I was lucky enough be again invited to join Ron H (aka Gentle) and his mates on another multi-day tour he’d organised. Gentle is absolutely brilliant at route planning, transferring the routes to gpx files and then sharing them to those in the group who have a GPS on their motorcycle. There were nine of us in total on a very diverse range of bikes. Actually there were a few “twos” – two Ron H’s, two identical Victories and two Harley Davidsons. The rest comprised a Bontrike, A BMW R1200RT, a Suzuki V Strom, my Kawasaki and a brand new Triumph XR800. Everyone rode to their capabilities and to the road conditions and we had no dramas at all.
Pre-ride day (Friday 2nd Feb)
The Geelong contingent met at a servo on the ring road and we just headed through Melbourne out to the other Ron H’s home at Kilsyth where we were all staying for the night. Many thanks to Ron for opening his home to the five of us from Geelong, plying us with Canadian Club and to two of his delightful daughters for making coffees, buying pizzas for us and generally making us welcome.
DAY 1 – Sat 3 Feb: Kilsyth to Orbost
We were all up pretty early, drinking coffee, loading gear on the bikes and raring to hit the road. Peter soon rolled up and we then followed Ron H to a nearby bakery were we had brekky and rendezvoused with Max. It was a beautiful sunny morning, around 23C when we headed out through picturesque Dandenongs out to Powelltown and then on to Moe, Sale and Bairnsdale via backroads. After a fuel stop in Bairnsdale we headed to Bruthen for lunch. It was hot and sunny when we fuelled up yet by the time we arrived at Bruthen a few drops of rain on the visor had turned into a short-lived torrential downpour. As we had lunch and sheltered from the rain, unbeknown to me a bee also sheltered in my helmet (hanging on the mirror). Unfortunately my head and the bee did not get on well and as I wondered for a moment why my intercom was buzzing, I wound up with a bee sting on the top of my skull! There was a stack of motorcycles at Bruthen including a large contingent of Harleys spotted at the pub as we left town.
“Get off that phone Gentle”!
Gentle led us on a very relaxed run in dry conditions with a detour through scenic Lakes Entrance and then over to Orbost where we checked into the Orbost Club Hotel.
I paired up to share a room with Jim C and warned him of ‘rumours’ of my snoring. After a shower and a cleansing ale, some of us ate at the pub and others went to a nearby Chinese restaurant – everyone was satisfied with their meals. We actually ‘hit the hay’ pretty early. Whilst the Orbost Club Hotel was comfortable and clean enough, it had some signage that was quite extraordinary. I’ve stayed in some rough joints over the years, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Needless to say, none of their accessories were required by our crew!
Then this ‘fella started up around 5.30am the next morning! Yes, a pub with a rooster.
Day 2 – Sun 4 Feb: Orbost to Bombala
We’d planned to leave around 8.30am but virtually everyone was up and ready to roll before that, so we checked out a little after 8.00am. I led off and from Orbost we headed along the Prince’s Hwy towards Cann River. The ride through this forested part of the highway was really enjoyable in the cool early morning air with virtually no other traffic on the road. We fuelled up the bikes at Cann River and then headed over the road to a diner for breakfast. With the bikes and bodies fuelled we took off up the Monaro Hwy. I led off, followed by Lindsay. Once we passed a couple of cars we settled into a good pace through the sweepers. Even though it’s a highway, this section of the Monaro is a lovely ride. Every time I looked in my mirrors all I could see was Lindsay’s headlights blazing and a huge grin on his face as he hooked the trike through the twisty stuff! Once over the border into NSW we continued towards Bombala and then took a right turn up the Imlay Road. Again, this was a great piece of morning riding although we had to stop three times for roadworks. At one of the more lengthy stops I struck up a brief conversation with the lass on the Stop / Go sign. When it was our turn to pass she gave us a big grin and said to her colleague at the other end via her walkie-talkie “I’m sending my badass bikers through” – it kept me laughing for some time afterwards! We passed through Eden then on to Merimbula for a leisurely lunch. By now the sun really had some bite and there was barely a cloud in the sky.
Lunch stop in Merimbula
Gentle led off but once we hit the twisties of the Mt Darrah Road he flagged us to pass. Max headed off at speed and wasn’t seen again until the outskirts of Bombala. I took off next and couldn’t see any lights behind me for quite a few kilometres. It was a terrific run with lots of great corners, climbing from the coast up through the bush. Then I spotted a solitary headlight in my mirror, which got closer and closer – it was Ron H on the Victory and he was really hauling arse, I certainly couldn’t have shaken him! We pulled over when the road straightened and Max was waiting. Ron and I ‘high fived’, celebrating sharing some great, but safe, riding at pace. Congratulations Ron – you have the only Victory cruiser I’ve ever seen with no chicken strips on the tyres!
The fast guys on the Mt Darrah road! Ron, Lindsay, Peter & Max.
Gentle pointing out an optional twisty roads route for the next day.
From here it was just a short run into Bombala and to our digs at the once majestic Imperial Hotel. Raconteur owner Steve welcomed us with plenty of banter and drinks to signal the end of a really enjoyable day’s riding in perfect conditions. We settled in our rooms, several with dripping and running taps – there seems to be no shortage of water in Bombala! Steve took our meal orders early, and later proceeded to cook an excellent dinner for us all. My export quality steak from the local butcher was just sensational. Whether the lads had steaks, seafood of vegetarian pizzas – everyone rated their meal as 10 out of 10. As was the cooked breakfast we enjoyed the next morning, which in Peter’s case his doggie bag from brekky also provided his lunch, a very smart move.
Doing what Gentle does brilliantly! Peter, Phil & Jimbo contributing to the routing plans.
A rare shot of John with a stout – it’s usually a good shiraz!
DAY 3 – Mon 5 Feb: Bombala to Corryong
Word and pics soon