2012 Melbourne Branch Odyssey at Nagambie
Well, after much trepidation and change of venue, the time for the Odyssey finally arrived. Kris and I were met by small group of participants at Lilydale on Friday morning and we headed off at 10.00 and immediately turned off the highway. We checked out leafy Castella St which has some interesting historic buildings and then headed north towards Lilydale Airfield. As we went along Victoria Rd, Doug had to come up alongside me and let me know that my tank bag had activated my 4 way flashers – how embarrassing. My height highlights one of the Honda’s minor design flaws – I am too tall to see the indicator lights at the top of the dash without bending down a bit and Kris and I were testing carrying capacity as we took a week’s luggage for two people on the one bike.
We continued through Yarra Glen and turned off the Melba Highway at Glenburn before meeting up with Peter at Flowerdale. He regaled us with tales of heavy rain on his ride whereas we had had a dry ride. We then continued on via Strath Creek to Trawool where we stopped for morning tea. We were made extremely welcome on arrival and enjoyed coffee and scones near the open fire and with a lovely view across the Goulburn Valley. I can thoroughly recommend the resort there as a stopping point for a rest break while on a ride.
After a leisurely break, we continued on into Seymour and headed back towards Melbourne before turning right and following the old road beside the river and past horse studs and Mitchelton and Tahbilk before arriving at the Nagambie Lake Leisure Park around 1.00 pm.
We were made welcome by the managers Kathryn and Peter (also Ulysses members) and all went off and attended to organising ourselves in cabins or setting up tents. Kris and I wandered about and examined the “mini tent city”, as all Odyssey attendees were allotted sites relatively close to each other and near an excellent camp kitchen overlooking the lake. We enjoyed the camaraderie as we welcomed others and saw quite a variety of camping arrangements including three camping trailers towed by motor bikes including those towed by Gentle and Geoff of Geelong Branch. Kris and I then popped out on the bike to get some essential supplies and met Bob Munro riding in from his trip down from Mildura.
That evening we enjoyed a B B Q outside the recreation room and shared camaraderie and tall tales possibly enhanced by some wine supplied by the branch. As the night was rather cool, we were able to utilise the large recreation room which had been put aside for our use for the weekend.
On Saturday morning many enjoyed a good value cooked breakfast at the on site café with a view over the Goulburn River. A leisurely time was enjoyed as the last of the attendees arrived and at 11.00 am most of us headed off on one of the two group rides we had arranged. Greg took a group for a tour through the hills and down to Ruffy.
I led the second group over a very scary bridge (longitudinal wooden planks for several hundred metres) across the northern end of the weir and then up a winding road to Murchison, across to Rushworth and back down to the old ghost town of Whroo and the Old Balaclava gold mine.
Peter (of Geelong Branch) then led us on an informative tour of the old mine site including through the old tunnel and then on to the old graveyard which had some very interesting headstones. We there met a French backpacker who was spending a year travelling by horseback. Her map was far from detailed and she was seeking the bush route to Avenel after riding up from Maldon during the week. I do hope she made it!
We then rode back to Rushworth and enjoyed lunch in the old town. On his way in, Doug diverted off to examine the woodwork in an old church as he reckons he finds many excellent examples of craftsmanship in old churches.
After a leisurely lunch, we rode back to Murchison which has some interesting sights overlooking the Goulburn River and a classic old girder bridge. We then returned to Nagambie via the highway and on arrival in town I noticed that several from the “Ruffy” ride group were already in town and buying fuel and other supplies.
We then settled back down at the park and enjoyed some more leisurely camaraderie and finalised arrangements for the evening meal.
The Saturday night meal was good quality with ample quantity and the recreation room again proved itself to be a great venue. We conducted a successful raffle and the prize pool was enhanced by an unexpected voucher donated by Kathryn and Peter. We had a live musician for entertainment and he was very amenable to suggestions for music but the only down side was that perennial – those not involved in dancing found it too loud for conversation and filtered outside. Not ideal and we may well consider an alternative such as easy listening music over dinner and some pre recorded dance music for the dancers after dinner for next year’s event. That comment is not a reflection on the venue or the hosts, merely something for the committee to consider in planning.
Sunday morning again saw the café well utilised for cooked breakfasts and a leisurely morning followed as we bid farewell to the many faced with work or similar on Monday morning.
Quite a few of us had the luxury of remaining and after bidding farewells enjoyed some leisure on front porches overlooking the river. Kris, Margaret Taylor and I were treated to a special treat as our host Peter wanted to show off his jet boat. He took us for a trip out onto the Lake to see the rowing course and the town before taking us back up the river past a horse stud and then delivering us to Tahbilk Winery where we met up with John T before adjourning to the restaurant for a relaxing drink with Jenny and Eric. We then examined the cellars and purchased some wine (as recommended by Perry) before returning to the Park and sampling some wine on our balcony overlooking the river. On Sunday evening, a group of 8 of us enjoyed dinner at one of the local hotels in town.
On Monday we all bid our final farewells and thanked our hosts. Kris and I continued north on the bike to go on and visit some family up on the Murray and finally returned home later that week. We stopped at Heathcote on our return journey and met the Macedon Ranges enjoying their lunch break on their mid week ride.
Kris and I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and I will quote some of the feedback I have received.
“I enjoyed the Nagambie Odyssey very much, and look forward to a similar event next year (but perhaps with somewhat less loud entertainment?)”
“By the way, John (and Kris and Crew), can I just express our "Thanks very much" for the wonderful time we had in Nagambie! Both of us enjoyed it enormously. You've got a nice bunch of people! Will try to make it again next year. Safe Riding!”