Lavers Hill    Sunday 8th February, 2009  MKII

Woke at 7am, had brekky and went out to wake the bike up.  “Take me” says the Gixxer. Okay then, you’re it and wheeled her out. 

Bang, boom, thunder in the sky.  It’s really dark and stormy over the Otways.  Not looking good.  Not a lot of fun down there in the wet, but you never know, it may not rain. 

It takes around an hour from home to the West Gate Shell servo. Home is in Geelong, on the south east side. Geoff Jones is there already.  It’s about 9.30am. Pay for fuel, chat whilst waiting for whoever is coming.  At 10 am it starts raining. Start is delayed while some put on wet weather gear.  Stumble through the route we are taking today, stops and distances etc. Not much good at this part; nerves get the better of me.

Time to go. Over the West Gate, watching for the safety cameras, three sets by the time you get to Hoppers Crossing, all rear facing.  There’s been quite a bit of police activity since just before Chrissy, so take it easy till we get off the freeway at the Little River exit. There’s lots of spray from cars ahead.

Next we head through Lara and round the outskirts of Geelong.  On through Batesford and cross the Hamilton and Princes Highways to Moriac and the first stop.

There’s a rush to the toilet, myself included (too much watermelon yesterday), after the temperature hit 46.9 at home and 49.9 at Avalon Air Port. It was a shocking day with strong hot winds from the north west. Lots of fires over the State with lots of lives and homes lost.

Tony has a new Pilot Sport on the rear of his Bussa and is complaining of not much grip. It will be okay when he wears the rubber protectant off the surface of the tyre but!

It stopped raining a few kays back and the sun is trying to break through. Dry roads. Good.

Morning tea over and Misho’s finished his smoke. We’re off again.  From Deans Marsh to Lorne is a good piece of road. Not much traffic today so we had a good run through here till we get to Lorne.  It is an 80km/h speed limit from Lorne to Apollo Bay nowadays.  You hear all sorts of stories about police in boats with speed devices and sitting on the cliff faces checking speeds, then pulling you over further down the road. Probably all bull dust but got me bluffed.  So it’s take it easy along here. I used to love this section, but the fun has gone out of it these days.

We stop at Apollo Bay for fuel. (We stopped here last trip, Ben and I didn’t fill up and got caught short at Lavers Hill when their pump chucked it in so no fuel.  Out with the siphon hose, after trying the place up the road. “ Sorry we don’t sell fuel anymore” HANDY. )

We leave Apollo Bay and head for Lavers Hill, about 50kms. It’s a good run with some corners through the bush having ripples and bumps, which I try to miss.  They upset the front of the Suzzie, the steering damper having died at 20,000 kms and me too slack to buy a new one. She clocks over 117,000 today.

Look in the mirrors now and then. I can see Ben, yes Paul too. No headlight today, low beam has called it a day, he tells me later.  A few cars along here, most doing 60 km/h, who knows what for, a pain in the you know what. Every corner must be a hair pin? 

Down the hill and out onto the flat.  I love this bit.  It follows around the edge of what used to be a swamp most winters, but I have not seen water here for a long time now.  Nice surface corner after corner.  No hair pins to catch you out.  Watch for farmer on tractor and chooks crossing the road in one spot.  Although I haven’t seen either of late.

Over the bridge, up the hill and past the Lookout we go.  There are always cars parked here, tourists enjoying the ocean view. Only 20 more kays and it’s lunch time.  Salad rolls, pies and chocolate.  Paul’s hungry today and brings out a packet of Crisp chips.  So I help him to eat them J Talk the talk, “fires around Melbourne”, ”Pina’s high idling R6”, anything motorcycles.

Next leg: Lavers Hill to Apollo Bay. A brief stop fuel and a smoke for some.  Ronny’s muffler has come loose so out with the tools.  We turn up Skene’s Creek Road to Barwon Downs, then Forest.  It’s the best I’ve seen this road; clean as a whistle today.  No leaf litter, no gravel, no wet spots usually found at the corners.  Not today. What a blast! The old Suzzie’s running a treat.

Forest to Deans Marsh, then Moriac for a spell and pit stop.  Splash of fuel for Craig’s 1098 Ducati.  Sounds great with the aftermarket pipes.  On to the break up at Lara, back tracking our morning route.

I would like to thank everyone for coming on my lead ride today. I had a great day, as usual, with like minded people.  It doesn’t get any better than this.  From the first time I threw my leg over the seat of my brand new Z400 Kwaka in 1977.  It’s been 32 years, almost 500,000 kms and I still can’t wait for the next ride.

Ps...being out front you don’t see what’s going on behind you.  Which is a damn shame; you miss all sorts of shenanigans and lots of laughs. So, till next week ( Misho’s Baw Baw ride, ye ha!) See you there. 


Cliff Peters