It had been too long, but I finally scored some time on the bike; Three days, in fact. Only catch was this time I would be taking a passenger, swapping twisty roads for lookouts, luncheons and long walks on the riverside. Destination was Beechworth. The trip started, like many couples' retreats with a heated discussion (read: argument) over rain gear. I was in the camp advocating for and she was against. The compromise was that we would take one set of wets, and the lady would stay dry if required. It was perfect - if we got drenched I could say I told you so without listening to complaints over how wet and cold somebody might become in event of rain. Day one was destination Beechworth via Emerald for a morning coffee then Healsville for some lunch, which went off without any surprises or hiccups. The plan following was flexible - one option passed through strathbogie, another through Mansfield. Either way would be through Alexandra and Bonnie Doon. Leaving Healsville it was time to see how a fully loaded, 2up 650 Versys could do on the Black Spur with a passenger who really wasn't keen on anything close to a spirited riding pace. Without any suspension adjustment, and on tyres that were an insects genitalia from the wear bars I wasn't expecting a great deal. Next time I'll at least up the preload on the rear; The extra weight and a pillion really didn't encourage any kind of pace other than grandma-like sensibility and speed, though this fact is disputed by my pillion. It wasn't the fairest test on the bike, and given different circumstances I think the Versys could do better. Before I knew it we were rounding Marysville, making reasonable progress so it was time to stop for a few pictures, one of which appears below. Image: Towards Buxton from Marysville. Some monotony later and we'd arrived at Mansfield for fuel and a drink. During the break I talk my way into taking the scenic route to Whitfield. Turns out if you zoom a map enough you can make most roads look pretty tame. I still think my passenger enjoyed herself - the views there more than compensate for the hairpins, apparently. And that was pretty much it for day one. aside from some numbness we arrive in one piece, down pizza and beer with enthusiasm and retire. Day two was to Bright, where we would still have beer, but swap pizza for burgers. We'd also walk around and enjoy the autumn colours and a lookout or two. The trip to Bright was fun. We set out almost exactly the same time as the forecast rain front arrived, and despite encouragement nobody uses the waterproof clothing. We went via a wrong turn through Stanley, which included a really nice section of bends. The rain front made similar pace to the bike and we leapfrogged each other until finally the clouds got a second wind and overtook us at Myrtleford. Thankfully the rain was light and my face and torso were a reasonable shield and my passenger remained mostly dry. We took the unsealed road to a lookout for photos (below) and had a chat to one of the locals enjoying the view about his Honda Crosstourer. Image: On the way to the lookout looking over Bright. The return to Beechworth was uneventful, save for the local police making sure we respected the 60kph on the way out of town. Day Three: We decided we had some time to catch a lookout we missed the previous day and return to Stanley and snapped this among the chestnut farms outside of Stanley. Image: Near Stanley, among the chestnut farms. The rest of the day was a pain in the arse, literally. Highlights included dodging tumbleweed, crosswinds and buffeting from trucks. The people at the service stations and rest spots seem entirely different from the locals at the small towns (not in a good way). It was my first time on the Hume, and I gotta say there is an abundance of speed cameras.and not much advance warning of the transition to a tollway. Said lack of signage lead to some impromptu navigation (read, getting lost and pretending otherwise). Still made it back, though. Thats it, trip over. Can't wait until the next one, and hope i don't have to wait quite so long this time. Its a little sad to be within spitting distance of awesome roads and not ride them, though I had a blast none the less. Thanks for reading!