The stars and sun aligned. I popped a notice on the website two days in advance, also used my grapevine and 5 other members joined me at Lilydale for a midweek ride. The riders were a diverse bunch with 3 from Yarra Ranges Shire, 1 from Templestowe area and 2 from bay side. The bikes were equally diverse with 2 new "boxers", three very different V twins and my teenage shaft drive V Four. Introductions were actually necessary and once done we headed off in cool sunshine via some leafy side streets and then explored the Yarra Valley. In the valley, we saw alpacas, beef cattle, horses, sheep plus berry farms, orchards, vineyards, breweries, cideries, wineries and much more while enjoying challenging yet quiet back roads. Then it was a run around the back of the Dandenong Ranges via a mix of farmland and forest, a brief fuel stop and then a proper rest break to take in refreshment and the murals of Nar Nar Goon. Then it was south across some flat irrigation farmland and channels, past a wonderful looking old cheese factory and down into the rolling open hills of South Gippsland. The hills did look rather dry and yellow but with so little traffic, the riding was truly enjoyable. We eventually stopped for a rest break on the edge of an escarpment and took in the views over Westernport Bay and French Island while we exchanged some disgraceful lies. From there we explored some more "back country" and eventually joined the Bass Highway at The Gurdies.
A fish and chip lunch was enjoyed at the foreshore park in Tooradin beside both the estuary and mangrove forests after a couple of hundred kilometres of traffic free riding in perfect weather.
Eventually it was time to head home. Dennis and Terry headed off their own way back to Port Phillip Bay. Graham, Ian, Vaughan and I rode back via the hills and Dandenong Ranges National Park before splitting off again at Kallista. Vaughan and I headed back to The Basin via the tall eucalypts and stately properties of Sherbrooke before bidding farewell at The Basin.
I had a fantastic day and thanks to all who came along as this camaraderie really enhances the enjoyment.
As a final word I would like to remind people that these things can be arranged at very short notice and there is a lot to be said for riding in small groups
Photos from the ride are here: https://ulyssesmelb.com/gallery/midweek-meanderings-tuesday-2-april