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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The opportunity to do a bike tour of Tasmania came up recently. I’ve travelled the state by car some years ago, but the curving roads make it a motorcyclists Mecca and I finally had a chance to take the bike across Bass Strait. I’d missed the original memo (maybe it wasn’t addressed to me …) but when I heard of it on the grapevine, I politely requested (i.e. begged) that I be allowed to join. My biking friends assured me it was fine, although they might have just been charitable. Either way, I wasn’t fussed, but in deference made no demands on preferred routes (shorthand for letting someone else do the organising). My riding companions would be Dieter (2006 R1200RT), his son Andrew on a CBR600F, Flipper on a Tiger 1200 and Mud on his beloved Rockster.

I headed off from Canberra solo, aiming for Bairnsdale in East Gippsland to catch up with a cousin and his wife overnight, before joining the others at Dieter’s near Churchill on Sunday then off to the ferry on Sunday arvo/evening. My preferred route is to take the Bonang Highway to enjoy 105 km of continuously winding road, preceded by a fuel stop at Bombala.

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Old theatre at Bombala

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Bonang Highway - let the fun begin

The Bonang is posted at 80 km/h but riding solo and looking for interest, I determined to see if I could average 80+. It was easy in the first part, but the dirt section dropped my average to 70, giving me an excuse to ride in a more spirited manner for the second part. Yes, I hit my mark, averaging an indicated 81. Don’t tell anyone (I’ll deny all knowledge and culpability).

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The other end

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If anyone important asks, this is photoshopped, OK ...


After the Bonang I stopped for a picnic lunch at Orbost – roast pork sandwiches (Frau Panzer is vegan, so it would otherwise have gone to waste – or to the dogs). From there I picked my way north of the highway to Bairnsdale as I was under no time pressure.

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Orbost - with a bit of Bonang dust on the Panzer

Next day I took a lazy start to get to Dieter’s, then late arvo we headed for Melbourne to catch the Spirit of Tasmania. Andrew had headed off earlier than the main party and along the freeway we found his bike parked under a bridge – he’d run out of fuel. I quietly hoped he’d plan his fuel stops better in Tassie.

We had plenty of time to catch the ferry – it was delayed 1.5 hours due to a 12 metre swell in Bass Strait, with waves crashing over the bow of the ship to such an extent that it made national news. By the time we loaded and had our bikes expertly strapped down, it was midnight before we sailed.

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Queuing in the rain

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The ferry arriving

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On board, awaiting tie-down


Fortunately the sea conditions settled somewhat by the time we exited Port Phillip Bay and I slept like a log as the boat gently rocked. It was past 10 am before we unloaded, bikes being given preference to cars, and we were under way.

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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
On disembarking, we headed east and stopped at the little seaside town of Penguin to regroup, enjoy a bakery coffee, and check road conditions with locals. We then headed south from Burnie, with snow visible on the high ground in the distance.
We swooped our way down the damp and winding roads that took us to the old port town of Strahan, stopping a number of times to take in the vistas – including Hellyer Gorge, Lake Roseberry and Waratah, the town with a beautiful waterfall and wooded valley.

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Logging truck crossing Hellyer Gorge

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Bridge art – Hellyer Gorge


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Tannin stained waters of Lake Roseberry

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Picturesque Waratah


Somehow we were between towns around lunch time, so by the time we got to Strahan at 4.30, I was hanging out for a coffee. The bakery seemed to be closed, with chairs stacked on tables so we searched around a bit for somewhere else. We finally twigged that the bakery was still open, so I ordered my coffee and a large vanilla slice I’d spied (one of my travelling weaknesses). The others joined me and spotted the scallop pies, a Tasmanian specialty. Of course I had to have one of them too, saving half my vanilla slice for later.

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The Panzer at Strahan, appropriately socially distanced (due to its long side stand)

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Strahan Harbour

We kicked on to Queenstown – less picturesque, but with a charm of its own, being an old mining town. We had comfortable lodgings in an old pub, dined pleasantly at a local Thai restaurant, then kicked on for a pint of Guinness (and then a second) at the stately Empire Hotel. As we found with numerous other places in Tassie, they normally close early, but stayed open to accommodate us.

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Queenstown skyline at sunset

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Empire Hotel Queenstown

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Good morning Queenstown – our accommodation on the left




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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Next morning we headed back around to Cradle Mountain, changing out of our riding gear to walk the Dove Lake circuit. Unfortunately the low cloud meant we couldn’t actually see Cradle Mountain, but nevertheless it was a very pleasant walk around the lake and through Ballroom Forest.

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Mud's snowman at the visitor centre car park

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Me with Andrew, Mud and Dieter. Flipper decided he'd put his feet up at the visitor centre and read a book rather than exert himself

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Dove Lake

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Dove Lake and its famed boat house

From there, we headed towards Deloiraine for the night, but my rear Cardan joint had other ideas. As noted in other posts, it failed miserably as I overtook a couple slow cars in 2nd gear on a steep incline. With Andrew on the phone to Launceston BMW to arrange a new shaft and me on the phone to road service, we resolved a rescue plan. The others then headed off to Launceston (rather than Deloraine) to find accommodation as I waited for the tilt-tray.

While waiting, I repacked my gear to leave non-essential items in the topcase so I would have only my Nelson-Rigg dry bag. The plan was that Flipper would courier my bag, and Dieter and I would share piloting duties on his RT. Numerous drivers slowed or stopped (despite my gestures that all was good) to see if they could assist. One young couple even returned from their errand with a coffee, water and potato chips (crisps) for me. Very much appreciated.

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Scene of the crime

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Looking forlorn as we await the tilt tray

During our trip, we saw numerous signs indicating impending road closures for the annual Targa Tasmania event. My breakdown was on one of these routes, and to give you an idea of the nature of the roads, here’s a clip from one of the cars – coming from the opposite direction, my breakdown point is at 13:28. These guys go at a serious pace – we rode at a somewhat more demure rate of progress, and kept to the left. Sadly three competitors died in this year’s event in two separate incidents.

My tow truck driver was fortunately expert in dealing with bikes, being a rider himself. He strapped the bike to a frame which he then winched up onto the tilt-tray. He didn’t have a depot in Launceston, so the service adviser at Launceston BMW offered to open up when we arrived. She and her brother (the dealer principal) then went out of their way to drop me at the pub to RV with the rest of my troupe. Good service. By the time I got in, the kitchen was about to close up, but accommodated me (this is Tasmania – everything closes early …). A few schooners of water rehydrated me, followed by one of the real thing, then a glass of red to finish. By then I was ready for a good sleep.

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"That won't move" (says every man who ties down a load)

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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Over drinks that night, including a Talisker Storm nightcap (which Flipper had brought along) I was resigned to being $2000+ out of pocket ($360 towing surcharge, $1500+ for the part, and an hour or two labour). Mud quizzed me about the drive shaft and its serviceability etc and concluded I had strong grounds for a Consumer Guarantee claim. I didn’t have the energy to address it that night, but headed off the next morning on the back of The Bismarck (as Dieter calls his RT) feeling a little buoyed by the prospect of towing being the only expense (or getting at least a half price repair) and the goodwill I’d already experienced. In addition to my colleagues’ expressions of sympathy, willingness to adjust the day’s route and subsequent riding arrangements, locals stopping to help, and BMW Launceston being so accommodating and helpful, a couple Aussie members of this forum made generous offers of assistance to get me out of trouble – fortunately both not needing to be drawn upon.

Our next stop was Kempton (principally because of its boutique whisky distillery) and the intended route back up through the twisties. However, a front was coming through from the west and the forecast was for gale force winds and potential rain. Our two former RAAF aircrew suggested we simply head down the Midlands Highway. So I made myself comfortable on the Bismarck and after breakfast at a delightful café that young Andrew knew from an earlier visit, we headed down the highway. Our accommodation for the night was a deconsecrated church that had been tastefully refitted for accommodation. We were a bit early – a young family had been in for a week and left the place a real mess, so the managers were still cleaning. Nevertheless, we could drop our luggage, change out of our riding gear then get across the pub a hundred metres away for a beer and lunch before walking up the main street to the distillery. After a big brekky, I didn’t need much at all, so ordered a bowl of the beer battered Bad Boy Chips. They were ‘bad’ indeed, the bowl big enough to feed a small village.

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St Peter's Church Kempton

A brisk walk to the distillery followed, where we’d booked the 1 pm tour and tasting. The Old Kempton distillery is indeed a boutique affair with only one still, and their product is quite premium at around $280 for half a litre of their cask strength. A small barrel could be bought and stored for later bottling for $2000+. Both out of my league, but as part of the tour, the tasting of four of their range of your choice in their opulent tasting room was good value – Dieter and I asked to re-taste a couple of the cask strength whiskies as we weren’t quite sure how good they were, which was happily obliged. Flipper splurged and bought a cask strength bottle. The main building was originally a finishing school for young ladies – it could easily have been the finish of us blokes if given free reign to the wares.

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Old Kempton Distillery

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Checking the port cask aromas


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Flipper ponders his next tasting choice

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Some likely looking lads – including a couple Peaky Blinders in the making by the look of their souvenir caps

I can’t recall what we did for the rest of the afternoon, but at dinner time we headed back to the pub. Rather than go straight to the bistro area, we decided on a beer at the front bar, drawing immediate attention as we strode in, and being welcomed warmly by the dozen or so locals. Next morning I woke early so tapped out an email to Launceston BMW to make my Consumer Guarantee claim. I was surprisingly lucid given the drinks of the previous evening, but when Dieter suggested I take the helm of the Bismarck on our departure, I deferred to him as the brain was a little foggy.

There’s nothing open in Kempton at that hour of the morning (in fact, other than the pub, distillery and a nearby servo on the highway, nothing ever opens in Kempton) so we headed south to the nearest town with a bakery. I again spotted scallop pies – a pie not being my usual choice for breakfast, but get them while you can. This one had a little too much curry powder in it, overpowering the flavour somewhat, and my coffee was overlooked by the young barista a number of times. But it was wet outside and we didn’t have big distances to cover each day so the delay didn’t trouble us. By this time my head was clear and I was ready to try piloting the Bismarck as we rode down to Maydena on the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness.

Coming from the Roadster, the RT is quite a different beast. I now ‘get’ the Telelever – it suits the bike perfectly, gliding over bumps and wheeling nimbly through curves belying the weight that it carries. The adjustable screen provided an eerie stillness to the ride and made it difficult to judge speed and hence keep within speed limits. The winding roads out to Maydena were wet but still enjoyable, the challenge being to ride smoothly and a little briskly without taking undue risks. Turns out Dieter was very happy to sit behind me in those conditions.
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The Bismarck might be bulky and heavy, but it still delivers a grin, even in the wet

We arrived at our lodgings to see a group of five mountain bikers down from Sydney assembling their bikes, ready to tackle the specially built course that comes down from a nearby mountain. Young Andrew had booked a hire bike and gear for the same run and while he went off on his adventure, we walked down to the town’s one café, run by a friendly Finnish expat. My choice of tomato and roasted capsicum soup with sour dough toast was perfect for the occasion. After lunch, we walked back to our lodge but I continued up the dirt road to have a look around. We’d planned to ride out to Strathgordon/Lake Pedder but the weather was very threatening so deferred that to the next morning.
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Maydena

Later in the arvo Andrew came back wet and cold from his mountain biking adventure while we’d been sitting around the fire drinking tea (tough bikers that we are). He’d chatted to the group from Sydney while in the transit bus going up the mountain and they invited him to ride with them. He reckons he lost them after about 30 seconds, so rode solo at his own pace. At the bottom, there were four rather than five – apparently the fifth had a heavy fall a couple minutes into the ride, breaking a collar bone. Traps for young players …

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I'm enjoying your fragmented tale, Pz! It brings back very many very happy memories of mobiking in Tassie, which I have done several times. The first time was in March 1998, on the BMW Safari, along with about 400 others, so many in fact that the 'Spirit' (ferry) couldn't accommodate us all in one hit and so we departed - and returned - in two lots.

The Safari was made extra enjoyable for me because Mrs Suburbia came along too on her new BMW F650 GS. She done good, surmounting the Elephant Pass and St Mary's Pass, and the long and winding road out of Queenstown - all a trifle tricky - with ease. And I was mighty proud of her later, for at the farewell dinner held in the Town Hall in Launceston, lady riders were asked to go up on the stage for a photo shoot, and she was one of only thirteen (13). Nowadays, there'd have been many more ladies riding, of course.

I have often said - and I may or may not have written these original words myself, but if not it's still true - that when God finished inventing motorcycles he had to make the perfect place to ride them, and so he created Tasmania.

You have stirred me into finding my own later 'Tassie Trip' story, with five intrepid Roadsterers - a rare grouping - doing a week-long 1700 km circuit of that blessed island, posted on this Forum many years ago... if it still exists!
 

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Keep it coming! Enjoying the read and reinforcing the drive for me to travel back there on the R. I did it a few years ago on a Speed Triple and loved the place albeit a little rushed with only 4 days.
Nothing like the Bonang to blow out the cobwebs. Has it been resurfaced since the fires last summer as I heard it was a little rough in places? I thought the unsealed section was meant to be finished by now. I hope you made it out to Gordan Dam - a great road and amazing sight at the end.

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Great write up PZ, brings back fond memories of a lap done there back in 2016 on my trusty Wee Strom in the company of an R1200RS LC that got me started on this whole BMW thing in the first place.

Ah, yes, that good old map of Tasmania, the shape of which will bring a smile to even the sternest of countenances... ; )
 

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Ah, yes, that good old map of Tasmania, the shape of which will bring a smile to even the sternest of countenances... ; )

Keepit clean, HG - kiddies about!... :giggle::giggle:

Actually, having found my own lengthy Tassie Trip tale on this Forum I re-read it with much enjoyment, and found I had scribed in Olde Englyshe the following "And it was pointed out that in rough Oz slang the ‘Mappe of Tasmania’ is the name crudely given to the lower Lady Garden bits of an Woman that are roughly triangular-shaped, but we speake of this no more".

You see, I was already embarrassed!

Blessed, happy days.
 

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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Our lodgings at Maydena also had a pub (well, bar) and restaurant run by the owners, South African expats. Despite their terse-sounding accents, they were as warm and welcoming as their open fires, and their signature Boerewors dish was the choice of most, the sausage being made by the local butcher to their recipe. Mud hosted a local friend and his wife (let’s call them Rod and Liz – not necessarily their real names but we’ll use those to maintain their privacy – or simply because after a few delightful Kings of Prohibition Shiraz reds, I can’t recall their real names …). He’d never met them but Mud, being a gun enthusiast, had bought a weapon online from Rod and was having another built by him. Rod is an amazing artisan and enthralled us with tales of his adventures in life associated with guns, hunting and gun making. Apparently the most intricate of his works took him 760 hours. While we travelled on the next day, Mud visited him at his workshop to view progress on his gun and, likely, drool over other examples of craftsmanship and the many blank walnut stocks waiting to be transformed into a masterpiece.

On the Friday morning we headed out to beautiful but controversial Lake Pedder. The original lake was flooded when the Gordon River Dam was built, and there remain those who would wish to restore the original. Had I been on the Panzer, I would have ridden the extra 10 minutes to the dam wall, but settled for a wander along the serene foreshore while the others had coffee in the visitor centre.
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Mud heading into the Tasmanian Wilderness

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Serene Lake Pedder – but I think there's been a glitch in The Matrix

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Lake Pedder at Strathgordon

Dieter was happy for me to pilot the Bismarck on the damp roads back from Strathgordon (which I welcomed – again, an exercise in smooth lines and gentle hands on the controls) and on through Hobart to our next stop, Castle Forbes Bay. Dieter and Andrew went on to enjoy the not-too-distant Tahune treetop walk while Flipper hoofed it down to the nearby Kermandie Hotel at Port Huon to meet with a mate who lives down that way. Flipper generously loaned me his Tiger to visit Frau Panzer’s Auntie Pat, who lives at Taroona, back towards Hobart.

The Tiger was an interesting proposition – comfortable and roomy on the road, with the aftermarket windshield providing a cocoon within which to shelter. The screen was fine on the open road but, for me, adjusted too high to provide adequate visibility for slower speed manoeuvring – I eventually got the screen height adjustment icon on the instruments to flash, but couldn’t work out how to make a change to the height. The high screen was particularly noticeable on a winding suburban section that was being resurfaced and had quite deep, fine gravel in places – some nervous moments, despite the bike’s adventurous aspirations. The bike is tall, heavy – unnervingly top-heavy and so much so that I once I had to help the astride Flipper get it back up off the side stand where there was a little camber. Flipper had warned me not to lean the bike further than the side-stand angle as I may not get it vertical again. I’d have felt much more comfortable on the Panzer, I’m sure, but …. With its three cylinder engine humming away, I ‘changed into 7th gear’ a million times. Torque down low at normal riding speeds felt a little under-whelming, but I’m sure things would have got exciting if I’d had need to tickle the upper half of the rev range. Overall a pleasant ride, and one for which I and dear old Auntie Pat were very grateful, but not one that would lure me away from a Boxer in any way.

On the Thursday I’d received notification that the bike would be ready on Friday but given we were at the other end of the island, I arranged to pick it up from the duty salesman in the early afternoon of Saturday. While Andrew and Flipper headed up along the planned east coast route, Dieter and I headed for the Midland Highway and Mud stayed on with friends in Hobart, to join us at Bridport on Sunday. Dieter’s old TomTom screen is tiny and I missed an off ramp resulting in a detour along a B road that took us through Richmond; a welcome diversion from Tasmania’s only boring main road. By the time we got to historic Ross, the home of Australia’s oldest stone bridge (built by convicts, as are most of Tasmania’s stone buildings, it seems) a comfort and coffee break was in order. We chose the local bakery and what do you know, they had scallop pies. Not my usual morning tea fare, but …
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Gratuitous food photo for @mikeS

Before we knew it, we were in Launceston picking up the Panzer. It was like easing into an old pair of slippers. The dealership has a beautiful vintage outfit on display, which was worth a detailed look while waiting my turn as a potential customer was being shown around an Option 719 R1200GS. Beautiful machined billet valve covers on a GS, just waiting to be scratched and scuffed – what were they thinking?
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They even gave it a quick wash

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Beautiful outfit, with sidecar made by Tilbrook in South Australia

Dieter had chosen a back road through Upper Blessington to St Marys then Scamander, our overnight stop and the Panzer made light work of it, including the quite lengthy well graded dirt section. Going through the township of Fingal, Dieter overtook then pulled over to indicate the need for a comfort stop. Unfortunately his inseam length did not equal the sum of seat height plus camber leeway and I watched the Bismarck list port side in slow motion as gravity sucked it and its rider to the earth. The bitumen was above its Plimsoll line. Fortunately the cylinders/head protection and wide panniers prevented Dieter from being crushed as I watched the slow motion helplessly from behind. The two of us made light work of picking the bike up, the side mirror had popped off (easily popped back) and the pannier suffered some scuffing, and that was it. No damage to Dieter. Only a couple nights back he’d been discussing the prospect of getting something smaller and lighter as the RT was becoming too much of a handful for his aging legs to manoeuvre (is that too much of a legful?). I think this episode might hasten the decision.

We pressed on to St Marys, stopping again at an intersection to get our bearings (i.e. look for conveniences) and lo and behold Flipper and Andrew emerged from the adjoining road – they’d just come up Elephant Pass from the coast. After straining the potatoes, we headed down St Marys Pass, transited south a little, then up Elephant Pass, stopping again at St Marys for coffee at the Purple Possum Café and Wholefoods. It was 3.30 and it turns out that, being Sunday, they’d just closed (I told you places close early in Tassie!) but accommodated us anyway. We headed down St Marys Pass again, gravity providing me even greater assistance this time due to a much bigger-than-needed almond croissant weighing me down.
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The host at our Scamander holiday units advised we could eat at the Scamander Beach Resort Bistro or, if we got our orders in by 6.15, the beachside café (did I mention places close early in Tasmania?). With my croissant still sitting rather weightily, I chose the bistro’s promisingly gourmet and pricey pulled pork nachos. I should have remembered I was in sleepy and somewhat run-down Scamander as my dish in no way lived up to my modestly lofty expectation, being the last of a packet of corn chips and some dry pulled pork mixed in with salsa and melted cheese; a tiny bowl of sour cream and similarly guacamole completed the ‘dish’. It seems they knew how to cook a steak though as the others were satisfied with their choice.
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The closest thing to wild life in sleepy Scamander on a Saturday evening

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Super stuff, Pz. A chum of mine whose R1200R dropped some oil - worryingly - while we were touring Tassie in 2015 also received first-class service at the L'ston BMW dealership. And I have half an idea that the lovely outfit you pictured does the rounds, for I have seen it - or its twin - at a major Motorrad dealership here in sunny Brisbane. More, please!
 
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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
With minimal (if any) choice for breakfast at Scamander, we traversed the short distance to St Helens to dine in the sun within Banjo’s Bakery courtyard.

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St Helens waterfront

From there we headed up the delightfully winding Weldborough Pass, through the quaintly named but perpetually damp Myrtle Forest to Scottsdale, then to Bridport on the coast where we were to RV with Mud, who’d been in Hobart with friends.
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Myrtle Forest in the Weldborough Pass

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Old Bridport Jetty


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Old and new jetties

We chilled for a while, then met Mud at his friends’ acreage just out of town (Mud has friends everywhere, and if not, makes new ones). Rod and Liz (let’s just call them that – it’s too long ago now …) bought there after 10 years grey nomading in a converted bus, so they built the house with big windows both sides and a ‘windscreen’ out the end to emulate the feel of their bus.

Mud expected we’d all go into town for a pub meal but Liz (not her real name) had other ideas. Being an expat Dutchwoman, there was always food in the house, in bulk, so she insisted we have lunch there. And when Liz insists, you don’t argue. I expect Rod learned that a long time ago, hence they’re still together. We dined on cold fare, which included homemade and home smoked cheeses, home smoked ham, homemade bread, and local smoked trout – commercial rather than home smoked, but I wouldn’t put it past Liz (not her real name). She even makes her own gin, and roasts her own coffee beans, which she on-sells to the local cafes. How could you refuse (how would you dare …).

Rod (might be his real name) is a master at scavenging, repurposing and re-use, and after lunch proudly showed us around his Ponderosa, describing in detail where the materials for each shed, home-built hydraulic press, engine hoist, doorway, window, sign etc came from, much of it with great heritage value – better than it ending up in landfill by a long shot. He’s in great demand in the area as a GP handy man, salvaging materials from many of his jobs, and remains a keen motorcyclist with a Honda VFR800fi 50th Anniversary model in the shed, ready for a fang at any time (the red one with silver fairing – the most attractive of them all).
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An example of Rod's ingenuity

After a very satisfying lunch and a few yarns, we headed back to St Helens, taking the eastern route to Gladstone (not very interesting), south to Pioneer, then through the Weldborough Pass to St Helens where we checked in to our accommodation. The front bar had a limited selection and was closing soon (did I mention Tasmanian venues tend to close early?) so we headed for The Wharf Bar and Kitchen, a short stroll away on the waterfront. It was a bit swankier than I needed, but I was happy to play along. The restaurant cleared pretty early (did I mention …) and we asked if we could have a drink at the bar after our meal. Well, there isn’t actually a bar as such, notwithstanding the establishment’s name, so we made do with a last drink at our table while the staff prepared for the next day. Back at our establishment, we had the last of a bottle of Makers Mark (which we’d retired with at Scamander the night previous) as we watched the MotoGP on the tele. It wasn’t a very exciting race (especially compared with the races immediately prior) and I may or may not have dozed off for a little while mid race.
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Sunrise across the bay at St Helens

In the morning, Banjo’s was again handy for brekky and this time I noticed the promo sign for half price first order when you sign up with their app. It cost me 15 minutes to do so and work my way through the menu, but was worth it at $8.50 for two egg and bacon toasties and a medium coffee. My hourly rate is pretty modest, especially when on holiday. Then it was back up the lovely Weldborough pass to pick our way through the B and C roads towards the Devonport ferry terminal.
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The Bismarck being followed by the Rockster up the Weldborough Pass, which became one of our favourite Tassie roads

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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The final chapter

For lunch we stopped at the very pleasant Blue Berry Barn Café. I don’t recall seeing blueberries on the menu but my roasted vegetables in toasted Turkish was to die for, probably the best road meal I’d had on the trip – you would have loved it @mikeS (photo included for you to drool over). I wasn’t carrying cash (with COVID, most places don’t take it these days) and their EFTPOS connectivity was flaky. By the time I finished my meal the transaction hadn’t yet gone through so I had to resort to a bank transfer. This is Tasmania – 240 km and 20 years from the mainland.

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Roasted vegetables on Turkish 👌


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Blue Berry Barn Café

From there we continued to doodle up through the roads to the north, across the Batman Bridge (not the Batman you’re thinking of…) over the Tamar River then on to the ferry terminal in time to get ourselves organised for the evening and then to board. We were joined by a fleet of Harleys of various vintage and configuration, all looking pretty clean for the conditions we’d ridden through. They had a backup vehicle (‘solely’) for their luggage (to ensure their image wasn’t diminished in any way) and did everything with a flourish of their right wrist, much to the annoyance of most, especially when we were in the confines of the ferry hull.

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Queuing for the Spirit of Tasmania

I’d booked late and could only get a four berth cabin so as a gesture of thanks I offered for Dieter to sleep with me (share my cabin that is) rather than be crowded in with three others in their same size cabin. After a satisfying on-board meal at modest cost, accompanied by a Tasmanian Stout (Cascade) I was ready to be rocked to sleep.

The crossing must have been smooth as I slept well and, given we were disembarking at 06.30 am, I decided to head straight home rather than stay overnight en route as previously planned. This was despite the promise of home smoked ribs at Dieter’s – his other son Scott was bringing his industrial strength 400 kg smoker over that afternoon to have a big cook up (smoke-up?). But I’d been away from home long enough. Mrs Panzer and the Panzerhunden were missing me (and vice versa) so after another brisk run up the Bonang I was home in the later part of the afternoon.

I’d stopped at Bairnsdale for fuel and a coffee, and then again at Bombala to refuel and to have tea and an exquisite French vanilla slice at the bakery. The lady serving mumbled something about they don’t sell them any more (to my amazement – they were worth riding a long way for) so I settled for a regular vanilla slice. Unfortunately it failed to live up to my modest expectations, and was nowhere near the dizzy heights of the aforementioned French style. Then I noticed the ‘under new management’ sign. I’ll bypass next time – or maybe go to Queensland instead.
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The underwhelming vanilla slice at Bombala Bakery. Nice tea though.

A splash and dash at Cooma Truck Stop and before long I was home, after a very satisfying adventure.
 

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Very good indeed. Pz.

If there's any interest, and even if there isn't, I may post a link in this Forum to my own Tassie trip - in a rare grouping of five (5) Roadsters ("a knockout of Boxers"?). There are many similarities between our two literary efforts, not least of which is the multi-page rendition, in an effort to ensure that little of interest is forgotten..

Anyone who hasn't visited Tasmania - or much better still hasn't taken a motorbike - has missed out on some wonderful opportunities.
 

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The final chapter

For lunch we stopped at the very pleasant Blue Berry Barn Café. I don’t recall seeing blueberries on the menu but my roasted vegetables in toasted Turkish was to die for, probably the best road meal I’d had on the trip – you would have loved it @mikeS (photo included for you to drool over). I wasn’t carrying cash (with COVID, most places don’t take it these days) and their EFTPOS connectivity was flaky. By the time I finished my meal the transaction hadn’t yet gone through so I had to resort to a bank transfer. This is Tasmania – 240 km and 20 years from the mainland.

View attachment 111421
Roasted vegetables on Turkish


View attachment 111422
Blue Berry Barn Café

From there we continued to doodle up through the roads to the north, across the Batman Bridge (not the Batman you’re thinking of…) over the Tamar River then on to the ferry terminal in time to get ourselves organised for the evening and then to board. We were joined by a fleet of Harleys of various vintage and configuration, all looking pretty clean for the conditions we’d ridden through. They had a backup vehicle (‘solely’) for their luggage (to ensure their image wasn’t diminished in any way) and did everything with a flourish of their right wrist, much to the annoyance of most, especially when we were in the confines of the ferry hull.

View attachment 111423
Queuing for the Spirit of Tasmania

I’d booked late and could only get a four berth cabin so as a gesture of thanks I offered for Dieter to sleep with me (share my cabin that is) rather than be crowded in with three others in their same size cabin. After a satisfying on-board meal at modest cost, accompanied by a Tasmanian Stout (Cascade) I was ready to be rocked to sleep.

The crossing must have been smooth as I slept well and, given we were disembarking at 06.30 am, I decided to head straight home rather than stay overnight en route as previously planned. This was despite the promise of home smoked ribs at Dieter’s – his other son Scott was bringing his industrial strength 400 kg smoker over that afternoon to have a big cook up (smoke-up?). But I’d been away from home long enough. Mrs Panzer and the Panzerhunden were missing me (and vice versa) so after another brisk run up the Bonang I was home in the later part of the afternoon.

I’d stopped at Bairnsdale for fuel and a coffee, and then again at Bombala to refuel and to have tea and an exquisite French vanilla slice at the bakery. The lady serving mumbled something about they don’t sell them any more (to my amazement – they were worth riding a long way for) so I settled for a regular vanilla slice. Unfortunately it failed to live up to my modest expectations, and was nowhere near the dizzy heights of the aforementioned French style. Then I noticed the ‘under new management’ sign. I’ll bypass next time – or maybe go to Queensland instead.
View attachment 111420
The underwhelming vanilla slice at Bombala Bakery. Nice tea though.

A splash and dash at Cooma Truck Stop and before long I was home, after a very satisfying adventure.





Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mud expected we’d all go into town for a pub meal but Liz (not her real name) had other ideas. Being an expat Dutchwoman, there was always food in the house, in bulk, so she insisted we have lunch there. And when Liz insists, you don’t argue. I expect Rod learned that a long time ago, hence they’re still together. We dined on cold fare, which included homemade and home smoked cheeses, home smoked ham, homemade bread, and local smoked trout – commercial rather than home smoked, but I wouldn’t put it past Liz (not her real name). She even makes her own gin, and roasts her own coffee beans, which she on-sells to the local cafes. How could you refuse (how would you dare …).
So these tasty delights didn't pique Nigel's interest, Mike – or can't he read?
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Epilogue

As much as I’m not into group rides, touring with mates rather than solo is the way to go for me. Someone to share the experience with and some company at stops and at day’s end brings good cheer and helps build memories. It’s an opportunity to tell (and re-tell …) tall tales and true from the legendary past, and make new ones.

The Panzer’s drive-shaft issue added a little drama, but once a plan had been sorted, it didn’t detract from the trip, and the free-of-charge repair made it largely a non-issue – I just had to suck up the towing fee (not much more than the cost of a new tyre, and less than what you’d pay to change a chain and sprockets on a different bike – every 30-40,000 km). Without it, I likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to enjoy the Bismarck or the Tiger 1200.

I mentioned earlier Dieter was looking to down-size/weight from the hefty Bismarck. It turns out that Flipper also realised that his capacity to manage the Tiger’s height/weight/top-heaviness was waning. This week he traded both Tigers (1200 and a well-used 800) for a T120 Bonneville, with cash adjustment in his favour. Being an ex-Pom, coming to Australia in his youth, he has a soft spot for British machinery (in his heart, and some would say his head – he bought one of the first Commando 961’s, which turned out to be a lemon with a capital L, E, M, O and N). He’s very happy with it, complementing a restored T100 model formerly owned by his now-deceased brother who had let it rust away as he declined with cancer, and he also owns a T150V Trident of yore. First up though, he’s uprating the T120’s soggy suspension.
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So while Dieter and Andy did the trip with their mind on trading to something else, the experience cemented even further my relationship with the Panzer, notwithstanding the little spat we had over a Cardan joint.

We covered a good selection of Tassie roads. I would have liked to do the Queenstown to Derwent section, and Dieter and I missed much of the east coast, having to make haste to Launceston to pick up the Panzer. It would also have been good to do some more of the central high country south of Launceston and if we were on more adventurous bikes, the C roads in the northwest would have been fun to explore. The Targa Tasmania routes would be a good guide to the best roads, I'd reckon.

111435
 

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Very good indeed. Pz.

If there's any interest, and even if there isn't, I may post a link in this Forum to my own Tassie trip - in a rare grouping of five (5) Roadsters ("a knockout of Boxers"?).
Please do!

And PZ - great ride report, I really enjoyed it, and hope to be able to visit your little corner of the world someday!
 

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Please do!
And PZ - great ride report, I really enjoyed it, and hope to be able to visit your little corner of the world someday!

So, my own Tassie Adventure write-up may be read - if you take a week off work to do so - by using the 'SEARCH COMMUNITY' function at the top centre of the home page (pic below), and inserting 'Despatches from the Front'. This should bring up the several posts I made from January 2015 (where did all those years go?), covering not only the week in Tasmania but, in my case, the 2 x ~2000km journey or so to get there - and and the same again back home.

For some reason the 'chapters' are out of date-sequence, which is not critically-important, but sense may be restored by looking the the date of posting of each instalment. Unfortunately, many/ most of my photos do not appear, but Panzermann's pix - much better than mine anyway - give a good flavour of the island and our own tour.

Enjoy it - I certainly enjoyed re-reading it after so long.

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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here’s the link to your trip report thread, Lawrence. I’ll have another read.

Maybe I should have read it before departure and I might have found the authentic Indian restaurant in St Helens you recommended - unless it had already closed for the day ..,

 
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