Thursday, December 22, 2022

2022 Alpine Ride Part 3

 Day 4

We looked at the BOM weather report eagerly this morning. As our route was to go via Mitta Mitta and up to Khancoban and across dead horse gap to thredbo and end up in Jindabyne for the night. The BOM had thredbo at 2°C all day, feels like -10°C with winds up to 90kmh and snow down to 1000m. Dead horse Gap sits at 1580m and we all agreed to give it a miss. So we decided to head back around to Orbost and head up the Bonang.

I wasn't feeling great due to lack of sleep, thanks Wild Turkey and Cola!!  We headed off down Cassills rd to swifts creek. The road was wet so I was motoring along quite gingerly. As we got further down on the Tambo river section we started to hit some rain, light at first but then hit a fairly heavy shower. I was about to stop to put my wet weather top on but could see a dry spot not to far ahead. Luckily I didn't get too wet and dried quickly. I wasn't really feeling the ride today due to being tired so headed straight to Orbost and avoided the Buchan road, the other guys followed my so not sure if they were just following the leader or couldn't be bothered either. 

As we came into Orbost we could see huge black clouds dumping rain upon the Bonang. A few minutes later 3 guys on bikes came from that way. We asked them if it was wet up there and they nodded and said it was raining fairly heavy. So I decided I'd ride around Cann Valley Way and head to Bombala. The others also agreed. Riding up into NSW the wind really picked up and we were getting blown all over the road. It was predicted 70-90kmh winds and we were riding right into it. The group got split in 2 here during a rain shower, we kept going and 4 of the others stopped to put wets on was the guess.

We stopped in Bombala for a snack to eat and waited for the others. It was here we heard that Margos bike had broken a linkage and the suspension had collapsed. Lucky she kept it upright and didn't come off and also the fact that it happened on Cann Valley Way and not the Bonang as it probably would have ended very badly on that road.

The Imperial Hotel in Bombala has been reopened and its been done up on the inside. Looks like it would be a nice place to stay at again. We haven't stayed here for a few years now. As we were about to leave Stu and Kwoky stopped in for fuel, they had ridden Buchan rd and the Bonang. He said it had mostly dried out by the time they went through. So they looked for some late lunch(2.20pm) as we headed out to Jindabyne. The wind was howling across the high plains and we were getting battered around.

The temperature was dropping the closer we got to Jindabyne as we crested a hill we could see out towards Mt Kosciusko. It was definitely snowing up there. You could see the clouds sitting there dumping. I'm glad we pulled the pin on that route as we would have been riding through snow right now, but we will now be at the Banjo Paterson Inn warming up and having a refreshing beer or two in about 15 minutes.

Karen stealing hubbys bike and not giving it back!

Fueling up the bikes before we hit the hotel was a good idea so we were ready to roll out in the morning. We settled in at the bar and the other boys rolled in about 30 minutes later, they looked cold and hungry and thirsty. So Craig arranged 3 margarita pizzas for them, all washed down with a fine lager or two.

Day 5

We had the free continental breakfast at the hotel this morning before heading off. The late riders yesterday didn't fuel up so we went with them to get gas. As we were waiting a car pulled into the servo and was covered in snow. I looked up to the hills and all I could see was snow on the hills, with a sprinkling falling out of the clouds, and it was freezing cold standing here in the wind watching all this.

Looking out from the gas station to thredbo, snow, snow and more snow

We retraced our steps back across to Bombala via Dalgety on the snowy river way. At least today the wind wasn't as bad as yesterday and wasn't blowing us all over the road and was much more manageable.

Coffee in Bombala then we made our way down to the Mt Imlay road crossing over to the coast. There had been much logging of the forest down here and you could see over the rolling hills in all directions for miles, hills bereft of lucious pine forests, now just a barren desolate landscape.

It wasn't long before we we stopping in for lunch at the Seahorse Inn at Boydtown. They do fantastic meals here and todays was a cracker. Fresh fish & chips for me, the boys ordered quite a few of the seafood chowder. Growing up in the country we weren't brought up much on any seafood so fish and prawns is about as daring as I'll go. But it was excellent local fresh fish.

3 Amigos with their Chowders

After luch it was time for a refuel and head up to Bermagui for the night. An enjoyable ride if not uneventful. As we dismount at our hotel for the night we are greeted by the news that there is no power in the entire township and hasn't been since 10am. Bushpig immediately starts going into a mental breakdown as without electricity there's no cold beer. "This is Horrible, worst thing to ever happen, what are we gonna do, we have to leave, I can't handle this!" were some common comments during the next hour of irrational babbling that we could understand from him.

We had a quick cold one at the powerless pub until someone mentioned that the local Golf club 200m up the road had a generator and cold beer. We've never seen Geoff move faster....


The last day of this tour is always a letdown in my opinion. It's pretty much the reverse of day 1 which is just the commute back up the coast. So we met for breakfast in the morning at the usual spot, the bermagui Beachside cafe. They do a fantastic breakfast.

We changed our route on the way back and decided we would ride up through Kangaroo Valley. Good riding on a weekday but too much traffic on the weekends. And it was a good ride up today, with a few roadworks stops but we filtered to the front to get a good run. We stopped in at pub for our last lunch of the trip. Bowl'o Wedges and a schooner of beer before making our way home.

Kangaroo Valley

All up another good trip and well done to Stu who would have had difficulty this year trying to book in for 17 people in these small country towns. Bikes, beers and a few laughs with good friends along the way with some great scenery to ride through. Some new gravel roads and hopefully more to come. What's not to love about these trips. Gotta do as many as I can before we run out of time.....

Friday, December 9, 2022

2022 Alpine Ride Part 2

 Day 3

Today was going to be shortened a bit by the weather as it was expected to turn nasty after midday with showers and cold gusty winds of 40-50kmh. But first another country bakery needed saving and a pie and coffee was beckoning. Having fueled up the previous day we were out and about in no time.

We took the Omeo Highway out to the Blue Duck Inn, where we all regrouped.

Impressions of an MT

I noticed that they had cut down the willow tree's at the Blue Duck and you could clearly see the river and bank. The sign said they had been removed as the willows were not native and overtaking the native vegetation and were to be replaced with native tree's.

Today was also going to be broken up into two different rides. Whilst the others decided to ride up to Mitta Mitta, I decided I was going to ride up to Falls Creek and back again as we will be doing the Mitta road tomorrow or would we?

It's been a few years since we have been to Falls Creek, I remember the road surface being quite slippery with small rocks. Seems to be much better now. The last 10kms into Falls Creek has had a fresh batch of hot mix tar put down, and was as smooth as a race track. Good fun. We stopped at a lookout, it was pretty cold up here, it was saying 10°C but felt colder.

We decided to head into Falls Creek and grab a coffee. As we arrived we noticed a helicopter taking off. It was lifting some fence railing up to somewhere far away.

And here this blog post sat for overt a week, due to my daughter giving me Covid. I spent 2 days in bed with headaches, aches & pains but the worst thing was that I could no longer smell or taste anything. Everything I eat has no taste, taking any joy out of eating at all. I then went straight into a 5 day training course.

It was time to get going as it was now midday and was starting to get windy, the bike said it was 10°C, the BOM said it was 6.7°C but feels like -3°C and we could see a big storm approaching. The Falls Creek-Mt Beauty road was blocked by landslip on the road so we went back the way we came. We did stop at one of the snow drifts on the way down for a pic. 

On the way back to Omeo I was following Geoff and Scotty when I watched Geoff run over a stick in the middle of the road, half of the stick spun up in the air and started thrashing around and was biting at Scotty and then Me as we went past. It wasn't a stick at all but what looked like a brown snake(couldn't really tell was moving too quick for that) but I lifted my right leg as I went past, he looked pretty pissed off.

Getting back into Omeo early around 2:30 and Geoff went and rounded up the beers he won the night before in the local raffle and Rick round up the meat tray he won and we headed down to the park and had beers n bbq meat whilst watching countless MTBer's riding through the park. There was a huge event on, the cattlemen 100. Looked like a lot of effort to me. 

Retiring to the bar early was not a great idea, and neither was switching to Wild Turkey and cola cans this early in the afternoon. Looking out from the balcony after diner it was absolutely hammering down with rain, which it continued doing all night, I know that because all that caffeine was stopping my brain from engaging sleep mode........

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

2022 Alpine Ride Part 1


This years Alpine ride was going to be similar to the other years with similar route plan. I was thinking of changing it up a bit on the second day by doing something slightly different. But first it was time to put a new front tyre on as the Karoo3 may or may not make the trip. I sourced a Karoo4 as the 3's are now obsolete. 


I dropped by Stu's house and met up with the Sydney crew heading out at 7am. It was fresh at 13°C and only a handful of days out from summer. This would be the theme for the trip so we would find out.

Our first stop was for a coffee and sausage roll at trappers bakery in Goulburn where we picked up a few more riders as we continued south. Dave's new Superduke 1290 looks mighty impressive. Like, will that rear tyre last the trip. 

Day one of this trip is always a bit of a slog as its really a commute day to get down south to ride the good twisty roads. Lunch was had in Nelligen, but I wasn't that hungry so opted for a coffee and Caramel tart instead. It had warmed up to a balmy 20°C.

NSW roads have become a minefield of potholes over the last 12 months with all the rain events we have had. The ride down to Braidwood was an excursion in pothole avoidance. Clyde mountain was filled with cars and some of NSW finest hair dryer operators trying to collect some funds to fix the roads.

Filling the tank in Batemans Bay, it took 15 litres for 330kms or 4.5l/100km. The Old Africa Twin is impressive on the fuel economy I must admit. Next stop was the usual rehydration stop at the Narooma Hotel.

Before making our way to our destination for tonight at the Tathra Hotel and picking up the last of our riders here. A total of 17 this year.

Tathra Hotel has some beautiful views out over the ocean, except it was far too cold and windy out tonight to enjoy them. We managed one beer out of the wind in the small alcove before retreating to the warmth of the pub and a delicious diner. Notice none of the locals were outside, that's how cold it was.


The weather today was a mighty improvement over yesterday, it was still a chilly morning but top temp was going to hit mid twenty's. Hooray for us. First stop was for a bite to eat at the local bakery. When 17 bikers turn up at the same time it can take a while.......

The route today was the same as last years, with us going up Mt Darragh and across to Bombala for a fuel stop before tackling the Bonang Highway. Here the group usually splits into 2, with the more precious riders that don't want to do the 10kms of dirt on the Bonang turn down Cann Valley way and meet at Orbost.

This year I was going to make it a 3 way ride. I bought some extra water and some lunch whilst fueling up in Bombala. Everyone that was interested last night in my alternate route now chickened out. That made me more determined to do it even if I went alone. I told them where I was going incase something went wrong. So when we got to Bonang I turned off the road and onto McKillops Road. Geoff stopped with a look of concern. I could tell he didn't want to ride this road but he also didn't want to let me ride it alone either. Either way I would have done it alone but company is always the prefered option.

So 150kms of dirt riding coming up, the road was in pretty good condition compared with some of the tarred roads we have ridden. The road followed the Deddick River for quite some time. We stopped several times to admire the views.

Plenty of rock faces on one side and big drop offs into the river on the other side. It helps keeping your concentration levels up but the scenery through here was awesome.

It seemed to take quite some time to actually get to McKillops Bridge but it was only 58kms from the turn off, but we stopped several times and were only doing about 60kmh as the road was narrow and twisty.

As we arrived I noticed 4 KTM riders parked up, looked like they were fixing one bike. Speaking to them they were the sweep riders on a 70 rider group heading to Jindabyne tonight. Luckily they were leaving as we were stopping for a bite to eat. I cracked out the sammiches and Geoff had some chocolate so we shared and had a cool drink in the shade whilst admiring the views. The bridge is 255m long and spans the Mighty Snowy River. The original bridge got swept away in a flood the day before it opened in 1934.

The road out of here was a steep and narrow 10km climb out into the vic highlands which meets up at the Barry Way.

It wasn't long before we came upon Little River Falls. A quick stop for a drink as it was thirsty work now it was getting warm. Surprisingly we passed 5 or 6 cars along the road, lots for a minor back road.

Little River Falls

From here it was only a short fun ride to the Barry Way turn off. It looks to be all tarred from the turn off down to Buchan, but we turned north and headed to Limestone Road. I was surprised as there was 8kms of good tar on the Barry Way. I thought it would be all dirt.

I must say the new Karoo4 was handling the dirt better than the Karoo3, I didn't have any front end slides or moments of any kind and I was getting better at braking into corners. Bit more dirt and my confidence is slowly coming along. Only about 80km of dirt to go and then back onto the tar again.

Limestone road had a bit of every type of gravel on it. Good fast compact gravel, slippery new rocky gravel and a fair amount of rutted gravel corners thrown in, but was a good fun ride through some beautiful countryside. We stopped at Native Dog Flat campground for a drink. Geoff then remembered he had a bag of donuts he bought at the bakery this morning, we made quick work of those before heading off again.

It took us about an hour to get to Benambra. As we came down from the hills into the valley to Benambra I was thinking this rich green beautiful area is truly god's country. Amazing. Stopping at the intersection in town we both spied the pub across the road. I asked Geoff if he needed Hydration, it was a dumb question. We settled in for a couple of quick pots, as it was only a short 22km ride into Omeo from here.

The road from Benambra to Omeo is a cracker too, wishing I had my R1 for that bit but we still had fun.
As we arrived in Omeo I notice Dave was here and a couple of the others had just arrived. Impeccable timing. So we all caught up over a few beers. We made sure that the guys that chickened out on the ride heard all about the great ride up over McKillops Bridge really was. They saw the photos and then they wished they had come along. Next year fellas.

Geoff keeping the hydration up, only problem is two hands and only one mouth

Day2 Map Reference