Tag Archives: Safari Tanks

Coming Home!! Australia once again after ALL these years.. ;-)

Wow… how did I get here?  It’s gotta be done. Time to officially finish off this long journey and go home.  I land in Melbourne where I will wait for poor Tony to arrive by ship.  It was exciting to land in my own country followed by a crazy taxi ride through the night, but not far to my wonderful hosts house in Essendon.

I had a couple of days to get to know where I was, try to accomplish some “home” goals, getting my mobile number re-established, internet,  preparing to have things and people organized to move back into my house, etc etc.  I really got to know the trains and trams of Melbourne!  I was never a fan of this city before, but I’m most impressed with the public transport system!  I was really into hitting the ground running with projects, that I didn’t take time for photos. Ridiculous! So I borrowed one online at this website, http://us.123rf.com.  Boring, I know.. ;-(

But! Good news! Literally the day after I arrived, Robin Box from Safari Tanks and Touratech called me. I can’t remember in my mad 6 month planning to take this journey in 2010, how I got on to Robin.  I think I had questions about some Touratech products.  He graciously gave me partial sponsorship on those things.  And then one day I got a call about the Safari tank he was recommending.  I never heard of one, but when I heard the story, and he offered to send me one free of charge.. well okay then! I really didn’t know what I was doing setting up my bike and I think he caught on to that.  But it’s special people like this that has made the journey for me, and this was the start of it.

Robin  knew I had a few days to wait for my bike so he invited me up to his family home near Wangaratta, about 3 hours north of Melbourne.  So, I took the train!  Haha, well for that public transport system? There is a buckle in the train lines, so they put us on buses instead.  Oh well, it was a nice ride and one I didn’t have to navigate or think much about.

Into the R & V Aqualine warehouse, they built this business way out in the country and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw size of the factory.. on a remote farm!  Heaps and heaps of Safari tanks in all different sizes and colors… everywhere!  Very well organized and super impressive. I have always said since day one, that my Safari Tank that Robin so generously offered is my all time favorite accessory.  Forget the leather purse or pearl earrings, I’m in and have been in love with my Safari Tank the entire time!  I know I’ve said it a million times, but stock fuel capacity on my bike was only 12 litres.  With the Safari Tank, he gave me an extra 14 litres making it 26 litres when both are full.  This completely made travelling to remote areas possible.  Now I can only imagine how much I would have missed in the best remote parts of the world if I didn’t have this extra fuel tank to take me farther.  Freedom and peace of mind. I can’t be more proud to get to know the people who have helped me so much.  And I’m more than happy to say if you need extra fuel capacity on your bike, check them out at Safari Tank Website

While in the “Safari” shed, I’m eyeing a new Triumph Tiger 800 equipped with one of the Safari Tanks.  Robin asks, “Do you want to take it out for a spin?”  I initially told him no, because I don’t want to fall in love with another motorcycle until I know I can get a new one for myself.  Plus I still don’t have any riding gear as it’s still on the shipping crate with my own bike.  He says, “You can borrow my daughters gear!  What size are your feet?”  I tried on her boots, they fit perfectly. I tried on her Touratech jacket, it fit perfectly.  No more excuses, Let’s go!

It was a big bike!  It felt all right but so much bigger in comparison to my own that I didn’t go crazy on it… yet! 😉  Robin kept saying, go faster.. open it up!!!  That man has speed in his blood!!  It was only a small ride. But I really enjoyed it and would love to do MORE! 😉

The following day is Sunday and the Box family take me out (in a car) to show me around.  I just keep noticing the smell and the sounds of my favorite Aussie birds.  The Kookaburras, Cockies and the Galahs. Beautiful Lorikeets. It feels so good to be in familiar territory and I’m really recognizing I’m nearly home…  The bird photos are not mine.  I just threw them in so people from overseas knows what I’m talking about.

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 Galah

 Lorikeet

Beautiful lunch and small hike near Bright, New South Wales.

Thanks again for a super fun weekend..  Big thanks for helping an ignorant ol’ girl prepare a motorcycle properly for a huge trip around the world!  With that Safari Tank and the Touratech Panniers, I couldn’t be more grateful.

I made it back to Melbourne.  This time on the train, not the bus!  With only one more day to be reunited with Tony.

Couldn’t wait to get to the warehouse and unpack Tony from the little crate.  Did he survive the smallest crate of all?  Yep! Perfect and I didn’t have any quarantine or cleaning fees.  My toothbrush cleaning job in New Zealand worked again!  Ivan from Bikesabroad was there and he helped me unpack and put the bike back together again.  I love the photo of him on my bike.  I love the smile that motorcycles bring to peoples faces as soon as they’re on one!!

Once I got organized and packed up the bike, It was time to hit the road!!  Riding out of Melbourne city was entertaining.  I left my Australian gps map card in America with a stash of other things a couple years ago, and I neglected to pick it up last time I was there. Not to worry, this is MY country and I know my way around.  For the most part.  The city was easy enough, I found my way with only one unnecessary diversion.. haha.  The main highway south to Geelong and on to the Great Ocean Road.  All of these roads I’m familiar with and easy peasy all the way back to South Australia from here.

Well I didn’t get to far, only to the coast, a town called Anglesea.  The bike was revving up on it’s only especially when I took a left turn.  The throttle cables were installed on the wrong side of the bar causing them to be too short and straining. There’s no hurry getting home as I’m not due in to Adelaide for a few days, so I park the bike in a very abandoned camp ground (winter!!) on the ocean and had the place to myself.  Love that!

I went back to Geelong and a great mechanic helped me sort the cables out, and a couple of other tidbits that I should have attended to, easy done.

Now, time for the Great Ocean Road!  I’ve travelled this road twice in my life already.  I’ve stopped and seen everything before, so it’s less eventful than it should be on a world journey.  Yet spectacular enough that I’m so happy to be experiencing the curves this time on a motorcycle.

I’ve marvelled at this house every time I pass it, but this time I thought to take a photo.  I also remember seeing it on an Architectural Building show in Australia in the past.  Yes, I love those shows..  But I can’t help thinking that it’s a bit surreal after riding to very strange places on this motorcycle in the last 38 months, that I’m now in places I know well and seen before. It would take a special person to think of building a house on a stick like that!

What’s also cool is that this is a week day during winter.  Otherwise this road is full with tourists during summer or the weekends.

Snack break!

Morning Walk!!  Soooo happy to be here.

It was so funny to come across the Plovers.  The silly dears have laid eggs next to the parking area.  A lot of large sqauwking and those raised wings.  Ooooooo, I’m so scared, little one!

I see your eggs are safe.  The screeching calms down and now I think she wants to sell me a new watch under the jacket.. ?  Tourist business is slow at the moment.. 😉

Back on the great road..

Just out of curiousity I stopped at Logan’s beach.  When I pulled up, I saw several cars, so it might be a good day to see if the Southern Right Whales are around.  Yes, they are!!  Probably a bit hard for you to see in the photos, but there is one on the right about 2/3 down.

Not a clear photo but with the zoom and crop I got him!  Little baby was doing tiny breaches!  So cute.  It just makes me feel good to stop and see the whales.  I’m glad I did that, familiar or not.

Logan’s Beach, NSW

I decided to stop for the night in Port Campbell.  I stopped into the camp ground first.  It put me off a bit, and I thought, I’ve done enough camping and stayed with the most amazing hosts in Melbourne. Tonight is a hotel night! It’s been a really long time since I’ve stayed in one. The cheapest I could find of course!  This lovely hotel in the photo has much cheaper rooms out the back.   How many times in my life I’ve stayed in Outback pubs, and this one is a classic beauty.

Next stop, South Australia!!!!!!!!!! (If I think about that too much, I get a bit teary. So let’s push that aside for now..) Cheers!


The Catlins, Mosgiel and Port Chalmers, New Zealand

After the presentation I did at the Ulysses Club last week, I got a call from Ross, Carole and Terry who wanted to know if I’d like to go for a ride down to the Catlins.. Of course!  The Catlins is an area in South New Zealand well-known for it’s coastal ride between here and Invercargill.  I did not come up that way from Invercargill on my original ride, and with such nice weather today, it will be good to back track and see what I missed.

Good Morning Ross and Carole!

No matter where I go in New Zealand, it’s beautiful in every direction.  How about this coastline?

At this one little stop we met this man from Te Anau, the place I stayed on the west coast.  He’s not on a motorcycle today while on holiday with his wife in a campervan.  Otherwise he does ride and he offers motorcycle friendly accommodation in Te Anau (I’ve already been through, but I still wish I wrote down the name he told me.. ;-(.  A couple minutes later we met another man who just pulled in with a campervan as well, who is visiting from South Africa!  He’s right into his motorcycle club in that part of the world.  I’m not joking, it’s hard to meet anybody in New Zealand who is not passionate about riding!  I love it!

He was telling the truth!  Proudly sporting his Ulysses Club sticker, where the motto is “Growing Old Disgracefully”  Yes!

We pulled off for a coffee break at Kaka Point and they tell me that the “famous” Nuggets are something to see out the peninsula but it’s a dirt/gravel track.  I say, “That’s all right, I can do dirt!”  They laughed and said, “Yeah, but we can’t.”

It’s not far, so while they have a coffee, I take off to have a look.

Easy peasey!  I understand their concern on a big touring road bike riding on a gravel, but this one is quite safe.  Hard to know unless you’re out there though.

More beautiful views! It turned out to have a look at the actual Nuggets (rock formations along the coastline) required a 900 meter walk.  I didn’t want my friends to wait that long for me to hike that far and then to return, so I took a couple photos and headed back.

Tony loves the gravel.. it’s so much more fun when I don’t have to carry all my gear.

I made it back to the coffee stop and they’re still here!  Thank goodness I didn’t take that longer hike as it turned out poor Carole had the coffee from hell.  She found that they used old sour milk!  Sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad.  Not a “bad” view! ;-))

Now we travel south and I’m wondering if Lake Wilkie is a “sign”… ha!  I love this place and it really doe seem like home!

We stopped for a wonderful lunch at the Whistling Frog Cafe.  I had Blue Cod for the first time.  It’s one of the most popular fish dishes on the South Island, but somehow I’m only now trying it.

After lunch, Ross and Carole needed to get home for other family plans, and Terry wanted to show me a different route home that included some spectacular falls.

The Purakaunui Falls are just gorgeous.  I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls on this trip and I think this one looks like a wedding cake!

Purakaunui Falls

Terry is great fun to travel with.  He’s been all over the world and has lots of good stories!  What a perfect day.. thanks guys!

Now I need to get home in time to feed the chickens! I’ve never looked after chickens before.  I counted around 50 of them.  I always thought of them as being quite harmless, but not when it comes to the roosters!  They are down right evil!  The roosters would go around raping every hen and little chick as they are trying to get a feed.  They were so forceful, it would make me so mad. But I guess that’s life and how it works in the chicken industry… I just had no idea they were so mean.

Here’s a good example.  The hen and her chicks hiding out by me and the front door.  The rooster comes in to sight and you can see the fear in their eyes!!  Run Chicks Run!!! There are so many roosters here the poor things don’t stand a chance..

From that newspaper article the other day, I got an email from Howard Weir.  He surprisingly recognized me and the bike from the time I rode through Siberia with Walter Colebatch by following his ADVrider posts!  That was way back in 2010, so he’s got a heck of a good memory!  Anyway, he invited me around the fire station in Dunedin for lunch.  That was a no-brainer decision for me, how lucky can I be!??

They made a darn good meal, including desert!!  Great cooks they are. Yummm!

Howard and Dave showing me the “Jaws of Life”.. Wow!!

I take guys like this for granted, unfortunately.  I don’t think of it often but I know they are there. Super humans who dedicate their lives to saving people. What an honor it is for me to meet them and to get a real insight to what they do and how they do it.

I’m also lucky to be the proud new owner of this t-shirt. At the bottom it says Whakaratonga Iwi.  Maori words meaning “To serve the people”.

Another day, another presentation in Dunedin!  This time it’s the official Otago Motorcycle Club (the last one was the Ulysses Club).

The wonderful people of the South Island are filling up my Ortilebe travel bag!  I’ve got a new long sleeve Ulysses Club shirt, my new Fire & Rescue Shirt and now a new Otago Motorcycle Club shirt made with the thick merino wool so famous for New Zealand.. I am one very lucky girl!  And with the winter coming, all 3 shirts will and have been put to very good use!  Thank you ALL so much!!!

Ross and Carole invited me over on a Saturday night dinner party. It turned out to be quite the seafood extravaganza!  First up was Whitebait.  I’ve seen it advertised everywhere, but I’ve never had it.   I think it’s most commonly on the menu as a fried ball of fishes, but Carole makes them with an egg mixture.

I have a look at them, and find that they’re all looking right back at ME! I quite honestly had a “No way” attitude at first, but as soon as I tried it, the little fishes tasted fantastic!

A very light fish with a very light taste.  I never noticed the little eyeballs after that.. yum!

Carole even managed to get me to eat Bluff Oysters.  I hate oysters!  And I warned her to not even try.  The last one I tried years ago came right back up as fast as it went down.  She convinced me these little oysters in the deep fryer will be different.  Yep, they were good too and stayed down! Amazing!  Then she served up a crayfish mornay with rice.  Gee whiz, I’m getting full.  They laughed at me and said, but we haven’t eaten yet!  What?  The main course is still on the way, grilled Blue Cod and salad!  Lord Have Mercy. Now that was a dinner party! Even better because I’ve now tried and like things I never did before.  Cheers!

The family at the other house I was looking after came home early at 3 weeks instead of 4.  My next housesitting assignment is up near Christchurch, so I have a free week.. What to do?  Ross and Carole said, “Well you coming back to stay at our house, end of story!”

So I said goodbye to all my new animal friends…

And found myself back at the Gold Residence, which I’ve renamed the Mosgiel Spa…

Ross wants to pick up some meat at his son’s butchery shop in Outram, a small town about 10 km from Mosgiel.  I walked in the door and wasn’t sure I’d get out alive! Just kidding. These guys were great.  I’ve never been behind the scenes at a butchery and they are masters of using a knife!

I’ve had a sore back for a few days, so I had a nice soak in their spa..  It’s like being with family. Nice warm house, good meals, motorcycles and hot tubs! And not a mad rooster in sight! ;-))

Firefighter Dave sent a message inviting me to tour around his part of Dunedin, just up the Dunedin coast at Port Chalmers.  Somehow.. during lunch at the fire house, I probably carried on a bit about Sir Hubert Wilkins, the greatest polar explorer of all time.. in my humble opinion! 😉  And Dave thought I’d like to see a bit of polar history around here.

He took me to the Scott Memorial.  I won’t carry on too much, but a bit about Sir Hubert Wilkins.  Wilkins’ goal was to be the first to fly an airplane to the South Pole where he would map thousands of kilometers of uncharted territory in Antarctica (amongst a zillion other ‘firsts’ he accomplished in his super full life).  He achieved this goal, and on any detailed Antarctic map you will see “Wilkes Land” as well as the Wilkins Sound, Wilkins Ice Shelf (which has recently broken up due to global warming) and Wilkins Peninsula!

I’m really bad.  I’m carrying on AGAIN about Wilkins, when this is supposed to be about Robert Scott. The prevailing history is of two other great explorers.  One being British explorer Robert Scott who was here, using Port Chalmers as the last base before sailing to Antarctica.  And the other was a Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen. They were both keen to be the first to make it to the South Pole and were in an unofficial race.

They would have to be the toughest guys on the planet.  There is no lightweight polar fleece, no Gore-Tex. I quite like those straps holding up the big furry gloves.  They look really convenient.

Captain Scott had no way of knowing it at the time, but the first expedition to reach the geographic South Pole was achieved by Amundsen. He and four others arrived at the pole on 14 December 1911, five weeks ahead of the British party led by Robert Falcon Scott as part of the Terra Nova Expedition. Amundsen and his team returned safely to their base, and later learned that Scott and his four companions had died on their return journey. Wikipedia.  The photo above is a memorial of Capt. Scott’s last message, very thoughtful words.

From reaching the South Pole by foot for the first time in 1911, it was only a few years later in 1929 that Sir Hubert Wilkins flew there by airplane.  Check it out, I just found out there is also a Wilkins Aerodrome AND a Wilkins Runway!  Well deserved…!  Amazing photos of Wilkins Antarctica Aerodrome

Hardihood from all!! (We loved that word Capt. Scott used in his last message above.. ) I’ve always got to stick in a bit of Wilkins history, just because I love his name and still wonder if he is a long lost great Uncle of mine. If not, I claim him anyway! Great history!

Port Chalmers, New Zealand

I remember looking at this and wondering which way should we go?  To Church or to the South Pole?  What a unique option!! Dave’s already been to the South Pole.  He has worked 3 seasons on the New Zealand and American bases in Antarctica as a carpenter.  But I wonder if he’s ever gone to Church?? 😉

Wandering about the port.  Firefighter Dave makes quite a good tour guide!  His family and history is here, so he had lots of great stories to tell.

Thanks so much for showing me around Dave.  Another way of getting to know this part of the world is fantastic! Normally I’d have a night or two in a city and move on with my journey.  Stopping here for a whole month has made a huge difference to me.

Back home again to the Mosgiel spa!

I’ve so much enjoyed my week here at Ross and Carole’s house.  Kiwi hospitality is unreal and these two have really raised the bar!

However, the time has come to leave my Mosgiel temporary home and head to the Brass Monkey Rally in Central Otago.  It’s a winter rally and it takes a true blue hard core Kiwi to attend this motorcycle event, most often in the snow!


Pancake Rocks, Wanaka and Queenstown

Now that I’ve experienced the Abel Tasman, the highlight of the north of the south island (i just like saying that) can be crossed off my list and now I must continue to the south of the south island! 😉

Back toward Nelson and over the west coast.. It’s another beautiful day to ride a motorcycle in New Zealand!

I made my way to Punakaiki also known as Pancake Rocks.

It’s easy to see why they call them pancake rocks..  I could take on one of those stacks with a bucket of maple syrup about now!

They are actually formed from layers of mud and sediment packed between layers of limestone.  Earthquakes lifted the limestone out of the ocean bed and erosion has carved them into what they look like today.

It’s late enough, and pretty enough in the afternoon that I decide to stay here and look for a campsite.

Well a campsite here is $20, and this cute little cabin WITH a heater is $30.. I’ll take the cabin!

Forecast says rain, so I cover Tony up for the night.  For now it looks well worth wandering on to the beach for sunset..

The sun was nice yesterday, but today the forecast might be right.  Time to uncover Tony and hit the road!

New Zealand is just pretty.  I haven’t seen an ugly spot yet.  I could easily keep the photos coming, particularly here on the South Island.

Ooooooo!  I’ve crossed a lot of one-lane bridges in NZ, but this is a super long one!  How the heck am I supposed to see if somebody is coming up the other side from this distance!  I jump on and hope for the best.

I’ve got LED lights.  One campervan on the other side saw ME and waited.. yay!

Woo hoo!  It was fun to hit some gravel for a bit even if it was only due to construction.

I’m loving this coast line.  It could easily be listed as one of the most beautiful coastal rides in the world.  This mix of fern forest, mist, and roley poley easy roads, views views views.

I stopped for his night in Franz Josef.  This town looks beautiful and peaceful, but it’s a fooler!  The helicopters are flying low, in and out non-stop.  When the sun went down, I thought, “Wow, what a difference.”  But then the backpackers come out, which is right through the whole town, and they party loud and hard all night.  So!  I didn’t stay long, but the one night I did, I found my peace.  I went to the spa!  I got my first massage in ages and the massuese was happy to tell me my muscles are very tight and might be shortened on my shoulders from riding the bike too long.. Oops!  I then got into the hot pools at the spa. Big beautiful pools all at different temperatures.  It was nice to sit in the steam (even though they were full of backpackers too) and just soak surrounded by that lovely forest and stars in the sky.

Another morning and I’m packed and on the road early!  It never did rain yesterday and the forecast said lots of rain again today. I’m getting wrong forecasts always throughout the world but these ones are way off!

At least it looked like it wanted to rain for a while!  The clouds thinned out and I made my way to Wanaka.  The landscape changed a fair bit since I’m getting closer to the bottom of the South Island.  A lot of the “Lord of The Rings” filming sites are around here and I can see perfectly why they chose these locations!

I found a great place for camping near Wanaka.

How pretty is this with the fall colors!

From Wanaka I ride to Queenstown.

Grape leaves in the vineyard are turning great colors this time of year.

Awesome road, awesome riding!  I can’t get over the paved roads here though.  When I first started riding on them in Auckland, I remember thinking that I hope this doesn’t last long.. but it does.  The entire country of New Zealand paves it’s roads with these super big rigid rocks.  They are eating right through my Heidenau tires and for those of you who know, Heidenau make the hardest rubber tire and usually last far longer than any other tires.  Not here.  That size of stone is usually found on loose gravel roads, and gets moved around when you ride.  Here they are stuck permanent and it’s not smooth rock.  So that’s my tiny gripe, but only because I was stopped for construction I took the photo below and prompted me to go on my little rant.  Otherwise, I AM LOVING THIS RIDE!!!!

The road into Queenstown is well worth the trip.

I’m happy to see my wonderful friends Dick and Diana again. What an honor it is to stay in their gorgeous second home! I’m feeling very spoiled again by the Hubbards.

How’s that for a view while working on our computers!

Dick showed me a great hike from the house straight up the big hills behind them.  I thought that was nice and I noticed lots of trail heads along the road on the ride in.  Pretty well anywhere you are in Queenstown you can walk right out your door to the most beautiful hike in the world.. every dag gone day if you want!  I could see myself living here, and being super fit!

 New Zealand mushroom Amanita_muscaria

I’ve seen these mushrooms a lot in New Zealand.  They remind me of a mushroom I would have maybe seen in “Alice in Wonderland”?  Not sure, but I’m really attracted to these POISONOUS mushrooms!  And they carry on that we have poisonous snakes in Australia… hmpfh!

Just some photos from a morning walk… 😉  A local artist made this basket of reflection mounted along the hike.  The sign suggests you stop and reflect at the world around you.. and the people.  Very nice.

After my walk the Hubbards want to take me to lunch in Arrowtown.  Diana says you can’t leave Queenstown without seeing Arrowtown!  I politely decline because I feel super guilty for how much this couple has done for me both in Auckland and now here, but it’s two against one and I’m not going to win this one either.. 😉

That lunch was so good. Arrowtown is a classic old gold mining town just a few km’s from Queenstown.  As charming as the town is, we were more attracted to the fall colors!

 Happy people after a super yummy lunch in Arrowtown!

Incredible autumn colors in Arrowtown, New Zealand

While Diana is driving she says, “Dick, should we throw Sherri Jo on to a jet boat?”  I’m looking at her like, what sort of question is that?? 😉  Just then we passed over a bridge and the jet boats are in the river below.  Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world being famous for jet boats, bungy jumping, skiing along with countless other activities. I suppose I should do at least one of them.. because I ain’t bungy jumpin’!! 😉

This was not just sort of fun.. it was SUPER FUN!!  Gee whiz, the driver goes top speed, aims the front end of the boat AT THE ROCK WALL, within inches of the wall he throws us into a 360.  He did it over and over and how we don’t hit the wall I will never understand.  I’m surprised I don’t see these boats more often in the world.  Diana explains to me that this one particular gorge is rated to be the most spectacular.  So I’m really glad she and Dick decided to throw me on to a jet boat in Queenstown New Zealand!

I’d scream really loud every time that driver took us to hit a wall.  I felt sorry for the kid next to me..

Yep, that’s me in the 3rd row!

SOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  When I got off that thing, as much as I hated paying the money up front, I knew when I got off the boat it was really worth that money.  We went up and down the river twice, countless 360’s, and rarely stopped screaming!

Next, Diana takes me out to the Kawarau Bridge… for BUNGY JUMPING! She was so disappointed to learn that they had finished for the day. I was not even sort of disappointed, I was breathing a huge sigh of relief!  But it was worth having a look at what the super brave people in the world do.

 No way, Jose!

I’ve heard of Queenstown a lot. Many Australians I know come here.  And I quite honestly wasn’t fussed about it because I knew it was going to be super touristy.  HOWEVER, I’ve since converted.  Tourists or not, Queenstown is an amazing unique gorgeous town to visit.  Being the adventure capital of the world, you can do so much from this one place.