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Bushfire affected areas

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by MadStu, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. With my role as a CFA volunteer firefighter I was requested to go to Kinglake West on Sunday evening and returning on Monday morning. Instead of the usual gig where we get bussed into a staging area just out of the fire and then hop onto the trucks, I was asked to provide my own transport to Kinglake West fire station.

    Without much hesitation I chose to take my bike instead of the car thinking that this may provide a good opportunity to ride some of the roads in the area we all love.

    The route I took is http://tinyurl.com/dy4x9y Point A is where I entered the roadblock, up to there is still accessable to the general public, after there is only accessable to local residents and the emergency services. I took this route as opposed to a more technically interesting road because I'd been advised this road was clear of any trees etc.

    Point B is Kinglake West Fire station, my destination for the night. Whilst there I spoke to some of the locals who advised that Heidelberg Kinglake road was clear, so I chose to take that route home (what rider in their right mind would pass up the opportunity to ride it).

    The road surface has been cleared of all obsticles and has very little leaf litter. It has also been resealed in sections. I had the perfect conditions to give it a good squirt, good road conditions, low traffic and beautiful weather. The idea of a lovely flowing ride however went out the window quickly. The views and scenery around me quickly became the focus. Those of you have ridden it will know the fantastic road that is the Heidable Kinglake Rd. It's cut into the mountain and has a drop of the side of road down into the gully. I've always found this a beautiful area to look at. Monday morning the winds were nonexistant so the smoke hung within the valley, combine this with the black tree trunks with not a single twig or leaf on them and it made for an earie sight. I cannot begin to explain how stunning the scene was.

    I did not have a camera on me, so I could not take any photo's of the area. However even if I did have a camera I don't believe I would have taken any photo's anyway, as the other traffic on the road was all local residents and I feel it would have been quite insensitive.

    One thing that came up time and time again when I was talking to the locals, they are not looking forward to when the police roadblocks are remove. They are not mentally ready for the "bushfire tourists" that are bound to turn up. To have hundreds of cars and bikes coming through checking out the devistation that has affected their lives so dramatically will grate on already strained nerves.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you don't have a reason to be there please give the area a wide bearth for a while and let the locals recover at least somewhat. I know many roads around the area are favourites of many people here, but there are many, many other roads that are equally enjoyable to ride. Besides, with all the "bishfire tourists" that are bound to be going through there, you'd struggle to get a good run on any of the roads.
  2. Well my perception is that many riders have been avoiding the areas affected and doing GOR runs etc. Some have suggested doing a Daylesford run, however, with fires around Daylesford now and surrounds we're running out of places to go!
  3. It's been a sh*t of a year, no mistake.
    Madstu, important post. As riders, we've lost something, but that's very little compared to so many others. When the time is right, we'll come back.
  4. Thanks for the info, MadStu. Very informative. I've just finished 3 weeks of leave. I'd been planning on spending most my days riding in the Kinglake area, however with all that's happened in the last few weeks.....

    I'll be one to follow your advice. I'll be giving the area a wide berth for quite a while. However, once the local businesses are back on their feet, they're gonna want the day-trippers to come back & spend their hard earned. Only then will I go back & ride the roads that I miss so much.
  5. There are plans in the pipe works for a big media push for over the long weekend for tourists to come up to the Beechworth area.

    Not sure on what roads are open or still closed over that way, but if your thinking about coming up, be prepared for some of it along the highway.
  6. Cheers Stu. Point D is roadblocked also, open only to residents as well. I rode to St Andrew's pub for a beer Sunday arvo. Marked cop car semi permanently stationed there to keep rubberneckers away. Last I checked, St Andrews saturday market is also cancelled till further notice.

    Personally I dont consider motorbike riders through these parts as 'A typical tourist rubberneckers' =; but I understand totally where your coming from.
    I believe most of us here (in Vic obviously especially) use these areas as our playground, and we frequent them more than most, as its our playground. Like lots here, Ive been camping/riding/driving through these parts for better part of 30+ years. Personally to me that to me means we can empathise and care about these areas and the locals issues more than most. We all pump money into these economies via towns we pass through riding. We aren't there just to see the aftermath.

    Once the media blitz has finished, and the 'buzz' has died down, and the tourists stop, the spot light will get shifted to the next big thing. Its then you will see the people who usually frequent these places, i.e. people like the motorcycling community, returning repsectfully.
  7. Well said Movin. :applause:
    Yes it's their home, but to some of us it's our second home.

    I think it would of benefit to everyone if we were to get a 'sticky' that listed the roads that are appropriate to go and visit. It doesn't guarantee that ALL riders will be respectful, but it will give the ones who want to be, a better chance of doing the right thing.
  8. Everytime I read about the fires, it brings a tear to my eyes. I moved away 3 weeks before the fires started and simply can't grasp the devastation.
  9. Hey Madstu. What brigade and region are you from? I'm Anglesea, region 7. We were 0710 up there from sat morning till Sunday night. Were you the region 13 crew that replaced us?

    I've been to Kinglake twice already, including the Saturday night the fires went through. Its fkn horrible up there. I'm glad you didn't take any photo's. No one needs to see that stuff...

    I'm heading up again on Friday as they are predicting it will hit the fan again. Here's hoping for a quiet day mate! Take care :)
  10. I drove that from Kinglake back towards Arthurs Creek as the run up the hill direct from Strathewen to Kinglake Central was a little scary for my passengers today so went back the longer way :wink:

    You just don't realise how big the drop is over the edge until something like this takes away all the trees.

    I've almost always got a camera with me (my job requires me to take pics of stuff) but I've only taken work related photo's for the past 2 weeks up there and that was a decision I took on the first day I got there as I reckon there are enough pics in the media and the locals have been violated enough already.

    Besides I've seen enough distruction and crime scene tape and don't really want to be reminded of it in the future

    I did do my bit by buying my lunch at the Kinglake Bakery and that was the only reason we wandered up into town from the valley. I intend to buy food in town as often as I can while I'm and and out of that area for the next few weeks.
  11. Truth is that apart from the fire crews and the police, neither can most of us in Melbourne. I admit that there is a part of me that wants to go and try and get a handle on it in person. I won't of course, but there's still a part that somehow feels the need to try and put it to rest. I'll also admit that it scares me.
    I keep thinking about a couple of things; how we stayed weekends at a house in Marysville and how all that is just totally gone; and how I frequently took the side road into Strathewan, mostly because not many people did and it was a nice ride, and how that little valley became a deathtrap.
    I don't know how the emergency workers can handle it.
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  13. damn straight it's confusing.774 was even broadcasting last week from healesville to show everyone that ther're welcome back.
    i don't wanna rubberneck, just wanna go back when it's safe to do so.
    but it seems vicroads is saying lots of local roads are still closed while the papers/tv/radio are saying business's need people to come back.
    I come from hospitality background and some of my mates are chefs in the yarra valley and surrounds and everyones pretty much on holidays at the moment cause no customers are around.
  14. The businesses DO need the business, but most businesses are gone. At our end, Ray's is open, then two lost roadhouses (one in Narby itself and the Buxton roadhouse "Choppers"). Marysville will take a long time to recover. Going to places like Ray's means that at least two of the local girls (apart from Ray) will stay in work. If more people come, then there's potential for someone else to be employed.

    The sooner they put the fires out around us and further north and east, the better. The sooner they get the Spur open so we can start to get things sorted, the better. Healesville is virtually a dead end at the moment. Can't go up the Spur, can't do Chum Creek or Myers Creek roads. Kinglake is closed.

    There is not a lot of trust with strangers at the moment. What are sightseers doing coming the long way around to 'have a geez'. It's tough up there at the moment. Nerves are frayed. We've been living in smoke and eating packaged food. Fires are still close by. Friends have lost everything. We have anything up to 20 tankers in the neighbourhood. The army and police have a significant presence. Our cars have been packed ready to go for the last two and a half weeks. We have not had a huge amount of information. As far as most of the state is concerned, there is no fire activity in or around Narbethong. A spot fire last night obviously happened by magic :roll:

    Some areas will be ready before others. I expect that there will be initiatives to invite people back to these recovering areas as they are ready (that's what they were talking about at a Community meeting last week).
  15. just t back from the fires around Dayledford/Sailors Gully 2000+ha... most roads are ok... i'd give it until the weekend... But just keep an ear out for Fri/Sat... Fri being close to 40deg.
    Beechworth well worth the ride :wink:
  16. although i havent come under direct threat where i am... the potential for it :(

    the closest ive had to family troubles is the upwey fires last night... almost all my relatives live up there so was a bit tense.

    i hope the fires get put out soon... my cousin was relieved he was finally going to go fight some after being on standby for the first week and a bit.

    as for the touristy things... give it a few weeks, months, enough time for people to regather n get prepared.
  17. My heart sank when I was heading home (Melton) along Ballarat rd yesterday and could see the plumes of smoke in the distance, as it (looked like it) was billowing up directly behind my place. I've had my concerns the past 5-6 yrs, as our property backs onto open grass/bushland.

    I know it's not much consolation to the Daylesford folk, but was relieved that it wasn't what I first thought. Hope everyone there and in the other affected areas are alright.

    Kudos too to you guys putting your lives on the line to fight these fires :wink: .

    I must say, i've smelt the smoke of other fires wafting thru here over the yrs, but the Monday after Black Saturday was something else. Just got a very erie feeling everytime I went outside.

    I have fond memories from my childhood of countless picnics in the park and swimming at the Public Pool in Healesville. We used the creek that skirts the park one time, as the pool was closed (for renovations I think. Heck, that was 35 odd yrs ago). I even remember dad pulling off the side of the rd(Black Spur) one time, for whatever reason, only to see a couple of lads go screaming by on their rides. But I digress.

    Comiserations to everyone affected by this tragedy.

  18. That's the point isn't it? There simply is nothing left to visit and no one to give money to. Therefore, what is the point in visiting or riding through a town?

    Good luck and best wishes Lil.
  19. Kinglake still has its main town center (just the houses around it and a couple of businesses on the edge were lost. Marysville however, is longer there...
  20. most of the yarra valley wineries and restaurants survived and they need the business. had lunch at tarrawarra on sunday