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Old 07-06-2010, 03:10 PM   #1
tripodtiger OP
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Any excuse for a ride?

The universally infamous Uncle Gra'

(with his yellow jacket) is one of those rare individuals who has come to riding later in life and taken to it with gusto. Yeah, he knocked around on a bike when the kids were little, but surfing & canoes were his thing. Now he's retired, he has grandkids in the US and over here and he just loves to get out and about. Recently, he added to his little bike stable with a T100 Bonnevile. All black & chrome. Very tasty. Whilst the 625 never gets cleaned, just gets the oil leaks wiped off, sometimes, the Bonnie gets lurve and attention.

And he keeps it out of the mud & muck, mostly.

Anyway, the man's a bit of a thinker. Just a bit, mind.

Me, I just like to ride bikes. This 'adventure' riding is just another way to ride a bike. Even though I'm not real talented. It slows me down, I avoid the highway patrol and highways and traffic and all that crap and get to see places that I never before considered visiting. Maybe it's my interpretation of a mid-life crisis? But, in truth, my first love is a winding bitumen road. Like the Alpine Way. Getting there on an all-road tourer just makes it heaps better.

Anyway, the thinker, decided hat we needed a theme for a local road ride.
And, he came up with....



Well, the bridges anyway. I decided that we should attempt to get all the crossing we could find on maps, including google earth.

For those who may not know, the Murray River starts in the Snowy Mountains of south east Oz. It runs westward, joining with the Darling River and then leaks out into the southern ocean at Lake Alexandrina, in South Oz. That's a bit of a river. Well, it's a 1000km by road from my place to Adelaide, so I reckon the Murray would have to be at least 2000km long. Probably not as long as the Mississippi, not as long as the Darling. But she's a fair old distance.

It's also the state border between New South Wales (north side) and Victoria (south side). Technically, the river is in NSW and the bloody Victorians should be paying NSW for all the water they take out of our river!!! Oops, that could be a fit of a flame thrower!

We organised it for a midweek ride, and invited my elder brother, Shane, who's got his DR650 set up with the wides seat you've ever seen on a DR. The poor old(er) bastard needs a soft seat. But his little legs, and various injuries, make getting on and off a bit of a struggle. (Hey bloke, try footing a loaded 950 on your tip toes!).

This is he, in the snow after having fallen over, a couple of years back. He's not a happy chappie.


And we are STILL hearing about it.
(okay Shane, it was ICE. And you hurt your shoulder)


As I mentioned, we were looking at maps and such & I decided that we should just try and find 'crossings'. Now there are a couple way up above the snow line that may be nothing more than walkign tracks. We'll need to wait until summer to confirm that, since it's a little cold up there are the present.


And now, It's oops - I think I've turned off my external hard drive - the one with the photos. The map may just have to get added here a bit 'ron.


Meeting point - 9am at the ugly, weird orange, apple and grape sculpture on the Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga.


They apparently pulled out some lovely trees so they could put that there!

Our first crossing. The old highway bridge between Albury (NSW) and Woodonga (Vic). The Union Bridge.




Nope, not very pretty. The designers must've thought the railway line may run across here too, one day. This was a real choke point until a couple of years ago when they FINALLY decided to build the Hume Freeway.

The next ones are the Freeway bridges. Just new concrete structures, four lanes, way above the flood plain. Many would've even realise they are crossing a river, let alone the Murray River. But without getting stuck on the freeway, it's not the easiest to photograph. So we didn't.
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tripodtiger screwed with this post 07-07-2010 at 04:41 AM
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Old 07-07-2010, 01:42 AM   #2
Detlef in Oz
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This sounds like a good RR (as per usual standard), keep it coming
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:07 AM   #3
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G'day Detlef

Instead of trying to get ourselves in and around the freeway, Shane led us back into Albury, and along the road towards Hume Dam, to Waterworks Rd.

This'd be Waterworks Rd Bridge.










One of the few remaining bridges that has a character. Of course, local councils aren't too fond of character. It's too expensive. Especially when they close a bridge to traffic and then have years of half hearted attempts at 'tourist attractionising' whilst never spending any money on it. Just ask Wagga Wagga Council.



Anyway. The river around Albury is fully regulated. There is the Hume Dam only a few kilometres up stream, so that was the way we headed. Being winter, I suppose the irrigation down stream is turned off, so the only flows are environmental and domestic/industrial.


Immediately below the dam wall, there is Heywood Bridge.


After a 6.30am start from home, with a 130km mid-winter ride to get to the start, it was nice to get the sun on the face.



Turn around and the dam wall is within sight.


We were looking forward to a coffee at the Hume Dam kiosk but found it shut, empty. Winter? or maybe just another failure.

It's only construction and maintenance staff that can actually use this as a crossing, but it fit the bill, still. No correspondence entered into, Woody




This was the lake that I was riding, and falling off in, during May '09.


Quick strop around to Bellbridge, for arguably the most dramatic bridge on the entire river.






The little village just over the other side looks idyllic. During winter.
When there are no ski boats going round and round and round and round. You'd have to like power boats and jet skis to live there. Coffee and a sausage roll at the little takeaway tucked inside the village - filled a hole.

Figure this may help with some of the place names.



The blue line is both the state border and the Murray River. The road follows closely along either side. Bitumen heaven on the southern side and very enjoyable mixture of sandy gravel and bitumen on the northern side.
And no, I don't understand why all the bridge names are duplicated.
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:01 AM   #4
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Looking good SCray.
We met Uncle Gra'at blinman a while back.
Very nice Bloke .

Cheers Ian.
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:14 AM   #5
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After topping up and emptying out, we were back on the black top heading east along Talgarno Road, along the edge of Lake Hume. Up, down, left, right. Good fun. No traffic.

Wymah Ferry next.
The ferry is now under a new operator. There were a few whispers about the previous one. I suspect it must've been pretty crook, because the authority that manages it deemed it necessary to announce the fact that there was a new operator.






I took this shot last year, from the NSW (northern) side.


There is still a long way to go to fill it.

Next one along, about 50km further upstream, is the crossing at Jingellic. Very, very popular spot amongst all types of bike riders. The location for an overnighter during the 2010 Cancer Council Relay.





By this point, we're above the top water level of Lake Hume.
Being fed from dams in the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the water is reported to be about 3mm long


Shane couldn't afford the time for an overnight stay, he was heading off to the Hunter Valley the following morning, so chose to slip back to Albury along the River Road, nice winding sandy gravel on the northern bank. Gave his new Dunlops a bit of a work out.

Gra' and I continued eastwards, winding up at Tintaldra. Yet another popular spot for riders.









A couple of toasted ham & cheese sambo's filled the hole again.

Back over into NSW for the loop around to Towong.






This was also the site of Gra's dog no 4. Seriously. At Waterworks he was playing with a Jack Russell. Jingellic, there was a greyhound and then a big old thing, that looked like it may have some wolf hound or something similar in it, at the pub, now he's found another Jack Russell. This one really enjoyed the scratch behind the ear.

On the Vic side of Towong Bridge, Towong Hill Road leads away to the east. Very pleasant gravel short cut towards Khancoban. We turned back west and into Corryong for the evening. Motel for a change. and a decent pub feed, with a couple of beers thrown down, just to make sure it wasn't off.

Just from a visitor's point of view, I reckon Corryong is bloody lovely. It's on my list of possibles for when I decide I'm not going to work anymore. I was surprised to discover it's only about 300m above sea level.
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:47 AM   #6
Detlef in Oz
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Must say Ray, besides a top story are the excellent Photos
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:50 AM   #7
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Gra' can't tell you if I snore. He had the ear plugs in. Good move, mate. And the bed was fantastic! I would like to have that one in my bedroom.

Breakfast at the Bakery, where the owner rides a Bonnie and a Sprint. With Valentino posters on the sides of the 'fridge and friendly staff who don't mind taking the piss out of customers, provided the customers start it. Um, how DID the conversation get around to ...let's not go there.

Tension mounted and rode away, over the hill but not far away


was Bringenbrong bridge. This is where Swampy Plains River flows into the Murray.







Our route now took us along Swampy Plains, away from the Murray until we reached Tom Groggin. Into Khancoban and then the twisties that go over Scammel's Spur and down to Geehi, below the western fall of the main range of the Snowy's.

I was looking forward to seeing the snow on the mountains, but the ridge was cloud covered.


Next time, maybe.

From Geehi the Alpine Way kicks up and over a ridge, back into the Murray River valley.
There are a couple of crossings at Tom Groggin. The bridges - one vehicle, one foot, are access to the station. Private. Discouraged unless you've spoken with the owner / manager. Gra' had done that, so we rolled down their driveway for a squiz.






















Tom Groggin is a bit of an icon, for some reason.

The other crossing is a few kays further upstream (south at this point). It's the ford. Gra' wasn't intending to take the Bonnie down the few km of gravel, mainly because of the sloppy stuff in the last few hundred metres. We'd both crossed it recently - him more times than Julia Gillard has given speeches about how she never knew there was a move against Keven. So we didn't go there.
So, just for completeness, here's one I prepared earlier...






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Old 07-07-2010, 05:57 AM   #8
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Any excuse for a ride is a good excuse! Looks like a fun time
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:35 AM   #9
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Winter days being short, we were starting to run out of time. I had to be home so I could get organised for work the following day.
Make sure that lazy, forgetful boss of mine () had sent me the paper work I needed. That was him on the DR. Only way anyone can keep him in sight is to get in front and make him stop. it's the getting in front that is the difficult bit.

So we ripped back in along the Alpine Way. At least I ripped back in along the Alpine Way.

We'd both noticed that the Swampy Plains River at Geehi was crystal clear, so a stop there for the record.



And there was a dam that I'd never noticed before, so I stopped for a few snaps there.





The I acted like Con the Fruiterer....waiting, waiting....
And then along came Gra'



His nipples were in no danger of being eroded by the bitumen.


Straight back into Mexico and we turned left into Upper Murray Road. Dairy country. Gra' knew of one more private bridge, on Findlay's Dairy, plus three others that were marked. But Findlay's was the priority, since he'd made arrangements for us to get onto the farm. Correction. He'd made arrangements for ME to get onto the farm.

This is the bridge. Yep, big deal you say.



I'm hearin' ya!!!






"Ahhh, the serenity."

Except for the bit through the dairy. That was a PhD - piled higher and deeper! Then there was the bit down the slope. That was only about 4 or 5" deep. And then there was the bit along the river flat. Just around 3" deep.


I think the farm tractor was spinning 'em up in ti. What chance did I have.

"Ohhh, the odour!!!" Cow shit on hot exhaust. Breathe it in!

Three more to do.
All the way along Upper Murray Road to Damm's Farm.


They drive B-double milk tankers across here. Fair dinkum.






Gra' and the bloke working there had a bit of a chin wag about the dairy tankers and milk testing and milk tankers crashing and driver's being killed.

Turn around and back to Biggara Bridge.









What were they on???




Not a great deal of warmth left in the day. And I've still got around 200+km to get home.

Anyhow. Finally, Indi Bridge. But not straight away.

This little loop proved fantastic. It works out around 30km for the full loop from the Alpine Way. Nice winding road on the Victorian side, then cross at Biggara Bridge and have a fang back north along this narrow gutted, bumpy winding stretch that leads up and over a spur. Down side? It's a farm road and the only traffic along here would be the locals. But as a half hour sidetrack - it rocks.









Then there was the sobering discovery of the biggest wombat hole in Australia, if not the world!


Just the sort of reminder I needed as it got late in the arvo!

From there, it was back to Corryong to be insulted by the people at the bakery, again. And then using a combination of interpreted instructions and my Zumo, I took a short cut through Cudgewa North Road and Cudgewa Bluff Road direct into Walwa. And I only had two crashes - without falling - whilst I slowed my brain back down to gravel road speed. Both classics of target fixation and not getting off the back brake. I got away with it, again. I know I know better.

At least that put me in a good frame of mind for the back road blast, through Jingellic, Lankeys Creek, Four Mile Lane, Clifton Rd and Livingstone to home. 5.30pm, just as it was getting dark. Just in time to upset my teenage son by letting him know that I would be taking him to the swimming squad <---him. me ---->

Good ride, enjoyed by all.

Next morning, the 690 refused to start.

Things that make you go 'hhhhmmmmm'

Write at ya!
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:11 PM   #10
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Ray......brilliant piece of work...Im sending the link to my girls in California.... the younger ones husband was born and raised just a bit downstream from Bringenbrong Bridge...

Thanks a heap

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Old 07-08-2010, 01:25 AM   #11
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Fabulous!!!!! God, I wish I had been with you. Just my sort of thing!
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:04 PM   #12
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Great ride report, Awesome pics!!! Makes me want to jump on the bike and go for a nice long ride
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:21 AM   #13
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Really fantastic pics Ray - well done
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:05 PM   #14
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nice one ray
nice trumpy gra
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:36 AM   #15
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Good stuff, great pics!
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