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My Snowy Ride 2010

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by cragv, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. UPDATED: My Snowy Ride 2010 (missing day added!)

    PART 1:

    After paying for my rego for TSR 2009 and then having to miss it for family reasons, I was disappointed about missing it for months. So this year I paid my $60 rego and made a booking with the Thredbo YHA (also $60 for 2 nights) back in early August, then have been looking forward to the trip since then! My ride plan was basically to take a different route from Melbourne to the Snowy Mountains each way, avoiding freeways as much as practical. The routes I ultimately took for each day (with some deviation from the original plan) are culminated in this map:


    Total distance travelled: 1,865km
    Total time in the saddle: 26 hours
    Total hitchhiking bugs: 432,589
    Total bird collisions: 1 (deceased)

    Each year of my motorcycling career has seen me on a different set of wheels. My first year was on a 2005 Hyosung GT250R, a 250cc V-twin that a good friend long-term-loaned me until I could pay him for it, which I subsequently did and then proceeded to learn to ride and enjoyed my first biking adventures on this machine. It was Too Slow, I decided, so my second year of riding was spent on a 1988 Yamaha FJ1200, an inline-four 1200cc touring motorcycle in excellent condition for its age. I enjoyed many a long ride on this bike, although the heavy clutch and heavy bike (286kg dry weight!) just got me down a bit. So at the start of this year, I went shopping again and settled in the middle - my 2000 Suzuki SV650S, a 650cc V-twin that weighs a similar amount to my old Hyosung while having enough poke to be sufficient for my town and country riding. It's quite frankly a jack of all trades, this bike, and I have a lot of fun on it!

    This would be my first touring ride on the 'zook, but with good gear and a familiar overnight setup, packing the bike wasn't difficult. I use:
    • a cheapie GPS that I've disassembled, waterproofed and then permanently wired to my bike that sits under the tacho
    • a tank bag with my commonly-accessed gear (think snacks, wallet/phone, water, first aid, etc)
    • a Camelbak 2L water backpack with convenient drinking tube that fits under my helmet
    • a larger Gearsack that sits on the back of the bike and holds my recovery gear, warmer clothes and overnight stuff
    • a tarp that sits on the rear seat under my Gearsack that is used to cover the bike at night as well as a potential survival item if I crash in the middle of nowhere, and
    • a 5L jerry can which gives me a bit more courage to tackle unknown roads!


    After a busy day at work and then unexpectedly needing to visit a family member that evening in Emergency after a non-bike related brush with death, I didn't get around to packing until about 8pm - but was all squared away an hour later, hitting the sack at 9:30pm with happy thoughts of the road ahead. The next morning, I managed to hit the road by about 7am and made good time through Yarra Glen, Woori Yallock and onto the Noojee run (pictured above before the descent into Moe). A fairly uneventful run after that until I got to Orbost, where instead of continuining on to the Cann River for lunch (as I've done in the past on a ride north from Melbourne), I instead decided to try a new stretch of road that promised <20km of gravel - a worthy exchange for new curves and quiet country roads! Immediately after crossing the Snowy River, I turned left to head north on the Bonang Hwy, which is a fairly deserted 2 lane road that heads north through a mixture of farmland and dense bushland.

    Aside from the good quality gravel road from somewhere between Bonang and Delegate, this was a brilliant ride. I think I stopped after the gravel for a quick break and to briefly inspect my tyres for any signs of damage (chunks missing, etc), considering I was planning on asking up to 100% from them over the next day or three!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    After filling up at Delegate's combo mechanic & fuel stop and having a bit of a yarn with friendly owner about the great roads, lack of cops and his Triumph Speed Triple he was considering taking to TSR this afternoon, I got on my way and headed east to the Monaro Hwy, then north to the Snowy River Way a little further on. Until now I had only seen one or two other bikes the entire morning (surprising, given the event and the great weather!), but here on the Monaro Hwy and Snowy River Way I found groups of 2 and 3 riders all on their way north.


    Not having planned too carefully at this point, when I hit Maffra I then turned north towards Cooma, ripping myself off in the process by missing out on the Snowy River Way through Dalgety then Jindabyne - a fantastic stretch of tar that I fully enjoyed the following day! I found Cooma was full of bikes and it felt good to finally find a bunch of them together after a bit of a lonesome morning. The day was getting on at this stage so after filling up outside of town, I motored on through Jindabyne and up the hill to Thredbo. Got to the village around 4pm, got lost finding the YHA (it's around the corner and up the hill!) then found a room and unpacked. A hot shower and change of clothes later, I decided to have a bit of a wander around, not having been to Thredbo before. Found a very nice view from the steps of the YHA, looking up to the ski slopes that began right there in the village! Thredbo at 7pm in November:


    I found some bikers down in the main area and had a bit of a chat while waiting for my small yet expensive pizza, before retiring to my room to get some food down, plan Saturday's ride and then get some shuteye. I think I slept like a baby on the very comfy bunk bed from 9ish to 6am, waking up without an alarm. Went for a wander into the village again to look for food and shot a few more pics on my phone (hence the quality - sorry!). Thredbo at 7am in November:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Looks cold up there, doesn't it? It was about 4 deg C at 7am and I was glad to have all my thermal gear on. Walking around in half of it was sufficient to keep me warm, although once I jumped on the bike I was rugged up in everything I had, with heated grips going at 75%. After chatting with a friendly bloke called Gary who had been at every Snowy Ride since its inception a decade ago, we both departed at similar times with a similar route in mind for the day. Most people were heading down the hill towards Jindabyne, but I wanted to start by doing the alpine route to Adaminaby via Khancoban and Cabramurra. At around 8.30am I fired up my cold-blooded v-twin and left the small group of bikes that called the YHA stable 'home' last night.


    ***PART 2 CONTINUED HERE*** - I accidentally missed a chunk of text when first posting this, sorry! Part 3 will be linked at the bottom of that post, so you'll be back onto this page again shortly!
  2. PART 3:


    Now it was time to head down into Jindabyne, where I got my stamp after really having to search hard for the table (it was inside the info centre, no signage - just a lot of confused looking bikers wandering around!), then out past the Thredbo turnoff and up the 36km run to Mount Kosciuszko on the road to Charlotte Pass - the highest road in Australia! (There's a fantastic, snowless panoramic photo of this mountain that I found on Wikipedia - pic here - NOT 56k friendly!!). The alpine roads really showed off what a bustling place this must have been just a month or three back. Snow machinery everywhere, but a bit of a ghost town now... apart from all the bikes! I got to the top, had a bit of a wander, had my photo taken, and took a few myself!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I trundled just down the way a little to the pub which was next to a clear, bubbling stream. Filled my bottles and Camelbak with this pristine, icy water which tasted sweet and was very refreshing indeed! You can see the little pub/chalet in the background of my portrait photo on the snow, back to my left. I couldn't find anywhere to get my card stamped here, and it dawned on me that maybe the table had been there, but it was closed for the day. Not a good feeling! By now it was about 3:45pm I think, so it was high time I headed back down the road to Thredbo in time for the mass ride. It was a really enjoyable ride back, and I had a blast coming back down the fast curves and enjoying the countryside at the same time... although couldn't shake a slight feeling of unease that I was late, late, late!

    Filled up at the Shell at the bottom (late or not, I needed fuel for the run home tomorrow) then blatted back up the road towards Thredbo. After going past the ski tube and finding it empty, it confirmed for me that maybe I had the timing wrong in my head for the whole day. Should have started earlier! Still, it was too late to do anything about that so I tried to enjoy the last 15km or so into Thredbo. Then it started raining.

    Thredbo was a writhing mass of bikes, cars, people in leathers and misc gear, food, drink, more bikes, and of course, rain! I did the loop with the traffic through the village until I got to the YHA, parked my bike and threw my gear into my room, then jogged back down to the main drag with my stamped card in hand. Yep, I'd missed my entry into the barrel for the draw by about 20 minutes I reckon. Crushing! Still, I'd had a great day and at least I got to keep my card as a souvenir! I took a few pics of the main road while the rain was light and the people had cleared, then headed back up towards the little shopping mall to join everyone else for the presentation.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. PART 4:

    (20 minutes too late to enter - D'oh!)

    I found Trent (OCAU.mc Mountaineer)'s number and dialled, deciding to find these guys and catch up. 5 minutes later we were enjoying a cold brew each, exchanging stories of the day's ride while standing under cover out of the now-quite-heavy rain, along with the rest of the crowd. We enjoyed the muffled presentation (I made out two words total), grabbed a second brew and then some food, then headed back up to the YHA common area to kick back for a bit. I had my ever-present travelling companion with me, Peter Thoeming's Australian Motorcycle Atlas, so Ben and Trent were able to show me some choice roads around SA. I'm very much looking forward to a 3 day trip over that way sometime in the next year if I can, so I'll be in touch with you two and we'll have a bit of a blast eh?

    The guys still had 5 or 6 days of riding yet on their 10-day trek (OCAU.mc thread here) and they've since gotten home safely and put a bunch of photos up on Facebook.
    I'll be there for sure, there's a lot of riding to be done over your way, by the look of it :)

    The boys took off for Jindabyne after a couple of hours, then I went and had a nice hot shower and hit the sack. It had been a great day indeed - and it went so quickly!

    I started Sunday with a quick shower and packup and was on the road by about 7am. After working on my core strength and bike posture for the last 6 months, I can happily say that my back and arms weren't sore in the slightest, so I felt fresh and ready for another big day in the saddle. I purposefully had decided to do as little freeway riding as possible today, extending my ride by a few happy hours, but regardless of that decision I was still forced to take the twisty mountain road back out through Khancoban again. Poor me :p

    This time, I stopped at the lookout with the view of the western fall of the Main Range. From left to right, you can see Watsons Crags, Mt Sentinel, Carruthers Peak, Mt Townsend, Abbott Peak (which hides Mt Kosciuszko) and Hannels Ridge. Also, just over the little deck you can see a bit of the road you've just travelled up - brilliant :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Also note just how nice the weather is today - that's three days of sunshine and two nights of rain, hail and snow. Pretty much perfect! I enjoyed the rest of the ride out to Wodonga, where I stopped for a quick breakky of pancakes at Maccas (sorry, "hotcakes"), filled the Camelbak with bottled water (after running out of that delicious mountain stream water - sob!) and then carried on to Beechworth. I filled up there with about 5km left in reserve (although having that jerry can I wasn't worried and could see how far I could push it!), then enjoyed the next hundred kays or so through floodlands and lakes, big green rolling hills and just generally the open road.


    There was a section of road that passed through a lake filled area. While overtaking a 4WD at 100km/h, I noticed a bird swoop in front of the vehicle then duck out of the way at the last second - although it didn't account for my being there, so whacked into my chest with quite a lot of force! I watched it tumble over several times in my mirror. Doubling back, I found the bird seemed to have been killed on impact - may have broken its neck or something like that - it really was a hard hit on my chest. Silly bird, playing in the traffic like that! A bit of a shame, but I guess it must happen from time to time!

    I continued on through the countryside through Mansfield, Yea (lunch and fuel here), then Whittlesea and home. Got off the bike at about 3pm feeling fresh and ready for more - and now, 2 weeks later, I *still* haven't had my fill of riding for the month! Looks like I have this bike all sorted for touring, which is brilliant, because I was a bit worried after selling the old FJ1200 that I was making a decision that would hurt my long rides. As it turns out the SV650S really is a jack of all trades. Get the suspension hardened up at both ends and it's a go-anywhere, do-everything bike, and I love it!

    So until next time, thanks for reading!

  4. Wow... what a ride, looks amazing!
  5. Craig! What an amazing adventure! You have put so much into sharing your journey with us too, thanks so much, I really enjoyed the read.

    Looks as if the 'snowy ride' is on my wishlist now. It looks amazing! I just love that 2nd last photo of the rolling hills and winding road, how perfect.

    Going to show my husband this thread - I can guarentee he will want to do this ride!
  6. crazy dude, thats the way to do it
  7. Thanks guys :) I love sharing this stuff and I love reading other people's adventures too (I can lose entire evenings to advrider.com!). The Snowy Ride is a ripper - if any of you decide to go, I'll see you there in 2011 for sure!
  8. Excellent!!

    I rode through the snowy mountains back in 92 or 93 .... wow... so long ago :shock:.. anyways... im surprised not to see those huge pipes that come down the hill that run the snowy mountains electric scheme... but that huge trout is very familiar... !! I think I have a shot of that in my “photo album” .. ;)

    I rode it out of Puckapunyal to do a reccie on the lakes Eucumbene and Jindabyne for a later trip with the family.... but that turned into another story...

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane... :)
  9. lots of bikes there, i was at omeo on wednesday arvo and there were heaps of bikes with nsw plates. may have been some of the bikes from the ride?
  10. Good on you Craig, what a great write-up!

  11. btw craig,

    when i rode the snowy mountains i did it on a 1988 FJ 1200...

    they are an excellent handling steady bike with heaps of grunt... the colour of mine was Midnight Blue :)

    from memory they were around 260kg

    about 6 years ago i got another FJ 12... it was the 1991 model... grey/white

    it's a pitty that yamaha made such a dude after the 1200 in the top heavy FJR 1300
  12. good write up craig...
    agree with everything you said, did a similar loop with a couple of others.
    we covered just under 2500k over 4 days.
    awesome roads.
    will be back next year...
  13. has the road to the snowy's from ando been sealed yet?
  14. I was on that road in October (long weekend) and there were still short stretches of dirt but there was obvious signs of roadworks.
  15. Well you see I just drove through the Snowies with my wife late last year and we stopped at the Hydro Project then. Took all our photos and such, so I just rolled on past the turnoff on both days. Been there, done that, too many roads to ride and too little time! (Glad you enjoyed the write-up all the same though! I have 5 or 6 others here in this forum somewhere...)

    Quite possible indeed. It's just great having so many on the road at one time. Makes you feel like you're part of something bigger :)

    Ah, great! I had a typo there - I had an 87 FJ1200, not the 88. The 86 and 87 were heavier and had a 16" front wheel. The 88-90 had the 17" front instead and were lighter and more nimble. Same engine though. Great bikes all round, eh? I agree, the cops got stuck with a lesser bike with the FJR! (Although shaft drive would be sweeeet for touring! I hate chain maintenance on long rides!!)

    Sweet! I'm thinking of making it a longer trip next year, too - work allowing, that is! Might even have my brother on 2 wheels by then if I can!!

    I just checked Google Maps to remind myself of the stretch... but do you know, I actually don't remember! I'm pretty sure it has been as I only hit gravel on my way from Bonang to Delegate. Hm, I think the best way to find out is... more riding! =D&gt;
  16. Where about's is this Ando?
    Ben and I did the dirt near Mita Mita on the way through from Omeo...


    Never mind, i assumed that was a shortened name, didn't expect it to be the real name :)

    When we left, we went that way from Jindy down to Bombala so we could do the Mt Darragh run.

    I certainly don't remember any dirt that way.
  17. We were down that way last weekend.
    Sydney- Bega - Pambula - Bombala (Bike Show) - Cooma - Canberra - Sydney. >1200km

    We did Bombala to Cooma via Ando and it was perfect road conditions all the way as well. No dirt.

    I had no idea about this Mount Darragh Rd.
    It was awesome.

    I'm planning another trip South just so I can can do that road again. (Among others.)
    I'll have to do a quick write up of the weekend.
  18. I need to stop reading this thread because I'm becoming quite depressed by it.

    I honestly can't think of anywhere I'd rather be than the snowies.
  19. Craig, way to go buddy ! Awesome writeup, breathtaking pics !!!
    I wanted to register for this ride, but actually 'missed the boat'. This ride is DEFINITELY on my yearly calendar of 'to do' events in future.
    Well done mate and keep up the great, inspirational work (y)
  20. Thanks for the kind thoughts, folks. It's my pleasure to share (in the same way as I love reading other people's ride reports!)

    Now, I've just noticed there's a sizable gap in my story! I seem to have left out most of the morning's riding on Saturday! No idea how that happened, sorry!

    PART 2:

    I started off up the hill on my way to Khancoban, hitting the sunshine after climbing a few hundred meters. After the 1500m pass (no photo, sorry), as I started my descent into the glorious twisties, I overtook Gary. I could tell it was him from the long ginger locks flowing out behind his helmet! We gave each other a friendly wave as I passed, then I nudged the switch on my left handlebar to bring up my fighter pilot HUD on my visor and knuckled down for a bit of a blat! The next 60km went pretty quickly, including my negotiating 2 roos on the road, a bunny that wanted to try on a 33PSI rubber hat (I didn't let him - just), a police HPV heading the other way, and a little later on (near the Snowy Hydro station) a hand-held radar. Mr Po Po gave me a friendly wave as I was doing 60km/hr in the 60 zone - common sense prevailed throughout this ride and I managed to have plenty of fun within the speed limit. Nice views to the right, too, as I twisted down, up and then down the mountain range. What a great road!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    After the Khancoban and Cabramurra loop (which comprised alpine roads and sweeping rural stretches!), I arrived at the first checkpoint of the day - Adaminaby. Try pronouncing that name 3 times quickly after a few beers and tell me if you have any trouble :slobber: I got my first stamp for the day on my Snowy Ride card, had a quick bite to eat and had a nice chat with a couple of friendly riders.


    From there I headed to Berridale via a rural road punctuated by dramatic granite rock formations (I think) throughout the sheep fields in the foreground and by the looming Snowy Mountains in the distance. Wonderful, and a lot of fun! Roads remained dry too, which was an absolute bonus :D


    I got a message from South Australian OCAU.mc members Moutaineer and dark_abyss saying they were heading to Cooma for lunch - from Berridale! So I would have arrived as they were getting ready to leave, by the sound of it. I got my stamp, bought some more water for my Camelbak which had already just about emptied, then high-tailed it to Cooma. Found the guys at the central Snowy Ride tables and had our first face-to-face introduction. Trent and Ben - nice to meet you! We had a bit of a chat, discussed the afternoon's ride plans, then after some lunch parted ways on our own separate routes. I personally wanted to cover as many roads as possible and had a fair distance yet to go, seeing as I'd started the day with the lengthy back road route to Adaminaby. We shook hands, agreed to meet at Thredbo that afternoon and parted ways for the moment.


    From Cooma I decided to take a quiet country road you'd usually miss if you were passing through. It was highlighted on the map provided by TSR organisers but it still took a little thought to work out where it started. Once on it though, I knew I'd hit paydirt - this was a brilliant stretch of tar that went from Cooma to Maffra via a fast, quality surface with excellent vision, camber and plush grassy shoulders. *Excellent*. Oh yeah, great view, too.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Due to time constraints, already being early afternoon, I turned right to head to Delgaty instead of finishing the country run to Maffra (and south to Bombala, the bottom check point). Again, a quick break, friendly chat with the locals and other riders, and the all-important stamp on my ride card!

    (PART 3 here, second post down on page 1.)