15 Days of Screenshots – 3: Something that Represents you.

This is me, I have volunteered to stand at the wall and defend my home. That’s my choice in RL. So here I am, assisting in the defence of the Tauren homeland.

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Where to for my Toons?

Okay, so Dasal dings 85 yesterday morning. That was almost an event in itself. I was was LFG healing Vortex Pinnacle with a tank who insisted on running ahead and pulling stuff. My mana management isn’t great at the best of times and when I spend the whole fight trying to catch up its even worse.

After a couple of mobs I hit 85, and the tank continued on his merry way. This time the first boss. If a party member is outside the circling tornados they take heavy lightning damage. Myself and other party members weren’t even in the same room when he pulled. I figured that I’ve hit 85, I’ve got better things to do than try to save the tank and now the whole party, when he isn’t going to change his ways. I left. Feel sorry for the others, but not the tank.

So where now for Dasal. Not high enough ilevel to let her in Heroics, so I’ll have to grind normals until I save enough Justice Points to buy more gear. If I want to keep playing.

I have raised my new Warlock, Mabango up to 23 so far. I might continue with her at least for now. It’s also interesting levelling in the areas that have changed so much since Cataclysm. The Barrens is same but not. Certainly easier, and a lot more efficient. And interesting too. I especially like the protect the caravan quests.

Mabaho hardly gets a run these days. I can’t get many Valour Points as I don’t raid, and I have all the Justice gear I can. Maybe with the release of the next patch I will be able to buy the newer gear then. I’ve almost forgotten how to play him, I struggled with the HH fight to remember rotations… oh dear.

Maybe I am getting ready to jump ship to SWTOR when it arrives?

How social is your Raiding Guild?

This is one of the posts that inspired me to write a blog again. How social is your guild? This is posted by one of the core raiders in the guild so I thought I might give the perspective of a very casual social member of the guild.

Bit of background – due to work, but mostly due to chasing two little girls around the house most evenings, I have never been able to spend the hours in front of a computer to commit to raiding. I managed it once, when my wife took our daughter to visit her family and I followed about a week later. That’s about it in approximately 5 years of playing! I love raiding but I can’t pull my weight at the moment so I don’t.

Ok, on to the question at hand – I don’t think we’re as “social” as we used to be. We’re still social, as Navi said, we have heaps of them, but guild chat is pretty quiet most days, people have stopped greeting people and small things like that. I don’t know most of the raiding team anymore – new people (and I mean new in the last 18months!!).

We did a couple of guild birthday events, we had bbqs (in RL!!) which seem to have dropped away as guildies have grown up, familied up etc.

We’re still a great group though. Even as a super casual player, I feel like part of the group – people help each other with mats, creating stuff etc. Advise – helpful or tongue in check is still given freely to all.

So How Social is my Raiding Guild – not as much as it was, but still pretty good 🙂

Riding Solo

The weather has been a bit wet over the past week so the group decided that a run down Kangaroo Valley and Macquarie Pass was probably not a great idea unless it had had a couple of days to dry out. Both of those have a lot of overhanging bush keeping the raods slippery and wet long after any rain. They also mean there is a lot of fallen leaves, again making the road treacherous.

I still had Saturday off though and decided to head in that general direction. I left earlier than I would have with the group, and was well on my way by 0800. I’ve included the route, which was initially going to be a run to Picton and back. But getting there at about 0830 I decided to keep heading along the old Hume. This was the main road between Sydney and Melbourne until the dual carriageway interstate was built. Would have been a terrible road with the amount of traffic that must have used it.

So the roads are quiet and a lot of the towns along the way have shrunk. Some haven’t though and there are plenty of bakeries to stop at!

I made Mittagong about 0930 and stopped for breakfast. Seeing how far I had come I decided to head towards Kanagroo Valley and just check it out. I hadn’t ever seen it and it is a popular run from Sydney. Decided to stick my nose in there and check out the road.

Cruising along I realised I was covering a lot of the roads I covered many years ago when I rode my little ZZR250 to Canberra. The odd railway bridge or street intersection was remembered.

Eventually I found my way to Fitroy Falls, just at the start of the Valley. The road was starting to show some really damp patches which had me cautious. I then passed another rider coming the other way who gave a series of very odd hand signals. Still no idea what he was on about, though a few corners later I took a guess. A ute parked up in the bushes near the road with very dark windows. Seen highway patrol using these to police some of the popular bike haunts.

Well with the wet road my speed was well under what would grab his attention.

A few corners into the valley as the road steepened and narrowed and got wetter I decided discretion had its place and turned around (have you ever tried that on a mountain pass!) and headed home.

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Fitzroy Falls Rd

Following almost the same way back, though diverting through Yerrimbool to stay off the interstate I made Picton about 1130. I stopped for lunch as the clouds darkened and the temperature dropped. Home was starting to look mighty attractive. So headed straight for the Interstate and home, getting there just before 1300.

Overall a good ride. Nice to be out there again. I will definitely head that way again, and probably solo. Think I’ll give the group rides a miss unless they’re going somewhere I really want to. I enjoyed setting my own pace and picking my own route.

Attached are a few pictures that give a good indication of what most roads in this state really look like. And remember, much of these used to be the main highway!

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Old Hume Hwy – Mittagong I’m sure the HP used to sit near this crest and fill their quota.
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Road to Bowral from Kangaroo Valley
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Road to Yerrimbol

 

Listening to the Wiseman Again

This time we planned Wiseman’s Ferry in reverse, with the ferry being the last leg. We had started this route a couple of weeks back but it was rained out. After several beautiful spring days during the week, the morning dawned cool and heavily overcast. Not promising.

I headed off to the usual meet point to find the regulars gathering. Only 8 bikes this time, and the newcomer was a Wee Strom (650 VStrom). Headed up towards McGrath’s Hill to get started on the route. Initially we turned up the road towards Wiseman’s but shortly turned right, staying on the near side of the river as we snaked along, following Cattai Ridge Rd and Bay rd. This leads into Berowra Waters and another ferry. It was a good stretch, but my weakness at downhills meant I ran a bit slower than the others. I will have to keep practising. Uphill I’m a lot more confident.

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Berowra Waters Ferry
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At Berowra Waters Ferry

The roads were a little busier than normal. Today is a State election and all were out to vote (it’s compulsory here). But we had no real holdups. The first kilometres into, and out of Berowra are pretty narrow, really only 1 and a half lanes, not the full two, so you have to watch out for cars not keeping to their side properly.

After the ferry we headed up towards the Old Pacific Highway. I’ve described this earlier and its still the same. Busy with all kinds of people, police and inappropriately low speed limits. This picture isn’t actually very representative of the Highway. It’s mostly a lot lower quality. This is probably a picture of the kind of bitumen we’d really like but don’t get in this state very often.

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Old Pacific Highway

We stopped at another well known cafe on this road, Pie in the Sky. My first time here and I was impressed by the range of pies. I choose a “Lamb, Honey, Chilli and Garlic” and it wasn’t bad. Afterwards I discovered that they sold burgers (my staple on most rides) as well so I was a bit annoyed. In previous years, Pie didn’t have the same bike culture as Road Warriors (further up the highway at Mt White) however Road Warriors closed down a couple of years ago, to the surprise and dismay of all. So Pie became the default stop.

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Pie in the Sky cafe.

We hit the road again and headed up towards Central Mangrove. As we passed Road Warriors site I noticed a new cafe there. Plenty of bikes as well, so will have to go past another day to check out the new version.

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Parked at Peates Ridge (Corrugated Cafe)

About 40mins later we pulled up at The Corrugated Cafe. Having thought that the previous stop was lunch, I wasn’t hungry, but snagged a couple of chips of the other guys. Very nice. From here it was up to Central Mangrove (strangely enough a hill, not a swamp??)  then down into the river valley towards Wiseman’s Ferry. This was probably the longest stretch of the day. It was made worse by the fact I was running short on time to be home and keep the peace there. Mostly the road is fairly comfortable sweepers, but can be narrow in places. The old wooden bridges have all been replaced with concrete.

From Wiseman’s we headed back up to McGraths hill and home.

Safe…with 15 mins to spare.

A Wiseman Says

The previous run was a washout. I didn’t even bother riding to the meeting place and the others decided to quit about 5 mins after leaving and returned home.

This weekend was warm (about 28C) and sunny. Perfect.  Once again we gathered at work, a few different riders and again a different bunch of bikes. A GSX1250F (a Bandit in full clothes), a Boulevard, a Street Triple,  and an F800ST were new showings.

We headed up through Windsor, turning left at McGrath’s Hill towards Wiseman’s Ferry. Quickly onto country roads, it’s about 50km to Wisemans and is a pretty good run of sweepers as you head north towards the Nepean River. Once you’re almost on top of the river there is a rapid descent down the side of the hills into Wisemans culminating in a string of 25 or 15km/h corners.

We stopped at the Hotel. They have an annual fundraising event where you can ride your bike through the bar. Haven’t been to one, but there are plenty who do. I don’t think you can buy while riding through though!

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Lined up at the Wisemans Hotel

From here the group headed to the ferry. This is a small cable ferry that runs about every twenty minutes most of the day taking you across the river. From the other side you head north and there are several options. Some I’ve ridden (North to Newcastle, back to Sydney via the Putty or via the Old Pacific Hwy), see my other entries.

I had only a short time so turned for home after getting pictures as they left the carpark.

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I really enjoyed my solo ride home. I’m starting to think I might enjoy it more if I went and did some solo rides instead of group ones. It is a little more dangerous though. (and harder to convince the other half not to worry)

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Homeward Bound
 

A New Year

I started a new position this year, at a different worksite. There is a large group of riders here who are keen to keep an active riding group going, and they had the first ride the other weekend. Got clearances from the other half (as the main surprise of the day!)

A rather eclectic group met up in the morning. We had my VFR, a KLR, 2 learners on ZZR250 each, a Tiger 1050, an FJR and a ZZR600. Later a Royal Enfield (imported from India) joined us.  We headed north to hit a popular route over the Blue Mountains, the Bell’s Line of Road. This stretches into the hinterlands west of Sydney and is a popular ride.

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Royal Enfield (2009 model)

An uneventful cruise up the road very soon reminded me that it had been a long time since I done other than commute (I later worked out it has been almost 3 years since my last ride) So my butt was a bit sore, and I was very out of practice. If it had been a busy or nearly clogged multilane I probably would have shone, as that’s the only riding I’ve been doing.

We headed up Bell’s Line towards Katomba, which takes up over the Blue Mountains and down the other side. After Katomba we headed for a small town called Tanara for lunch. This stretch of road was great. With the terrain just as rolling as before, but being farms instead of bush, we could actually see several corners ahead. So confidence and smiles increased. A few potholes didn’t dampen our spirits.  I had started to get back into the groove for riding so loosened up a lot as well.

We stopped at the Tanara pub for lunch, and we weren’t disappointed. A great feed at a reasonable price. We were on a Saturday. On Sunday’s you need to be there by 11 to get a seat!

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Outside of Tanara Hotel
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The back deck at Tanara

After lunch we headed for Oberon and eventually the Great Western Highway headed home. The leg from Tanara to Oberon was equally enjoyable.

We turned onto the Highway and headed home. The Great Western Highway used to be a reasonable road, however it’s currently undergoing a lengthy program to add extra lanes and the like, so is about 2 hours of roadworks.

With a deadline approaching for hometime (Mrs was headed out this evening) I waved goodbye to my coworkers and headed straight home, only stopping for fuel.

Overall, about 5 hours of riding, nice weather (not the 40C that plagued us for the next week or more), nice lunch and good company. It was a really nice day.

Now two weeks later, we’re all eyeing the weather report for tomorrow’s ride, headed slightly up Bells line and then north (instead of south)

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Cloudy. Areas of rain developing during the morning. Isolated thunderstorms. Winds N/NE averaging up to 20 km/h ahead of a S/SE change up to 30 km/h around dawn,

Sounds like a challenge to me …..

Down Again

Well, time for another entry and its not a good one. I hit the road again. This time I can only really put it down to my own fault.

On my normal commute to work, was following a line of cars who were passing a tractor driving along the verge. The guy was going steadily and keeping as far left as he could. Mostly the cars ahead were filing past easily, but I slowed some as the car in front had its turn. Moments later he braked hard and so did I. I guess it’s been too long since my last emergency practice and I presume I grabbed too much. Bike is quickly down and I hit the road next to it.  We both slide a few metres to a stop. Distinctly remember my head hitting the ground and being very concerned about the very full lane of traffic (including large trucks) headed the other way, that I was kind of sliding towards.

Came to a halt and stood up, getting myself of fhte road as quick as I could. Can see a car pulling up behind me on the verge. The car and tractor carried on, but in all honesty, they may not have seen anything until well down the road. I didn’t hit either so they didn’t need to get details etc.

Pulled off the gloves and helmet and headed for the bike, lying silently on its right side on the road. The guy from the car is asking if I’m alright, and to be honest I’m not sure. I know I’m walking and thinking so it can’t be all bad. We lift the bike and push it off the road. He’s still asking if I’m ok and amazing a couple of other cars have stopped. My pants are torn , but my BDUs (fatigue pants, cammo pants) have done a pretty good job as the knee has a double layer. Wrist is sore, knee, head a little bit too.

Bike is scrathed a lot. No pegs, no levers broken or bent, indicators etc all working order. It starts and runs ok. No leaks. Yay I can ride out of here, so no police report (and likely ticket too).

The other bloke offered to give me a lift, but I decide to ride on to the base as there’s a hospital there anyway. He does follow along behind as far as he’s going, in case I change my mind. Really nice of him to do that.

Next day I’m fairly sore, but I’ve really escaped again. Got a couple of grazes on my knee, that the medics cleaned out and dressed. Wrist and head ached a bit, but that’s gone now. So nothing broken (I have a habit of not noticing broken limbs for few days – no idea why, but on two occasions I’ve had broken limbs only to think them sprained (once arm, once leg))

The bike will be off the road for a few weeks I guess, for insurance and repair. Back to bus/train for a while.

Gotta kill my resale – this is my advertisement if I was to sell 🙂

2004 VFR, Over 100,000km. Crashed twice, dropped once more, some minor scratching. Ridden in all weathers and left out in the rain several times. Always serviced. Comes with very scratched topbox.

But I love it (and all realtionships have ups and downs) and won’t be getting rid of it. Has got the Mrs nagging a little though.