Well perhaps it should be called the “Autumn Alpine Tour” as fortunately there was no sign of ice this year. The coldest bit of the ride was riding through some low lying areas on the outskirts of Melbourne to the start point. Once assembled,
21 of us headed east along the freeway
in sunny, but cool conditions for about 40 km before turning off near Drouin and then stopping for road works at Drouin West.
We then had a lovely run through dairy country
with some great views including a fog laden Latrobe Valley and then rode through a brief period of fog as we left Yallourn. We got to Heyfield shortly after 10.00 met up with Marshall and Aaron. We enjoyed a refreshment break at the bakery
and then headed north past the Glenmaggie Weir and took some lovely back roads
and Glenaladale (with Marshall showing me the way) and arrived at Bruthen for lunch just after 12.00 after doing about 300 km from the start point. We met up with 9 more participants who had decided to make it a long weekend by riding up on the Friday. Greetings were exchanged, lunch was consumed, bikes were refuelled and then we headed north along the lovely Tambo Valley (The Great Alpine Road now more 80 KPH restriction zones between Bruthen and Ensay in the windy bits but it really didn’t interfere with enjoyment of the road and scenery) to Omeo
where we stopped for a rest break, exchanged disgraceful lies and some bought last minute supplies. Some people even commented on the unseasonal warmth and removed layers of clothing to cool down!
After the leisurely break we headed out again along the Omeo Highway
which is extremely winding on the way to Anglers Rest,
where we took another break after about 40 km of tossing the bikes from side to side. We then crossed the Cobungra River and continued along the winding road for about 10 km before turning left onto the Bogong High Plains Road and took the winding climb to the plateau. The road surface is quite coarse and light coloured and extreme concentration was needed as loose gravel was virtually impossible to see. We then crossed the open alpine plateau
and stopped to rest and regroup at Rocky Valley Dam.
It was then a short run into Falls Creek before descending about 5 km
to our overnight Stay at the Howmans Gap YMCA lodge after riding just under 500 km from the start point.
We were made welcome and finally caught up with another part of the group who had overnighted Lake Tyers and ridden up a couple of hours ahead of us. In all 42 people participated in the ride this year. Rooms were located, bikes were stored under cover, lodgings were paid and we adjourned to the main hall for a night of camaraderie.
We had a few relaxing drinks and a chat before dinner, enjoyed some music DVDs and then dined in a very relaxed and convivial manner. Many then adjourned to the lounge room with its central fire and chatted and drank the night away. Age must be having some effect on many of us as I noticed that quite a few retired relatively early for a Saturday night after the long day of riding. Sunday welcomed us with mild temperatures and we all enjoyed a cooked breakfast and then repacked the bikes for the trip home.
Our visit there seemed to be over all too soon. We bid our farewells and my son and some of the group then went their separate way back to East Gippsland. The remainder of us descended the extremely winding road
back down to Mt Beauty and we encountered some cross country skiers exercising by “poling” their way up the road – quite an extraordinary sight. We regrouped and refuelled at Mt Beauty
and several then split off to go via the Tawonga Gap to visit Bright on their way home.
The majority of us rode down the Kiewa Valley
and then through Happy Valley (a delightful road to ride) to the Ovens Valley.
Myrtleford looked lovely in its autumnal colours was again busy with a weekend festival. We continued straight through and continued along the Snow Road to Oxley where we stopped for coffee and a rest.
We then rode back up the King Valley (got to see plenty of wineries through these three valleys) to Whitfield. I then enjoyed riding the lovely climb out of Whitfield, passed some spectacular views and continued through Tolmie to Mansfield where we stopped for a relaxed lunch. People then started “scenting home” and many broke off to make their individual ways home. We continued on to Yea where more broke off to head to the northern suburbs and a small group of us continued via Break O Day back to Lilydale before bidding our final farewells. In all, I did about 900 kilometres in the two days. I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the ride and the overnight venue. We had a mix of Melbourne branch members, with a few from Macedon ranges who had joined in for their first “Ice Run” plus an assortment of members’ sons and friends. I would like to thank them all for making it another great weekend of enjoying motorcycling and all it has to offer.
Many thanks to Gerry for doing Tail End Duties on both days and
Many thanks to Rick for the many photos he took which are featured above and the full gallery is available to view here:
2017 will be the 20th consecutive Ice Run - an event worth commemorating so put the dates of 13 – 14 May 2017 in your diary. We are moving it forward a week to avoid conflict with the AGM at Port Macquarie. If 550 km on day one is a bit much consider heading to Gippsland on the Friday as many do now.