A week to kill in the Victorian high country

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Andy-Gadget, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Andy-Gadget

    Andy-Gadget Any bike can go anywere

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hobart, Tasmania
    The Victorian Moto Guzzi club rally was on, the Spaghetti Rally, the week before the Australian MotoGP, I had been a club member for years when I lived in Melbourne, so a "north island" trip was in order. I was supplying the coffee for the GP weekend, so I had more equipment with me than I normally take, like a Bellman milk frother and milk frothing jug.

    Due to the five months spent touring Europe, on my 20 year old Mille GT Guzzi, and financial expedience associated with this trip, I had two bikes in Australia still ridable, and registered, my bitsa BMW airhead in Brisvagas, being ridden by a friend from Tasmania, while she gets her house in Brisbane livable again, after the floods two years ago, and my '05 DL650, in Hobart, so the DL was it, no choice really.

    Waiting to load.
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    The boat is a busmans holiday to me, being a Marine Engineer, but a necessity if I wanted to get to the other side.
    The boat has lots of old BSA's heading over to a meeting, this bike is a kickstart 750:eek1
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    Other BSA's.
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    The DL in "gourmand" mode.
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    As I dislike traffic in any form, my main goal was to get out of Melbourne as soon as possible, the boat discharges its load at about 7AM, right in the middle of the city, so it was down the freeway to Warburton and the twisties of the Reefton Spur.
    From the top, Cumberland junction, rather than turning left for Lake Mountain and Marysville, it was turn right towards Woods point.
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    Then it was down the Goulburn River via Jamieson to Mansfield and Lunch.
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    The Tolmie-Whitfield road added to the side wear on my Anakees, to the rally site at Edi Cutting.

    Good to see the oldies in regular use.
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    Doing it tough, nibblies by the King river.
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    After the rally, I had a week to kill, and the Victorian alps was right there, so it was a no brainer really.

    A report that the highway patrol was lurking just to the north was all the justification I needed to explore the back roads from Edi to Lake Buffalo south of Myrtleford, dodging the plod.

    Over to the Kiewa Valley road and a refuel at Mt Beauty, where I was told that the Falls Creek to Glen Wills road was open, but likely to close at short notice if it snowed, so I wasn't tempted to go this way, as I had ridden this road before and so new roads beckoned.

    Last year at the same time the Falls Creek to Glen Wills road was closed due to snow, and I was looking for an alternative way of accessing the Omeo Highway that didn't involve going all the way north to the Murray Valley highway.
    The map showed a camp site just north of Mount Beauty, Mountain Creek camp site, and a bush track over to just north of Mitta mitta, Trappers gap road.

    A weather front was on its way through, so I took care with the tarp setup on my Exped Ergo hammock.
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    With a dry place to hide assured, it was time to explore the short walks in the area.
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    The rain started so I retired to my elevated home, and an evening reading my Kindle.

    The next day was over the dirt to Mitta mitta an a fang down the Omeo Highway to... Omeo.
    There is only 12 k's of dirt left north of Glen Wills, and this is being worked on, so we loose one good dirt road, but gain a great fanging road, swings an roundabouts indeed.

    The Blue Duck hotel (mining slang for a mine that isn't producing anything) at Anglers rest is closed on Monday and Tuesday, so I proceeded past, but would diffidently have stopped and camped in the excellent free camp site just across the bridge from the pub, had it been open

    I fueled and provisioned up in Omeo and headed south for the hills behind Ensay, and the Bentley Plains huts, for a relax away from the memory of the crowds of Europe, with some Aussie isolation therapy.
    I had stayed in these huts almost exactly a year ago, after last years Spag rally, and had an overnight temperature of -10 degrees C (14 degrees F), they are at about 1100 meters, high for Australia.
    With nothing but the Southern Ocean between the high country and the Antarctic, it didn't take much to make the weather "interesting".
    With good gear, the temperature isn't a problem, and the site is such a magic place I decided in the end to spend two days here.

    The weather chased me up the valley, and proceeded to sleet on me as soon as I got to the huts.


    My Exped Ergo in the picnic shelter, a big corrugated iron fly provided by the forestry service:deal
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    Coffee.
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    The view back towards the huts.
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    Walks around Bentley plains.
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    A large hut is just on the other side of the river, too grand for me, I preferred my modest picnic shelter, but interesting to see.
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    My home the the couple of days.
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    And just behind it, the source of water.
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    Hammock camping in cool weather is all about the underquilt insulation, last year I had used an Exped down mat as underquilt on my Hennessey Hammock, in the -10 degree night. And it had worked very well, until the clip holding over let go and my feet go VERY cold, cured temperaraly by curling up to get over the mat again. The Ergo hammock uses a down mat in a pocket as the base of the sleeping part, and so the pad can't slip.

    Some forestry workers who stopped in while I was at the huts told me that the route I had planned for the net day wasn't possable due to locked gates, bugger. The plan had been to take to the back roads to Wild Dog Flat camping area on the Limestone road between Banambra and Seldom seen. so out came the maps for an alternative destination.

    The Omeo highway between Ensay and Bruthen is now limited to 80 Kmh, and so is much less fun, but a dirt road goes from Ensay to Buchan on the Barry Way, and a camp on the Snowy river off the Buckan to Orbost road.

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    The camp beside the Snowy River.
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    Coffee, the machine is a Portaspresso PG setup.
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    The next day it started to spit as I packed up, and as I left, a glance to the west showed that it wasn't "hill affect" rain, so a wet ride through Bairnsdale towards Phillip Island was ahead. My original had been to try another camping spot in southern Gipsland before making my way to the Island for the Australian MotoGP, but hail and high winds suggest hiding in a house was the better part of valour. No photos of a less than comfortable trip.

    I didn't bother going to the track as the prices being charged had gone beyond silly, $70 for a tee shirt, not going to happen. So other than seeing the street theater of Cowes on Saturday, I lurked in the house, a decision made more palatable with the shamozel of the tires and the short races.

    The Monday morning ride up to Melbourne was wet and cold, as was the ride to the boat on Tuesday evening, and against the forecast it was horrible in Tassie the next morning as well, a "just get home" was the goal.

    The 1% riders sharing the ferry with the "normal" motorcyclists were realists as well, sporting a large proportion of (matt black) full face helmets on their mobile stationary engines, sorry, Harleys.

    Till next time.
    #1
  2. Andy-Gadget

    Andy-Gadget Any bike can go anywere

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hobart, Tasmania
    A video of Trapers Gap road from mountain creek camp site.
    <a href="<iframe frameborder=" 0"="" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2859621785_s7JtBJD?width=640&height=360&albumId=32921816&albumKey=shJ4z7">"><a href="<iframe frameborder=" 0"="" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2859621785_s7JtBJD?width=640&height=360&albumId=32921816&albumKey=shJ4z7"><iframe src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2859621785_s7JtBJD?width=640&height=360&albumId=32921816&albumKey=shJ4z7" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>
    #2
  3. Andrew2

    Andrew2 Team 250

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,537
    Location:
    Wollongong,N.S.W.
    Nice report Andy.The High Country is my favourite place to ride.

    Cheers
    A2
    #3