How often do opportunities present themselves and we find a million reasons to say no. Why.? Because it’s easy to say no.
We need to learn to say yes more often. To get out and try different things, to find a new crowd.
Over the last few years our lives have really changed as the girls have grown up and left home. You don’t realise just how much time you spent running around after kids until they’ve gone. Then you’re left sitting there wondering what to do. It’s easy to get trapped in working more, or just sitting watching the tube. But neither of those are really living. They’re just existing.
So when a colleague asked if I wanted to go for a ride with some of his friends. The answer was yes.
I’ve mentioned it before and I think I’m learning the skill … when in a group timing is different, it isn’t only about covering distance but a chance to just hang out. It’s social. Hanging out at servos, by the side of the road, at lookouts, or just sitting in cafes having coffee or a meal enjoying a chat.
Day one was great. Riding a lot of familiar roads with different people. It’s always interesting when riding with a new group as you find where you slot in. Up the front and hook in, in the middle and cruise or hang back and just poke along. The challenge on these winding roads is sitting behind people breaks up your normal rhythm or the danger is that you focus on their tail light in front too much and just follow without riding your own ride. Again, find your spot in the group where you are with others but are free to ride your own ride.
And the thing I generally find about motorcyclists world wide – we love talking about bikes and about riding. Pull up on the top of a mountain and we have that common connection straight away. It’s our social glue.
Everything was going great. Then about 5km out of Mitta Mitta the bike started to die when I would crack the throttle open. Having experienced this a couple of times on my previous ZX14 I knew exactly what was going on. The bike was starving for fuel and the most likely culprit was a blocked fuel filter. Luckily we were stopping at Mitta Mitta and luckier still I happen to have a spare filter in my kit.
So while the others sat in the beer garden enjoying a nice cold beer, I pulled my bike apart and replaced the fuel filter. I have to say, after doing this a few times it does become easier … although in a car park using milk crates as a work bench isn’t ideal…
Technically, you can’t buy a fuel filter for these bikes as Mr Kawasaki wants to sell you the whole fuel pump assembly which costs about $600. However, it just so happens that the Kawasaki Mule (side by side utility bike/thing) uses the same filter (Kawasaki PN : 49019-0013) which costs just over $30. You just have to pull the fuel pump assembly apart, which isn’t that hard (link to instructions for a 1400GTR which uses the same pump).
After a quick blast up the road the surgery was deemed a success. Happy days!
Now about that beer!
Then to my surprise another long distance riding friend who just happened to be in the township of Mitta Mitta with a population of 151 and having dinner at the pub came up to say hello. It was great to catch up with Kimmie and Karl .
If you’re looking for a great little place to stay I can highly recommend the Mitta Mitta pub. It looks like it has had a face lift in the last few years. It just has a great feel about it, with great meals and nice accommodation from self contained to typical pub rooms. I’m already planning our next visit here, I’ve even changed out route to bring our Swiss friends here next year.
We left Mitta Mitta the next morning in misting rain to wind our way down the Omeo highway. This road has only been sealed in the last 5 years. And all I can say is thank you. This is such a nice road … even in the wet.
From the Omeo highway we turned and made our way over the Bogong high plains with it’s interesting white bitumen which makes seeing loose sections quite tricky with the bike walking around a bit as it found loose gravel in corners, which can be un-nerving.!
From Falls Creek, up and over Toowonga and then up Mt Buffalo. At the top of Mt Buffalo is one of my favourite places ‘the Horn’ but to get there is a few kilometres of rough steep tight corrugated loose gravel road. I may have down-played the condition when I convinced the others to take this road. But all was forgiven when we got to the top where you are rewarded with an amazing view.
Just beautiful! I can stand here for hours just looking out over the mountains.
Tonight’s accommodation is in Rutherglen, one of Victoria’s wine regions. Tomorrow the guys are taking a wine tour of the region, and I will head home as I need to get back for work on Monday.
A couple of photos from the small town of Lockhart who love art and sculptures, and I found a water tank to add to my collection of silo / water tank art.
After my Sadddle Sore ride the other week I realised that I need to invest in some sort of a throttle lock for this bike. On my last bike I used a Kaoko throttle lock which was a friction lock in place of the bar end weight. While the unit itself worked fine, I really didn’t find it great on the 14 as it wouldn’t stay on a speed so it really only gave 10-15 seconds relief.
A couple of friends have the Omni-cruise which works a bit differently in that it mounts on the grip and sits on the front brake lever to maintain the speed. I’m not a fan of things on the grip but it is really easy to take off so when you want to install it for those longer legs you can easily slide it on.
I found it took a few goes to get the hang of it but it works pretty well. The trick is to have it tight enough to grip but loose enough that you can still roll off the throttle when you need to. That way you get to the speed and then push the omni-cruise down onto the brake lever. While it will never be a cruise control it does give you a chance to take your hand off the throttle for a bit of wrist relief. And because it rests on the brake lever if you need to speed up to overtake it’s as easy as rolling it on.
What a great weekend. I was only sorry that I couldn’t ride more with the rest of the group as they were great to hang out with. Next time.
Total distance for the weekend – 1,340km.