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Weekend Jaunt to Melbourne

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by Grey Gentry, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. Needing to be around Frankston at 11 am Friday and balance my work commitments, I left home in Mildura around 6.30pm on Thursday evening. I planned to stop and stay somewhere south of Charlton, some 300km from Mildura, and complete my journey in the morning. I fuelled up the 28litre tank at Red Cliffs, and hit the Calder. After catching a car, which I followed though the Hattah-Sunset National Park being mindful of the many kangeroos in the park. As I was chilling down a little, a quick stop at Ouyen to grab a couple of Mars Bars, as the next roadhouse that would be open is at Charlton some 200km away. The Mars are very good for warming the body inside out, as is chocolate.
    I rode straight through to Charlton, as I didn't seem to get any colder, the Dri Rider Alpine gear, with thermals on underneath done the job at keeping me warm. I arrived at Charlton at about 9.30pm, fuelled the bike, had a bite to eat, a coffee and continued on. No lights on at the motels in Wedderburn or Inglewood, but in Bridgewater there were lights. I rang the night bell, but no-one answered, maybe they heard the bike, maybe they were asleep or maybe they were out. Dissappointed,but not beaten, the next option was onto Bendigo and stay for the night, big country city, lots of motels.
    Arrived in Bendigo about 11.30pm, rode up and down the Calder on the Melbourne side only to find all the motels had no vacancy sign out. I then noticed that there were lots of units that had no vehicle parked next to them and realized that they must turn on the no vacancy sign, as not to be disturbed. So, peeved, saying to myself, I'll never stay in a motel in Bendigo again,...down the Calder to Melbourne, at least they have hotels that stay open all night.
    Had about a half hour break at the old truck stop at Carlsruhe still open 24hours, it was very quiet compared to the days before the Freeway bypassed the site, then continued on. Struck a little light shower crossing the Bolte Bridge, and wondered if this was my welcome to the big smoke. Not knowing where any accomodation was, and not prepared to leave the bike, I rode around the city looking for a policeman. I found 2 cars parked in Lonsdale Street, pulled into a taxi park, dismounted and ask for directions. Luck would have it I was right out front of Ridges, so I seen reception, parked the bike in their under coverparking, then registered then to finally to bed about 2.30am. As I was up at 5am for work Thurday morning, I didn't take much rocking to get to sleep. It would have been a lot quicker had I planned it to stay in the city first up, but I did get some enjoyment out of a few bends north of Sea Lake, however the rest was just a commute, and now I was warm and dry, and the bike secure.
    Friday, after breakfast, down Lonsdale St, onto the Monash Freeway, and an easy run down to the penisula. I surveyed my place of appointment, rode into Frankston and had a morning coffee.
    At the gathering, I was offered accomodation at Venus Bay with friends which I accepted. We detoured to the Bass Tavern for lunch and then mid-afternoon, they continued, with me following in the rain. We both stopped for fuel somewhere before Tooradin, then onto Venus Bay via Leongatha.
    A couple of Scotch and cokes while planning my route home, put me to sleep early in the evening. However I woke hungry about 10pm, so we heated the pizza, opened and finished the Penfolds '97 red, then had port for a nightcap, prior to putting my head down again at 1.30am.
    Saturday, was planned to be an early start so I could be home before dark. Well it was about 9.30am when I finally hit the road. As it was wet, I thought about throwing all my plans out the window and jumping on the freeway and being home in about 7 hours. However, the route I had chosen from Venus Bay, included Korumburra, Warragul, Nojee, Yarra Junction, Reefton and Maryville, all roads I had never been on before. It was a challenge, with the wet unknown roads, to keep up the pace. As my normal diet of roads is in the dry with on straight roads, on leaving Korumbarra on the C425, I was at first cautious, then with the rain stopped and the road drying, a little faster as confidence grew. Some excellent scenery, and noticed the start of Grand Ridge Road, which I've driven along the Eastern end some years back, but never the full length. Warragul came too soon as I was enjoying myself despite the wet conditions. I missed a signpost possibly due to watching traffic (signposts don't pose a threat) in Warragul but the GPS told me where I was and and after a bit of mucking about found my way back to the C425 again. The run to Nojee was pleasant, with clearing skies, had a bit of time to look about and take in the scenery. Nojee to Yarra Junction is where the bike found its legs even with the wet long open sweepers in the valley floor, (it's good to be able to see through the corners) and with some spectacular scenery thrown in, my favourite part of the whole trip. Yarra Junction onto the C511 through Warburton , Reefton to Marysville. Missed another sign, probably due to traffic again, but with the guidance from the GPS was able to get myself on the right road again. Maybe I should have had a break, as the spur, still wet, took a lot of concentration to keep the bike moving along. With the drop on my left, I found I was wanting to move to the centre of the road for the right hand corners. But concious of this, I tried to stay wide, until you can see the exit. Reducing the lean angle, by climbing off, helped the stability too. The left handers posed no problems, except for the 4x4 that was on my side of the centreline cutting a corner coming down. Only felt the rear struggle for traction once so I stayed in my comfort zone. The area with gravel was signposted and speed limited to 60kph, that was nice to see. The first motorcycle I seen was at the intersection at top of Reefton in the clearing on the right was a police bike, so I stopped and we chatted for about 15 minutes. He laughed when I mused that maybe I was a masochist doing Reefton in the wet. He asked me where I was headed and then about the blue leds I have in the fairing (which were on) to which I replied they make the bike visble from the side and give the bike width, at night. He warned me of the litter on the C513 road to Marysville, which was heeded. I rode onto Marysville, noticed about 20 bikes scattered parked about the place at 12.20pm.
    After quick lunch at the bakery, I fuelled up, then chased a group of bikers that had left a few minutes before me, heading towards Alexandra. With dry roads at last, I caught up with them about Buxton, rode behind them for a few minutes, however this group was travelling a little slower that I needed, after overtaking a couple of them first, then finding another section of clear road I put the A1 back up to cruising speed.
    Alexandra, Yea to Seymour was nice and open and onto Heathcote via C384 and from there on was on roads I'd ridden before. Was flashed by an oncoming car leaving Bendigo, and the camera was passed with out a snapshot being taken. The bike needed fuel at Charlton and I needed a Powerade for a headache (suspected dehydration). At 4.15pm, I rang my wife and gave her an ETA of 7.30pm. Being Saturday afternoon in the country, I was aware of the football being played in the many towns along the Calder and the possibility of seeing a breath test stations and speed checking devices. North of Wycheproof there is a straight section of road to Dumosa which I have in the past seen inhabitted by these speed checking devices. It was there, as expected, but the operater was busy doing his job, chatting to a P-plater in a Holden ute. Further on at Culgoa, where I was breathtested once, another couple of vehicles were doing the rounds of the footy oval, so apart from a few that had left the footy traveling back to Sea Lake I had clear road ahead. After Sea Lake, the sweepers (can be made into corners, just add some right wrist) were enjoyed, but with a darkening sky, the throttle was feathered and we loafed into Ouyen. With a short break of 15 minutes taken, and only 100km to go, I followed a car through the 'roo country around Hattah, to Mildura arriving home at 7.30pm as predicted.
    The Reefton Spur compares with the Oxly Highway, but it seemed a little narrower and tighter. The Nojee to Yarra junction I found I enjoyed the most, but there is plenty of good stuff, both tight and open, to challenge oneself, in the ride from Korumburra to Warragul. I think I'll have to ring up a mate in Yarra Junction for some accomodation soon.

  2. sounds like fun :D

    as for your welcome to melbourne with rain, chances are if you came 30 minutes earlier, you'd think it was summer :p
    Melb's a bit odd that way :p

    so the police bike man didn't care about the LED's in the end?

    good to hear you're back in one piece :D
  3. You got some nice roads in there mate!