The dates were fixed to suit all, but of course Mother Nature decided to try and flood much of south eastern Australia over the last weekend of November and the forecasts were simply not good.
Greg and I rode down to Michael’s at Sale on the Thursday night. The roads started looking very slippery as we left Powelltown en-route to Noojee and then it simply bucketed down between Noojee and Willow Grove before drying up again for the run into Sale. Wet roads at night with an absence of reflectors in remote areas really do reduce one’s confidence in headlights. Not a problem on the highway, but on some back roads the actual road surface was hard to see.
Steve was already there and on Friday morning we met up with Pete and headed off to Bruthen via Munro and other places unknown to me (but we certainly didn’t see much highway) where we met up with Ivan for morning tea.
After morning tea we headed off to Orbost where Michael and Pete turned left and took some dirt roads on their adventure bikes (KTM & BMW) while the rest of us continued to Cann River where we took a brief break. We then headed north towards Bombala and had a nice dry ride until we were hit by a very heavy rain squall between the border and Bombala. The rain was so heavy and the sky so dark that visibility did become a problem. We continued on to Nimmitabel where we stopped for lunch and met up with Mike and Pete again.
That was our only rain for the day although we certainly saw some very dark looking storms skirting around us. After a relaxing break we continued north and took in some lovely open roads and reached Adaminaby in the early afternoon after riding about 500 kilometres for the day. The legs were stretched by a leisurely walk around the town and then we settled down to some drinks and lies were exchanged as the merits of bikes were discussed before even more lies were disgracefully exchanged over dinner. Most of us adjourned for a relatively early night as Greg had been working very long hours all week and I was dosed up on cold and flu tablets.
Sunday started off clear and warm. I packed away all my wet weather clothing and wore a mesh summer jacket and gloves. It was simply beautiful riding on the Snowy Mountains Highway across the plateau towards Kiandra at about 1400 metres above sea level and with great visibility across sweeping curves.
We then took the steep descent down towards Tumut and skirted the Blowering Dam which looked simply beautiful and the temperature rose to almost 30 degrees.
We took a fuel and coffee break at Tumut and then headed off via Batlow to Tumbarumba where we stopped for an early lunch break and we again met with pleasant service. We then headed south to Jingellic and crossed the very full Murray River on a classic steel bridge and then headed east towards Granya and skirted Lake Hume which appeared to be full as at places the water was only a metre below the road surface.
We again enjoyed some lovely sweeping bends along the Murray River Road and views and saw our first signs of wet roads for the day as we went through Granya. We then crossed the Granya Gap and joined the Murray Valley Highway and headed east before turning south down The Omeo Highway and then north again along Locharts Gap Road. Several stopped there and donned wet weather gear because of the roads being damp and the skies being rather foreboding. I scoffed at them and continued riding in my air mesh jacket and soon got to regret my foolhardiness as the rain steadily increased. An increase in speed and tucking in behind the fairing kept me relatively dry but I surrendered at Sandy Creek and pulled onto the forecourt of the local CFA stationed and donned the waterproof pants and jacket. We then turned south down Gundowring Road and headed the “back way” to Tawonga. Once appropriately dressed it stopped raining of course but it finally started bucketing down just as we arrived at Tawonga and my gloves got saturated as I rode slowly into Mt Beauty to get some supplies. Pizzas and an assortment of wine at the lodge Ivan had arranged made for a very pleasant evening as we watched the rain pelt down all night.
On Sunday morning we headed off in light drizzle and bid farewell to Ivan. Mike and Pete made their way back up Mt Hotham into heavy rain and fog and then took the dirt road to Dargo on their way home to Sale. Greg, Steve and I headed north and then through Happy Valley and stopped at Oxley for morning tea by which time the rain had stopped totally. We then turned off to Greta and after a 30 kilometre scenic diversion due to my navigation error we found our way to Swanpool via Tatong. At Yarck we discovered that the highway to Yea was closed due to flooding so we had to finish off with a diversion to Alexandra and we actually had a good run back over the Black Spur and then home. It became obvious that whilst we got a bit of rain on each day we actually fared quite well in view of the flooding occurring all around us.
From home to home I did a bit over 1500 kilometres with the 500 kilometres from Sale to Adaminaby being the longest day and even that we finished early afternoon. We had a great ride. This was a bit of a “boy’s weekend away” which my sons had organised to celebrate my birthday later that week. It also made me appreciate the great riding available around Victoria and southern NSW and also the great communication device we Ulysses members have in our web page as it is always open to a few members getting together for mid week ride and camaraderie whenever the fancy takes some of us. I love the Sunday rides but an excursion for a few days with a small group of like minded riders is a great holiday and relatively easy to organise for a smallish group and a bit of planning makes accommodation easy.
For this trip we stayed at a pub at Adaminaby for 1 night and a lodge in Tawonga the second night.
The bikes were BMW R1200 GS Adventure, Honda ST1300, Kawasaki 1400 GTR, Kawasaki ZX1400, KTM 990 Adventure and a Suzuki DL1000 V Strom. The upshot of all that is that almost any bike is capable of touring for a few days in any company.