Thursday, November 24, 2016

2016 Not the Snowy Ride Day 3

A big slap up breakfast was what is called for when one has a massive red wine hangover. Lucky for me I stayed off the reds and just had a few beers, as a matter of fact I was feeling pretty good. The guys on the other hand didn't look so good, that reflected in the leaving time which was around somewhere after 10am. Breakfast in Bruthen was washed down with a couple of nice coffee's then it was time to head out. Until one of those recalcitrant Ducati's decided that its battery would shit its self over night. A jump start at the local servo and we were under way.

At breakfast there was a couple of heavy showers that passed over and then were gone, looking at the radar the showers were heading from south to North. If we time it right we will ride along in between the showers and not get wet. Well that's the plan.

Tambo River

R1 on the Tambo

I love the section of the Great Alpine road that runs alongside the Tambo river. Its probably only a short 20-30km stretch but it is fantastic fun. It was a bit difficult in trying to read the road surface as some sections were wet from passing rain then there were dry patches, it was hard to tell the difference. 

I had to stop finally as the weather closed in and it started to rain so out came the wets again.

Soon we were in Swifts Creek, I saw Ant had a cup of coffee. I said "Ah great I need a coffee, what's it like?". Ant looked around to see if anyone was nearby, and then said"Its the worst coffee I've ever had in my entire life" Yikes splash the idea of getting a coffee then so I settled on a bottle of water. Yeah better to Hydrate anyways.

We did a left turn in Swifts Creek and took the back road up to Omeo, I'd not been up this road before and it was a cracker of a winding little country road much like a roller coaster ride up and down over the hills, the scenery was so green and lush with all the recent rain it was beautiful. Well worth the ride. Soon we were in Omeo and fueled up. The local constabulary pulled up and we asked him about road conditions across Falls Creek Alpine area. Unfortunately for us the Falls Creek road was closed still because of snow. So it was here the group split into 2. 3 of the more hungover guys headed straight from Omeo to Mitta Mitta, whilst the rest of us headed up towards Mt Hotham.

The road steadily rises up from Omeo all the way up through Dinner Plain until you get to Mt Hotham. On the way through Dinner Plain mist was rising up from the road surface as the water was evaporating, the 2 Ducati's in front of me made the mist break and swirl as they went through. I amused myself with the thought of "Ducati's in the Mist".

We decided to stop at a little place coming up into Hotham called 'the General', it looked like a mix of pub, general store and restaurant. We stopped out the front and saw our first specs of snow on the peaks ahead.
Selfie Time

Nearly all of us ordered a nice warm soup as we were all still pretty full from a big breakfast. I ordered a nice tomato soup, it was the best tomato soup I've ever had except I couldn't finish it. The views out the back over the valley were spectacular but there were dark rain clouds looming and dumping on the distant hills.

After lunch we rode up to Hotham Village and had a look around, there was still a bit of snow laying around by the roadside and on the slopes about. It was chilly at 6°C but I didn't feel it with my wet weather gear over my leathers, that and I put on my thermal top today.

6 degrees and balmy outside

Stopping in at the Cross at 1845m we frolicked around in the snow, with Steve making a snowman that kinda looks like a snow penis, not sure what he was thinking and Kingy walked to the top and slid all the way down.

I thought I would put my Go Pro on for the trip down the hill until I saw this little gem on the screen. 'NO SD'. Dang! I could clearly see the SD card sitting in the SD port in the front of my PC at home. I put it away again and thought what a blood waste of time that's been carrying a camera around for 1200kms and I can't even use it! Oh well........just enjoy the ride.

Continuing along this road is some of the most spectacular riding that this country can provide, the views from up here are simply superb and make you feel like you're on top of the world. York was listening to some tunes in his helmet.

We had to get going and quickly as in the distance we could see a huge cloud dumping rain and it had just about reached the road ahead just where we were headed. It started to spot on the visor as we rushed to get ahead of the rain on one of the twistiest roads around with one 35kmh corner after the next, corner after corner for 30 glorious kilometres. Good god this is so much fun.

Ovens River Harriettville

A quick stop in Harrietville and we were away again towards Bright, but we turn off before there and head up over the Tawonga Gap and on into Mt Beauty for fuel. Starting from the back of the grid I made my way through the field to win the Tawonga Motogp by about 2 laps. I love this road its one of my all time favourites and looks like the favourite of a bunch of other bikers as a heap flew past in the opposite direction. The Victorians certainly know how to make a winding mountain road nice and smooth, so much better than the NSW roads in comparison.

It was starting to get late in the afternoon so we got going and headed up kiewa valley way after having to abandon the Falls Creek road and it was now just the commute to the pub for the night. I wasn't overly joyed to be staying in Mitta at the pub, I'm not sure why maybe I was thinking it wasn't going to be as good as the Golden Age in Omeo where we normally stay. But as soon as we got to the pub after the fantastic ride through the valley to get there I was quietly over joyed at being so wrong about wanting to stay here. It was the best little country pub I've ever stayed at. There is a huge awning out the back with a tiered grass section that goes down to the Mitta river and a weir. How's the serenity came to my lips several times. Having a beer with Geoff we were both stoked.

The food was fantastic as I had the beef ribs with veggies and everyone else also thoroughly enjoyed their meals as well. It cost $65 for the bed and a huge cooked breakfast to go with it. It was dorm style rooms with communal bathrooms but very clean. I ended up not wanting to leave, with ideas of ditching tomorrow night's accommodation and staying here and doing loop rides through the mountains. But alas it wasn't to be, maybe next year we will stay for 2 nights instead.

The Mitta Pub

Map Reference Day 3

Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 Not the Snowy Ride Day 2

This is the first snowy ride that I can ever recall not having a hangover on the second day, feels good to be riding these roads without a hangover. We always manage to drink too much on the first night, makes me wonder then that Bushpig isn't on this ride and we aren't hung over.
Hmmm could be something to that.

We'd stayed in a the Holiday Lodge Motor Inn i Narooma this time instead of the Dromedary in Tilba. Nice clean tidy rooms with fridge and coffee, tea and only $50each. So much better than the swag I paid to sleep in last year on the floor.

A quick scrambled eggs & toast breakfast across the road filled a hole just nicely. This little fellow on the right even turned up and was waiting to invade some one's plate for breakfast. He looked just as hungry as we did.

Just as we were about to leave another heavy rain shower came over which again I got into my rain suit which was a good omen as this must have been what kept the rain away most of the day, I think it was Ant that said "hey don't take that thing off"

Yorks trip plan had us going down the coast road to Tathra instead of the Princess Highway. This was a good call as the coast road is much better than the main highway, quite a few twisty sections heading along this section with some nice coastal views. We passed by a little place called Bournda, where I'd spent a couple of weeks on our school trips away back in the day. Brought back a few memories.

Pambula and Bikes

Kingy wanted to have a go on my R1 so he and I swapped bikes here for the ride across to Bombala. At Pambula South the other guys pulled into the petrol station, I thought that I should splash a couple of litres in the R1 but Kingy was riding it and we went straight past. About 10kms up the Mt Darragh Rd he flagged me down as the fuel light was on. It had been on for 5km's. Kingy said it was about 70kms to Bombala, there's no way the R1 was going to make that on 3-4 litres of fuel. We swapped back and I told him to go on and I'll go back and fill up. A couple of minutes down the road the others came flying past with full tanks, D'oh. So I pressed on back to Pambula South and filled up and high tailed it back up the Darragh Road. I was having so much fun that I actually overtook 4 of the group about 5kms out of Bombala and just pulled into the petrol station behind the faster guys. They were a little surprised to see me I think. I Did 80kms and used 8.4 litres of fuel, err the devil made me do it honest.

Bombala Petrol Station
We soon continued on down to Delegate and on the Bonang Highway, one of the Victoria's hidden gems. 1080 curves in 105 kms or so it is said, I couldn't be stuffed counting them but obviously someone did. There is now only about 1 kilometre of unsealed section on the NSW side after delegate which means there is only the 11km's of unsealed section right in the middle, not too bad but we were hoping to beat the rain before it turned the dirt into mud. It was a quick run down to the rest place where we all regrouped. There was one interesting moment when a skippy thought he would jump across in front of Marks Ducati, it looked close to me but he says it wasn't.

Bonang Hghway

Mark & York

Once everyone had caught up and had a bit of a chat everyone was in agreement that we needed to get to the Brewery before they close at 5pm. Amber at the brewery promised us nice beer and nibblys, who could argue with that? The bottom section of the Bonang has become very broken up with lots of patches on the road, its in need of some decent repairs. We didn't bother to stop in Orbost and continued through to a petrol station on the main highway where it proceeded to dump with heavy rain. We all got into our wets to head out for the last 30 minutes of the day. Soon after we arrived in Bruthen wet, tired and ready for alcohol.

Bruthen Main Street

Arriving at the Bullant brewery through the heavy rain everyone was relieved and just wanted to get stuck into a ice cold beer. There was a band playing out the back of the place, I wish we could have arrived a bit earlier, still we stayed for about an hour and then hit up the pub for the night.

Bruthen Inn

Bikes at Bruthen Inn
The Bruthen Inn Hotel was a nice place to stay with some newly renovated communal bathrooms with dormitory style bedding with 2 bunk beds per room. There were many beers and too many red wines drunk that night, by the looks on the faces the next morning there were a few hangovers, I was still feeling great.

Map Reference Day 2

Sunday, November 20, 2016

2016 Not the Snowy Ride Day 1

It's that time of year again where a group of friends and acquaintances gather together for a 5 day blast through the New South Wales Snowy Mountains and the Victorian High Country. This is the highlight of my bike riding year. This year there were nine riders, mortal men doomed to die dressed in black riding foul beasts but we were not on any hunt for hobbits.

I'd woken early on Saturday morning at 4am to the sounds of bucketing down rain, great just great a nice way to start a 5 day ride, riding in pissing rain as I drifted back to sleep. Waking at 6:30am was not much different as the rain still tumbled down. I checked the rain radar. We were in the centre of the green patch heading towards the west into the big yellow patch. Great heavier rain.

Departure time was going to be 7:30 luckily by 7:25 the rain came to a stop and had passed by and that was it for the rest of the day, but I had my wet weather gear on by now so I rode off to Springwood in the blue mountains in them. Once there for a morning coffee and toast I took my wets off for the rest of the day and it shaped up to be a great day.

I'd met Wayne and Ant for coffee at Springwood then we set off for Oberon across the Blue Mountains, we were going to meet the others at Tarago for lunch. First we stopped for fuel at  Oberon before heading down shooterhill road to Taralga. Lots of road works happening in the Abercrombie Gorge and it looks like they are getting ready to widen the road and re tar it. Lets hope they hot mix that section. That would be sweet.

Fuel in Oberon

Classic Wayne


R1 on the Taralga road

Riders Paradise

We arrived in Tarago for a quick lunch at the Loaded Dog Hotel. We were the first to arrive so we headed in and ordered a drink and a small snack. About 30min later the 7 other sons of Apathy arrive and the hilarity and laughter commenced.

Loaded Dog Hotel
After a quick bite we headed down to Batemans Bay via the Kings Highway, avoiding one of the states finest revenue collectors luckily. The King's Highway is in fantastic shape with a nice hot mixed surface allowing for a quick run down the mountain. Stopping at Batemans for fuel and a break as the temp had risen 10 degrees coming down from the top of the mountain to the bottom it was now in the low 30's.

Just as everyone was pulling out of the petrol station I notice Geoff looking around like he'd lost  something. I stopped to see if he was alright and he said he can't find his key. That's one of those 'Oh Shit' moments when you're away from home and can't find your key. So both Steve and myself spent about 30mins looking for the key, I found it in the bottom of the fairing of all places, must have fallen inside the bike when he went to put it in the ignition. So out come the allen keys and off with the plastics. One key retrieved and one relived Geoff so the trip continues.

Looking for the recalcitrant key

Needless to say Geoff, Steve and myself were the last one's to roll into Narooma at the end of the day and I might add through a freshly watered bit of clay road works that covered all the bikes completely in mud. Why does this always happen on day 1 and not day 5? The others were already there waiting to go up to the pub. I quick shower and it was up to the pub with the million dollar views. The views were ok but when it turned dark they were only $50 views.

Well deserved beers at days end

Million Dollar views apparently
We'd left the pub early by our standards and headed back towards our accommodation, the pub that was on the way was closed so we retired relatively early.

Map Reference