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Taking the long way home

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by hornet, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. After several trips to Melbourne where the ride down has always been more fun that the ride home, via the Princes Highway, I really wanted to do something different this time. Even before I set off on Tuesday morning (121,590kms on the clock), to come down for the Netrider Dinner, I had it in my mind to try and find a route through inland Victoria/inland NSW to Canberra, or such like on the way home. {Of course, such a route exists, as I found, but I've never travelled the high country before.}

    That said, as I headed out from Roger and Sue's place on Thursday morning to ride home, my resolve was weakening; maybe the old tried and true boring highway was better than experimenting, (even though I had plenty of time to get home..)

    True to form, within ten minutes of Roger's, I was lost in the bowels of Melbourne, but suddenly found a road I knew, and more by good luck than good management ended up at the start of the Monash, but needing fuel. A quick detour for a fill up and I was off south-west again, convincing myself the NEXT time I came down, I'd experiment then.



    It's funny how big things swing on small decisions, because by the time I'd got to the slip road that led to Ringwood, I was visualising those long boring straights through Gippsland, and dreading them. So at the very last second (after a good head-check, of course), I slid left while thinking, "I'll experiment THIS trip!!".

    Again, more by luck than planning, I joined the Maroondah Highway just before Croydon; 'familiar territory', I thought, as I passed what was our old shopping centre, Chirnside Park, when we lived in the Yarra Valley in the 80s. Before long it was straight ahead to Yarra Glen out of Lilydale, enjoying the curves and the fabulous scenery while trying to sublimate the doubts that maybe I'd end up at Benalla and be grinding up the boring Hume Highway instead to the boring Princes Highway!!

    When we used to travel to Sydney and Canberra when we lived in the Valley, we always took the left turn at Mansfield and headed to Benalla and onwards. But that was in the car; did I want to do that? No chance! So I carried on to Whitfield, and asked advice of the kindly folk at the local Information centre. "Yes, you can get across the tops of the alps, but you'll have to join the Hume at Wangaratta and then turn off at Wodonga. Then again, that's a snow road, and it might still be closed."

    An endless stream of bikes heading south encouraged me that she was wrong, so I headed north. In no time at all I was whistling the Captain Matchbox tune "Wangaratta Wahine" as I changed down to some lighter gear in the park in the main street, and steeled myself for the Hume. "Look at it this way, it's just a 'Transport Stage', 67kms, be over in no time", I convinced myself.

    And it was. Another leap of faith after lunch at Wodonga was to head out towards another familiar place, Bonegilla, along to southern side of what used to be the Hume Dam, but is now the Hume puddle :(. But a local servo man said, "Yeah, son, no worries, just head out to Corryong, then there's a road that takes you to Khancoban, and then across to Jindabyne.."

    More oncoming bikes; now I wasn't experimenting, just following road signs, assured that this WAS the way home, albeit a long one. But, apart from some rogue fuelling problems, and the constant threat of Police presence being signalled by the on-coming hordes (it never eventuated, by the way :LOL:), I was contentedly playing tunes on the Hornet's engine and enjoying many long sweepers as the road slowly climbed.

    In no time there's the turnoff; "The Alpine Way", Khancoban, Thredbo; woo-hoo.

    It starts to climb straight away and starts getting seriously twisty not long after. By Khancoban the tyres are being scrubbed across their full surface, then the road SERIOUSLY climbs.

    I guess for those of you who've done this road, what I'm saying is ho-hum, 'been there done that', but remember, I hadn't. If you HAVEN'T ridden this road, put it on your 'must do once before I die' list. It is 135kms of pure joy; it is either climbing or dropping, and whether it's doing either, it's ALWAYS turning!!

    I rode it like an old woman, of course (!) but I arrived at Jindabyne to refuel with my forearms feeling like someone had been belting them with a bit of 4x2, and my calf muscles trying to cramp up from the constant demands of changing weight from one peg to the other.

    Here it is in all its glory http://maps.google.com.au/maps?f=q&....745076&sspn=58.059319,78.925781&ie=UTF8&z=10

    The stats are; 2147 kms from 6:30 am Tuesday morning, to 11:30 Friday morning, but stats don't tell everything. Riding reasonably quickly past drifts of snow, only a couple of miles from the highest mountain in Australia is an experience which I certainly plan to repeat. I recommend if you are doing a trip, be mad and take the long way home!
     
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  2. Sounds fantastic! Good writeup, too. :)

    I'll be leading a convoy from Sydney/W'gong to Melbourne in December and that's one of the routes we're considering.

    Can you elaborate any more on the rest of the route? Melb-W'gong doable in one day via that path?
     
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  3. I'd say if you had experienced riders, and didn't have to stop under 200 kms each time to fuel up, you'd be able to do it. I did around 12 hours including stops from Melbourne to Canberra, but with daylight saving at that time of the year you'll have a couple of hours extra daylight.
     
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  4. Good write up Paul, Sounds like you had a ball. And I would never say HoHum about those roads no matter how many times I had done them. :) Even the Police are "relatively" friendly on my few encounters with them out that way.
     
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  5. Are these kms all done by you?

    Great write up - it's on the to do list! I did a mini-tour this week, 1100kms, doesn't quite compare to yours! :) Victoria is a fabulous state for touring, almost as many landscapes as weather changes!
     
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  6. glad you had a good trip, yep some nice roads up that way :wink:
     
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  7. I bought the bike in March '05 with 54,999 kms on the clock, So I've done around 66,500 kms in three and a half years. That's including a total of four and a half months not being ridden at all due to being off the road for repairs, or me not being able to ride due to injury, or both....

    The modern motorcycle is a wondrous device.

    I will certainly be using the Alpine Road again for transport between NSW and Victoria, not counting heading down there just to ride it for fun :).
     
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  8. Some piccies from the journey

    gxLgatS.

    gxLghYi.

    PqQoGC0.

    This is outside the pub at the Dinner, sorry, puny flash on my camera :oops:
     
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  9. You need a better camera. The "Syndicate" shot should tell you that.
     
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  10. Well Done Paul .. good write up !
    How was Corryong BTW? Still the quiet tiny town I assume. Haven't been there in years. ( Cindy has family there )
     
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  11. Well I've never been there before, so I didn't have much to make comparisons with, but it strikes me as your typical Victorian country town. The people were very friendly wherever I stopped, and the volume of motorcycle traffic can't have hurt the local economy, that's for sure!
     
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  12. Did you pay extra for MY-599 or did you actually fluke that combination?
     
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  14. That's cool as it still looks like a standard plate, had me fooled.
     
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  15. I wanted MY-600 and it was taken, but actually since the engine is 599cc, it's more authentic anyway :).
     
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