Wednesday, December 30, 2009

time for views... and observations...

It's been a lonely few days... I have managed to catch up with a couple of friends, but overall, it's been very quiet in my world. I suppose this serenity has enabled me to start getting used to the idea that I will mainly be alone for the six-week trip I have planned for the new year.

Despite the solitude of the last few days, there have been some good moments. The rain-less weather in Melbourne has enabled me to go for some longer rides around the "burbs". As some of you know, I'm a sucker for views... vistas of nature, seascapes, cities, people... So, when I looked out the window on Boxing Day morning and saw what a beautiful day was ahead, I thought I'd ride to some of my favourite places around Melbourne. Places that I loved going to as a kid... to play, discover... and then, as I got older, to return... and play and discover some more... ;)

The pictures below might give you a clue as to where I've been...

The glorious weather continued...

So, on Monday, I decided to ride to a favourite park in the inner suburbs of Melbourne and read a book. It irks me that I don't read as much as I'd like to these days, so I was determined to finish a book I started recently, written by a female motorcyclist who traversed the Americas on her own and lived to tell the tale.

You'll be happy to know that I managed to finish the book in the park on that day, but the reason why I'm telling you about this apparently "mundane" part of my week, is because of an incident in that park that managed to amuse me, make me pause for thought, and then inwardly cringe...

My engrossing read was interrupted by two boys walking past me as they finished playing with their frisbee. These boys couldn't have been older than 12 years of age. Although my book was truly fascinating, I couldn't help listening in on their conversation - they were discussing (and singing) the lyrics to a song called 'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits.

(For any of you doing the math, you can understand why they got my attention.)

They were debating about the lyrics and what Knopfler actually sang at certain points in the song. The verse they were arguing over was this one:

I should have learned to play the guitar
I should have learned to play them drums

Look at that mama, she got it sticking in the camera

Man we can have some

And he's up there, what's that? Hawaiian noises?

Banging on the bongos like a chimpanzee

Oh, that ain't working, that's the way you do it

Get your money for nothing get your chicks for free

Hawaiian noises? These poor little boys just didn't have a clue...
Alternatives they offered were:
"How are THE noises?"
"How are YOU noises?"

They giggled... one said "Maybe it's not about noises at all, maybe they're talking about
their NOSES!"
The other was dead against that idea - "No, no! Why would they be talking about their NOSES, when they go on to talk about bongos and chimpanzees? Jeez..."

I smiled, remembering a friend of mine in the 90s who always managed to get the lyrics wrong, but provided a highly amusing alternative, which I ended up preferring to the original lyrics, and still sing them to this day...

The first song was 'Life in the fast lane' by The Eagles - my friend was certain it was 'Life in a BAT PLANE', which always managed to make me picture Batman and Robin discussing the city of Gotham over a beer while they patrolled the skies in their "bat plane".

The second song? 'Evidence' by Faith No More. Here, he thought it was "Have a dance", not "evidence"

LOL Too funny... and quite contagious - as I said, since hearing the BETTER substitutes, I haven't refrained from singing these lyrics whenever I hear those songs.

But, back to my story...
It was at this point that I had to interrupt the boys' tête-à-tête:
"I believe the lyrics are "Hawaiian noises" - nothing to do with noses, I'm afraid..."

They stopped in their tracks in disbelief.

"How would YOU know?" they challenged.

"Ummm... (insert equally extreme sarcasm here) because I was a kid in primary school when THAT song was NUMBER ONE on the Australian charts. You weren't even born yet!"
(Just for the record, all of this was also said with a huge smile on my face. I didn't want to scare the lads.)

"Oh yeah?? Well, who sings this song then?"

Ahhh, the young... wanting to take me on and beat me too... Silly little dears...

"That would be Mark Knopfler, who was the lead singer of Dire Straits."
Wanting to make sure they didn't try and TEST me again, I also added:

"The song was from the album 'Brothers in Arms' and it was a hit in 1985. When were YOU born?"

I must say, I don't recall seeing such amazement on little boys' faces...
It was hilarious... and reassuring...

Sometimes, I've found myself wondering if there IS any way to "amaze" little kids these days. They're hit with a barrage of information from all directions starting at birth. Things that used to positively ASTOUND me and my generation are so boring and uninteresting to them, generally speaking. It made me comforted to know that there are still little ones out there that can be impressed by a little trivia, no matter how hum-drum or prosaic others might think it might be in today's world...

But, these little boys had the last laugh... they departed, still discussing the song:

"What about the first line? Now look at them yo-yos - that's the way you do it...
What's a yo-yo?? Do YOU know??"

(Insert me cringing here. No further comment)

Stay tuned... next week, I'll be sitting at a bus stop, having a chat with an old bag lady or something... ;)

Monday, December 28, 2009

my first music video...

Well, I've been dying to post a video with a musical background. I have a couple of songs I've wanted to use - this is the first, and a favourite of mine to listen to whilst riding.

Please be kind... this is my first time using Adobe Premiere CS3 - the program is amazing and completely overwhelming! It took me ages to figure out how to use a "fade-out" effect.
Gen X is me... much, much slower than the Gen Ys... *sigh*

More to come... I'd like to do another video and overlay a different track to the next one - perhaps with the Nullarbor as my backdrop? *fingers crossed*
(That's if... I'm not arrested for copyright infringement before I leave in late March...)

I have also posted the lyrics below... I like them so much... :)

MAYBE TOMORROW - Stereophonics

I've been down and I'm wondering why
These little black clouds keep walking around
With me
With me

It wastes time and I'd rather be high
Think I'll walk me outside and buy a rainbow smile
But be free
They're all free

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

I look around at a beautiful life
Been the upper side of down
Been the inside of out
But we breathe
We breathe

I wanna breeze and an open mind
I wanna swim in the ocean
Wanna take my time for me
All me

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Google Map of my route...

Thanks to one of my "followers", I now have a Google Map of my route...

It's not as comprehensive as what I'll actually be doing, but it should provide a nice overall visual of where I'm heading...

Google Maps only lets you enter 26 destinations to compile a map for you (as far as I can tell, as it assigns a letter of the alphabet to each destination). That's why I didn't complete one myself - way too frustrating... I'm far more thorough/anal than that!

Much appreciation goes to my "follower" for this URL:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the route...

The route has been worked out!

I will be departing from Melbourne on the 22nd of March, returning on the 2nd of May, 2010.

I’ve decided to spend the most time exploring Tasmania - I’ve never been there before. Perhaps the chances of me returning for a second visit would be less likely than returning to see other places on the mainland a second time.

From what I’ve been reading, at that time of year, anything can happen, weather-wise, in the southern parts of Australia - particularly so in Tasmania… For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of riding in the rain. I can do it, just don’t like it and get awfully tired white-knuckling until I get to a safe place. But hey, I figure, what with my plans to ride up and down South America and make it to the Tierra del Fuego (right at the bottom tip where it’s supposed to be coooold as), better I get practice in inclement weather on home soil before exploring those “horizons unlimited”… :)

I have pored over my RACV maps, checking the legends to see which roads are sealed or unsealed... Yes, I am a big chicken about unsealed roads - my skill level isn’t high enough yet, I don’t think. Plus, being disabled and slightly less agile from my 2001 motorcycle accident, I really don’t want to put my poor, damaged body through that kind of stress and strain. Besides, I don't think my cruiser could take TOO much rough terrain! However, if another, more suitable, bike is supplied, this could change dramatically… I’d be far more open to suggestion… :)
*still praying and praying that one bike company will come through for me*

So… *taking a deep breath* Here are the locations I’ll be covering:

Ulverstone, Penguin, Burnie, Somerset, Boat Harbour, Stanley, Smithton, Marrawah

From Marrawah --> HEADING EAST TO:
Smokers Bank, Irishtown, Eurebia, Edith Creek, Roger River, Trowutta, Nabageena, Lileah, Alcomie, Mengha, South Forest, Forest, Wiltshire, Black River, Mawbanna (to Dip Falls and Giant Eucalypts?)

From Mawbanna --> HEADING NORTH TO:
Black River / Sawyer Bay
--> EAST to:
Cowrie Pt, Crayfish Creek, Edgecumbe Beach, Hellyer, Rocky Cape, Sisters Creek, Myalla, Milabena, Meunna (unsealed road), Preolenna, Moorleah, Flowerdale, Wynyard, Seabrook

From Seabrook --> HEADING SOUTH (on Route B26) TO:
Lower Mt Hicks, Yolta (joining the Murchison Hwy (A10)), Henrietta, Hellyer Gorge / Parrawe, Take Ridgley Hwy to Warratah (Route B23), Warratah Falls, Liuna , Savage River - Options at this point: Unsealed road (C247) to Corinna (River cruises there); C252 to Reece Dam; C249 to Zeehan

From Zeehan --> HEADING SOUTH (on Henty Rd, Route B27) to:
Strahan, Queenstown, Anthony Road (B28), Tullah (A10), Rosebery, Renison Bell, Melba Flats, Queenstown, Gormanston
--> EAST past Nelson Falls Nature Walk
Donaghys Hill Lookout, Franklin River Nature Walk, Derwent Bridge (Visitors Centre), Bronte, Ouse, Lawrenny, Ellendale, Fentonbury, Westerway

Then --> RIGHT onto Route B62
(Something Wild & Horseshoe & Russell Falls), National Park, Tyenna, Fitzgerald, Maydena
(Can take unsealed road to Junee Cave from here), Gordon River Road (B61), Scotts Peak Road (Creepy Crawly Walk; Lookouts to Mt Solitary, Edgar Dam and Scotts Peak Dam)
Continue past Mt Wedge, Teds Beach, Strathgordon, Ending Gordon Dam Lookout

Return same route back to Westerway (B62), Karanja, Glenora, Rosegarland, Hayes, Lawitta, New Norfolk - Can go SOUTH to Brookside, Lachlan (see Lachlan River) or EAST (Midland Hwy) to Sorell Creek, Malbina, Molesworth, Glenorchy, Collinsvale (Collins Gap)

Fern Tree, Neika, Longley, Sandfly, Lower Longley, Huonville, Ranelagh, Judbury, Glen Huon, Huonville (Huon Hwy A6), Franklin, South Franklin, Castle Forbes Bay, Port Huon, Geeveston, Scenic route to Arve Forest Drive & Tahune Forest Air Walk, back to Geeveston, Cairns Bay, Waterloo, Surges Bay, Glendevie, Walpole, Dover, Harvey Town, Raminea, Strathblane, Southport / Hastings (Thermal Springs, Hastings Caves)

Back to Dover and Huonville - Channel Hwy (B68)
Woodstock, Cradoc, Cygnet, Garden Island Creek, Verona Sands, Gordon, Middleton, Flowerpot, Birchs Bay, Woodbridge, Kettering, Snug (Snug Falls), Electrona, Margate, Howden, Blackmans Bay, Kingston, Taroona

Tasman Hwy to Sorell, Lewisham, Dodges Ferry, Connellys Marsh, Dunalley, Murdunna, Eaglehawk Neck, Penzance (Tasman Blowhole, Tasman Arch & Devil’s Kitchen), Taranna (Chocolate Factory), Tasmanian Devil Park (Route B37), Koonya, Premaydena, Nubeena, Port Arthur (Remarkable Cave), Oakwood

RETURN to Sorell
Richmond, Grasstree Hill, Risdon Vale, Old Beach, Bridgewater (Midland Hwy 1), Pontville, Mangalore (Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary), Bagdad, Dysart, Kempton, Melton Mowbray

--> RIGHT on Route B31
Colebrook, Lowdina, Campania, Enfield (Return to Tasman Hwy A3), Runnymede (Brown Mountain?), Buckland, Orford (Turn offs to: Shelley Beach, Spring Beach, Louisville), Double Creek , Triabunna, Little Swanport, Lisdillon, Swansea, Cranbrook, Bicheno, Douglas River, Seymour, Chain of Lagoons (Route A4 through Elephant Pass), Gray, St Marys, Scamander, Beaumaris (Turn-off to Parkside, Pamella, Stieglitz & Akaroa), St Helens (Turn-off to Bayview & Binnalong Bay), BAY OF FIRES ( Walk to The Gardens? )
** St Helens to Priory (unsealed road to Poole)
Weldborough (investigate surrounds – rideable?)
Derby, Branxholme, Tulendeena, Tonganah, Scottsdale, Bridport, George Town (East Tamar Hwy A8)


(West Tamar Hwy A7), Legana, Lanena, Gravelly Beach, Hillwood Beach, Deviot, Sidmouth, Beaconsfield, Beauty Point, Illfraville, Greens Beach, Beaconsfield, Exeter, Glengarry (B72), Westbury, Perth, Sheffield, Latrobe

Arrive in Melbourne on 5
th April, 2010

Bacchus Marsh, Ballarat , Ararat (B180), Dunkeld (C216), Halls Gap (C222), Horsham, Nhill
Western Hwy A8


Port Augusta, Ceduna
Eyre Hwy (A1) across the Nullarbor

Border Village / Eucla (WESTERN AUSTRALIA), Mundrabilla, Madura, Cocklebiddy, Caiguna, Balladonia, Norseman, Coolgardie, Southern Cross, Merredin, Kelleberrin, Cunderdin, Northam


Fremantle, Rockingham, Mandurah, Australind, Bunbury, Busselton (to Cape Naturaliste), Caves Road (through Margaret River), Augusta, Brockman Hwy (10) to Nannup (scenic route to Balingup, Bridgetown, Nannup, Pemberton, Manjimup, Walpole, Denmark , Albany, Mount Barker, Jerramungup, Ravensthorpe, Esperance, Norseman

NULLARBOR BACK TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA (same route - no choice there!)
Border Village / Eucla (WESTERN AUSTRALIA)

Nundroo (South Australia), Ceduna, Flinders Hwy (B100) to Streaky Bay, Port Kenny, Talia (Anxious Bay), Colton, Eliston, Sheringa, Mount Hope, Warrow, Coulta, Wangary, (Turn-off to Point Avoid & Coffin Bay), Coomunga, Port Lincoln (Lincoln Hwy (B100)), Tumby Bay, Port Neill, Arno Bay, Elbow Hill, Cowell, Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Pirie

ADELAIDE (Riding in the Adelaide Hills?) - Princes Hwy (M1)
Kingston, Mt Gambier (cross the SA/VIC border)

Portland (VICTORIA), A1 to Port Fairy, Warrnambool, B100 (Great Ocean Road), Port Campbell, Apollo Bay, Lorne, Anglesea, Torquay, Geelong



Believe it or not, this is a “rough idea” of where I’ll be going! As I mentioned, I want to do Tasmania in far more detail than any of the other states. I've been reading posts about great Tassie rides on the ADV Rider forums as well as any other places I can find such information. I have also been reading about some great rides in the south-west corner of Western Australia, and those have been included in my route also.

Now comes the detail… I’ve got to look up the locations I’ve listed in Tassie, and see what the attractions are (if any) in each place, make notes and try and visit them on my way through. It’s gotten to the point where one questions how MUCH organising and detail is needed in order to enjoy this experience… “Being organised” is a huge part of my everyday job - aren’t I trying desperately to get away from all that?

(By the way, it should be noted that I started to add this route to Google Maps - I’m sure there are some of you out there who would prefer a visual of where I’m going. But guess what? That ended up in the “too hard” basket! Too much work, can’t be fu*ked, etc. Sorry!)

In all honesty, I feel pressured by this fund-raiser… My natural instinct is to just go and see where I end up. The fact that I have to be in certain places for media relations and promotion by certain dates goes against my preferences. I’d much rather be a nomad for six weeks… and see whether or not I actually make it to the destination I thought I would get to. I take comfort in the fact that my future ride of the continent of South America will operate this way - with no deadlines, no set route, no need to return, even!

Perhaps all this work and discussion is irrelevant? Maybe I don’t even make it on board the Spirit of Tasmania for the first leg of journey! Now, wouldn’t that be hilarious?

N.B. If anyone reading this has been to one/some of the destinations on my route, please feel free to comment or email me with some tips or words of advice!

P.S. To other matters… I have made a new video. It’s in the editing suite and will be posted here as soon as it’s complete. Hopefully, this next one will be far more “artistic” and fun for the whole family… :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

lots to do...

It's been a busy, busy week...

The more I work on plans for the fund-raiser, the more possibilities I find!

Without jinxing myself, there is one bike company (that shall remain name-less for now) that is entertaining the idea of supporting this endeavour and possibly providing me with a touring bike for the duration of the event!

Because of this, I have stepped up the promotion/coverage a notch. I've been busily approaching bike magazines, forums, organisations and associations, newspapers, etc. to see if they'll promote me or mention me. Some have happily agreed, others have been quiet... but, that could be because Christmas is next week. Maybe people are on holidays already? Perhaps only chumps like me are still at work, earning that extra dollar?

One thing's for certain... I will know A LOT more in January! I'm excited and tired at the prospect at the same time. The good thing about Christmas approaching is that I will now have time to focus on actually RIDING and adding more regular posts here, and less time sending emails and chasing people about this fund-raiser.

Before I sign off, I have two things to mention...

The first is a fellow blogger by the name of "MattB" - a true inspiration! I thoroughly enjoy reading of his adventures, seeing his photos and tapping into his psyche... If you haven't read anything of his yet, I encourage you to do so! You won't be disappointed! His blog is called "Contemplative Motorcycling" and you can find it here:

The second is a web site that I find INCREDIBLY useful! It provides all kinds of tips, stories of fellow adventurers, and anything and everything to do with adventure riding...

Horizons Unlimited World Motorcycle Travel:

THE Motorcycle Travel website for everything you need to go travelling.

Go to Horizons Unlimited, the website that's all about motorcycle travel. Travellers Community, Bike Travel information on the Bulletin Board, free Monthly Motorcycle Travel E-zine, Travellers' Stories, and plenty of tips and info

I've made a pact with myself... as of next week, I will be posting here at LEAST once a week! No excuses! Photos, videos, narrative, the sky's the limit! Hope you'll come along for the "ride", so to speak... ;)

Monday, November 30, 2009

a fund-raiser...

Exciting times are ahead!

In March/April 2010, I will be riding solo across the Southern states of Australia. This will be to raise funds for MS Australia. To quote their web-site, "MS Australia strives for a world without multiple sclerosis through quality research and for service excellence to people with multiple sclerosis and their carers."
( )

The goal is to raise $100,000 AUD... or more...
I’ve been told that one guy rode his push-bike from Adelaide to Melbourne and managed to raise $56,000. Apparently, the fact that I’m a female (last time I checked), completing this journey solo on a motorcycle, and actually have MS will make it more appealing for people to donate to a worthy cause. I sure hope so!

So, MS Australia have signed me on... they’ve even created a web-site / blog for me!
( )
... I know, I know... a cheesey URL... couldn’t be helped... *sigh*

At the time of writing this, my work has given me approval for leave (1.5 to 2 months), a firm date of departure has yet to be set... this will be based on the route, which I am currently working on. Melbourne to Tasmania, back to Melbourne, across to South Australia, finishing in Perth, Western Australia... or maybe even a round trip? Can I get back to Melbourne as well? Time will tell what I can come up with for the route.

I also have to take into account stop-overs for raising MS awareness and promotion of my goals. I will possibly have to talk to the media for interviews that MS Australia will organise.

For those of you who don’t know me that well, I HATE having my photo taken! I avoid cameras whenever possible! So, this part will be more of a challenge than the ride itself! If the media want to talk to me and take my picture, dya reckon I can get away with a pic with my SHOEI on?? LOL Fingers crossed...

I have to work on a list of equipment I will need for my trip too. If there are any bikers out there that have some words of wisdom for a trip like this, shoot me an email! I’m eager to hear your thoughts!

Besides dealing with MS Australia, I have made it my mission to make as many biker organisations aware of this fundraiser as I possibly can. Feel free to spread the word! And please do not hesitate to contact me for any reason! Perhaps I can also receive some worthwhile suggestions in this regard?

I’m hoping this will be the first of many major adventures...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

my first video clips...

First and foremost – my voice sounds AWFUL when it’s recorded! Eek... :O

Ok, I’ll stop being a princess for a moment to discuss my first video clips. You’ll see that I still have to sort out camera placement – the angle looks a little low for my liking... and I have yet to master the editing process, that’s for sure!

This’ll get better with time! “Long Way Round/Down” this ain’t!
More like “Long Way Learning”... ;)

I won’t go into too much detail about these first offerings – you can hear/see for yourself...

I’ve kept the clips short – my first vid went for 18 minutes and was way too big to post here! From that experience, I discovered that the amount of “prattling on” I do is incredible. I’m starting to wonder if I should storyboard my narrative before I venture out to film the next one. Would that kill the spontaneity? Or would it make the narrative and commentary far more interesting? Hmmm...

Have a peek, see what you think...
I welcome any and all feedback! I want to make this a blog that will be visited often! Sign up and be a “follower”! That way, you won’t miss any of my precious video moments! LOL

Yes, I am currently in The Dandenong Ranges of Melbourne, Australia, but that will change! I hope to be adding videos from other parts of Australia, then, other parts of the world! Be patient with me... I need to sort out the learning curve before I head off to another country!

So, any tips, feedback, criticism, laughter you could provide me with, post it here... or, email me, phone me, SMS me, pigeon me! I want to know! I can take it... I won’t break!

Stay tuned... I hope to be riding around Tassie early in the new year... but, I’m sure that more vids will be added earlier than that... perhaps another longer ride will be imminent in the not-too-distant future.

In the meantime, I look forward to hearing your thoughts... :)

Ewan McGregor I am not!

Testing out angles and head movements with the helmet cam...

A plea for tips on handling tight curves...

Give me my NOD damnit!