Ulysses Club Melbourne Branch Ride Report Snowy Ride 2017.
Roger Foot (Leader) – Honda VFR800 Jack Fei – BMW R1200RT
Sam Bateman – Honda VFR800 Stewart Tepe – Honda Shadow 750
Samuel Sun – BMW R1200GS Shane Dwyer – BMW R1200 GS
Colin Voss – Aprilia Caponord Alf Dennemoser – Kawasaki Versys 1000
Phil McMillan – BMW 800GS Greg Gleason – BMW R1200 GSA
The Ride to Thredbo:
There is an annual charity ride known as the Snowy Ride which takes place every November in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. Based around Jindabyne and Thredbo there are rides to lots of towns in the region with areas in each town set aside for rider check ins, refreshments and other motorcycle activities. A total of 2,097 riders and pillions from all states attended this year. The ride raises money for the Steven Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation to aid research and is organised by the Walter family who lost their son to this insidious disease at the tender age of 19 after an eight year battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma. This year was the 17th ride and raised in excess of $200,000 for research. Go to http://www.snowyride.org.au/ if you want more details and perhaps to get some ideas for joining next year’s ride.
We headed off on the Thursday morning, one group of 6 meeting at Yea at 8.30 (and enjoying 2 hours of solid rain getting there, before it dried up till our trip home) and the other group of 4 leaving via Gippsland. Group 1 went over the Whitfield Gap to Myrtleford for lunch, then across Hotham and down to Omeo (to meet up with group 2 staying in Omeo) before heading to the Blue Duck Inn at Angler’s Rest for the night.
We rendezvoused next morning at Angler’s Rest and headed off to Tallangatta, Corryong and Khancoban, before crossing the Snowy’s at Dead Horse Gap to the south of Thredbo. The scenery (when you get a micro second to look at it) is awesome!! Sam Bateman – “If you look too much at the scenery, you end up in it!!” and Shane Dwyer – “Scenery? Great – 40km long and 1 metre wide – loved it!!”
We passed one “incident” with a Harley off the road in the muddy drain and the rider laying prone on the other side of the road. There were plenty of helpers so we didn’t stop. . We came across the Harley on a trailer in Thredbo later and were told the rider was eventually helicoptered out as he wasn’t feeling too flash and the ambo’s got a bit worried about him.
The Snowy Ride & Our Trips:
Our accommodation at Bernti’s Brasserie, Bar & Chalet in the heart of Thredbo Village was superb – the rooms, the food and the service were excellent. The views up Thredbo’s legendary ski slopes (still loaded with snow almost to road level) were very easy to take.
We lost no time after breakfast and were promptly off to Dalgety for a ride check in and coffee. Great roads and we followed on to Berridale and then to Cooma – another ride check in, embellished by 2 factors – the willingness of the checkpoint people to put every possible stamp on our cards and the presence of the Australian Busking Championships! The town was filled with street buskers on every corner and tourists in their hundreds listening, many of whom appeared to be “normal” people, not motorcyclists.
There was a big Car Show at the Sports Complex in Cooma – cars and bikes of any and all types – well worth the hilly walk to see it!!
Realising we needed all the energy we could muster for Sunday’s ride, someone foolishly nominated Greg to cook for Group 1 and wisely Jack to cook for Group 2 on Saturday night. It turned out we all shared and no-one took ill from Greg’s Spaghetti Bolognese. Jack attracted significant praise for his Stir Fry and Fried Rice!!
After another good night’s sleep (for some – “snoring? I didn’t hear any snoring!!”) we headed out early. A ride to Adaminaby (or is it “Adaminaminaby, Sam B?) saw us at the Snowy Hydro Scheme Museum – a film about the project and displays of all manner of project memorabilia impressed the group. However, we then headed off to Charlotte Pass (the highest road destination in Australia) and were even more impressed – by both the great motorcycling roads and the incredible views from the top!!
The Ride Home:
“Into every life, a little rain must fall” says the old proverb, and we got proverbially drowned and chilled between Thredbo Village and Bombala. Samuel and Jack had wisely decided to go back over the mountains to Khancoban and take the Hume Highway home. For the rest of us it was a tough test of the waterproofing and thermal properties of our riding gear. Alf was virtually hypothermic by Bombala stage and retreated to dry off at the local hotel, making his own way home the next day. The remainder made Orbost as the rain started to ease. The remaining 7 settled in to the Commonwealth Hotel, some enjoying a nap, some breaking open some tawny port and some taking a walk around town (a short walk, as you might imagine) and along the Snowy River nearby. Our riding gear was variable in its ability to keep us warm and dry, but Stuart had no complaints about his cheap rain suit which performed much better than the expensive specialist gear.
The pub food was good, but the jukebox was better!! We heard so many “blasts from the past” I actually began to realise how old I really am!! Mildly depressed, I headed off for the comfort of a warm country pub bed. I awoke next morning to an eerie silence – it took a moment to realise it was the sound of NO rain on the roof!!
A relatively dry road was encouraging – no more than a few drops here and there. At Stratford, Greg peeled off to go home highway bound while the others headed for Heyfield and more interesting roads beyond. Along the way, others progressively peeled off as home approached. The group shared e mails to confirm safe arrival home for all concerned.
As “reporter at large”, I wish to record the following:
· Appreciation to Roger Foot – leader and ride mastermind
· Thanks to Sam Bateman whose local knowledge saw him as pathfinder for parts of the road we didn’t know (and at times, visibility was pretty ordinary.....)
· Warm thanks to the other 9 riders who tolerated my toying with Go Pro footage and who ate my Spaghetti Bolognese with a smile.
It would be remiss of me not to note how well the group interacted. The entire trip was typified by courtesy, respect, good humour and great fun. It made the trip as good as I have done, and I trust the others, like me, appreciated how good the group dynamics were, both on and off the road.
Pics and video links (ride bys both from front and rear - more choreographed than a James Bond movie...) will be posted shortly!!
Roll on 2018!!
Greg Gleason 065231