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Bonang: Misadventure Revisited

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by titus, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. Long term inmates may recall my faltering attempts to do the Bonang about three years ago (was it that long?), in which bikes were wrecked, the odd bone broken (not mine, although I will not describe that as fortunate out of respect for the damaged), tyres deflated and luggage misplaced. Despite all this, some fun was had.

    I never did get a clean run at the Bonang, and so this year I hatched a plan to give myself two bites at the cherry just to make sure. I decided on a Friday night departure to give us enough time in the good stuff, so after work I headed off (with friends) through Lysterfield, Berwick and on to Sale. We stopped at the Gippsland Hotel which turned out to be an excellent choice – very reasonable prices, helpful owners, nice meals and comfy facilities. If only the Maccas across the road didn’t attract yahoos at 4am everything would have been perfect.

    Anyway, a cloudy but dry Saturday morning saw the Bengwarden Road, Bruthen and Orbost dealt with by mid morning.

    I will confess just a little bit of trepidation as we head into the twisties after that last debacle, but before too long the corners are starting to string together nicely, the new Metzeler M7s are gripping and I’m feelin’ it. We all are. The road conditions are perfect with smooth tar, no litter and no traffic. The overcast actually makes vision easier too. Things go so well I find myself doing silly things just for shits and giggles, and it just goes on and on and on. Did I mention I love these tyres?

    The first dirt section signals a break from the fun, and after that our resident dirtmaster shows the rest of us how much we have to learn. The first 4km at the southern end is pretty corrugated but not scary, just uncomfortable. After that it’s fairly smooth and hard packed with just the odd bit of fine gravel here and there. No problems.
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  2. Stupidity resumes with the tar at the northern end and we are very well satisfied when we roll into Delegate for lunch. Drop our gear at the pub and head off east for the coast.

    Somebody notices that old mate has blown a headlight, and a survey of Bombala yields no result. We’ll try Eden. We somehow get tangled up in a group of Hoglies until Wyndham but it’s not really a problem, they scoot along respectably. Through Cathcart the cloud descends and we are riding through mist and fog, which turns to drizzle on the descent down the Mt Darragh twisties. Never mind, I like riding in the rain as long as it’s not cold. The road dries before hitting the Princes Highway and on to Eden.

    Now here, we manage to find headlight globes and in hindsight should have just carried them until the night’s stop (in daylight). But instead we mucked round taking a bit to long making everything just right, as we would later realise.

    Old mate asks our opinion of the state of his rear Diablo Rosso Corsa, and all confidently agree it’s got a thousand k’s in it yet. Maybe two.

    The run up Imlay road was a first for me. It’s plain to see that many kittens have met their maker up there and we may have added to the count. It’s kind of eery howling through those clearfelled logging coups and catching glimpses of the mountains all around. Another stop where it meets the Monaro. By the time we hit Bombala servo it’s 6.50pm. It closes at 6.45. Bugger.

    There’s a good dealing of effing and wailing, and toting up of kilometres for tomorrow’s route, for a good ten minutes, and then someone decides to check if there is another servo. By golly, yes there is! We shoot down the road and get there at, oh… 6.05pm. It closed. At 6pm. Bugger.

    On top of that, it is noticed that a very significant amount of rubber has somehow evaporated off old mate’s rear Diablo Rosso Corsa. In fact you can see little bits of metal here and there. How the f*&% did that happen? Oh yeah… Imlay.
    Double bugger.

    Very surly ride back to the Delegate pub at this point. Tomorrow is a long day without backtracking for fuel, and then there’s the tyre.

    Fortunately an angel hears our wails, and in the pub we meet up with the repair shop owner who, lo and behold, produces the keys a fuel pump across the street! Even has premium, god bless him for a Sprint ST riding saint. (Geddit?)
    So that one obstacle out of the way, we settle in for a vey nice night in the highly recommended Delegate pub.
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  3. Sunday
    Dawn is cool and foggy, as the high plains are wont to be. The street is deserted just like a Clint Eastwood movie. But cruising out of town the sun breaks through for what will be a sparkling blue day ahead.

    It’s true, there are views to be had on the Bonang. Taking it easy in sympathy for our tyre-hobbled brother, there is a chance to take them in this morning, wherever the trees clear. Particularly at the northern end. But pretty soon consideration =gives way to hooliganism. We regroup after the dirt to breathe the fresh mountain air. Right at this point a highway patrol rolls past while we are stopped, heading north. Hmmm.
    That's the 'Old Bonang Highway' going up the hill - anyone interested?
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  4. There is no restraint on the remaining 80km of corners. None at all, and no thought for the hindmost either. Try as I might I cannot stay with the young gun but this is nothing new. I think I did pretty good to make the Orbost servo just as he was removing his helmet. That’s an improvement. No slips, no slides, no moments – just pure simple fun on a sunny Sunday morning.

    Our tailender limps in only a few minutes later, and the Pirelli is still hanging in there, even though he’s forgot himself and given it a caning. Let’s risk Bairnsdale. He makes it, but decides that that is enough gambling and will stay overnight to get it replaced in the morning.

    The rest of us go exploring through Lindenow, Glenaladale, Stockdale, Briagalong. It’s a beautiful, entertaining ride and all new to me. Must come back. Heyfield and the Old Sale Road before splitting up and heading home.
    Did it. Twice. Bloody lovely.

    Was it another misadventure? If it was me sitting in Bairnsdale I might think so. But I would still be bloody glad I did it, I know that.

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  5. Great writeup titustitus Interested that the Bonang has more unsealed bits now. Used to be only that one stretch at the NSW end. Does it look like they are working on sealing it or just letting it decay?
  6. Whats the road surface of The Imlay like now, 2 visits ago maybe 5 years back they had it really nice, last visit 2 years back it was fing horrible with wacken great 100mm vertical longitudinal ridges in the bends from the Logging Jinkers.Its scary fast with a good surface to work with.
  7. Perhaps the last you saw of it, it was all one long dirt stretch? It's actually less than it was (unsealed that is).
    It's hasn't changed much since three years ago. The 13km stretch of dirt in the middle hasn't been touched since then.
    The dirt on the NSW side of the border is now only 4km long - was probably 10km last time. They are working on this bit but making painfully slow progress. Looks like they are working on about 200m at a time!
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  8. #8 titus, Feb 23, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
    It's good actually, but I've heard (from Mr Flibble among others) that it's much better east-west than west-east, because that's the way the trucks go.
    But we thought it may be very abrasive because my mate's Pirelli went from OK to GONE in 100km!
    Agree about the scary fast...
  9. When we went down it, there was 2km of unsealed, then a further 12km (I think..) a bit later. Seems the first bit is growing??
  10. Those are my estimates, quite possibly inaccurate ;)
  11. Great write up, thanks for sharing. The Bonang is a must for any motorcyclist that wants to tour, its so much fun.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. A very convincing plug for the Bonang Highway titustitus. :] It's added to my list of touring roads now. A really enjoyable read; the Roads and Touring section is doing very well with reports like this one.
  13. Great write-up titustitus

    I'm well overdue another run on it.
  14. I did it a few weeks back and the dirt section is getting shorter, and yes its easier on the dirt from the North heading south .. felt shorter on the way back also, but probably only because of the anticipation of the upcoming sealed road twisting awesomeness.
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  15. This a road that is on my must do list.....
  16. It would be a great ride over to Delegate from your area, I'm a bit envious.
  17. The road from Jindabyne to Bombala is a race track, but last time I did it there was still some dirt, I believe it's all sealed now. I've also down the run from Bombala to Cathcart and on to Merimbula a couple of times and of course Brown Mountain.
  18. Great roads. I wish they weren't quite so far from home but every time we go I find another interesting little detour to break up the slab.
    Snowy Mountain Way is indeed fully sealed from Jindy to Bombala.
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  19. Well written. Sounds like you had a brilliant time!