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The Beechworth Break

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Peppy, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. 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. SM_E_DSC01904.
    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.
    SM_E_DSC01946. 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!
    • Like Like x 21
    • Winner Winner x 11
  2. Nice write up and pics , thanks.
    will be heading up that way maybe Monday to check out Mt Buller.
  3. Thanks for posting, PeppyPeppy! You picked the best time of year to visit Bright, in my opinion. Very nice photos too; I particularly liked the lookout view of the town. I'd reckon there'd be a round of the kitchen coming up if I chance upon a wet-weather gear discussion like that!
  4. Great write up, thanks for sharing
  5. XJ: Is a really good time to visit for sure. Weather was excellent and autumn colours looked nice too. Not sure I understand your kitchen reference, though.

    Boike: Bulla sounds fun - should be pretty there also. Going via eildon Jamieson rd?
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Not so much a reference...a "round of the kitchen" is an old way of saying "we're about to have an argument frank discussion..."
    • Funny Funny x 1
  7. Nice write up! Nice extension to ur ride, instead of Hume home. Over Hotham to Bruthen, Bairsndale home via Princess highway. Cheers
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Bloke04Bloke04 The Hume option was by request. I mentioned the alternative when we got home and she said she didn't see anything great about the great alpine road.......
    • Funny Funny x 1
  9. Yes, on the return run.
  10. Nice write up and great pictures :) thanks for posting Peppy!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Good write-up and lovely pictures.

    I'd risk almost any domestic disturbance to avoid riding any part of the Hume...

    As a side note, when I was little giving someone the rounds of the kitchen was a description of punishment, e.g., "When your father gets home he's going to give you the round of the kitchen".
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. I think I took that wrong turn through Stanley last year, then it was freshly sealed and was still unswept and covered in loose stones, but gee it would be fun when the road is all settled in.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat??? Nothing great!!!????
    Don't know what she's missing! lol

    Love the winter colours - you captured them beautifully :) thanks for posting !
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Map available? ;-)
  15. This should give you an idea of the roads we took; https://goo.gl/maps/rDH2xgkQc6U2

    Considering we only followed the great alpine road to bright, it hadn't gotten interesting yet, so it looked like just another highway. Maybe I can convince her its a little nicer than she thinks in spring. And if I can't, I actually haven't ridden the stretch from Bright to Dinner Plain (Have always gone behind Falls Creek, which is excellent) so I'll go solo :)
  16. Sounds like a great trip.
    Awesome pics too.
  17. awesome pics and write up, thanks for sharing!
  18. Sounds like she got a bit tired after 2 active days of twisties. That trip in spring sounds like a great idea. It's impossible not to fall in love with the GAR, and I'm sure she will become a fan too.

    Thank you for a nice write up and brilliant pictures showcasing that wonderful part of Victoria. Need to take a week off and ride those amazing roads too.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  19. Nice write up, its a amazing part of australia down that way. Amazing views, fantastic roads, and plenty of good pubs to have a beer or 6 at the end of a days ride.
  20. She needs her own bike mate, then she'll get into it!
    • Agree Agree x 1