Monthly Archives: December 2011

merrychristmas

Day 3 – Devonport to Orford

OK – first disclaimer – I am tipsy and typing on Dad’s netbook which seems semi-retarded. Also – google latte sex im drunk from these as I type. Gold.

So we were very quick through quarantine being on bikes and before we knew it we were on the highway heading for Launceston. We took one wrong turn (totally the fault of the tassie street signs) and then arrived at our first fuel stop at the turn off to the Launceston airport. The girl asked us if our scooters were Christmas presents – haha, cool.

It was awesome to see the poppy fields in bloom and all the hay that the farmers had made already. Even though it was a little chilly (Morgan said through the headset that the weather was perfect – I didn’t argue, but thought what are you thinking!!??!!) it was all beautiful and we were lucky to be here at this time of the year. L

There was no one on the road, everyone seemed to be going the other way which was awesome. Our first real stop was at Conara where we stopped for a Christmas day cache. It was called “bring your own paper” which we worked out that the name worked once we used the bathroom after we found the hide. Awesome

So we took the Lake Leake Road to get us over to the east coast. It was an awesome ride on the scoots. We both found that we took a couple of the corners badly – we think that it was because of the road surface because other corners were tamed gangsta style.

Morgan found a dead tasmanian devil on the road, which was very fresh roadkill. He took it off the road and once we arrived at Orford, I reported it on the devil roadkill website. It was heaps sad.

Our next stop was for fuel at Swansea. We were starving after eating a very average breakfast on the Spirit which was better than nothing, but we decided to push on to Orford rather than eat something crappy.

The ride from Swansea to Orford was MAGIC. Again – no traffic our way and only about ten cars coming towards us. Pity that five of those ten were in our lane, but we managed to avoid them. The view down the Tasman Highway on that stretch is beautiful and I am pretty sure we will be up that way again on this trip to take some photos.

Finally at Orford!

So we arrived at Orford at 1109h, we left Devonport at 0700h. It was a fantastic ride and then the rest of the day was awesome with mum and aunty eileen. Great food and a couple of bottles of Jansz yay. Pity about the Tassie weather – way too cold! We are sitting on the deck in jeans and fleeces (yes LukeB brand) and I am freezing.

I apologise now for this post. I am drunk – tipsy was an uber understatement. Sorry friends. Of course photos were taken which will be uploaded tomorrow ūüôā

Click HERE to see today’s pics!

Pushing On…

Day 2 – Albury to Port Melbourne

So Albury turned out to be a great success. The hotel, while very cheap at $89 was very comfortable and featured the most important part of any good room – a decent shower head.

We enjoyed a decent steak each and indulged in some delectable desserts. Rhiannon and Ian were our hosts in the restaurant and looked after us quite well. Ian had a bit of a natter with us about his ideas for next year’s menu as he was looking forward right through to Easter. He thought he might be jumping the gun a bit here but, as we assured him, hot cross buns will be in the supermarkets on Boxing Day!

We ate at the hotel again for breakfast (awesome scrambled eggs) before saddling up the scoots for the push to Melbourne. Unfortunately we chose a table next to an annoying couple that either complained about everything or spoke loudly about the fact that they lived in Newtown in Sydney. If only they’d seen Newtown twenty years ago – nothing to brag about back then! I was feeling pretty anxious again as there was only so much time to make the ferry to Tas. My mood was not fantastic and Nikki ordered me to snap out of it later in the day (and I totally deserved it).

Before departing the Twin Cities, however, we just had to hunt down a couple of Geocaches. For the uninitiated, Geocaching is a kind of hide-and-seek game using GPS receiver. Players have hidden ‘caches’ all around the world for others to seek out. At a minimum, the cache will contain a log book which is signed with the cacher’s handle. Additionally, cachers then log the find on the Geocaching website. Those who hide caches also maintain them, so we feel that it’s proper to write a short story about the hunt for them to enjoy. After all, it’s supposed to be a challenge to find these things. If you check out the site, I’m sure you’ll be surprised just how many caches are near your house! It’s like a secret little world.

Finally on the road again, we crossed the Murray River and it was an absolute delight to see it running so strongly. I despair for this river and really live in hope that a viable solution can be found for its welfare.

So, what can we say about the rest of the Hume Highway? It was mostly uneventful. I think there were less than ten trucks on the road today but no shortage of people traveling. One overtaking orange Falcon featured a blonde who took great delight in rolling down the window and laughing derisively at our mode of transportation. Pity her people, for she will never get it. I thought of her and her mulletted boyfriend as we filled both scoots for $12 knowing that they were unlikely to get change from $80!

It was a relief to see the outskirts of Melbourne. As we approached the turn off to Wallan I couldn’t help thinking about our good buddy Luke B who used to live down this way. Luke has traveled with us before and is a frequent and always welcome visitor to our house and, well, is a member of our family. This time last year he joined us in Tassie for a tour and rode with us all the way back to Canberra through Eastern Victoria. It was a memorable trip and one that we will always look back upon with a smile.

As we whizzed past the array of odd-looking speed cameras it became apparent that all was not well in the sky above. The clouds had started to gather and that all too familiar smell of rain hit my nostrils. I don’t particularly mind riding in the rain – as long as I’m suitably attired. The feeling of water slowly trickling into your undies is one of the most uncomfortable sensations you can have on a bike. Ask anyone who rides. At first I thought the rain would be kind but, as it happened, we were soon forced to shelter under and overpass to wait it out. A couple of brave bikers sped past while cars and trucks sprayed us with the wash from their tyres. Eventually we threw on the wet weather gear and rode on. It turns out that wet weather gear is only there to distract you long enough for the rain to stop – as it faithfully did! We soon stopped at another servo and stripped it off again – sigh.

With full tanks we made the final push for Port Melbourne and were soon crossing the Bolte Bridge with Port Phillip Bay awash with sunlight before us. I don’t think I could ever get sick of Melbourne. Its mixed Mediterranean/Metropolitan feel has always appealed to me. Plus, there are few places were the espresso is as good! Plus plus – FOOTY.

We grabbed some noodles in Bay Street before hunting another cache. Then it was over to Station Pier to await the arrival of the Spirit of Tasmania – our transport over Bass Strait. We were quite early (to my relief) and sat to take in the scene. People of all walks of life went by us in a relatively short time. Nikki and I love to watch (not creepy) but we also like to comment – as our friends will attest. We don’t mean anything by it, it’s just for our amusement.

Finally it was time to get in line for the ferry. As with our last time, we were ushered through security and the line of cars quite quickly – yet another advantage of ditching a car for these trips. That being said, some families were travelling in some nicely kitted-out 4WDs and I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. They were enjoying their own adventure and would get to see parts of Tassie that we just wouldn’t be able to access. Also in the line was a woman and her Harley Davidson who recognised us from our overpass shelter. She asked lots of questions about the bikes and our plans. It’s one thing we’ve had to learn about riding away on Vespas – you must be prepared to talk about them.

Onboard at last, the scoots parked alongside the rest of the bikes and were strapped down by one of the crew. We’ve made this crossing a couple of times before so were quite able to find our way around the ship. We had a giggle at the manic families trying to locate their cabins or a place to park near the feed lot (sorry, buffet). We sat with stubbies of Cascade Premium and took in the scene. A friendly German guy took our photo and at that point I really felt like I was on holiday. We didn’t really feel like eating so we had a couple more beers before hitting the hay.

A great day all round. Tomorrow – Devonport to Orford and Christmas Day!

Click HERE to see today’s pics!

And They’re Off!

Day 1 РCanberra to Albury.

What can you say about the Hume Highway? Back when we were kids it was a twisty windy ribbon of black tar that wound its way through interesting and vibrant little boroughs full of cafes, milk bars and pubs. Now it’s a very boring stretch of tarmac and concrete upon which we must be constantly on guard for twits in commodores trying to break land-speed records.

That being said, today’s traffic was very well behaved. There was a noticeable lack of trucks and the people heading off for Christmas in far off places were taking their time.

Not that today was without its dramas.

We had a very quick call-in to make on the way out of Canberra. Unfortunately, I (Morgan) realised all too late that a wasp had found its way into the sleeve of my jacket and, before leaving, left me with a nasty reminder of what wasps can do. But perhaps it was a good omen – Vespa being Italian for wasp? We’ll leave that for you to decide.

We topped up the tanks at Gold Creek before joing the Barton Highway. Zita’s odometer read 5050 and Giorgio’s 17820. The tyre pressures were checked for good measure and we were soon on our way.

This part of NSW is always a pleasure to be in – eapecially when we’ve had a drop of rain. While I always prefer the more tropical landscape, Nikki really loves the rural scene in Australia. I wish I could see as much beauty as she takes in as we trundle past the hills.

Our first stop wasn’t until the southern end of Gundagai. I was already feeling very saddle sore and just a bit too hot. Nikki was loving the ride which is in stark contrast to this time last year when she was just a bit terrified! I’m so proud of how far she has come with her riding in such a short span of time. One passenger in a passing car waved and gave Nikki the thumbs up – something that always makes her feel good. A chap in Gundagai asked us where we were headed and told us that he was ‘impressed’ before jumping back into his Porche Cayenne. BTW, what’s with Porche 4WDs? Are Land Rovers too cheap?

The line up for fuel was incredibly long but we took our turn like everyone else. Another $14.22 down the drain – fuel is so expensive! I intend to hold on to our fuel receipts for the whole trip to see just how much we spent compared to the kilometres ridden.

The ride from Gundagai to Albury was pretty much without incident. We stopped at a truck rest point to allow a couple of semi-trailers to get some distance away from us. Nikki was getting a bit frustrated with their leap-frogging. Another quick stop in Holbrook for a leg strretch was all we did before heading into Albury.

Tonight we’re staying at The Albury Manor House and we must say that we are completely impressed! The room is very tidy, the shower head is decent and the restaurant served very good eye fillet and had quite a comprehensive wine list.

Tomorrow morning we’ll take in the ‘all you can eat’ pancakes that they do here followed by hunting down some geocaches (more on geocaching another time).

Hope you enjoy the pics (when we figure out how the iPad wishes to share them with you).

It’s Nearly Time….

While we’re in Brisbane today, the day after tomorrow will see us on the road out of Canberra and heading South.

We’ve had a few technology upgrades as well that will make accessing the blog a whole lot easier. There’s a bit of anxiety associated with the first couple of days as we have to make a deadline in Melbourne. If we miss it, there will be devil to pay!

So, readers, we will make haste on 23 Dec – while always staying safe – so this blog will actually be worth reading. We hope to have plenty of great photos of the trip and an interesting story to tell every day.

Stay tuned folks! Continue reading

Upgrade Update

Zita is possibly in for a long wait – finally a response from SIP which is “I’m sorry Scorpion has no manifold or exhaust for that scooter. It should be available in the beginning of next year”. WTF. We are waiting to see if Mick thinks welding the bit on is possible.¬†Or¬†we may have¬†to send the exhaust back. Either way, she will not have her pretty (and awesome) exhaust for the trip. This is definite. Sad face.

But I have ridden her a few times since her variator was fitted, which has been fantastic. I can really tell the difference when she is around 80-100km/hr. She can sit much more comfortably at these speeds now which is definitely required for our trip next week.

Morgan has fitted Giorgio’s top box ready for next week. Zita will carry our roll bag on her new rear rack. Packing is going to be fun…

Disappointment for Zita

Poor Zita – she arrived at Motorini on 9 Dec all excited about some new bling. A shiny new polished Scorpion exhaust. Alas it was not to be.

It turns out that SIP in Germany sent us an exhaust kit for a carburetted LX150 engine but Zita is fuel injected. With nowhere to fit the air sensor needed for the fuel injection system, Zita was not to be fitted with the exhaust today. A hasty e-mail to Germany yielded only mild confusion. Now it’s the weekend so we’ll have to wait until Monday to see what the Germans have figured out for us. In any case, Zita won’t be sporting that particular piece of bling for the pending trip (more about the trip later).

All was not lost though – Zita got herself a new¬†Malossi variator, a new rear tyre and a chrome luggage rack.¬†Morgan¬†rode her home from Motorini as Nikki was under the weather. He can report that her new transmission has produced a very zippy scoot! Yay! The new rack on the back continues Zita’s chrome-accented theme and looks a treat.

Giorgio also received some attention on the day. A new Malossi variator, oil change, belt change, filter change and valve clearances. Thanks to Mick the Master Mechanic who stayed at work until the job was done – and then had the good grace not to stab Morgan when he rode Zita home instead! Giorgio got collected the next morning and ridden home. He’s a very different scoot with his new transmission. The range between 40-80km/hr is much much quicker now and he’s punching through 100km/hr much quicker than before.

Can’t help thinking what’s next for the scoots¬†– more upgrades? There’s not a great deal more that can be done to them now without fitting some big-bore kits – the work involved with that particular job is just a bit beyond us right now.

Upgrade time!

Tomorrow, Zita and Giorgio are going to Dr Scoot (otherwise known as Mick) for some surgery. We’ll be dropping them off at the hospital at 8 o’clock sharp. Have a look at www.motorini.com.au¬†to see where our kiddies came from and where they’re cared for.

With a rather ambitious trip on the horizon, we felt it was time that the scoots received a few pre-Christmas presents to give them an extra zing on the road. Giorgio had already scored himself a rather manly-sounding Leo Vince exhaust but that was only part of the package.

Modern scooters transfer power from the engine to the rear wheel via a ‘gearbox’ containing a very clever piece of engineering known as a variator. Essentially, the variator is a pulley that changes shape according to how fast it’s spinning. Combined with a belt and another pulley, the whole set up is known as a CVT – or Continuously Variable Transmission. You can alter the scoot’s performance by changing components in the variator so that it changes its shape at a different rate compared to the revs of the motor.

So, with that in mind, both Zita and Giorgio will be getting new Malossi variators fitted. But wait, there’s more! Not to be outdone by the blue boy, Zita will also be sporting a very shiny and newScorpion exhaust that we got online from SIP in¬†Germany.

All this plus an oil change means that the scoots will be all prepared for our long-haul trip – which we’ll be writing about of course!

Can’t wait to see Zita with her shiny new pipe!

Hello!

The twovespas are Giorgio, a blue (“blue midnight”)¬†2007 GT200 and Zita, a pink (“rosa chic”) 2010 LX150. They are our absolute pride and joy and we love spending time with them and¬†riding to new places – or old places!

This is our first ever blog and we plan to share all our scooting adventures.