Thursday, November 28, 2019

Vic Alpine Ride - Part 3

Day 4

It was a big night in Omeo last night and the pub was packed at diner although I was still in good shape this morning.  Must be getting old as I can't drink as much as I used too. I was looking forward to today's ride where we get to ride the road to Mitta Mitta. The Omeo highway is one of the best roads around. It ticks all the boxes with over 100km's of twisty 35kmh corners through remote mountains with very little traffic. What's not to love.

Doug, Scotty and myself headed out as the rest were still mucking around filling up and we had a good blast to the Blue Duck. Doug suggested waiting but I said lets carry on and enjoy the road, so that's exactly what we did. Doug blasted away down one of the straights and I didnt see him again for about 30 minutes but just as I caught him I needed a wee break. Damn, oh well. I need a break, these corners are relentless.

Motorcycle Heaven

Scotty Fanging it

Scotty then came past as I mounted up and chased him. It was still 30km into Mitta from my stop point. I finally pulled in at Mitta next to Doug and Scotty came along not far behind.

A coffee break was required and Stu scoffed a cake from the bakery that Scotty kindly carried for him from Omeo. I'm surprised that all of the cake made it intact all the way, if it was me driving I'm sure I would have needed to have a few bites along the way.

From here we made our way to Tallangatta and via Granya Gap. A few bikes were going the other way. I upped the pace through here as I came down through a left hander an echidna wandered across the road in front of me. Doug said he took off in a hurry when the R1 blasted past him.

From here we made our way to Jingellic via the awesome Murray River Rd. I thought I'd stop for a few pics then the group came by. I was wishing I had my DSLR with me at this point.

The scenery along the river here is beautiful and it's also an awesome bit of road to ride. It took a bit longer than expected to catch up to everyone. I think they were enjoying their ride a little too much.

We stopped in at Jingellic pub for lunch. Things didn't look good with a large crowd but we ordered lunch anyway. 1 hour later my hamburger and chips came out. That's 2 years in a row the service has been inadequate so I think I'll go into Tumbarumba for lunch next year instead. It's a shame as the pub is in as great spot along the river. I checked tripadvisor and there are quite a few negative reviews for the same thing.

Back on the road after our 2 hour lunch break we headed towards Tumbarumba and then up the Wondalga road or the Rosewood raceway as Stu calls it which is basically a forestry road in the middle of nowhere. Perfect for us late on a sunday arvo.

Another regrouping stop briefly before making our way into Tumut for fuel. I was following near the back of the group along this first bit and seeing a line of bikes sweeping down hills through pines forests and back up again around the bend and over the crest out of sight, it was a brilliant view to behold. That's what this is all about.

Rosewood Raceway
After Tumut we took the Wee Jasper road to Brungle and out some more dodgy back roads to meet the main highway at Coolac for the short run up to Harden and our destination for tonight the Boorowa Hotel.

We've stayed here many times before it's a nice little country pub, the food is great and the kiwi manager is a great laugh. The meals in this place are great, someone ordered the caramel cheesecake. When I saw it come out I just had to get one too.

Being Sunday night it was the final round of MotoGP in Valencia. The publican allowed us to stay up out the back in the restaurant area and watch it on the tv, it wasn't the biggest tv but beggars can't be choosers. He is an absolute legend. It was 1am buy the time it was all done and dusted, we had a great night. Just the short run home tomorrow.


I was hoping to sleep in but woke up around 7:00am d'oh. I was a little on the dusty side but not anywhere near as bad as I thought I might be, I think I was more tired than anything else.

No one else was up so I showered and went for an early morning walk around. Boorowa is your typical small outback country town, with agriculture being the main business of the community. The streets around Boorowa are very tidy, with beautiful gardens with rose beds and hedges lining the streets. There's no graffiti or litter about. This town has a great amount of civic pride. I very much enjoy just walking about down by the river.

There is a nice wall memorial tribute to our fallen soldiers at Gallipoli here and they have an actual certified 'Lone Pine' growing in the memorial gardens. Lone Pine was a battle of Australian and New  Zealand forces during the Gallipoli campaign against the Turks. You can read more at the link.

An Actual Pine from Gallipoli

We all met at the bakery for breakfast this morning. A pie and coffee went down just right for how I was feeling. As soon as we got on the road this morning with a cool morning breeze flowing through my helmet my head cleared and I started to feel good. The new liner in my helmet was working great, it felt like a brand new helmet as the fit was nice and firm around my cheeks.

We rode across to Crookwell and only saw about 3 cars in that 90kms in that was in the last 2-3 kms. Monday mornings in the country are very quiet. From here we made our way up towards bathurst. There was quite a bit of smoke haze in the air the closer we approached Bathurst from the bushfires burning out of control in NSW.

A quick fuel stop in Perthville and we took some more back roads on into O'Connell Pub for lunch. I had the nachos for lunch and they were fantastic washed down with a ice cold beer. From here we said our goodbyes to Dave, Brett and Marjo as they were headed south back to Nowra. We split at Oberon as we head back towards Sydney. Between Oberon and the main Hwy and again on Mt Victoria we were lucky with Mr Plod as we were a tad over on both occasions, maybe he was busy going to an emergency.

I had to stop in at the Lolly bug on the way home and get some goodies for my daughters, as my goolies were under threat after showing my wife the delicious caramel cheesecake photo last night. They have a nice peanut brittle too.

Stu at the Lolly Bug

A seriously great trip, one for the ages. The weather was great, the company was great, the riding was fantastic. Everything just fit in perfectly. Big thanks to Stu for organising everything. Looking forward to the next one.
All up I did 2244 kms on this trip, the tyres held up exceptionally well, now it's time for a service.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Vic Alpine Ride - Part 2

Day 3

As we were staying at Omeo for 2 nights, today was to be either a rest day or short ride day and was up to what ever you wanted to do. Being in the middle of the Victorian alps with some of the best motorcycle roads in this country I wasn't about to sit around resting or recovering from a hangover which was Geoff's suggestion.

I love staying at the Golden Age Motel in Omeo, $50 for accommodation with a cooked breakfast, it's pretty hard to beat that. And in a great location too.

Leaving our luggage behind we rode today unencumbered through some of the twistiest roads. The ride up to Hotham Heights was a bit chilly dropping down to just 7°C. The bike didn't seem to want to tip in, I thought maybe the tyre pressure was down, but perhaps it was temperature related or because I didn't have any gear on the back of the bike. Not sure what but after the ride to the top of Hotham it seems to have disappeared. Doug also mentioned the same thing So it wasn't just me.

Hotham Heights

The views from Hotham Heights are quite spectacular on a good day, and today was just that. We couldn't have asked for better weather really and it held up for the entire trip. Perfect 21°C in the highlands today and blue skies. Made for perfect picture taking opportunities.

Picture This
The bikes were lined up for the paparazzi with Face book chimes going off left and right. With that out of the way I made my way to the top of the hill to see if there was some snow still around.

The views from the other side of the road consisted of ski slopes and an empty Ski village. They could be utilizing these villages in the summer for Cyclist, Bikers and hikers etc.

Jumping back on I continue on to the Highest point on the Great Alpine Road, at the Cross which is some 1840m high which is the highest sealed road in Australia. There's only a small snow drift left up here at the moment and looking out at the surrounding hills not much but small patches out there to.

The Cross - Great Alpine Rd Highest Sealed Road in Australia

I continued along the road until Danny's lookout which isn't far from the top. As we came to Danny's lookout, a vista of hills and valleys lay before our feet as far as the eye could see. Incredible.

From here we descended down the mountain into harrietville through 30km of 35kmh bends. Its exhausting stuff riding down hill here, concentration levels are high as you can't afford to make a mistake as you will go sailing off the side of the mountain into the forest below.
There was some cycling event on as there were hundreds of push bikes coming up the mountain.

The ride took us up and over Tawonga Gap between Bright and Mt Beauty, one of my all time favourite bits of road. It was also one of my closest calls yet on a bike. Coming down the hill at the bottom viewing point a car turned across the road in front of me whilst I was in the middle of the turn(blind curve). Can't brake here, lucky for me the car saw me at the last minute and stopped and I escaped on the road verge and didn't hit the car or go off the road. Pucker factor 10++. Stupid me for putting myself in that spot to start with.

We stopped in Mt Beauty for a spot of lunch, I wasn't really hungry but there wasn't going to be much after this for a couple of hours. I had an excellent Chicken salad roll and a flat white.

Discussion here was on the route from back to Omeo. Stu wanted to return the way we had just come from which was a great ride. I however wanted to ride the Bogong High plains road and a few of the others wanted to visit the Blue Duck Inn on the Omeo Highway. So Stu and Jacko were going to ride with us to Falls Creek then turn around and go back the other way to Omeo with the rest taking the High Plains road.

The ride up to Falls Creek is another fantastic ride, twisting up the mountain for 30kms of bends similar to the Hotham Rd. There were groups of cyclists riding up and down the hill here. One particular cyclist came to grief coming down the hill and had crashed into a rock wall. An ambulance was tending to the injured rider who looked in bad shape. Another cyclist waved his arm in anger when Doug went past him. There was no danger and he was on the centre line with the push bike on the far left. Dougs bike has stock exhaust and isnt loud. Some people are just whingers.

It wasn't long before we were at the top and in Falls Creek. There's not much in Falls, just more empty alpine accommodation. Some nice vistas over the mountain tops. We stopped at the helipad and Stu and Jacko went back down the other way, where the rest of us carried on further.

At the top of the hill and just outside Falls Creek is a Dam wall with a huge lake. I stopped for a couple of quick pics here and then continued on. Such a beautiful area up here. I'd like to come down here for a few days with the family.

Rocky Valley Storage Dam

The road makes its way winding around the lake, the water is an amazing deep blue colour which looks inviting but I bet it's freezing cold in there. You wouldn't want to fall in, there would be horrible shrinkage.

The Bogong High Plains road then winds along the top of the hills here for some time before it starts a winding decent down through the tree lines and down to the Omeo Hwy. Up top the road is open treeless and barren with flat rocky grassland terrain.

The road surface is very deceiving it looks like it's covered in gravel and in some spots it is, making it hard to see but mostly it was fairly clear. I didn't have any slips or slides on anything and I was going at a fair clip.

As I'd stopped several times to take photos I got way out behind the group. The group stopped at the highway junction so everyone could catch up and regroup. It was only 11km from here to the Blue Duck Inn. This is a beautiful bit of tarmac following along the Big River. Such stunning country along here.

It was only a few minutes later and we were taking a break at the Blue Duck at Anglers Rest. I'd never been in here before as we keep passing through so a stop for an ice cold beer was an excellent choice. What a top little spot this place is too.

The inside of the pub is small but very well done, clean and tidy with interesting photos on the walls of times long gone by. Out the back is a lush green grass lawn area with the Cobungra river flowing beside the pub. Such crisp clean clear water looks like you could drink straight from the river.

Beers and Nacho's were dispatched in good order as we relaxed under the shade of the verandah out the front. There was another group of bikes here which looked to be from Sydney or central coast and they were doing same as us. We first bumped into them on Mt Hotham going the opposite direction from us. Looks like they were doing a similar loop.

It was only a short 30km ride from Anglers Rest into Omeo but its twisty most of that way but I was taking it easy now, Coming into Omeo there were people and cars everywhere at the showgrounds. Looks like they have a rodeo on today so it going to busy in town tonight.

Stu and Jacko arrived about an hour later. Stu couldn't wait for diner and hooked into a pie from the crazy cow bakery across the road. The pie's there are freakin huge, about half the size of your head.

One of the best day's riding in many years riding through some of this country's best biking roads. There's more to come on tomorrows ride.