Arriving from New Zealand we settled into a service flat near the Victoria Market. What a great location. We had arranged to rent a pair of scooters, one Vespa GTS 250 and a Burgman 400 since those were the only two options they had available that we could take as far as the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. Here they are parked in the dedicated motorcycle parking in the middle of the street outside our flat after we picked them up the afternoon before we planned to head for the Great Ocean Road the next morning.
Steve started off on the Vespa but decided riding the equivalent of I-10 without a windshield was something he had more problem with than I did so we switched. Worked for me because I prefer a Vespa to a Burgman any day of the week.
Getting to the Great Ocean Road was pretty much like getting out of any other large city. Wearing earbuds so I could hear the GPS inside me helmet allowed us to navigate our way out of the city. The day was sunny with light breeze and being midweek not too much traffic but it still took about an hour to get to the fun part.
We had been warned by many people that there is zero tolerance for speeding and the cops are frequently out in force to enforce the speed limit but being a weekday with school in session we only saw a few on our trip. Not that it mattered because there were just too many places you wanted to pull over and enjoy the view.
First real stop after coffee was at the official entrance to the Great Ocean Road. The parking area was a bit treacherous with lots of sand on the pavement but you gotta get the picture, right?
I was a bit surprised to see just how read my hair looks in the photo above. After a short break we continued on.
After a stop for lunch we rolled into the parking lot for the Twelve Apostles around 3 in the afternoon. You can’t see them from the road but have to park and walk through an underpass to get to the viewing area.
Planning on taking the faster more direct inland roads back to Melbourne we continued north on the Great Ocean Road to the next town to get gas before turning inland. Then there was a pop and the Vespa quit responding to the throttle. coasting along I looked for a turnout which thankfully I was able to glide into on before the wheels quit turning. Looked down once I was safely in the turnout to see shreds of the belt sticking out the case. Crap
What was really ironic is that after the fiasco with the scooter breaking down just 68km from Auckland Steve had quizzed the scooter rental company in Melbourne what to do in the event of a breakdown at Port Campbell. The belt broke just about 12 miles from Port Campbell. Told him all his questions were a jinx. Anyway, I reached them just before the shop closed for the night and received instructions on how to secure the Vespa so we could ride two up on the Burgman back to Melbourne. Unlike the New Zealand trip this was a day trip so we didn’t have luggage just some water, external battery for the etc so we transferred everything into the cavernous storage area under the Burgman seat and set off. While getting gas at Port Campbell we discovered that there was a train from Princetown to Melbourne so our goal was to get to the train station and put one of us on the train so we wouldn’t have a 3-4 hour ride back two up.
We hit a fair bit of road construction including sections where there was just a single width paved section with heavy gravel on each side for two way traffic to be able to pass as needed. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic and what we did encounter was courteous enough to pull over to the gravel when sides when they saw us coming. But the slower speeds and a detour or two meant we missed the last train to Melbourne so kept on two up. Once the sun went down the temperatures dropped to the point where despite layers we were getting cold, especially Steve without windproof gloves. So that caused further delay with breaks for food and warm drinks. Didn’t park at our hotel until after 10pm.
Next morning I ended up doing some consulting for a company a friend works while Steve took the Burgman and returned the Vespa keys so they would have them to unlock and load the scoot when their trailer got there to pick it up.
The following day I went for a ride down to St Kilda’s Beach to see the colorful huts as seen in Miss Fisher’s Mysteries episode “Away with the Faries”.
Followed by a ride back up the coast to return the scoots since somehow it wasn’t the same when you have to share a single scooter instead of having a pair to play with.