Steve’s Great Ocean Road Adventure!
Steve Schilling, Gold Coast Harley-Davidson Dealer Principal shares his 40th Birthday “Bucket List” Adventure!
On the First of January I turned the dreaded old age of 40! As a surprise my fantastic girlfriend organized a trip to Melbourne to tick one more Adventure off my Bucket List, to ride the Great Ocean Road. To make it even better, she organized for the ride to be done on the New 2015 Rushmore FLTRXS Road Glide Special.
On the Friday morning we flew down to Melbourne and went directly to Harley City where we picked up the Road Glide, courtesy of Harley-Davidson Australia, then onto Harley Heaven to get a 2015 FXDB Street Bob for Rosie. On arrival, it turns out that me, not the girlfriend over packed, and despite the ample room in the Road Gide’s panniers, I had to trim back the clothing in an effort to fit everything in for the journey. With the bike loaded and fueled, iPhone plugged into the USB to utilise the Boom! Audio, GPS locked and loaded, new Harley-Davidson Waterproof Jacket on my back, we were ready to go! The GPS worked a treat to get us out of the city, onto the M1 and heading towards Geelong and down towards Torquay and Anglesea.
The first hiccup was the six kilometre line of traffic coming into Anglesea; backed up from Anglesea’s single roundabout, it being a long weekend and the onset of Tourists! Despite the size of the Road Glide, we managed to scoot up the shoulder of the road to miss as much traffic as possible. From here the scenery started, and the twisties were there in front of us. Despite sightseers in their tin tops confusing “recommended” speed limits for actual speed limits the traffic flowed quite well, and it gave me a chance to really become accustomed to the New Road Glide. I was pleasantly surprised, as I rate the FLHX Street Glide very highly, and did not think that the Road Glide would be as nimble through the tight stuff as the Street Glide but it got the corners with ease, and stuck to the road very well. This stretch of approximately fifty kilometres of bliss came to a sudden stop just outside Lorne! Once again the traffic was at an abrupt stop due to a single roundabout coming into town. This time there was no shoulder on the road so it was a slow, and very hot wait in slow moving traffic. Enough to force a man to want a beer! The ride from Lorne to Apollo Bay where we had accommodation for the Friday and Saturday night was uneventful and allowed more time to familiarise myself for the bike, ready for the next two days.
Come Saturday morning we fuelled up, ready to head West towards Warnambool and experience the rest of one of the most iconic pieces of tarmac. Heading out of Apollo Bay the traffic was good with very few cars and good clean road. Heading inland the road wound through forest, and the corners were long and fast with good undulation. The Road Glide once again stuck hard and fast and covered the ground with ease. The road then came back out towards the Great Southern Ocean with beautiful rolling hills and good tarmac towards the iconic sites associated with the landscape, the Gibson Steps, the Twelve (not that many anymore) Apostles, the London Bridge and the Bay of Islands. We stopped at the Gibson Steps to take advantage of the good weather, and took some great photos of the landscape on offer. We then set off towards Warnambool through Port Campbell, but once the road became boring and tedious we turned back around about 50 kilometres out of Warnambool, and headed back to take in the Twelve Apostles, to grab some more photos, and some super selfies with the Apostles as our background!
The onset of Dark menacing clouds meant that our stay here was very short, and despite the carpark weatherman indulging us with his local knowledge, “it is a Southerly, so it won’t rain here” we experienced Victoria’s legendary four Seasons in one day first hand. After around fifteen kilometres we managed to get in front of the weather but only for a short period of time. With fuel quickly becoming a necessity we pulled into the Café/Servo at Lavers Hill to fill up. While we filled the bikes, the weather caught up and a deluge hit us. Heavy cold Victorian rain is not a lot of fun! We spent an hour sitting at the Café sharing conversation and wet road experiences with four other riders waiting for the weather to dissipate, but it had set in and it was time for us to man up and get back out there. The sixty kilometres from Lavers Hill back to Apollo Bay was something I was really looking forward to with a clear road, as by now I was well accustomed to the Road Glide. Unfortunately this road was now wet and so was I, but the Road Glide did not fail to impress with how well it handled the conditions. A few times I found myself having to back off as it stuck well to the road even in wet conditions and over confidence can be nasty mixed with a wet road! Despite this we got back safe and sound
Sunday came and it was time to head back to Melbourne and return the big girl. The weather was fantastic, with no rain a nice 23 degrees, with it being early enough that very few holiday makers were heading back with us, so we got a good run along the Coast Road with very little traffic and the opportunity to stretch the legs of the Road Glide before returning it. This ride was definitely the highlight of the weekend, and left me with a massive smile on my face by the time we had hit Geelong.
It was a quick trip but with 650 kilometres of one of Australia’s best roads on the Rushmore Road Glide, It was a perfect way to spend my 40th Birthday.
The Road Glide did everything well and with the Boom! Audio and Navigation system working a treat I have a whole new appreciation for this Touring Motorcycle. I would like to thank everyone involved with helping make this happen and I would recommend two things to everyone. If you have not ridden the Great Ocean Road, do it. Try to do it during a quieter time of the year, but it is well worth it. Secondly, if you are looking at a Harley-Davidson Touring model as your next motorcycle, make sure you ride the Road Glide before you rule anything out! It pleasantly surprised me from the moment I through my leg over it, and didn’t stop impressing me until I returned it to the dealership.