Prof's Tassie Trip, Feb 2008 ...

Pics of yours or other interesting bikes taken out and about. Reports of Choppers Australia rides, with lots of photos and great stories. If you are not confident writing up a story, email Prof & get some help... choppers are all about riding, so let's hear your stories.
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Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Prof's Tassie Trip, Feb 2008 ...

Post by Prof » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:21 pm

For years, my wife, Rilda and I had been talking about visiting an elderly Aunt of hers in Hobart to get a swag of family history before it was too late. Then early in the year, while watching the internet flight plans she picked up some very cheap flitghts and a good price on the Tasmanian ferry. So all of a sudden it was decided.

She’d fly up to the Gold coast to see our son and then fly down to Hobart. I would ride to Melbourne, take the ferry to Devonport and ride down to Hobart to meet her. Then she’d come back with me on the ferry and home on the bike.

I now had my chance to catch up with our Victorian Choppers Australia members and contacts and the guys in Tassie as well. A couple of weeks of phone calls got my visiting all organised and it was just a case of restraining myself until the happy departure day!

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All I need for two weeks (or more!) plus a sleeping bag for Rilda...

I left Tuesday 9.30am and went via Mt Barker, Murray Bridge and due north to Sedan then via a dirt 'short cut' to Blanchetown. The dirt was good enough to be able to sit on 110 kph. Love riding on roads like that.

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Love this country; big boulders and old stone houses...

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A good dirt road is just the thing for my chopper and me...

Saw a bloke at Waikerie and then headed off to my next appointment in Barmera... where I had two problems... he lost his mobile and was waiting at a different place to me... and I got a flat tyre about 20k from the town. Fortunately we found each other and HD's safety rims allow one to still maintain 70kph on a flat tyre! I had the tube replaced. Rim was rusty inside and had punctured the tube. The people who do my tyres are going to get a bill when I get back!

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20k on a flat tyre isn't too bad...

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Like to take off my own wheels; less paint chips that way... and I know everything is adjusted up properly when it's done...

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Cool secondary road stretching out before...

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... and behind...

After a windy ride, I met Jeff in Mildura and enjoyed a BBQ tea. Bad news was that I couldn't see his chopper as it was taken to the exhaust place unbeknown to him during the day.

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All work including springer and paint done by Jeff; one really talented guy...

I rose with them at 6am and got an early start. I stopped by the Supermarket to grab some muesli and milk for brekky. The day was very windy (and gusty at that) and didn't warm up like yesterday, so instead of sunburn I shivered through the morning while expecting the sun to do its job... which it didn't.

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This steam traction machine did about 1½mph. Bit slow for me... but then again I can't carry an anvil (arrow) to do on the road repairs!

Breakfasted in Ouyen, and rode much of the way without 'Boris' ( a certain piece of totalitarian head gear). Just before Swan Hill I passed a small siding with a engine/bike shop... screeched to a halt and turned into their driveway. There was a grey chopped CB750 sitting out front. Turned out to be a customer's. Discussions with the owner revealed he knows another chopper owner and is giving both CA literature. He also had a whole lot of Z1's and CB750 stuff.

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Honda that caught my eye...

The military museum that used to be in Swan Hill has disappeared (I've wanted to revisit it for years) so I visited the Lake Boga flying boat base instead... very worth while... and raced on to get to Bacca's for lunch by the lake.

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Pity I couldn't get up in the plane... would have been really outasight!

Had fun in the afternoon playing with our bikes and choppers. I got to ride a new Triumph, V Star 1100 and his xv1000. We did some video of Bacca on his 400 chopper and an interview with Bacca for the C31 movie clips we are producing. I also gave a slow riding demo on the shovel in the dirt yard... great fun... loved it.

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Bacca on his blue Kwakka 440 chopped on his front verandah. His mate has since died.

I'm just having a ball... long 'country' distances with the Harley loping along underneath me... lots of time to relax, think and plan, people stopping to talk about the chopper in towns, meeting chopper enthusiasts for the first time and more…

I left Bacca's at Boort on Thursday morning and headed of on a nice bitumen road to Stawell. Wind was once again strong, but otherwise perfect riding weather. Secondary road so the cap seemed the way to go.

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What could be better than a road like this?

Found Dusty's pretty easily by the cars out the front and had a good time talking bikes, choppers and cars (he's rebuilding his partner's HK Monaro from the ground up).

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Shed full of goodies that would please any old school motor head...

After lunch I headed off, but first got a pic of him and his 6' Ned Kelly post box... he even beat out the armour over a green log like the original. But he says he gave up on the plough shares as they were just too tough.

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It is such blast... highway ahead... wind in your face... great people to meet... never sure what will happen next... an adventure every time I take off. Perhaps I'm just too emotional about these things... maybe I've not grown up yet... but as Bacca said "growing up IS very overrated"!
I took off from Dale's to the usual head/side wind and roared down the highway. Even with my panniers (1940's versions) the shovel's exhaust note is quite audible... good riding music!

More pics coming...

The only event of interest before Ballarat was three police cars... the only I've seen until Tassie.

I rolled into a servo in Ballarat and got my bearings and directions from the attendant. Darren is on a dirt road 6ks out of town and I went right pas, as I couldn't read any box numbers. Finally found one a mile down the road and came back to the FIRST property. Darren was out watering and “wondered” if it was me riding past!

He rolled out his 750 Kwakka and washed off the dust so I could get a set of pics for our newsletter. It's not been ridden for a while due to a leaking sump, but he promises he'll get to it... reckons I've shamed him!

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I left Darren's with out knowing where to stay for the night, but figured I'd push on for a while and get a bit closer to Melbourne. I was going to pull up on the side of the freeway, but Rilda pleaded with me to find a caravan park... so I obliged... well until I asked the price... $60 for a single cabin!!! My efforts to get it reduced fell on deaf ears... but the hotel up the road had “cheap rooms”.

I pulled up at the aforementioned pub only to be told that a bare room with a bed and dressing table was $50. My entreaties again fell on deaf ears.

Sorry Rilda, but the roadside it will be...

I tried a likely spot beside a bridge, but it obviously was regularly visited by the local yokels, so I accelerated up the steep track and back onto the highway and kept looking. Just before Melton in the growing dusk, I spied a likely spot and rode up the grass rise on the side of the highway to a nice little clump of trees and shrubs pulling up in under its canopy.

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I pulled some fallen shrubbery around my spot as an alarm and set out my sleeping gear. After covering taillight/licence plate and headlight with bags I pulled out a can of spaghetti for main course, followed by half a can of pineapple poured over some muesli for desert. That done I settled down to an early night accompanied by the roar of traffic thirty yards away.

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The thick canopy hid most of the stars, but did mean no condensation overnight, so with the sun up, I very leisurely ate the rest of my pineapple and some more muesli. It was the greatest feeling, starting up the bike and once more accelerating through the gears up the highway.

In the suburbs, I stopped by an opportunity shop looking for some thin leather gloves, as my hands were getting burnt, but the only pair were some waterproof short winter gloves. Still at the price I thought I'd grab them anyway. Tried another shop but to no avail.

Traffic through Melbourne at 11 am is pretty manageable for a country boy and after consulting my Melways, found my way to Leo's at Lalor. He was waiting and we had a great time discussing choppers, the club etc. He has a great story about how he and his wife got back into bikes some years ago... and I've asked him to tell you all some time soon.

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Leo is chopping his recently procured xs650 and it is presently mocked up on a stand with a very long springer front end. He's done a beaut job of dishing his tank and will follow the same theme through the rest of his bike. He and his mate scour the swap meets and he has boxes (lots) of bits that may be usable... including some nice new 'Invader' wheels.

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Had dinner with Leo and we then rode together down to some of his mates who have just set up a bike shop... and I took off again... this time to meet up with Robbie down in Belgrave.

Leo had given me excellent directions and I made it to Robbie's by 5.30pm having made one wrong turn due to there being two streets of the same name going to the right off the freeway in adjoining suburbs!

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I love catching up with all our guys and Robbie and his family were no exceptions. Robbie and I had to be dragged out of his shed for the evening meal. His xs650, nearly finished, is a shining sight to behold. We also discussed his CB750/4 Trike project (for his wife).

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Like many of the chopper builders I am coming across, Robbie has renovated his home (and his daughter’s unit) so we talked about that a lot too. They also got a look at my video footage of Bacca.

Early to bed and then in the morning Robbie shepherded me with his big Jap cruiser and sidecar to the ferry for the next leg of my journey.
It took 45 minutes to get through the queue and onto the ferry. Some ferry staff helped the dozen of us on bikes strap our bikes down and then we went upstairs to the deck, restaurant and lounge areas.

The sea was smooth, so the there was very little movement of the ship. I went onto the internet cafe aboard and tried to update put this story so far onto our site, but the site kept aborting when I tried to submit what I was writing, so I finally gave up in disgust and went back to reading the story of 'the world's fastest Indian' loaned to me by Leo.

We sighted Tassie around 6pm and I was riding off the boat in a long queue by 7.15pm. A hint; as soon as you ride off the ramp, go straight up to the shed where they are checking everyone off and they will let your bike straight through... saves 20mins of idling and going nowhere.
Once through, I followed the signs to Hobart and blasted up to the speed limit and stayed there until my first fuel stop at Deloraine.

I'd been told that after dark I would have to slow right down as the roads are plagued with possums and larger wild life, so I was eager to get as close to Hobart as possible before dark. As it turned out, I saw no live animals and only a couple of dead ones during the whole 4 hours of riding.

Riding was glorious with the shovel rumbling away faithfully, good roads with nice curves surrounded by mountains in the distance. I stopped just long enough in one nice spot to take a pic of the shovel silhouetted against the setting sun.

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The remaining hour or so was done in the dark watching but never seeing any furry road hazards. I pulled into Brighton and grabbed something to eat. A call to Andrew Williamson (our Tassie coordinator, confirmed he had picked up Rilda from the airport and they were on the way to a hotel he had booked for us. I arrived there an hour later. The bed was realy nice and they let us stay in until 11.30am.

My big challenge was to combine Rilda's luggage with mine... done eventually and adding up to one very bulky bike.

Andrew and his mate Peter rolled up at 12.30 to take us to Tassie's first chopper run's starting point in the centre of Hobart (or something!).
The moment I got there I could envision the Queenslanders going troppo over what the Taswegians can get away with! Andrew's CB750 threw its chain on the way to meet us so he was on a mate's stock bike, but the sight that first greeted my eyes, were two long girders poking out in front of a line of bikes. They belonged to a saviour styled CB750 belonging to Cowboy and a Z1100 belonging to Tank. As I was photographing these, a rigid cb750 roared up and joined the group.

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Andrew quickly got everyone on the move and we headed out of town with a window shattering roar... they've not heard of silencers down here!
One of the guys on his hotted up Sporty entertained everyone with his frequent and effortless wheel stands often at reasonable speeds!
Rilda bravely sat on the back of my loaded shovel with the video camera trying to get some good footage. It was difficult because she hadn't used the camera for over a year and everyone was in a hurry to get where ever we were going and and we had no idea where we were going! I finally roared ahead of the group in the stopping lane only to find we were turning off... thought I was going to get run over!

The group pulled up at the Richmond Hotel and raced in to quench their thirst. I got out the camera and video and proceeded to get all the footage you guys in Australia would be expecting. I interviewed Tank with his 1100 kawa chop on which he did everything, Cowboy and with his CB750/4 chopper and Rudi with his rigid CB750.

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I got some video of them riding up and down the car park as well, but you'll all have to wait awhile to see these pics. By the way Cowboy and I measured his front end... horizontal axle to steering head distance is 710... a bit past the 550 mm rule!... and it has been through inspection and registered.

A number of the guys had never met before and simply come as a result of either ads Andrew had placed or literature he'd handed out at the toy run. It was a real pleasure to me to see them enthusiastically exchanging contact details... CA achieving its aims once again.
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Rilda and I had arranged to stay the week with her auntie, but she had gotten ill, so Cowboy and his wife Maxine offered to put us up for the first night til we got our bearings.

We followed cowboy and a couple of others trough some excellent back roads to Bridgewater... the locals flying ahead of us.
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We had a good rest the next day at Cowboys, packed up and posted back home a pile of Rilda's gear and then in the afternoon went to see aunty in Lindisfarne. After a short time there it was down to a park to plan our next move. Everything of even a remotely reasonable price was booked out. Backpackers places did not seem to have secure parking, so what next?

Driving back from the last 'no vacancy' establishment, we saw a driveway up the hill into a CRC church. Figured there would probably be the church manse (ministers house) up there as well, so thought we'd nothing to lose and should give it a go. There were a group of houses up past the church so I found one with someone out the front and pulled up. No he wasn't involved with the church, but the people in the house with the green roof were.

So I manoeuvred the heavy bike around on the steeply sloping iron stone drive and headed to the green roofed house.

With some trepidation I pulled up to the front door and a lady came to the door and said, "Do I know you?"

Switching off the Harley, I said, "No. But my mother goes to the CRC in Mt Compass and we need somewhere to stay". I had hardly finished my sentence when she replied "Come on in. you can use the spare room. How long do you want to stay?" I replied, " 'til Friday." That was fine by her, would we like tea? Did we need any washing done?

So there you go... from no where to stay to home away from home. Lovely people who immediately offered the use of her internet to get this site updated. The most they'll let us don in return is washing dishes and fixing their toilet cistern!

Tomorrow I have a two hour meeting with the QC who has been helping with club matters and then a BBQ with Pete, one of Andrew's mates. We want to do a run down to Tank's at Verona Sands and also see one of Rilda's cousins up at Swansea. We'll see what else transpires.

Part of the fun of cruising around... you never know what is around the corner and who you'll meet. Our hosts are really nice and all the blokes we met on the run are great, so here's to the future…

Well it's now Friday and we have been planning our next moves. Rain is coming and whilst it doesn't worry me, I want to avoid as much as I can with Rilda and stacks of luggage on the back, so we are heading out of Hobart lunch time and have booked into a back packers in Devonport for tonight and tomorrow night.

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Will call in an a rellie of Rilda's at Triabunna and then got up to Devonport vi Swansea... should get in by dark and probably some rain.
Wednesday night Peter a good mate of Andrew Williamson invited us to dinner (evening). He has been watching the website for quite some time and is now looking for a project. I have put him onto a CB 750 chopper for sale in Ballarat so we'll see what happens there.

We got a bit lost on the way to Peters, but they heard us (a full block away!) and Andrew came looking on his 750 chopper and led us back to the house... where I was very bad mannered.

I declined the invite to come inside and instead, got Andrew to do a few runs up and down the street for the video camera... much to the annoyance of a neighbour trying to sleep... well the cb750 is awfully loud! After mollifying the neighbour, we got an interview of Andrew with his chopper. He then took the shovel up and down the street and I got some more footage... and the neighbour stayed inside!

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When Andrew had arrived on his chopper earlier, another neighbour came out and begon photographing his bike. Turns out the neighbour used to get dinkied around on it as a lad in the seventies! he was able to give the cantact details of the subsequent owners to Andrew and tell him a few funny stories about the bike. How's that for amazing.

Actually even more amazing and a testimony to the quality of the person, Andrew's father died unexpectedly on the Saturday orning that we arrived, but still insisted on picking Rilda up from the airport for me and coming on the Sunday run etc. We'll always appreciate you Andrew..
The evening meal was magnificent, the company very enjoyable and all topped off by playing back the video footage accumulated so far on a nice big screen TV.

Well after dark Andrew went to take off only to experience a short and blown fuses. i took him home on the shovel while Rilda help[ed Peter wash up... great trade I think! Pretty cool, roaring through the suburbs on some nice curvy roads late at night... I never tire of the shovels throaty roar.

Thursday, Rilda took it easy. I went to Andrew's Dad's funeral in the morning and then rode down to see Peter's Oyster farm at Clifton Beach and watched him eat a live oyster... Yuk! He took the shovel for a short run as he'd never ridden with extended forks and was notably impressed.
I got back midday and Rilda and I went and got a bit more family history form the Auntie. John (host) and I watched an old Gary Cooper cowboy movie last night... movies sure have changed! I also picked up a 80's biker movie for $2.95 at Cash Converters down here too.
Well that's it for a while... Got to go load the bike and head off…

Back to where I left off and it will be a big slab... sorry. Later I'll put this up on a webpage along with photos and later add a report of the Queensland trip as well…

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Soon after our arrival at our unexpected CRC hosts, the lady (Chris) asked for a ride on the back of the shovel. We arranged a time and she chickened out! Anyway the night before we left, whe plucked up the courage (she reckoned if she could handle hang gliding she could handle a Harley ride!)and we took off for 20 minutes. When I initially accelerated onto the main road she yelled out "It's Cool!"

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Me thinking she was commenting on the temperature apologised, but got assured that wasn't a problem. She told everyone who came what she'd just experienced and I think hubby got a bit sick of her talking about how great it was from then on. So I called her 'chopper chick' until we left which she also thought was pretty cool too.

On Friday after lunch all loaded up, Rilda and I headed off on the next part of our little adventure. Rain was forcast for the after noon so we had water proofs easy to reach and everything wrapped in plastic bags.

The road up the east coast is great. First you had across causeways etc to Sorrell towards the coast and then through rolling hills and curving roads, along a river's edge (well below) until finally getting to the coast again... excellent riding. The shovel despite its load eats the hills, just a case of a bit more throttle and up we go with a slightly throatier growl.

We called by a rellie of Rilda's who runs the caravan park at Triabunna. After a brief stay we took off again still in bright sunshine but with dark gathering clouds. We were flying along the winding narrow road at a respectable rate of knots when the rear end started to swing from side to side... it was a real job to keep her on the road (and in our lane) and as there was a lot of traffic and minimal verge I was looking for somewhere to pull over. I finally just had to stop where we were as the bike was almost uncontrollable. Rilda was quite relieved, as she was convinced we were about to ditch!

The spot we pulled up was less than ideal. The bike was still partly on the bitumen on a left hand curve on a slight rise, but there was nothing could be done. While I held the bike up on the steeply sloping iron stone verge (ie bit like ball bearings) Rilda found a few rocks to put under the stand and I was able to dismount. The rear tyre was as flat as a pancake.

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At this point a panel van pulled up and a friendly bloke (also called Andrew) hurried up to us. He grabbed a jack out of the back and we pretty quickly had the wheel out... all the time with cars speeding past us with inches to spare!

We chucked the wheel in the back of his panel van and with Rilda assuring us she could defend herself quite adequately we left her to guard the bike and took off for Swansea just up the road. Andrew is an auto electrician and his vehicle is crammed with tools and parts of his trade. He's shut his workshop and does all his work on site... and is flat out. He knew the mechanic in the Swansea garage and assured me we'd get the tyre fixed in no time.

The mechanic was out, but the lady doing the petrol was happy for us to sort our selves out in the workshop. As Andrew used to be a tyre fitter getting the tyre off took no time at all. No sign of a nail in the tyre... once again it was the rusted rim... it had cut two neat holes through a brand new tube. Interestingly the tube fitted in Barmera (see earlier post) was only for 2.75-3 inch tyres, not 5". It would have been stretched pretty thin! To cover the rust, we ran electrical tape over it and hoped for the best, as there was not time to scrape it. This time I used my correct sized spare tube. The garage wouldn't take anything for the use of their equipment and we took off back to the bike and hopefully Rilda. As it turned out, there was fairly constant traffic and she rang Michael and had stayed on the mobile the whole time.

With the wheel back on and the jack back in Andrew's hands, we said goodbye to a great guy... he couldn't have more more helful or more friendly. Then I tried to get back on the bike! It took both of us pushing with all our strength to get the bike up right... the slippery surface was so steep. With a roar we once again blasted off only to have Rilda loose a glove after we had gotten up to speed, so around again, then a U turn and pick it up of the road between cars flying past, and off we charged again.

A hint... when travelling out of your location, take a new rear tube (if you run spokes) and tyre levers. You can lie your bike on its side to remove a wheel if you have to, though most cars carry scissors jacks. The next town will ususally have a fuel stop with an air supply... it's the tube and the tyre levers that are more difficult to find.

Also, carry some disposable gloves in your tool kit (A few $ at a super market) to wear while doing repairs or adjustments. That way you don't have to try and find somewhere to get all the grease off your hands. They weigh nothing and take up very little space.

Sixteen km the other side of Swansea, we headed for the hills and forests... excellent riding. It was now around 4pm and it now looked as though we could end up ridng in the dusk... and according to the locals, have to contend with lots of wild life.

We went higher and higher and into forests of very tall trees and then it began to drizzle, so off the bike and into our water proofs plus a bit to eat and drink and back on the bike.

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It's definitely worth the ferry fare to come down to ride on the Tassie roads and through the forests... though there is plenty of good riding in NSW and Vic like this too, but everyone commented that you can go through the whole variety in one day.
The next few hours heading towards Devonport were done in light rain, with occasional breaks and then in heavy rain in thick traffic once we hit the main road up the centre to Launceston. The servo folks in Campbell Town looked like they were really sorry for us, but even though our gloves were soaked and we squelched as we walked, it really was a lot of fun and part of the adventure.
A few k from Devonport, the sun came out and I was amazed to discover that it was still daytime... for the last hour or so it was like riding at 10pm!
In Devonport, a local servo guy showed us how to get to our digs. The back packers we had booked into, was an old three storied brick place done in 17th Century style. It took a while to find out how to get in and then to find the office on the second floor. The lady was very kind, and once again very motherly toward two dripping squelching motorcyclists.

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Our room (double with ensuite) soon resembled a Chinese laundry as the water had worked its way into much of our packed gear!
I think Rilda spent triple time in the shower trying to warm up.

The next day she mainly slept plus did a bit of washing, while I road around town, got supplies etc. Good fun riding around a new town checking it out, seeing what other bikes are about and getting strangers coming up to comment about the chopper.

Saturday morning, we found the queue and preceded to ride past 50 or more vehicles til we found the second lane I new was up ahead. There were about twenty other bikes waiting in a group which we joined. I had a brief chat with a leathered lady, about my height on a sporty who travels all over... She told me she was just about to pick up a big twin HD... she'll notice the difference in weight and manoeuvrability!

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Once again I was able to walk the bike in the remaining part of our queue due to a nice level or slightly downward sloping surface. Behind me was the longest 5th wheeler I have ever seen, towed by an F250. He an I agreed we were the 'sublime and the ridiculous'! We've found most travellers very friendly, which makes a trip all the more enjoyable.

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The trip back to Australia took an extra hour and was fairly rough, though not a lot appeared to get sea sick. Rilda and i ended up sitting along side a couple who were keen bikers, though this time travelling in a camper, so we entertained each other well. Also watched a couple of movies in the theatre... quite funny actually, as the ship was rolling but the people on the screen were not... a odd sensation initially.

Got of the ship quickly and met friends at whose place we were staying for the night. They led us east along the esplanade for many miles... a popular motorcycling trail the tell me.

At one point I was concentrating on catching up to them and was in the blind spot of the driver in the lane to the left of me. Without warning, he proceeded to swing across my lane and turn right at a a break in the island... It was a challenge to avoid him as i was initially level with his back door. No time for the horn... just jamming on the brakes and steering with him. I always take care to avoid this position by a car, but got caught. Luckily his manoeuvre was reasonably gentle.

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Next day Rilda and I visited other friends of many years and then dropped in on Timbo. He was going out early, but I still got to check out and ride his super bicycle choppers... they look even better in real life. Timbo took the shovel for a short ride and came back smiling. I took his neighbour for a run around the block on the back and he came back smiling.

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Timbo has a nice project on its way in the shed... imported softtail frame, standard length telecopics and plans to stick a shovel motor in it... so keep tuned as he has a few tricky ideas up his sleeves.

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We spent a relaxed night back ot our friends and watched a few biker videos... and enjoyed his knife collection.

Next morning it was off again, heading towards home. First stop was a visit to Ollie Downie at his "Biker's Toy Shop" office in Keilor. He was keen to see the chopper video footage, and Rilda sat down to do some office work she'd brought with her while we enjoyed he footage.

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Ollie is quite keen to join in on a Melbourne CA member's get together. We thought he and anyone else form the West side to go and meet at someone's shed that is more central while guys from the east side came across as well. As most haven't got their choppers on the road he liked the idea of doing a few shed crawls to see what each other is doing. Ball's in your court guys.

After a bit of a photographic session, we took off form Ollie's and after visiting Rild'as Nephew's family a bit higher up , we rode off down towards Bacchus March and on through Ballarat and Ararat. Rilda decided she'd had enough of riding into the sun with a strong side wind, so A caravan park in Ararat was our final days destination, after victualling up at a local supermarket. Spent twenty minutes chatting with a guy about bikes in the area, before gladly settling down to a bitsa meal. I crawled into bed and was asleep with in minutes.

Next morning I adjusted the primary chain which was pretty slack. After talking for a while with a bloke and his wife a little older than us (also at the park) about their Harley sidecar trip, we once again loaded up and headed off this time towards Hamilton and Mt Gambier where Rilda's mum lives. This is a good run, nice sweeping bends, hills and great scenery with the Grampians crouching blue in the near distance.

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It wasn't until we got to the pine forests within twenty minutes of Mt Gambier that we had some protection from the wind. We stopped to eat our remaining fruit and veg at the designated spot. I went for a brief walk into the pine forest. When I was first riding my mates and I regularly went to the bike races at Mt Gambier and camped in the pine forests. If we weren't going to Rilda's mums I would have been pretty keen to set up camp in there... something about pines... quite and protected inside, but the wind still wines in the pine tops... a real sense of security and well being.

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Nothing much to say about Mt Gambier except that while Rilda talked to her mum, I visited most of the bike shops and gave them each some CA info... if they are to believed there are no known choppers in the area.

Rilda's mum lives in a retirement village and a number of the fellows there were keen to talk about their biking days long past and all admired the shovel.

Yesterday (Thursday) was a repeat of Wednesday's steady run from Arrarat... just that the roads were not as good, were very straight and the country very flat...But it was still a real joy to be riding... the shovel steady and powerful beneath us, roar of exhaust always there, eating up the miles, varied scenery slipping past and until we got to Keith... no wind.

We pulled into Naracoorte for a brief stop and going into a Vinnies got talking to a lady who was a neighbour to Rilda in Clare when she was a child! It took a while to get Rilda out of there and I decided to sit on the shovel while I waited. The owner of the computer shop I was parked outside of came out and we got taking. He has just bought a fairly new sports bike (If its not chopped I never remember its name!) and was heading of to a conference in Melbourne the following weekend. We discussed among other things safety issues facing older riders just getting back on a bike. He also know another biker I know who is currently touring the USA with his wife on a Cossack and sidecar.

I finally dragged Rilda out of the shop (she claims she was waiting for me!) and to a lot of waving form the envijous ladies in the op shop we rode off.

At Tintinara we stopped for the first bought 'fast food' of our trip. Got a nice photo of Rilda eating in the cafe with the loaded chopper in full view through the window... biker bliss.


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The wind and sun in our face once again rejoined us and I kept the shovel on a steady 115-120 in an effort to get through as quickly as possible without getting a ticket. Saw no police for the entire two days! The wind was shocking between Tailem Bend and Mt Barker, but at least I got some wear on the left side of my tyres!

Whenever we passed a semi on the two laned sections, I sat along side wind free for a few minutes before once again braving the high wind. The first time I did this, Rilda panicked, forgetting it was two lane!

I was starting to Freeze by Mt Barker and put on my gloves and manhandled Rilda into her water proof trousers.

We got home to Willunga an hour later in the early evening. After a stretch, I could easily have put in a few more hours such is the stability and comfort of my chopper.

A quick unload and there's my lovely bike sitting there saying 'Ready when you are' and looking just ready to roll... reluctantly I go inside... what a great two weeks…

I love the riding, whether sunshine, wind or rain... the road being devoured before my eyes and the scenery rushing past... the challenge of the ride... pitting myself and my machine in some small way against the vast piece of nature that is country Australia. Equally fulfilling is meeting CA members for the first time or rekindling friendships, meeting new people who either understand, pity of envy my lot.

The shovel ran without missing a beat. Two flat tyres due to rust I didn't know about. Daily inspections revealed two loose exhaust nuts and a loose primary chain for the whole trip. She used about a litre of oil for the whole trip... most of which was done in hot weather at prolonged highway speed. The front tyre is now down past the wear bars... it was new in time for my Queensland trip. Not bad for a 3.25 tyre on a heavily loaded Harley where I mainly use my front brake.

Rilda found the bike very comfortable and her back and hip which have prevented her from riding for over six months coped really well... especially as she has hardly been on the bike in that time... and we put in some long hours at high speed on some very rough roads.

Next run is up to Leigh Creek in SA, but I have to get through a back log of work first, but I'll be dreaming about it I can guarantee that.

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Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Re: Prof's Tassie Trip, Feb 2008 ...

Post by Prof » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:02 am

All photos now up. Hope you enjoy them.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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