Monday, 10 March 2014

Testing Testing

Well we're nearly ready to go. Just a few last minute things to do now like packing. I have to admit to being a bit slack these last few days, normally by now I'd be all packed with just the toiletries left to go into the bags. But today I still have all my packing to do, plus Terry's stuff to sort so he can pack. Terry never packs til the morning we are leaving, which kinda frustrates me, being the kind of person who is ready days before any trip and gets everywhere at least half an hour early. He keeps life interesting for me!

I've been busy getting well. I've had another bout of serial migraines, not even getting over one when the next one hits me. In my endeavour to work out why this was happening to me I have been avoiding computer screens as much as possible, and I also noticed that my neck felt sore and very tense. So I took myself off for a massage. Yep, she said my neck was extremely tense and gave it a good work over. It's taken me three days to get over the pain from the massage, but at least the migraines have stopped now and my neck isn't as tense anymore. My ankle that was hurt at work about three weeks ago is just a bit niggly, gonna take my ankle support thingy with me though to be safe. Now all I had to do was test out the new screen on my baby.

We went for a ride yesterday. The idea being to see what the screen is like, and for Terry to get a bit more used to his baby. He had it serviced last week, I was thinking that sheesh he bought it from a dealer, surely they would have done the basics, fluids and tires and you know that stuff. Oh no, they had done nothing! The guy we take our bikes to said he was disgusted at the state of the bike and would have been ashamed to have sold a bike in that condition. That was a shock to hear, but at least now we know someone we trust has looked at it and given him some TLC. Even so, no sooner had we started our ride than Terry pulled over. 'It's not running right' he said. Hmm not good, he decided to go on a bit further and see what happened. We were going for a bit of a ride round some of the back roads just out of town but Terry's bike just didn't seem to want to run right, so we turned back after only about 15km's.

I'd wanted to get some pics of all the new stuff, screen, highway bars and Terry's bike, in some nice little country scene but we just didn't get anywhere and wanted to get home before something really bad went wrong. I did get to feel the screen at about 90km/h and wheeeee, I love it. I can still feel a bit of breeze but no more gripping the handlebars like death so I don't get blown off the back of the bike. It's noisy, well noisier than without it, but not terribly loud. I also love the new highway bars ..

They're much more streamlined than the old ones were, so I don't feel like there are a couple of weights hanging off the sides of the bike counter balancing everything. I guess I hadn't noticed it with the old ones, but having ridden with the new ones on yesterday, I could feel the difference and cornering felt so much better. I had spotted these bars on a bike of one of the Shadow Riders who came to visit us last year, and I also saw his bike go over onto the bar when he forgot to put his stand down .. I know that these bars also catch the bike nicely. Unlike my old bars that actually seemed to roll the bike further over. Don't get me wrong they protected everything they were supposed to protect, but there was once when I dropped the bike on a cambered road and I thought it was just going to keep rolling on those bars til she ended up on her handlebars.

So today, the first thing we did was take Terry's bike to our mechanic. We had a good talk to him about what it was doing, he thinks it might be something to do with the manual choke and reckons that will be an easy fix. Yay! He's also going to check out a noise that the bike only makes when we first start it in the morning. To do this he has to wait til the bike cools down, so we'll go back this afternoon to pick him up, here's hoping we'll get good news all round.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be packing right now! I'm not. I'm going shopping in a minute, there's stuff I need. Then I might spend the afternoon procrastinating a little bit more. It just feels so nice to be pain free at the moment, and I still have two more days to pack .. plenty of time :)

Friday, 21 February 2014

Terry's Little Journey

For the last week Terry has had plans to go for a little trip to Gosford. It's a pretty long way to ride in one day, so he planned to stop there overnight, do what he had to do, then come home. Between work and the bizarre rainy weather we've suddenly had he's been forced to put the trip off three times. Then finally yesterday he saw a break in work that coincided with a break in the weather and he took off for the coast.

He came home today just as evening was starting to set in, and he was met at the gate by a very excited puppy and a wife with a camera .. I knew what was coming!!

Yep that's right .. a brand new (to Terry) Shadow! And he's a beauty!!

Doesn't he look at home on his new baby?

It's the start of something new and exciting .. the beginnings of many more journeys.

Oh I guess I should give a few stats .. he's (I've dubbed him a he as he's just so beefy compared to my little baby) a 2007 VTX1300 Honda Shadow. And that's all I really know about him so far 'cept that he's a handsome fellow.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Getting Ready for Another Big Trip

This will be the longest trip so far and I have to say I'm starting to get really excited!!

The trip will start off with a group ride, then a weekend with friends followed by a week or so of rest and relaxation with my husband. Here's the story, it all started with the AGM of the Shadow Riders Australia last year in Dubbo, they decided to make it an annual event. And now that event is only weeks away!

We'd organised with the Queensland guys to ride down from Dubbo to Victoria at the last event, as they have to go through Dubbo to get there, and I thought it would be nice to ride with others for at least part of our trip. So in a little over three weeks we will leave with them and take two days to ride to Bright, Victoria.

From: Bright Victoria Tourism Page

It's a mountain village that's supposed to be beautiful during Autumn, and guess what, we will officially be there in Autumn. I'm not really expecting it to be like this though, we are getting there right at the start of Autumn, the middle of March and the seasons all seem to be running late this year. We are still getting more days of temps over 38Âșc than not, and that's just not normal for February.

We will be spending the whole weekend with the Shadow Riders. They have a lot planned for us, in the program there are rides and meals and even a darts competition. I haven't played darts for years and even then it was down at the local pub after a few beers, I just hope I don't disgrace myself too much and manage to get a few pointy bits into the board.

Here's a map of what the trip will look like.

View Victoria Trip 2014 in a larger map

Now after doing this map I realised that I lied. I know you are shocked but we are not all perfect :) It's probably not the longest trip we have done, not in kilometres anyway. It is however the longest in time, we will be away from home for 11 days this time. Normally that would drive Terry crazy, he'd be thinking about all the work he has to get done the whole time .. but I think I've hit on a solution this time. Let me tell you why ..

As you can see by the map we are heading down to the coast after the SRA meet to a little town called Lakes Entrance. We are possibly meeting up with an old work mate of mine who moved to Melbourne recently, if she can get the time off work for it. If she doesn't that's OK, we'll just spend the half day we have there wandering around looking at the sights. Then we are heading back up the coast into NSW .. and here's the clever bit.

We are staying for a few days in a little place called Bermagui (pronounced ber-ma-gu-ee) with a client of Terry's. Yep he offered us free accommodation a while back when Terry took on the job for the tourist accommodation he has in this little seaside town. I'm not sure even what kind of accommodation it is, but we have taken him up on it for this holiday. It means that Terry will be working while we are there, but that's alright, he will ease his mind, so we can both enjoy a long relaxing holiday. I'm living with the belief that while he is working I will be putting round looking at the sights or lazing on the beach, but I do have a feeling I'll get roped into helping with a few things. Not much though, I reckon we'll have more than enough spare time to explore.

Then after that little rest we'll just be heading home. Taking two days finding accommodation where ever we are when we feel we have to stop for the night.

And so I have started preparing the bike for the big trip. I've been planning the things I need to do for a while, as has Terry. I got some new presents for Roxy and Terry was busy looking for the things he wanted for the Black Shadow. I found a new screen which I'm rather excited about, it's easily removable so I don't need to have it on all the time but I'm really hoping it will help ease some of the fatigue I get after really long rides.

I also got some new highway bars. These were purely cosmetic as the one I had on worked perfectly well, I just never really liked the way it looked on the bike. I also never really liked the way it was fitted onto the bike, the top attachment point was using the small bolt that attaches the top of the radiator to the bike. It's always worried me that with excessive vibration coming from the bar my radiator wouldn't be particularly happy and I'm always looking for leaks from the radiator indicating a nasty crack. No more of those worries with the new bars, these ones have a more streamlined look, they look pretty sexy actually! And they attach as two separate pieces to the frame of the bike. They got put on last weekend, but no pics yet as there's one other thing I did while I was at it.

The light bar has been on the bike for a while, I'm not sure if I mentioned the little hiccup I found with it here. When I go over a particularly large bump, my driveway is one of those, or if I hit a bad bit of road too fast, the front guard hits the bottom of the light bar. It has spacers that came with it and it just hangs down a fraction too low. It's leaving a little mark on my guard which I'm obviously not happy about and don't want to get worse. So I took it down to my local bolt shop, where I know one of the guys from work. I asked him about it a while ago and he said yeah don't see why ya cant just shave a bit off one end. Sweet!! I took the lights apart while I was fiddling around and took them too him, he didn't have the right kind of grinder at the shop but he was more than happy to take it home and do it for me. The bad part is I told him to take his time and that I'd be back next weekend, now the bike is sitting with all her lights balanced in place and I cant do anymore work on her. Next weekend I'll get those lights back together and the screen on to see how she looks.

Terry couldn't find anything that he wants for the Black Shadow anywhere. He's at the very moment working on a solution, I'll give you that information when it happens. It's exciting! I only have that little bit more to do then book her in for a service and Roxy is ready to roll. I'll post up a few pics of her when I have her all back together.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A Little Video Tour of Forster-Tuncurry

Well as promised, even if it is a bit late, here's the video of our ride round Forster-Tuncurry. Have to apologise for some of the quality as the GoPro musta been dirty and the sun reflections are a bit bad at times. Also gotta apologise for the length of the thing, I just seem to have so much trouble cutting it down to a decent size. So it's 15 minutes long and if that's just too much for you I do understand and don't blame you for turning it off or going and doing the washing up instead.

Enjoy :)

I've done two versions. The first one has no music added for the people who cant watch with the music. If you'd like to know what I chose for my riding music it was Crowded House - Pinapple Head, Paul Kelly - Gunnamatta and the John Butler Trio - Peaches and Cream.

The second version has the music to enjoy if you can :)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Finally some Technology

A couple of days ago someone on the SRA forums posted up a link to a new helmet.

Here tis ...

Now to me this looks like it has some good points and some things that I'm not too sure about. To myself I was thinking .. 'not the kind of thing I would just fork out the money for without knowing more about it.' Upon reading the post I discovered that these Skully people were giving me the opportunity to do just that .. test it out before a I buy. Ooh well I'd do that.

So here's the story, you can apply to be a beta tester of these brand spanking new helmets. Sounds too good to be true I thought, but then I thought well they can't shoot you down for trying can they, so I applied. And now I'm waiting to hear whether I got accepted.

So why do I want to try it? Because of what the Skully helmet is capable of. I'm still kinda on the fence about it all but a couple of the features do interest me. It has a HUD that includes among other things a rear facing camera and GPS, those are things that I could see as useful. Some of the features may be lost on me, I cant ever picture myself using it with my phone to answer calls. I don't need those kinds of distractions and I'm the kind of person who screens calls at home and never .. ever! answers her mobile. So talking on the phone while I'm riding is never going to happen .. I'm way too busy enjoying my ride for those kinds of interruptions and nothing is ever that important.

The question I am asking myself is, would the features I'm interested in be distractions instead of being useful. Would a rear facing camera that shows me what's going on behind me make me lazy, so that I would not be as aware of what's going on around me and stop the meticulous head checks that I do now? I'd like to think not, in my mind knowing what's in those blind spots that I can never be really sure about, at a glance, could only help me.

The GPS is the other thing that has really got me interested. I don't use a GPS now, I've always thought of them as more of a hindrance up to this point in time, I'm quite capable of getting lost on my own without the help of an annoying voice in my head telling me politely to just do a bloody U-Turn cause you're going in completely the wrong direction! But having said that, I do see the use of them, and have one for the car for just in case I get too completely lost to find my own way out. I don't use it that often and I do also have a husband who is more than capable of getting me a little less lost sometimes (sometimes we just get lost together :D ). The only real reason I haven't contemplated getting one for the bike is that distraction thing, taking my eyes, and my concentration, off the road for long enough to make sense of something like a map just seemed incomprehensible to me at my level of riding. Now I'm thinking that having it there in my helmet, at eye level, so that I don't have to shift my eyes too much to see it, might just work.

Hence the reason I'd be interested in trying before buying. I could just do it the way I check most things before buying .. Google it. But I figure since they are giving me this chance why not give it a whirl. If I don't get the chance to try I guess I'll just have to wait til it comes onto the market and look at all the articles and reviews on it to try to decide if I'd like it. If I do get to try then for sure I'll write up my thoughts and let you all know about my experiences.

What do you think, is this innovative technology or just another distraction?

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Sneaking to the Coast for a Weekend

I'll warn you in advance, this one is a photo heavy post. And there's not much to do with bikes either, besides the fact that we rode the bikes to get there, this one is gonna be chock full of holiday snaps.

Yep we managed to sneak away for a long weekend just for ourselves. Well it wasn't all for ourselves, there was a reason, my Dad. I was chatting on the phone with my father a while ago and he reminded me that he'd been living in NSW for over two years, and still we hadn't seen him since our trip south nearly four years ago. Oh I felt bad, so I was talking about a trip to Taree sometime soon. Every month I'd say we'll do it soon .. maybe not this month, too busy .. there's too much holiday traffic .. cant get the time off work .. there always seemed to be a reason why we couldn't go this month. Well I asked and got an extra day off work this month and planned to go east come hell or high water.

View Larger Map

And it nearly was high water too. Dubbo recorded a fall of over 20mm for the Thursday that we had decided to start our ride. Now I don't really know much about rainfall amounts, and those kinds of figures mean nothing to me not being the farmer type, all I knew was that whenever I looked out the window that day it was pouring. It wasn't looking very promising, we had planned to ride the first 200km on the Thursday afternoon when I'd finished work, to a little place called Merriwa. It was one of those last minute decisions that seemed like a good idea at the time, that meant that the next days ride would be easier and we would get to Forster with enough time and energy to enjoy that afternoon.

Oh yeah and we weren't going all the way to Taree, we'd stop at Forster which is only about 30km short of Taree. In my fathers words 'why would you want to spend a weekend in Taree, there's nothing here.' So we decided on a weekend in Forster, where's there's plenty of sun, surf, cafes and relaxation to be had. Foster has a place in our hearts as it's first place that Terry and I went to as a couple and we have fond memories of that weekend.

Thursday afternoon, I sent Terry a text asking him what he thought the weather would do .. it became an unanimous decision .. it was just raining too hard to ride that day, it was decided to cancel the room we had booked at the little B&B in Merriwa and then just ride all the way through on Friday. Terry came to pick me up after work that afternoon with the wonderful news that the woman wouldn't cancel the room, actually she had already taken out the full payment from my bank account! Needless to say I was less than impressed by this .. I thought briefly about just writing off the money but it had just annoyed me that she had done this, and I'm pretty sure it's illegal too. Sooo we left Dubbo at 6pm on Thursday afternoon in pouring rain. Our destination was only 200km down the highway, but it seemed like the longest 200km of my life and it ended up taking us 3 hours to get there. The rain actually stopped about halfway there but the roads were still slippery and we were still kinda damp. Terry also found out that his back rack bag is not as waterproof as it's supposed to be .. he had wet pj's when we got there ...

It was a lovely B&B, but I have to admit that the only thing on my mind that first night was a hot shower and bed .. oh and food, it seems that everything in Merriwa closes down at 9pm, our arrival time was .. yep 8:50pm. We shared a chocolate bar and raided the coffee and bikkies in the kitchen.

The B&B in Merriwa, a converted old bank.
After a big breakfast we were all fuelled up and ready for the long haul to the coast. It took us about 5 hours to travel the 300 or so kilometres, but we were riding away from the rain, towards the blue sky all day .. seemed like an omen for good things to come. We just took it easy, stopping whenever we felt like it. No photos along the way but I do have a bit of video of the weekend with some of the trip down on it. I just have to edit it there's about 4 hours worth that I need to cut down to no more than 5 minutes .. well 3 minutes seems ideal to me but sheesh that's a lot of cutting .. maybe I'll do two videos. Anyway I'll post that up as soon as it's done.

We rested in the motel and grabbed fish and chips for dinner. Wow I miss seafood!! And that was it for Friday, we were meeting with Dad late in the morning then heading down for more fish and chips for lunch .. yay!


Now Dad's probably gonna kill me for posting pics of him here but I got some really good shots of him so had to be done. First pic .. photo of a man happy with his fish and chips.

Second pic .. photo of a man wondering when his calamari is gonna get here ..

Then we wandered down to the wharf to check out the scenery and people watch for a while.

 Dad and I are good at looking at stuff ..

And sometimes we even look at the same thing ...

We lazed round for a while, catching up then sadly it was time for Dad to head home. I think we were all tired but it was great catching up again and I hope we don't leave it so long next time.

That evening we headed to a local tapas bar for dinner then came back to the motel in time to catch the regular evening chorus. Native parrots of all types were feasting in the palm trees bordering the motel. I took a lot of photos of them but only this one of some Scaly Breasted Lorikeets turned out.

They were great to watch, there were some Eastern Rosellas and Rainbow Lorikeets there as well playing and making a racket.

The next morning we really had no plan of what to do. We wandered down the main street for a quick breakfast that turned into a long one. Then headed towards the beach.

We found some local markets which we wandered round for a bit before heading back towards the channel. Where we found the fishermen were cleaning their catches by the water. Some other creatures were quite interested in what the fishermen were doing too.

That was across the water from us, closer to hand we noticed ...

It seemed these two had the monopoly here, and they knew to wait patiently.

I didn't mind, it meant I got a tonne of great photos of one of my favourite birds.

And the reward for all that patience ...

The pelican gets his fish .. and I get a fantastic pic!!

Forster had a sister town on the other side of the channel called Tuncurry, they are joined by a bridge.

And in the middle is a heap of these sandbars and a largish sand island .. the sides of which are all covered in boats of all sizes and shapes. I was amazed at the amount of water activities going on here but then is it the middle of school holidays and this is a very popular tourist destination. I could see why.

I would have had a go on one of those ski-jet thingys but apparently they don't hire them anymore cause of insurance of something .. shame, one day I'll get on one :)

We'd talked about hiring a little boat with Dad the day before but really were happy enough just sitting round and relaxing, it seemed the Sunday was going to be more of the same til Terry suggested we jump on the bikes that afternoon for a bit of a ride round the town. All of that ride is on video so I'll save the commentary for when I get it finished.

After dinner that evening I was trying again to get a good shot of all the parrots when I noticed that the sun was setting quite prettily .. I grabbed my camera and headed for the water.

Got some good pics too .. what a great way to end a perfectly relaxing weekend.

The next day we headed back home. It was a long ride at just over 500km so we stopped often. We even stopped at one place that I didn't even know existed, well we'd driven through Denman often enough but I'd never realised it had more than just a couple of houses by the road. There was a cafe called Chocolate Hills, I had to eat there!!

And that's about it. Took us a long time to get home but it was still daylight at least. I don't think I like travelling that far in one trip though, from now on I'm going to plan our trips like I have in the past with the longest day being no more than 400km's. The heat was turned up again after the first hour or so and that in itself makes for a longer journey since we have to stop more often just to hydrate. I really wish summer would just take off now .. and I'm waiting for Autumn so we can ride again. Our next big trip is coming up soon, in March we head over the border to Bright, Victoria for the Annual SRA meet. Can hardly wait!!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Have a Great Christmas

It seems to me that the months leading up to Christmas I just seem to get too busy and too tired to ride or even think about riding. I am noticing a trend in my blogging that shows me writing much less in those couple of months. Not just from being busy and tired either .. it's at least 40°C here today!

With that in mind I'd like to take the opportunity while I have not too much on my plate today to wish all my blogging mates everywhere a special Christmas and hope the new year brings you all many more wonderful adventures :)

What ever you are doing over the holidays whether it's spending time with your family, getting out on a new adventure or just kicking back and relaxing ... I hope you have a great time doing it!!