We had a great mix of over a dozen people who came out to join me on the ride to Euroa in good riding conditions. These included Tony (of MC Cruise - branch sponsor who came out for his first ride with the branch and to test some gear ) who was made welcome by all. Jeff and his entourage were on some very interesting bikes. Dennis readily volunteered to do tail end duties and Pat came out for a short part of the ride before heading off to gloat and watch his Tigers play. Many of the other usual suspects (who weren't en-route to South Australia) also came out. Greg G volunteered to go out ahead and take some photos but our communication on the planned route failed of course and he ended up off course! Gremlins then took over my helmet communications system (actually fixed that night by charging the blue tooth) so I couldn't answer Greg when he rang me. He did find us eventually.
Once greetings and briefings were done, we rode out to Coldstream in lovely riding weather and turned right off the highway. We then did a couple of loops and took in the scenery (numerous vineyards and some strawberry fields) before getting to Healesville via Yarra Glen. Then it was up and over the Black Spur (a bit busier than I expected) and kudos to a couple of drivers who actually pulled over and let us pass. The scenery was very pleasant until we reached Narbethong where we disappeared into a blanket of fog and the temperature plummeted! Despite the fog we had a good run to Acheron, left the highway, crossed the single lane bridge, climbed a small hill and were then greeted by sunshine as we rolled into Alexandra for a rest break after an hour and a half of riding.
After a leisurely break and chat, we rode straight out the highway to Merton and then turned left and got into the challenge of the hills again. We did get a short patch of road works at an infamous bend which is being straightened, but I do enjoy riding that bit of road. We turned right and headed to Strathbogie past Polly McQuinns Weir. That section of road is very bumpy now, but we were well compensated (rewarded?) with the outlook from Kelvin View as we left the escarpment and descended into Euroa after riding just over 200 km.
On arrival it was great to see that John Wait had ridden down from Numurkah to greet us and exchange some disgraceful lies. This is the sort of camaraderie that really makes me appreciate my Ulysses membership. After another good break and chat, discussions turned to the ride home and many decided on the Hume to get back to the northern and western suburbs.
Six of us stayed together and enjoyed a ride down though Creightons Creek, over the hills past Ruffy and back into Yea. These road surfaces have actually been greatly improved in the past couple of years. As we approached Yarra Glen, we encountered a significant traffic jam which appeared to have been caused by a nose / tail between a couple of cars near Yering Station and the tow trucks trying to clear them off the two lane road. I won't comment on the legalities, but I was glad I was on a solo bike and not in a tin top as we got past the clogged section.
Many thanks to all who came out to join the ride. It was good to see Jeff out riding again with his son and a friend, meet Tony and catch up with John Wait. I know it was my ride, but put simply I had fun thanks to the combination of people and riding.
Greg's photos are available here https://ulyssesmelb.com/gallery/john-cooks-lilydale-euroa-ride-6-05-18