Friday, January 23, 2015

Scooterbob visits the 3 Sisters

G'Day mate and welcome everyone from sunny Sydney Australia for scooterbobs continuing Aussie adventures. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Steve also known as Chillertek from The Road to Nowhere blog. I have graciously been given the honour of carrying scooterbob on his continuing adventures around the globe. This is his second leg in Australia many thanks to Theo for his wonderful tour of Victoria, Australia. I hope I can keep up the high standard that the other bloggers have set for scooterbobs travels. I'm sure that Bob would be very happy with what the blogging community has done, coming together in his memory and taking little scooterbob where Bob never got to go.

For my first outing I have decided on a trip up into the Blue Mountains, which is both a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the world and it also has some great motorcycling roads so hopefully we will get to do a bit of both and have some fun along the way. If your wondering why they are called the blue mountains, then one only has to look at the photos to see why.

It is going to be a hot day today(32°C/90°F) so I decided to leave early just after 7am. I couldn't put my camelbak on as I had to put scooterbob in my backpack so fingers crossed. Heading up into the mountains early was starting to look like a bad idea as I hit fog and mist, but luckily most of it burnt off as the sun came out and it ended up being a beautiful sunny day. First stop is the 2 look outs at Wentworth falls. There was some low lying fog in Jamison Valley this morning. Amazing views up here.

For the non Australian readers the Blue Mountains is a part of the great dividing range which runs up the east coast of Australia The blue mountains are a dissected Plateau carved out of sandstone bedrock. The mountain ranges are not very high as far as mountains are concerned and range up to around 1189m (3901 ft) and have precipices dropping away suddenly of up to 760m (2493 ft). Eucalyptus trees grow throughout the valleys of the ranges and the oil released by these into the atmosphere creates the blue haze which the mountains are named after.

I saw on google maps another lookout I hadn't visited before so I thought I'd check that one out for a different view. Unfortunately for me 4 mini bus loads of tourists had beat me to it so it was a bit hard taking photos. Those Japanese tourists are sitting on the edge of a massive drop easily a couple hundred feet.

Scooterbob admiring the view
I was a little worried about bob in that last shot above as I thought he might roll off the rock backwards, he was sitting precariously. Lucky he didn't as there would have been no way of recovering him if he went off the edge. I moved on from here and headed around towards Echo point which is the home of the 3 sisters.

Scooterbob at Echo Point

Scooterbob, meet the 3 sisters
 The three sisters is essentially a unusual rock formation. The character of the Three Sisters changes throughout the day and throughout the seasons as the sunlight brings out the magnificent colours. The Three Sisters is also floodlit until around 11pm each evening looking simply spectacular set against the black background of the night sky.

After bidding the 3 sisters good bye I followed the Blue Mountains Drive around the cliff tops and passed by scenic world which is basically another place to fleece the tourists of their hard earned. I stopped by eagle hawk lookout again with spectacular views of the valley and the 3 sisters.

Looking straight down from eagle hawk lookout

I'm sure Bob would have loved to visit the blue mountains. There are plenty of little places to visit up here. Fantastic coffee shops, cafes and antique stores and those magnificent views everywhere. I moved along a bit to check out some more views. It was getting very hot now especially seeing as I was stop/starting a lot because I was taking so many photos. I was also getting hungry and thirsty. Time to find something to eat after one more picture.

I decided to stop in at Mountain pies and get a coffee and a pie. They have won awards with their pies. Again for the non aussie readers our aussie pie's are a pastry base filled with meat and cooked in the oven. I ordered a pepper steak pie. It had chunks of beef and actually had green pepper corns inside. Beautiful, washed down with a coffee. If your ever in the area stop in and try one of their pies. They are fantastic.

With lunch finished it was time for me and scooterbob to head home back to Sydney. It was so hot today and I missed my camelbak dearly in the heat but still it was a great ride and a fantastic day out.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

29 December - Scooter Bob visits Wilsons Promontory - Another adventure "Down Under"

With the Christmas festivities behind us I thought it was time for my final trip showing Scooter Bob some of my favourite local riding destinations. The plan for today was to visit Tidal River which is a holiday destination located in the Wilsons Prom National Park. Wilsons Prom is a beautiful rugged, mountainous national park which is a huge attraction for hikers and campers particularly during the holiday season. The very tip of the Prom is also the most southerly part of the Australian mainland. The weather bureau forecast possible showers later in the day but when we left at about 10:30 all looked well.

The area abounds with wildlife and there are lots of signs asking drivers to take care to avoid the locals by driving/riding slowly. Scooter Bob observed some traffic signs which are unique to Australia.

The road to tidal river is very scenic and provides lots of views of the ocean. We stopped at this one to observe the rugged Wilsons Prom terrain and some of the off-shore islands.

We reached Tidal River at about 1 pm and found the place packed with caravans and tents and campers enjoying the summer holiday. Lunch plans were quickly abandoned when I realised it would take a long time to get served, so down to take a quick look at the Tidal River Beach. 

Not a lot of people at the beach because the weather had started to cool and when I looked at the sky towards home there was some ominous cloud activity there. We had no sooner started the return journey when the first raindrops hit so a quick stop to don the wet weather gear. Good decision because within 15 minutes or so we were riding through steady rain and quite gusty winds. This was the pattern for the whole return trip and it was good to get home around 4pm.

Well, it is time for Scooter Bob to travel to his next adventure down under and tomorrow I will be checking him and his little black travel case at the post office. I'm sure the little scooter will visit many more interesting locations in Australia so keeping checking here for future Scooter Bob reports from Australia.

Total Distance Today 320 km

Contributed by guest blogger Theo van der Meulen

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

24 December - Merry Christmas from Scooter Bob Down Under

It's Christmas Eve and Scooter Bob is spending the festive season in Traralgon, Australia
Once the festivities are out of the way, and hopefully some of the holiday traffic has died down, Scooter Bob will take another ride into the Victorian countryside before moving on to his next home away from home, in New South Wales.

In the meantime all that remains is for me to wish the circle of Bobskoot and Scooter Bob friends a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Safe riding everyone!

Contributed by guest blogger Theo van der Meulen

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Around this time last year, Bob posted Christmas greetings on this blog.

I missed it, just like I missed too many other wonderful posts, because I just didn't have the time.  In that way the impending holiday season is like a silver cloud with a grey lining.

Kathy didn't miss it though.  She e-mailed me and suggested a WetCoast blog challenge.

Read about it here.

I did.  And I can think of no more fitting way to kick off the coming holidays than to have Bob wish each and every one of you amazing holidays.

Thanks Kathy.

Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Happy Chanukah and very best wishes for the holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

16 December - Scooter Bob visits the Gippsland Lakes (Down Under)

The Gippsland Lakes are a network of lakes and marshes in East Gippsland, Victoria, covering an area of about 354 sq km (137 sq mi). The lakes and surrounding towns are an important tourist destination for Australians and international visitors alike, and feature boating, fishing, pristine beaches, fine dining and wineries. The lake system is connected to the sea at Lakes Entrance which is also a commercial fishing port. As the weather forecast promised temperatures around 35ºC I thought it was time to take the Beemer, and Scooter Bob to check out this wonderful destination.

Our first stop was to check out the commercial fishing fleet in Lakes Entrance.

Then, we were off to the hill overlooking Lakes Entrance to get a great view of the lakes and the entrance to the sea.

The pace in Lakes Entrance is picking up. Here in Victoria, as in the rest of Australia, school has just finished and main holidays of the year are underway. There was a constant stream of traffic ready to set up camp either here or in other coastal towns further up the coast.

After Lakes Entrance, it was a short ride to the village of Metung located in the middle of the lakes system. Metung appears to be developing into a retirement destination with lots of new residential developments and golf courses. As it was lunchtime we dropped into the Metung Galley for a bit to eat and some much needed hydration. Metung features a range of attractive holiday accommodation as well as boat and yacht hire and is a popular stop off for the may 'boaties' on the lakes. Restaurants and a great pub are only a short walk from the public jetty.

Finally, after some great riding and sightseeing it was time to head in the direction of home but not before a quick stop at our friends John and Sandra who live in Paynesville, also located on the shores of the Gippsland lakes. After the heat of the day, it was nice to sit in the shade for a chat, a coffee and a cigar before heading home.

The final leg of the trip was very windy and a sign of the storms forecast for later this evening, and it was nice to get home and have a well deserved beer (or two).

Total Distance 360 km.

Contributed by guest blogger Theo van der Meulen

Sunday, December 14, 2014

14 December - More Scooter Bob Adventures Down Under and Scooter Bob Meets Shadow Riders of Australia

Once again a sunny hello from Australia where Scooter Bob is currently seeing the sights.

A beautiful day today and time to show Scooter Bob some more of the beautiful Victorian countryside. Our destination today was Christmas Hills to attend the Christmas BBQ of the Shadow Riders of Australia, a group of riders who enjoy the Honda Shadow motorcycle in its various forms. Our first stop was the little town of Noojee, which was at one time a thriving centre for timber production. Timber was hauled from Noojee to provide housing material for a booming Victoria and dedicated enthusiasts have recently placed one of the old steam locomotives used to haul timber, in a park in Noojee. The railway line travelled through the mountainous forest clad area around Noojee and joined the main Melbourne line via 7 timber tressle bridges. Only one of these now remains and Bob visited this last vestige of a once busy industry.

From Noojee our trek continued into the Yarra Valley wine region and then to the Sugarloaf Reservoir located in Christmas Hills. This was the meeting place for a number of Victorian members of the Shadow Riders of Australia for the annual Christmas BBQ. Before meeting all the SRA members though Scooter Bob visited the actual dam wall for another photo opportunity.

Then it was time to meet the SRA members and their families and to grab a group photo.

Finally it was time for Scooter Bob and me to start the long ride home back to Traralgon.  It was such a nice afternoon we returned through the mountain route and after a coffee in Yarragon we reached home after a great ride and a fantastic day.

Total Distance 362 km

Contributed by guest blogger Theo van der Meulen

Friday, November 28, 2014

28 November - ScooterBob Starts His Adventure "Down Under"

A warm welcome to all those following ScooterBob's travels, from sunny Australia.
My name is Theo van der Meulen and as an enthusiastic motorcyclist and blogger (Check out Australian Motorcycle Diaries here)I enjoyed my occasional (virtual) contact with BobSkoot over the past few years. I'm pretty certain I read all of his blogs and last year followed his trek across North America with great interest. A few weeks ago, when I learned of his untimely passing and the plan to have ScooterBob undertake the travels Bob would have enjoyed, I expressed an interest in hosting ScooterBob down under in Australia. Well, last week my post lady delivered him to the front door in his little black travel case, and today, on a brilliant sunny Australian spring day I took Scooter Bob on his first Australian adventure to the old gold mining town of Walhalla. This 'ghost' town is located in the mountains to the north of my house and has been a frequent motorcycle destination for me and any visitors who ride with me. Our first stop was the Tyers lookout which provides a good overview of the Latrobe Valley where I live.

This spot provides a great view of the rural landscape dotted with the occasional large power stations.

Walhalla was a major gold producer over a period spanning the 1870's to around 1910. This photo shows the vault where all the gold was stored prior to transport to Melbourne.

The value of gold stored in this vault, in today's money is about $1.4 billion dollars. Today, this town which once had a population exceeding 4,000 now has a mere handful of inhabitants who maintain a small but vibrant range of tourist activities including visits to one of the old gold mines.

One of the few intact reminders of the glory days is Windsor House, once owned by a rich merchant which is now restored and is operated as a B&B.

While much is gone, much remains and a number of dedicated residents have, over the past few years restored some of the key buildings. There are reminders of 'the old days' wherever you look.

My adventures with Scooter Bob will continue for a few more weeks until is time to pass him onto the next of Bob Leong's friends. My rides will go the places I think Bob would have enjoyed. Although I never met him, I think I got to know him a little through his blogs and I know for certain I would have like him a lot.

Total distance 130 km.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Cuckoo Clock for ScooterBob

Another beautiful day and yes, the month is November. Since ScooterBob is scheduled to leave shortly in quest for warmer places we wanted to show him one last specific Black Forest feature. Of course there were several leaf peeping stops for us before we got the the place.

But eventually we arrived at our destination in Triberg, and introduced ScooterBob to the world's largest Cuckoo Clock. A scale of 60:1, as documented in the Guiness Book of Records. 4.5x4.5m (15x15ft) in size and 15m (50ft) in height, with a pendulum length of 8m (26ft), and a weight of six tons. It took five years to build it, and the inside can be visited (when open).

The last picture shows ScooterBob with pendulum and counterweights of the clock in the background. This is our goodbye. I have kept it long enough, it's time for the little world traveler to move on.

These are the voyages of ScooterBob. It's continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, and to boldly go where no wooden scooter has gone before.

Friday, October 31, 2014

ScooterBob goes to France


A trip to Strasbourg, France sounded like an excellent plan. The fog had lifted, and the sun was out. It didn't have its summer strength though, temps were rather nippy out there. We grabbed ol' ScooterBob, and hit the road to France.

After an uneventful ride on major roads we reached the city center and parked our Vespa adjacent to the pedestrian zone. It wasn't quite legal but due to lack of parking spots it usually gets tolerated. And we doubted that the officials would bother about two innocent little scoots. At Cafe Bistrot & Chocolat we found what we were looking for. Vegan! Vegetarian! Gluten free! All day brunch!

After this delicious meal we showed ScooterBob the sights of Strasbourg. We put it right in front of the museum Rohan Palace. Notice that there are no people present. As a matter of fact the visitors were considerate enough to wait until we had finished with the wooden scooter's photo session. Some of them might have thought, it was an experimental art project of sorts.

The most popular spot in Strasbourg is its huge cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg. But it's a very crowded place, and we didn't want ScooterBob to get stomped on, so we visited briefly, and using a hole in the crowd we got our tourist snap shots done and left.

Riding opportunities are getting less now at the end of the season, and riding days are getting shorter, but we are hoping to get in one more ride with ScooterBob.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

First Ride out with ScooterBob

It didn't take long to convince our 'guest' ScooterBob to come along for a ride on the famous Black Forest High Road. It hopped into my Vespa top case, and off we went on the touristy mountain rim road.

This stretch of federal highway B500 going from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt is very popular with the two-wheeled crowds. But that distinctive chill in the air which reminded us of season's ending, had the fair weather riders already talked into mothballing their bikes. We were welcomed with next to zero traffic and a wide open road.

At Zuflucht we stopped to admire the view. Looking west, in the far we spotted the silhouette of the Vosges Mountains in France. This is usually a popular take-off point for hang gliders but the place looked abandoned this afternoon.

Finally I introduced ScooterBob to my absolute favourite spot in the area: All Saints' Abbey. We had visited many times before, at different seasons, with different guests, and this historic site never failed to impress.

By then the cold started creeping into our bones, and we decided it was time to return home for a nice hot cuppa.