No, it’s not the title of a dirty joke. Nor was the ride a SaddleSore in terms of distance, but it came close to an IBR-equivalent day doing slower, twistier roads through a range of landscapes. With the R1200RT out of action due to the busted radiator, it was back to the trusty K1600 for this ride. Kiwi insists this is why he has more than 1 motorcycle – I’m not sure it quite explains the need for the other 4 though.
We headed out of Canberra at 3.30am and met Olly at the border before making our way towards Murrumbateman and out to the freeway heading south.
Passing Jugiong and Gundagai the sun started to rise with the most beautiful colours washing across the countryside. I wish I could take credit for the photography but I’m fairly certain all the hard work was done by my iPhone… All I did was point and click
We started in toward the mountains before pausing in Tumbarumba. Bacon and egg rolls for second breakfast were in order to keep energies up for our run across the southern border into Victoria.
Thankfully the temperatures were warming up, even as we headed into higher altitudes – I’d planned my clothing for a day of higher temps and had been on the chilly side at 16 degrees and 100km/hr wind chill…
Next stop was beside Lake Hume, which has more water than I’ve ever seen in it. The boys had a wee break and we made our way towards Dederang via Granya Gap.
By only 9am, we’d used up more than our fair share of drinks breaks and it was well and truly time to get some miles under us. Passing through Tawonga Gap, we turned left to Harrietville and then made our way up the hills to Mount Hotham.
While not notable by any standard on really any other continent, the Australian Alps do have some brilliant scenery and some good twisties for riding. It’s still apparent where the bushfires have scarred the landscape, but the eucalypts are doing their best to regenerate even in the cooler climate.
As we headed back down the mountain, the temperatures really started to climb. We fueled up the bikes at Omeo, then continued on to Bruthen for a late lunch (sandwiches and milkshakes) at the Tambo Valley Honey cafe.
Over lunch I pulled out the cooling vest and drenched it (and me) in water. I was grateful I did because by the time we hit Nowa Nowa the bike was registering 37.5 degrees, somewhere above the 100F mark. One more fuel stop just outside Orbost (Newmerella) where I re-watered my neck tube and vest and it was time to start heading north back to the Capital.
This time it was up the Bonang road. I missed the crucial sign indicating 95km of corners, but the road didn’t disappoint. And not too far up we rode into the cool front that had been promised complete with torrential rain and a few downed trees for good measure. I waved at the couple having a quiet beverage on their verandah (out of the rain, like normal people) while feeling somewhat jealous that it would be a few more hours yet before I had a wine in hand.
Apparently the short section at the northern end of the road puts many riders off the Bonang. It shouldn’t. The unsealed section is well graded and maintained and far superior to the ‘sealed’ section to Delegate where the signs for ‘loose surface’ warn of potholes that you could quite literally lose your front wheel in.
After Bombala the ride was pretty standard, back to Canberra via Cooma. Aside from getting very grubby helmet visors stuck behind a truck, there wasn’t much to write home about. I ended up reading my book between Cooma and Canberra, missing the photo op for our fourth border crossing of the day. Nevertheless we arrived home in daylight, grabbed some ingredients for sustenance at the local supermarket and headed home for a much needed shower. Wine in hand I was a happy lady before an early night and a sleep in.
Overall, it was a good start to the riding year. The heat was a struggle, but we managed to get in over 1100kms in the 16 hours we were riding, even with a few stops along the way. Not quite Iron Butt pace, but a good hit out for now.
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