This was the second of Bill’s Snowy Mountains rides held over 4 days of the Melbourne Cup long weekend (an Aussie institution!). This was a reprise of the 2010 ride with mostly the same guys. This year we had 9 riders in total, with an interesting mix of motorcycles, including four ZX14’s – now how often do you see 4 of them in one place? The weather and riding was sensational, covering some of Australia’s most twisty roads.
DAY 1 Melbourne to Bright via Gippsland
OK, it’s about time that I got off my bum and actually wrote about this fantastic four days of riding. My mate Bill did all the planning for this trip, which was no mean feat given that this was over the famous Melbourne Cup long weekend and that it was also the same weekend that a well- known cancer funding raising motorcycle event is held.
Marty and I left Geelong after work on Friday and headed over to the Mornington peninsula via the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry. On the way to Bill’s place we headed up to the lookout at Arthur’s Seat, which offers a really twisty ascent and some spectacular views over Port Phillip Bay.
What a great place for a pub!
We spent the night at Bill’s then headed off Saturday morning and met Phil (blue ZX14), Willem (Honda Crossrunner), Tony (Buell) and Fred (FJR1300) at Tooradin. From there we took some back roads and then hit the boring Prince’s Hwy (Hwy1) to Yarragon where we met up with Peter (ex-cop BMW) and Johnno (ST1300). The nine of us continued through Gippsland and pulled up at Bruthen for lunch. Bruthen pretty much marks the start of the fun riding as it is at the start of the Great Alpine Road that traverses Mt Hotham on the way to Bright. By now it had warmed up and the sun was shining – this set the pattern for virtually the whole of the rest of the trip.
Johnno & Tony at Bruthen. From here it was up to Mt Hotham and down to Bright.
The non Kawasaki’s!
Tony’s BuellWillam’s VFR800 powered CrossrunnerPhil’s ZX14 – I love this color!
Peter’s Beemer. It’s amazing how many cars slow down when this bike approaches!
Fred’s immaculate FJR
Johnno’s deceptively fast ST1300. Can you imagine a bike this big being ridden like a MotoGP bike? I’m not kidding!
Virtually all of the photos are taken at our major rest stops along the way as these ‘fellas enjoy VERY spirited riding and there is no time for sight- seeing type pics. I’d ridden with all but one of the guys in this group on virtually the same route two years ago and so knew that they are an experienced, skilled bunch of guys who don’t hang about!
This pic is taken at Mt Hotham and you can see that there was still some last remnants of snow about.
The run from Hotham down to Harrietville is predominantly very steep downhill, hairpin bends – some of which are 1st gear corners – or in Bill’s case any corner between 0 and 100kph is a 1st gear corner. We had a really enjoyable run through the hills and met up at the bottom at Harrietville with disc brakes tinkling and motors dumping quite a bit of heat. From there it was a short run down to Bright for the night. All up approx. 500 kms for the day. When we hit Bright there was a stack of other motorcycle groups in town. The pic below shows one other group who were at our motel.
The day finished with a great meal at the pub then sitting outdoors in lovely balmy conditions. There was pleny of banter amongst the guys – a great end to a fantastic day of riding. At this stage there were three things that we didn’t know;
1. a wallet would be dropped in the outside drinking area at the pub – which was discovered at breakfast time the next day, (the story has a happy ending as an honest patron had handed it in).
2. a band in the other pub opposite our rooms was going to make lots of noise passing as music until 1.30am and then,
3. a truck was going to roll up around 5.30am and empty the dumpster full of glass bottles directly in front of our rooms!
And probably a 4th thing – I would be falsely accused of snoring! An impossibility as I didn’t get any bloody sleep!
Day 2 Bright to Corryong with a Snowy Mountain’s loop
We woke up to find yet another glorious, sunny day with blue skies as far as the eye could see. I wasn’t quite so chipper, having been a bit sleep deprived from all the bloody noise. However, a hearty breakfast at Jackie’s Place soon had me feeling OK again, though Marty’s conversation with the owner – along the lines of “… oh you must be her daughter…” was a bit nauseating!
One of the fellas realised at breakfast that he’d lost his wallet, presumably the night before. Bill sauntered up to the pub, which was not yet open, found a staff member and returned with Johnno’s wallet in hand! Yep, some decent person had handed it in, all $’s and cards in tact. Crisis resolved!
After breakfast we fueled up, and headed over the Towonga gap, then made our way to the Gundowring Road, where Marty set the pace in a spirited run to Corryong on his new 2012 ZX14.
Although we were staying in Corryong that night, we still had about another 350 kms of riding in the Snowy Mountains before we returned to our digs. It was mid morning and already really warming up. It was all blue sky and we were in for a day of brilliant mountain riding. Our next main stop was over the NSW border in Tumut – the scene of very substantial parking fines for Bill & I on a prior trip.
From Tumut we headed out past the Blowering Dam and made our way via the Snowy Mountains Highway, then turned off at the Link Road through Cabramurra, then onwards via the Tooma Road where we pulled up at the Tooma Reservoir to exchange stories and let the brakes (and heart rate) cool down a little. By this stage my visor was so splattered with bugs that I was struggling to see!
Tooma Dam stop. From L to R Phil, Bill, Tony, Peter & Willem
The riding remained brilliant as we road the mountain roads back to Corryong in the late afternoon light. Fortunately we didn’t encounter any ‘roos or brumbies along the way. I was happy at this stage of the day riding next to last in the group! The descent down along these twisting roads with the late afternoon sunlight flickering through the trees, the gradual increase in the temperature and the smell of eucalyptus was just sensational. I’m not a good enough wordsmith to really describe it well, and it is a good example of where some video footage, such as Chillerteks has been using on his site recently, can authentically convey what it was really like. (Check out his video footage of the Omeo road).
I think that you probably know how it goes from here; settle into the digs, get cleaned up, clean the bikes a little (coated in bug splatter) walk to the pub for dinner, a great meal, a balmy night, a few cool beers, talking bikes and riding, then back to digs for a nightcap and bed. None of these fellas are big drinkers, and in my book, that makes for much safer and enjoyable riding when nobody is nursing a hangover! I was well and truly ready for bed after a big day in the mountains. I shared a room with Marty and fortunately in the morning there we no unfounded allegations of snoring!
Day 3 Corryong to Omeo via Granya Gap & Falls Creek
DAY 4 OMEO TO GEELONG
Full report coming, but here is a link to unsorted high resolution pics CLICK HERE
(best viewed by clicking on ‘Slideshow’ on top right of screen).