Ride report follows....
Ulysses Melbourne Branch – Ride Report – Australia Day Weekend 2020
John Cook’s Tallangatta 3 Day Ride
John Cook - Honda ST1300 (Ride Leader)
Greg Scott – BMW K1200 GT Ian Smalley - V Strom
Les Cox – Yamaha FJR 1300 (the 3 wise men!! And joint TEC’s)
Greg G – BMW S1000XR (photos)
Carlo – BMW K1200GT Dennis – Ducati Monster Tez – BMW R9T Pure
Mike – BMW R1200 RS Stewart – Honda Valkyrie Barry – Honda ST1100
And special guest rider:
Max Kerby - Holden Commodore
The ride encompassed a track of about 1153km – a comfortable task over 3 days.
The plan was simple enough – gather at Lilydale before Greg arrived so he’d feel embarrassed!! Bless the bus driver that gave Greg right of way to speed him to the start point – a story in itself.
John Cook was in good form – the back blocks of Lilydale led us to Victoria Road, Macintyre Lane, St Hubert’s Road and a wiggly way towards Healesville!! As we approached, Greg started assuming – “he’s doing Myer’s Creek Road” but we turned left, “he’s doing Toolangi” but we turned left yet again, “Holy Cow - he’s going back to Lilydale”. Greg was wrong on all counts – we hooked right up to Dixon’s Creek and started our climb.
Still not too warm, we started to lift our pace and then through the Murrindindi diversion, what’s not to like? A break at Yea, then Highlands beckoned. Terip Terip is always a favourite, then on to the outskirts of Yarck, before turning north through Gobur, Kanumbra and Merton before hooking back through Woodfield to Bonnie Doon for a well earned rest. Then north through Barjag, Lima South and Swanpool, east to Moorngag, Tatong, then north again towards Molyullah. A right turn at Kilfeera Road had us to Ryan’s Creek, Greta South, then north again.
At this point, John introduced a quick skills refresher – “how to do a quick u turn when you miss the Moyhu turnoff….”
North again before Glenrowan, through Docker and up to Oxley, then a break in the shade at Milawa. Through Tarrawingee to Everton and north to Chiltern. Then across to Yackandandah, Kiewa/Tangambalanga, then up to the Murray Valley Highway and our (very welcome) destination of the Victoria Hotel in Tallangatta – arriving just as the mercury hit 32 degrees!! To say the least, the cold showers in the pub were wonderful, as was their delicious ice water………
After a night of superb food, great camaraderie and a few disgraceful lies, we hit the hay, enthused to do some of north east Victoria’s best motorcycle roads.
Sunday was Australia Day, and the Tallangatta Rotary Club (wonderful people) were running a free breakfast in the town square. Great as it was (and these people so friendly) a free feed just didn’t seem right, so we chipped in $10 each as a donation to the Rotary Club. Greg tracked down the Club Treasurer (Kevin). In response to Greg’s “this is a small donation to your club from a group of grateful members of the Ulysses Club”, Kevin said “me too, I’m a member up here, and I ride a Suzuki GSX1400”. It is indeed a small world when you’re a Ulyssean…….
We lit out foer Corryong, seeing several roads (north and south of the highway) closed by a police road block. The furrows on John Cook’s brow grew ever deeper with so many of his pet roads in the grip of the fires. What would he do? What could he do?
The road into Corryong would chill the bones of the coldest hearted individual – the fires actually breached the town boundaries, before being turned back in a battle of sheer heroism!! The locals were absolutely back to normal – this town’s fighting spirit is nothing short of inspirational!! Apart from some light hearted banter with the locals, the sheer magnitude of these fires cast a silence over the riders.
From Corryong, we rode back to the Granya Gap (John Cook for Prime Minister)!! WE stooped at the bottom of the ridge – imagine being the ride photographer, facing these iconic motorcycle roads and having the ride leader say “you’d beter get yup to the top as quick as you can and set up for photos – we’ll give you a few minutes head start to find somewhere good and set up”!! That, dear readers, could be the nicest thing anyone has said to me!!
A few serious corners near the redline, a quick choice of backdrop and the photos began on a slow but smooth left hander a km from the top – nearly all the pics were quite good. To add some spice, I had set up the video camera to get everyone as they entered the right hander immediately after the left where the stills were based. Good outcomes on both counts.
Tail End Charlie had waited for me – a few minutes packing up and I was away!! But now I had to catch the rest, who had a 3 to 4 minute head start – my personal high point of the entire weekend, and catch them I did!! Awesome!!! Just in time for another of John’s skills refreshers – this time, how to do a u turn on the Murray River Road……….
We continued on to the Wymah Ferry. Tez found a bolt slightly bigger than the one that ended up in Greg’s rear tyre the previous year – everyone laughed (everyone except Greg, that is…..)
We rode down to the Lake Hume Weir Wall for fuel, then made our various ways back to Tallangatta. Mike, Les and Greg grabbed a light lunch in Tallangatta, John Cook and a few others visited the Migrant Centre at Bonegilla – John lived there for a while in 1954!!
Again, the pub dinner paved the way for a great night of fun and laughter – great camaraderie and the occasional disgraceful lie…..
After a shared adventure like this, home time is a bit of a shock – we lined up with the countless volunteer fire fighters in Tallangatta for an egg and bacon roll and quality coffee – bliss!!
We hit the road, off down Wyman’s Gap Road, over Osborne’s Gap, around through Allan’s Flat (excuse me Sir, was all of this pre planned?). A rhetorical question perhaps, but no-one complained – the entry to Yackandandah from the south is a really great road.
Beechworth Gorge offered a break and great scenery, plus a photo opportunity, not all of which were good. However, the road to Chiltern had promise initially – a great set of tight, near technical corners downhill. The promise went sour somewhat when the (famous) Chiltern Bakery was closed for the public holiday…..
From Chiltern, we did the boring freeway thing as far as Euroa. A quick break, then down the challenging but spectacular Creighton’s Creek Road to the Ghin Ghin Road, where up at the front, John and Greg cut loose a little (they’d been really well behaved all weekend) – this led us as far as Yea. While their tyres cooled, we enjoyed a refreshment break then headed off towards Whittlesea then down the Break O Day Road – sensational!!
Back on the Maroondah, the fun (and the traffic) ground to a serious halt. With a bit of judicious overtaking, some careful filtering and lane choices, we finally tooted each other farewell at Yarra Glen. Dennis chose the highway, Tez & Greg used Hull Road, and Stewart headed for the (Christmas) Hills!! John bided his time and was home first – was this inspiration, or geographical good fortune?
Whatever – a fantastic weekend of great roads, great food, great company and superb weather!! As Oliver Twist once said “Please Sir – can I have some more??”
John Cook achieved wizard status by turning an area riddled with closed roads into a motorcyclists’ paradise. We had an abundance of willing Tail End Charlies – the key role in any good ride. Many thanks to Les Cox, Ian Smalley and Greg Scott who willingly gave up major chunks of the ride. Finally, thanks to everyone who attended and put so much good will and effort into making the weekend a ripping success!!
Ride report extras – photos in Ride Album Here: https://ulyssesmelb.com/ride-album/australia-day-weekend-2020/
- videos here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2372079506399539/
Sailbad The Sinner
(aka Greg G)