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Old 06-21-2013, 10:52 PM   #76
Hoonatic Ty OP
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North By Northwest, Steep Fire Trail to New Norfolk

We rode off early from Southport and backtracked north up the Huon Highway with a plan to check out Lake Pedder and surrounds in the World Heritage Area of various National Parks.

Stopping at Huonville for refuelling of both bike and rider we checked the map and noticed a shortcut. It cut off the need to return back to Hobart via the road. This trail had us turning off the highway at Grove and riding up over Wellington Ridge between White Timber Mountain and Mount Charles. Losing Hydro briefly at the Grove turn off, I pulled up where the bitumen turned to dirt and got chatting to a old local bloke in his driveway as he was checking his mail.

He explained the track was "Bloody steep" and passable only in the summer months so we were in luck. Old mate explained it was a fire trail put through years ago for the purposes of access during fire fighting. He was worried for us as it was a hot day, fire spotting helicopters were flying about and warnings were current. He told of the deadly fires he had witnessed roaring through the densely forested area during his 30+ years of living there down in the valley...

He bid us good luck and we took off following his verbal mud map to find the start of the trail.

Now the videos below don't really show the length or steepness of the track, every 50 or so metres is a cutting hump across the track to help drain/deflect water so it doesn't build up as a raging torrent down the trail. These were a godsend in some cases giving you a place to stop without the risk of rolling back down out of control where you had just scrambled up. Other times they were another obstacle added to the already challenging terrain. The weight of the bikes with our loads, immediately became obvious whilst traversing the trail. Click to watch.
Steep Hill #1

Hydro takes his first step off. Click to watch.
Steep Hill #2

Watch out Hydro a snake! You'll see briefly a snake disappearing off the track that Hydro almost ran over. Just before I started filming it sat up as he got near preparing to strike but Hydro got past fang free. You can imagine by the depth of the drainage 'gorges' on the side of the track of how much rain they get up there. Going down the other side was seemly harder due to the steepness. It became a situation of navigating a slide in either full brake or 1st gear compression lock up! Sorry for the heavy breathing in this video as it was a combination of hard work and panic controlling the 'slide' down the trail. My battle trying to get back on track after a 90 degree slide and change of direction had the risk of disappearing off the edge down into dense bush... Click to watch.
Sliding down the mountain and we're kissing dirt!

Just before we came out of the forest trails into farming area we frightened the life out of a quad bike riding local tearing up his rarely ridden track. I don't think he was expecting two large adventure bikes to appear from where he was about to go! After his initial surprise, we were greeted with a big smile and thumbs up!

After stopping to realign Hydros handle bars at New Norfolk we continued on towards to Strathgordon.

Scenes along the way. Hops growing, to brew the frequently tested great ales of the island.
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Hoonatic Ty screwed with this post 06-24-2013 at 08:15 PM
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:00 AM   #77
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Amazing Tasmania at its best

At every turn in Tasmania and believe me there are many of them, you are constantly amazed at what appears. This area from Westerway into Strathgordon is wilderness, true wilderness. Its beauty is undeniably stunning. I've watched on TV over the years, the debate whether the extinct Tasmanian tiger is actually extinct or not. Well, the impenetrable forrest you ride through here could indeed host not only the tiger but a whole range of animals that you wouldn't be aware of!

I have to admit, without getting all political, I saw and felt full reason why the 'Greenies' are jumping up and down, suspending themselves from trees to protect these last vestiges of natural wonder. I challenge anyone to ride through this wonderland and not be moved, be it either the awesome twisting road or the amazing landscape or in fact both! Do yourself a favour and ride it!

We rode through to the end which terminated at the feat of engineering called the Gordon Dam. The lads we had left behind in Southport soon arrived. They brought with them a fast, crazy, crusty long bearded bloke with his long haired Jack Russell (with riding goggles) on a stock standard Suzuki DR650, to enjoy the surrounds with us.
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Dam panorama.
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Who thinks these structures up?
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From the other side of the wall looking back. The service rail car would have to prove to have bloody good brakes before I'd hop into it to go down...
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More panorama, looking back from the wall top.
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Too far down to see the bottom.
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Hydro and the road bike lads headed back to our accommodation at the converted construction town of Strathgordon which now is refurbished for tourist lodging. With the friendly couple running it when we stayed, it promises great meals, drinks to quench any thirst and clean accommodation.

I stayed on and wandered back slowly to soak it all in, stopping at other lookouts and investigated a few tracks.

Looking out over the Pearce Basin of Lake Gordon.
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Now I'm going to get all "heeby jeeby" with you again but I feel there is no other way to explain what I felt sitting up on a rock at this lookout by myself, not a soul around with such a vista before me. It was one of those moments where you're moved with emotion, tears well up, smile on your face, filled with a real, real good feeling and content beyond belief. It was very satisfying, I was so far from anywhere I knew, doing what I really wanted to do and feeling pretty fortunate to be doing it. Yes, I was content beyond belief.

I don't think you have to go to Lake Pedder to experience what I went through, journeys and adventures like this evoke cool sensations of awareness regularly. I urge you all to get really out there somewhere on your bikes. Its awesome, inspiring, breathtaking, majestic and sometimes over-whelming.
(N.B. No alcohol or drugs were consumed before the last text was written, just a motorbike ride was undertaken!)

Riding in to a empty lookout, seeing Tasmanian wilderness at its best. Click to watch.
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I assure you, not even a panoramic photo can take in everything to see and experience here...
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:09 PM   #78
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Ty,
Your great writing style and positive attitude makes reading your RR a real pleasure.
Thanks for sharing and good to hear you got out of hospital and all is well now.
Cheers,
Pablo
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:38 PM   #79
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Go West young men!

We rode out of Strathgordon the next morning with the west side of Tassie on our agenda. For me the west coast was something I was really looking forward to. I had read and heard many stories of raw and rugged beauty. I wasn't sure if it was at all possible to better what we had already ridden through in Tasmania, we were keen to find out.

Unfortunately halfway out the Gordon River Road to the Lyell Highway heading west the heavens opened on to us. Visibility was reduced to a minimum and even though we had all our wet weather riding gear on, cold set in. My heated handle grips that all my mates made fun of me for having fitted to the bike became an absolute lifesaver. Looking at Hydro through the heavy wet haze of rainfall ahead of me, I felt sorry for him on his other than Safari Tank, stock standard Suzuki DR650. The guilt of my heated grips soon vanished as the rest of my body chilled to below normal operating temperature...

Now having got so far across Australia without seeing rain for so long I still consider myself very fortunate. The last time I had seen rain was a welcomed tropical shower relieving me from the Kimberly wet season humidity!

After a few hours the novelty wore off and the pain of my damaged shoulder really kicked in. At this point I was picturing old men sitting on verandas in rocking chairs, saying "Its gonna rain I tell ya, I can feel it in my bones" and now I was a believer in their body felt forecasts. My drugs to dull the shoulder pain weren't doing their job. My bones were a hurtin' !!!

The only reprieve from the wet cold before Queenstown was the Wall in the Wilderness. Just before Derwent Bridge a wood sculptor, Greg Duncan has created an absolute amazing work of art, history, sculpture. On massive 1 metre wide by 3 metre high panels linked together his work in progress depicts wonderful scenes of Tasmanian animals, history of local workers of forestry and Hydro-Electric schemes. Once completed will total 100 metres of carvings! If you go through here, check it out. Its well worth it, the sheer scale is admirable with the effort and detail gone to. The warm fires burning also gave me the needed strength to carry on. Sorry I don't have photos as cameras were not allowed within the gallery. As very tempting as it was to fire off a few sneaky shots, I respected the copyright requests made by the artist.

Again I apologize for no photos or footage of this stretch of road to Queenstown and beyond. The pain from my damaged shoulder had me dry reaching in my helmet and wailing. Making it to Queenstown eventually, had us booking our bikes and gear into the Empire Hotel with its heritage listed staircase and me being put straight into Queenstown Hospital...

Scary X-rays of my stretched ligaments barely keeping my right shoulder assembly together were more than enough reason for the doctors to give lovely pain relieving injections. The doctors wouldn't release me until I promised rest for a few days then to ride on out of Queenstown and out of Tasmania to the rest and clean up destination of my folks place in Eden NSW. I didn't need to be told twice. My body was already screaming at me...
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:26 PM   #80
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Goodbye Tassie, but "I'll Be Back" thats for sure!

Enough of the sooky la la pain and suffering, lets ride!!!

Our return date to the mainland Australia was looming. We had to get going. Happily, Hydro had kept himself entertained with day trips out and about on his bike from Queenstown, sometimes teaming up with the 3 lads on their sports bikes we had been constantly 'leap frogging' from town to town.

With me dosed up we rode north to Wynyard away from the west coast I so dearly wanted to explore. I don't really need any excuses to return to Tasmania to ride. This amazing bikers heaven, playground, racetrack what ever you want to refer to it as will lure you back time and time again. At this moment I remember the several conversations had on the ferry across from Melbourne talking to much older bikers. Me like a new sponge taking it all in, listening to advice, places to check out, roads to ride. These crew were coming back year after year and I can see why.

The roads are second to none in quality, it was like they laid the bitumen 6 months ago. Potholes seen were joked about in their rarity. The surreal road conditions were explained to me possibly due to the cooler weather experienced and the tar not melting leaving it to be susceptible to heavy traffic wear and tear. The twisting climbs and descents cut into amazing forested or farmed mountains have you testing your skill and nerve if you push yourself or loving the environmental surrounds as you cruise through. With our limited time frame, the off the beaten track sections ridden weren't as often as wished but I will consider this a brief 're-con' mission with further exploration to be done next time. I can't recommend Tasmania enough to you all. Save your money, pick your weather and season appropriately, book your holidays and ride! You won't regret it. I promise!!!

On the way to Wynyard we passed through Hellyer Gorge State Reserve. Stopping at Hellyer River for a look and medication. Walking the riverbanks and rocks you soon got your eye tuned into the trout swimming silently in the flow. The water so clear and fish so close you felt like you could reach out and grab them.

Hell Yeah!!! River as we liked to call it.
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Hydro trout checking.




Trout glide stationary like in the rivers flow.
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Admittedly we rode through this stop the first time, over the river and beyond. But as you will find or have already found, some of these roads in Tassie have you pulling up after however many kilometres, waiting for your mate where in no time through brimming grins agree to go back and ride the section again! Honestly we did it several times! Never once did one of us say "Na, I think we better keep going". We would turn around and roar back down or up the road we had just ridden with feverish glee of experiencing it all over again! Crazy and true. "Hell Yeah" Gorge on the Murchison Highway was one of those turn around sections.

Final supper in Wynyard, great food and reflection of what we had experienced. You could wish the adventure never ended.
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In the line up, preparing to board the ferry back.
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All lined up and somewhere to go.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:06 AM   #81
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ty I have been subscribed to your travels from day one and have loved every minute of it, I am glad you are feeling better after your scary health issues and im sure it will make you appreciate your travels even more, keep up the great work and hears to you
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:55 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoonatic Ty View Post
Its awesome, inspiring, breathtaking, majestic and sometimes over-whelming.
I know how you feel
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:48 PM   #83
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Off to Phillip Island!

We hit the mainland rolling, straight off the ferry into the jungle of concrete, steel, glass and the only familiar bit, bitumen. The stark contrast of where we had just come from and where we now were, clobbered us like a sledge hammer. The sudden need and re-aquaintance with the GPS coupled with city traffic had us like frightened rabbits in the spotlight.

The seemingly slow GPS updating of directions had us doing mad 'U' turns at traffic lights, contemplating jumping curbs bigger that any log we had taken on in recent times and deciphering signs at quick speed! Eventually we found our way out of the city and against the clogged flow into it.

Watching all the week day commuters across in the other lane, bumper to bumper, mirror to mirror heading to what we only just survived, doom, again reminded us of our fortunate position.

Fortunes are then again usually made, we had finally set certain things in place to achieve ours and it was working ok. There are always going to be obstacles, challenges and changes but thats apart of it all. Leaving it till now, after 20 years of reminding each other of this great ride we were going to do, over beers, phone lines, fishing lines, campfires and bar tops had us wondering why we didn't do it earlier!

Heading out of town on our bikes, towards an iconic Australian motorcycle racetrack had us grinning and giggling in our helmets. Our first time at "The Island" promised more adventure, new friends and good memories.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:07 PM   #84
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That's awesome Ty, I would have smuggled some liquid amber into the hospital had I have known you were here..

What's the name of the vessel you skipper?
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:17 AM   #85
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Phillip Island, World Super Bikes

Rolling into the race track gates we picked up our 3 day passes arranged by my old man earlier in the month. The sounds of two wheeled machinery being ridden at warp speed could be heard, adding to the sensory overload one experiences for the first time, going to something they have wanted to see all their life. There were bikes of every shape and size, if we had just come across the sea from bike heaven, this must be bike world! With our wristbands on we made for the camping area overlooking turn 1.

Everyone that we had bumped into along the way in our travels across Australia had said that the Superbikes were a lot more 'people friendly' than the bigger money spinning GP bikes to go watch. Access is easier and camping not so packed out. Hydro and I idled in through the tents and bikes and found a spot right on the fence looking over the track.

You could sense other riders closely watching us, except for a few BMW 1200 GS there weren't a great deal of 'Adventure Touring' bikes. Everyone seemed to be on shiny cruisers or ultra fast looking road bikes. It felt cool standing out amongst our fellow motorbike peers, that they were checking out our foreign number plates, bikes battle worn and gear stained in a strange red tinge from a desert dirt far, far away. Unpacking and setting up with a well rehearsed precision brought friendly enquiries from everywhere. We felt at home.

Base camp at The Island. Backsides trackside.
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After setting up, we jumped on the bikes and did a slow perimeter lap of the track stopping a corners and viewing mounds. The first one we stopped at, a rider came off at speed, tumbling to a halt in the kitty litter right before us metres away. The rider dusted himself off, running back to his machine to remount and look for a gap in the speeding traffic so he could rejoin the fray!

My embarrassment with my nagging injury after what I had just witnessed, soon vanished at our very next stop. A rider high sided his bike landing again right before us, but face down on the track and not a movement to be seen. I genuinely felt ill with worry before track marshals slowed the other passing bikes and the ambulance came out to stretcher the rider away. Hydro turned to me and said very much concerned "This is Friday qualifying, will there be anyone left to race by Sunday?"

Below was the 3rd crash in as many stops around the track!
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I could not believe the pace of racing, nothing like the TV had me to believe.
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Riding around Australia on dirt bikes doesn't really allow to pack your 'Sunday Bests" clothing. On more than a few occasions we were challenged for our passes to admit us into the corporate box area while smartly dressed patrons walked on by us. Luckily in the BMW show bag we received on entry had a clean collared shirt to put over our travel stained and wrinkled attire! Corporate box dining and drinking...
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To watch the riders take off and come into the garages below our box balcony was a privilege. The animated discussions, filling in of the 'timeboards' before they flew past, pit girls, performance bikes, revving engines, it was all happening.

From being away from it all, to being in the absolute thick of the action was a sometimes unbelievable change of circumstances.
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In the pits with Marco Melandri's weapon.
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Marco Melandri #33, Ty Matek #1, Chaz Davies #19
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These guys and girls that race not just only at the top level but any level have my complete admiration. To put their bodies on the line at the speeds I witnessed, amazes me totally. I was surprised initially of the average size of the racers, no bigger than jockeys, but on thinking, it makes sense. Must be the TV, they look bigger on it...
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Hoonatic Ty screwed with this post 06-27-2013 at 07:38 PM
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:21 AM   #86
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Hey Zoro

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoro View Post
That's awesome Ty, I would have smuggled some liquid amber into the hospital had I have known you were here..

What's the name of the vessel you skipper?
My vessel is called the "OMS Endurance", a blue hulled, white superstructure, rig tender vessel.

We take fuel, water, cargo and other essential supplies out to two FPSO's "Northern Endeavour" & "Montara Venture" in the Timor Sea, usually in and out every 7-10 days. We load and discharge out at East Arm Wharf.

You might recognise my vessel from the video that myself and my workmates put together earlier this year. (Special mention Aden Felstead) My rendition of "You make me feel like dancing" at the end was just after craning onboard the last bit of cargo backload and given clearance from the facility that we could return to Darwin and commence our well earned, five weeks off and a riding I shall go!

OMS Endurance, Timor Sea video. Click to watch (It starts with a few seconds of black)
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #87
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Yep I know the Endurance...

Reckon you guys were looking after us when we were on the Ocean Patriot for the JV/ CV plug and abandon job last year.

I'm about to fly out to Montara and Billy Pugh onto the GO Altair for 2 weeks as Client Rep for PTTEP, supervise ROV ops.

Altair will be getting changed out with Skandi Hawk and I'll get off once demob is complete at East Arm.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:39 PM   #88
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Farewell Mate

As they say, all good things must come to an end... But our travels together, as long time motorcycling mates aren't over just yet!

After the Phillip Island World Superbike round, we rode back to Geelong to my sisters place. We dropped the bikes in for a service and fitting of parts previously ordered, in preparation of our return at the local bike shop.

It was there Hydro and I had to part ways, as being a Northern Territory cattle truckie, he could only have 2 months off over the wet season. Hydro hadn't been 'home' to Albany in Western Australia for a couple of years. With his last few weeks remaining he would do the East to West trip on The trusty DR650 solo and catch up with his family and old friends.

I myself had to make preparations to return to work in a week, rounding out my five weeks off.

With confused emotion, we tried to be tough about it and said our goodbyes. True to Hydros ever present, comedic form, as he gave me back the SENA bike intercom said "Jeeze Ty, this doesn't feel good, it's like I'm handing back the 'ring'!"

Hydro is an awesome mate, seemingly always carefree, ready for adventure and always making you laugh. I couldn't think of a better bloke to go riding with. It is hard to type this actually, without giggling at all the great memories shared throughout our motorbike adventure. The making good on a promise we made as young lads, to ride together and explore our amazing country has been a sublime experience. We would recommend it to everyone.

With the taste of adventure excited doing what we've experienced so far, it is inevitable that we will be riding again together soon. I can't wait!

Grinners are definitely winners!
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Never one to be serious or look at a camera Hydro would rather strike the pose.
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One last shot till next time!
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:20 PM   #89
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Awesome report. Hate to see it end almost as much as both of you.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:14 PM   #90
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Riding Alone into the Alpine Region

It was strange venturing down the road without my riding 'padre'. The usual intercom banter of excited lads on motorbikes heading to a destination unknown gone. The GPS directions, given in a semi robotic voice is not quite the same.

From Melbourne I rode East into the beginning of the Alpine region I was to experience and explore. It was summer so the threat of snow at this stage wasn't an issue. The traffic and buildings thinned and the trees and hills prevailed.

Twisting roads and tracks through this type of terrain is always fun. Although I remember riding out from a mountain in Tasmania with Hydro onto a rather straight stretch of road and the intercom came to life with an agreeable comment "Oh Ty, it's nice to relax with straight bit!" It is surprising how much concentration is required and the not only physical but mental exertion. You certainly feel it and good sense of satisfaction at the end of the day!

One of the impressive wooden railway trestle bridges built to service the timber industry in times gone by. Many have fallen foul of bush fires and old age.
Noojee Trestle Bridge
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The forecast wasn't the best and it confirmed itself with drizzling rain to heavy down pours. I soldiered on, I had to be brave now riding alone. I treated it as a test, the heavens were upset that my riding mate was somewhere heading in the opposite direction!

The "Toolshed" bar and restaurant Noojee, welcomed warmth, cleansing ales and check that out for a 'Parmigiana' selection!
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I was the only one in the bar that wet week day afternoon, the publican was busy doing odd jobs and told me to pour my own if he wasn't about. Country hospitality and trust of a happy biking stranger.


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I had spotted a town on my map called "Erica", I have a great, always happy friend called Erika so for no other reason I made for it in the rain. I needed a little cheering up as the now sometimes torrential rain was starting to soak though. (Motorbike lesson #235, whilst transiting cold or rainy areas, have both Rainex and anti fog applied to your helmet visor or goggles.)

Arriving at Erica in the rain and just on dark I was welcomed with more, good local hospitality. A room was booked to air and dry out all my gear. Then dinner and drinks devoured under what some would say a macabre decor. The years spent cutting and chopping wood with my dad to keep the family warm and fed through my childhood and youth had me checking the history of chainsaws with a particular interest.
Erica pub ceiling...
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