrocks Pass [entrance approach pictured above].

Damn! - it was good to ride over some asphalt roads that actually twist and turn. We haven't seen this sorta thing for thousands of kilometres. Hope I haven't forgotten how to lean!

It was just like entering a new country .. and just look, trees that look like real trees!

.. wonderfully photogenic countryside stocked with familiar, properly corralled farm animals ..

.. as we ride across the wheat belt, which as you can see has recently been harvested.

The Clare Valley is most famous for its vinyards, of course. So we stopover for the night in the township of Clare .. just to sample some of the [eh-hem] 'local produce'! ..

.. hic .. hic!

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Saturday, May-01

Lunchtime [PIC: Carol, Jerry .. Myself + 'Er Indoors ]

.. and we finally get to hug Jerry, which was about eight years overdue!

But the reunion was just like we last saw each other a couple of weeks ago. I guess that's just the way it is between true friends ..

We spend the rest of the day catching-up on our news.

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Sunday, May-02

Not only is the north Adelaide region blessed with the wineries of the Clare Valley; parallel and to the east, the city also has the equally (some might say superior) wine-producing region of the Barossa Valley as another neighbour

.. with its own tranquil settings.

I could also settle around this region - no problem.

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Late morning, Sunday-02

We pile into the family car and take a ride around the countryside .. the Barossa area in particular.

Soon we're puffing and panting up the very steep approach pathway to the private mausoleum of the Seppelt family (built in 1927). Good heart attack potential here, I reckon .. which is in keeping with the surroundings!

I'm sure we shouldn't be smiling so much outside this sombre edifice ..

.. it must be the view. Not a bad outlook though for your final resting place, eh? Not that the Seppelt inmates are able to appreciate it!

The walk back down the pathway to the car was an interesting experience too!

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We move-on to the charming township of Tanunda ..

.. in the Barossa. So now you know where the Jacob's Creek label comes from!

Chateaux galore ..

.. wherein ..

.. you guessed it! ..

.. you can have the most perfectible delectable time tasting the finest aussie vintages ..

.. if you're susceptible!

.. which we most certainly are.

CHEERS!

I think this pic was taken at the third winery that we visited during the afternoon ..

.. 'tis all very blurry to me now - as the afternoon grew darker .. and darker .. and darker

.. hic .. hic .. hic

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Monday, May-03

New Tyre Day .. YIPPEE!

Mid-morning - and we scoot down to the south side of Adelaide City. Not that the traffic was unusually hectic; in fact, it was quite orderly for a major city. Just that we haven't been used to seeing much more than 2 - 3 dozen cars on the road all day for quite some time now.

Now it's back to reality time for us!

Peter, who was our Adelaide-based host for two nights back in mid-March, took the time and trouble to ride across from his home to meet-and-greet us at GC Motorcycles (Southern Store).

Thanks again Pete for all your kind help and assistance .. and very valuable advice to date; not only during this two-month Australian ride, but also throughout the planning stages. It seems that we've been mates forever .. and I have no doubt it will always be this way .. :o)

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So it's off with the old [unbalanced] Perelli Scorpions ..

.. which are replaced by my most favourite on/off road tyres of all, Continental Escapes (ContiEscapes).

I dunno what it is with tyres .. maybe it's all psychological, but I really didn't get on all that well with the Perellis; they just wouldn't allow the Alp to drop and lean nicely into corners .. indeed, quite deliberate, and even forceful counter-steering was always required when negotiating corners. Good job we've been riding mainly along straight roads since the buggers were fitted back in southern Perth WA at the very end of March.

ContiEscapes, however, seem to instinctively roll and lean the Alp into bends. I just love 'em .. notwithstanding any psychology, the bike now feels like a completely different machine; she now turns and brakes just like a motorcycle should.

BTW, if you're ever in Adelaide needing tyres, I can highly recommend GC Motorcycles (Southern Store). The manager there, Don, will certainly look after you.

(thanks again for the heads-up Peter .. ;o)

With brand new tyres to scrub-in, we ride the relatively short distance to Mawson Lakes in order to hook-up with a couple of fellow Ulysseans, Mick and Angie, who we met along the Eyre Highway during Thursday afternoon, 18th March .. they were returning eastbound from the Ulysses AGM (held in Albany WA), as we were heading out west.

And here we all are again .. in their hometown of Adelaide. Funny how you just 'click' with some folks, ain't it?

See you next year, we hope, Mick & Angie .. ;o)

The ride back up to Jerry's place in Gawler was just as fretful, traffic-wise, as the morning's ride down. We better get used to it .. as Melbourne's streets await us!

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Due to the prevailing rain storms at the time, we stopover in Jerry & Carol's place for yet a fourth night. Thanks again fellas for your great company and kind hospitality. See yuz both next year mates!
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Wednesday, May-05

We finally get away from Adelaide .. with some mixed emotions. Sad to be leaving Jeremy [& Carol] after the eight year interlude, but I'm sure that we'll keep in touch on a more regular basis from now on.

Jerry you have our contact details .. so I'll catcha later, eh bro? .. ;o)

The weather is decidedly 'wintry', with the daytime temperature rarely getting above 15ÂșC; we're not used to this .. and wrap-up with fleeces and all our foul-weather gear just to keep-out the chilling winds.

Nice vistas though, as we make our progress towards Horsham in the State of Victoria.

The countryside reminds me of Welsh Wales for some reason? maybe because of the inclement conditions.

439 km [273 mi] later, just before darkness falls, we get into Horsham and sort out our digs for the night.

Great motel accommodation at the Ploughmans Motor Inn BTW. Just across the road there's the Victoria Hotel, where you can fill-up on some real tasty tucker.

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Thursday, May-06

General Election Day - in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

[ .. and we didn't get to vote, of course]

Away from Horsham by 10 o'clock. There's no need to rush this morning, as the day's ride should amount to little more than 200 km [125 mi]. We set-off for the Grampians National Park.

We didn't concern ourselves about the long boring straights early on during the approaches into the park, as we knew a testing time lay ahead!

It was good to see Emus and Kangaroos grazing in and around Zumsteins along the way


See what I mean about a testing time?! Very twisty roads indeed to negotiate in the Grampians .. that's for sure!

Uh-oh

We stop in order to stroll through woodlands to view the McKenzie Falls. The loss of significant vegetation in the 2006 fire is still quite apparent.

It's a beautiful walk nevertheless.

About a round trip of 1½ km. Halfway along you get to the viewing point above the Falls.

At Reeds Lookout there are panoramic views looking south over the Victoria Valley:

Quite astonishing ..

.. as we simply didn't expect to see vistas like this anywhere in Oz ..



.. and from the same lookout, to the north, Lake Wartook.

Australia never ceases to amaze .. there's such diversity, IF you take the trouble to go out and look for it.

We head-on towards the City of Ballarat, passing through quite idyllic countryside. We like this region of Australia .. and could easily settle here too.

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A light lunch in the village of Halls Gap, in the very heart of the Grampians Park .. before moving on to ..

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Ballarat .. and we're checking-in at the Mid City Motel around 4:45 pm. Nice establishment, although now looking a little 'tired' and in need of a general refurb.

Evening: Great food is served-up at their in-house restaurant. Look very carefully at the picture above, which is the view out to the main street from our window-side table. Pretty subtle .. huh?!

Mmmm yummy! .. yet another food picture! This time of crispy roast duck breasts, with a tasty aromatic plum sauce. We send our compliments to the Asian chef - with a nice tip ..

.. to keep-up the good work!

[n.b. Pecuniary tipping is not a customary protocol in Oz]

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Friday
, May-07

This is our last morning 'on the road' .. and as we are facing only a modest 106 km [66 mi] ride to Melbourne Airport, we decide to spend the whole morning 'till lunchtime in Ballarat City.

We discover that Ballarat was one of the most significant Victorian era boomtowns in Australia. Gold was discovered hereabouts in 1851, which spawned the Victorian gold rush. Indeed, thousands of Cornish tin miners (aka 'Cousin Jacks') left Cornwall in the early 1850s hoping to make their fortunes.

We further discover that the City is full of names that begin with syllables of 'Tre', 'Pol' and 'Pen' .. and many other common Cornish names. So we dig a little deeper ..

.. and in the process acquired this little booklet from the city library to find out more about the State's Cornish heritage. Yunno, there's even a Ballarat Branch of the Cornish Association of Victoria.

After more research, in summary, I think it's fair to say that .. Yes! Ballarat owes a great deal to my fellow Cornishmen. Maybe this is the reason why I have taken to this exceedingly pleasant corner of Australia so easily.

Mid-afternoon .. 56 days after leaving this exact same spot - and 14,419 kilometres [8,960 miles] later - we rock-up into the Ciloms Lodge Motel, Melbourne-Tullamarine International Airport.

And all of a sudden .. the trip is over.

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I think it is equally fair to say that our journey has been a true adventure. We have passed through endless scrub desert and searing heat - tempered by lush valleys that are simply bursting at the seams and teeming with all sorts of strange and exotic wildlife. But most importantly we have achieved what we set out to do. We have again met and stayed with some incredibly generous people who we now regard as our good friends - and hope that we can meet-up with them some time in the not-too-distant future .. on our continuing journey next year .. and maybe even beyond.

We now have but three full days remaining in this unique country; time enough to payback a little loving care and attention to our trusty motorcycle, which incidentally, has performed absolutely flawlessly for the last two months. A just reward for a true and faithful companion, I reckon.

There will be a post script to this blog within the next week or two, which will sum-up what still lies ahead before we both finally get back to England. Ellen leaves Melbourne, homeward bound, next Tuesday morning, May-11th .. spending that evening and night-time in Seoul, South Korea, before landing in London late on Wednesday-12th.

Whereas I'm going back across the Tasman to New Zealand a little later that same morning, returning there for just a week, to reflect and ponder on my own .. and also catch-up with some other outstanding issues in and around that equally wonderful country. I've never seen NZ other than during the southern hemisphere summertime, so it should be an interesting - and cooler - seven-day experience. I shall then follow in Ellen's wake, albeit taking-off from Auckland, on Tuesday, May-18th. I hope she will be able to pass-on some handy tips on what to see and do during my own brief stopover in Seoul.

Meanwhile thanks for visiting my blog ..

.. and as Arnie would say, “I'LL BE BACK!” .. on March 1st, 2011.

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