Sunday, 21 February 2010

Blue Mountains, New South Wales

This year the destination for our annual motorcycle trip was the Blue Mountains in NSW, via the Victorian Alps & Snowy Mountains. There were only three of us this time, Bill R on his new Kawasaki ZX14, Marty on his ZX9 and me on the VFR800. We had a great run, despite a little crappy wet weather to start off with.

Sunday 14th Feb - the first day for Marty & I was Geelong to Bairnsdale where we met Bill. Then we all headed on to Bright via Omeo and Mt Hotham.

Pic of the motorcycles at Mt Hotham Victoria - just before the rain started. Fortunately it didn't last too long and the descent was on a dry road.

Our digs for the night - the Oriental hotel-motel in Bright. We have all stayed there previously. It rained heavily from just near Harietville for our final run into Bright. Bill most generously gave me a ride on his new ZX14, which was a revelation in very controllable, turbine smooth, refined motorcycling. Now I have to have one, of course!

Monday 15th - Bright to Bungendore (near Canberra) via The Alpine Way. This can be quite a technically challenging ride due to it being a narrow mountain road, however, parts of it were made more difficult by the presence of rain, some gravel strewn corners and the presence of wildlife.

Near Tom Groggin there was a mob of decent sized kangaroos! In fact we saw quite a lot of road side wild life,including 'roos, an emu, rabbits and a tortoise all in our path at some stage. Fortunately we didn't encounter any wild horses this time, though we could see where they had crossed the road in places.

Tuesday 16th - Bungendore to Katoomba in the NSW Blue Mountains, via Sydney. Being lost in peak hour traffic had both the motorcycle engines and their riders running pretty hot! However, the weather was good and we finally got to our digs at the Katoomba Family Hotel - which was not as it looked on the 'Net when we booked.What a dump! Marty & I had intended to use it as a base for a couple of days, but we checked out the next morning and had our 2nd night's tariff refunded.

The sea bridge near Woolongong - part of the Grand Pacific Drive. Quite a bit over-rated really!

Wednesday 17th - Bill headed of homeward for two days of riding via central NSW. Marty & I looked at Echo point and "The Three Sisters", then  took the road to the Jenolan caves, and then on to Lithgow. From Lithgow we traveled Bells Line of Road - featuring sensational views and lots of twisty corners - all in gorgeous sunshine. We then headed up the legendary (for motorcyclists) 160+ kilometers of the Putty Road to Singleton in the Hunter Valley. The Putty was everything that we had hoped for & certainly did not disappoint! Checked into a great little pub for the night and had an excellent meal there as well. Much to my surprise Singleton seemed like a very prosperous town (population around twenty thousand).

Thursday 18th - awoke to another sunny day and headed back the way we had come. After re-fueling and a drink in Lithgow we headed for the Mt Panorama race track in Bathurst. Saw a sneaky unmarked police pursuit car in Lithgow that even had personalized number plates.

The countryside was very green and  looked a treat after all the recent heavy summer rainfall that NSW has had. After a couple of laps and some pics at Mt Panorama we headed for Cootamundra, but by the time we got to Young called it quits for the day.
 VFR@Mt Panorama - pics by M Owen.

Friday 19th - Young NSW to Beechworth Vic, via Gundagai, Tumut, Tumburumba and a fantastic run along Lake Hume on the Granya road. Before we got to Beechworth we went for a quick deliberate detour via the Gundaring road to Myrtleford and then up Buckland's Gap to Beechworth.

The dog on the Tucker Box monument.

Near Tooma, NSW, we stopped in at the memorial to the Southern Cloud aviation disaster of 1931. This countryside is magnificent on a day like this. China Wall and Mt Kosciusko in the distance. This is my third visit to this spot and there is something about  it that is very special. Difficult to put into words though!

Lake Hume - the colors really were this vivid
Marty on the Granya road, the temp climbing by now.

We checked into our accommodation at the Old Priory. Our room was the largest bedroom I've ever seen - actually it was the former chapel. We had the entire place to ourselves, which was just a little creepy.

Saturday 20th- all good things have to come to an end and so we headed towards home via the Milliwa wine region, the King valley, the twisty section of Whitfield to Mansfield, Yea and then down the freeway to Melbourne and then home to Geelong.

Many thanks to Marty for organising such an excellent route for this year's ride, which was approximately 3,500Ks. All the motorcycles ran perfectly and we had no 'pucker" moments or performance awards!

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