Monday, 25 April 2011

ANZAC Day ride & the best hamburger ever

Mrs Tarsnakes & I took off from sunny Geelong (80 km from Melbourne, Vic) around 10.00 am this morning, but before long we were riding in moderately thick fog, so I decided to stick to the Princes Hwy, rather than the back roads.

Here's our route
We called in at S & H's near Colac and spent some time there before 'heading for the hills', fortunately in sunshine. Our lunch destination was the tiny town of Beech Forest, (population 100) high in the Otway Ranges rainforest.

 During the 5 weeks we spent in the USA last year I had a secret mission (my mission was to keep it secret from Mrs Tarsnakes) to sample a significant number of American hamburgers, which are to the citizens of the US kinda like meat pies are to us here. The two equal finalists in the US could not have been further apart in style, one in an iconic greasy diner in New York (Big Nick's hamburger joint), the other a classy, expensive restaurant overlooking Lake Tahoe, in California.

But who would have thought that THE BEST HAMBURGER EVER, was right here in Oz - and at a tiny country cafe in the Otway Ranges! OK, just take a look at the pic below
Lean beef, stacks of tasty non-greasy bacon and all fresh, organic grown ingredients - a magnificent burger.
All this was enjoyed in the sunshine from the outdoor deck looking out over the Otways. The 22,000 plus people who've read this blog know how rare it is for me to endorse any business - but the Ridge Cafe at Beech Forest, just near the Otway Fly tourist attraction really deserves it.

Mrs Tarsnakes' vegie pie was sensational as well.

Out on the deck
A pensive Mrs Tarsnakes

The grim one with an uncharacteristic smile - it must be that new motorcycle!
The big Kawasaki performed beautifully two-up. A short 250 km run today and 1,500 kms on the clock when we got home.
Leaving 'The Ridge'.

We Aussies are free to enjoy a great country and lifestyle because of the sacrifices of others. Today is ANZAC Day, a day on which there are civic marches in the capital cities and little country towns. I guess it tells you something about Aussies that this day was originally established to commemorate a massive military defeat, despite immense bravery and loss of life on the beaches of Gallopili in Turkey.

My late father served in the Australian Infantry Force during WWII. As I sit here looking at his military documents I still cannot fathom the enormity of his deprivations as he spent a total of 1,558 days fighting on foreign soil in the Middle East (against the Germans) and New Guinea (against the Japanese with our US allies), of his total 1,937 days as a member of the 'Australian Imperial Force'. I'm amazed at what a gentle, wise and humble father he was given the horrors that he took part in. (And amazed he would ride pillion on my Vespa scooter sometimes when I was a boy!).

I've enjoyed this ANZAC day out riding and dining, however, I've tried not forget those whose suffering made this liberty and lifestyle possible; especially my own Dad who survived, and uncle Terry, who lost his life as a POW of the Japanese.

There are great men on all sides of conflict. I'm always greatly moved by the lack of rancor illustrated by the  words of  Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), who commanded the Turkish counter attack against the ANZACS at Gallopili, and then later as president of Turkey,  penned a tribute to the fallen ANZACS (Aussies and the New Zealanders) - his enemies.

It reads thus:

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us. Where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours … You mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away the tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace after having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.”


  1. Hi Jules!
    Was the pensive Mrs Tarsnakes pensive because of your speed of light riding, the comfort of the seat or something much more down to earth? How was her comfort compared with the VFR?

    Nice words about ANZACS. I'm always emotional when I see the dawn parades. Our middle son was at Gallipoli 4 years ago which he found incredibly moving.

    My paternal grandfather was a pilot in the RFC in WW1 and my maternal grandfather was with the 21st Lancers. Both survived although neither would talk about their experiences.

  2. Great Post, you made me hungry. I am with you 100% on ANZAC day, my grandfather fought for our freedom, and even though he is not with us anymore, every ANZAC day I remember. Lest we forget mate, lest we forget.

  3. Geoff, just pensive - no particular reason! She found the ZX14 much more comfortable than the VFR800, better seat and a much smoother ride all round. It was effortless having her on the back and I only received a jab in the ribs on a couple of occasions - little did I know that she can see the speedo from her perch now.

    Roger and Geoff, thanks both for your comments re my thoughts on those relatives who have served. My Dad was actually quite comfortable talking about his time during the war. Interestingly he still felt badly that they retreated from Greece and felt that they had let the Greek people down. It also left him with disdain for war, sporting heros and religion!

    Cheers Jules.