Friday, January 7, 2011

4 - 7 January 2010 - Wandiligong Grand Tour

Tuesday 4 Jan.

Marcus (on his Ducati Monster) and I left Traralgon at 10:00 and headed for Bright via Mt Hotham. First stop was coffee at Wa-De-Lok cafe and Winery in Stratford. Beautiful sunny day but quite a strong wind. Next leg was to Bruthen for petrol and then up the Great Alpine Road. Next stop was Omeo and lunch at the bakery. The pies etc at the Omeo bakery are outstanding as was my sausage roll. From Omeo the road climbs steadily and when you reach the orange snow poles at the side of the road you know we're up in the high country. Within the hour we were cruising through the Mt Hotham village ready for the descent on the other side.

The run down into Harrietville has all the 'twisties' anyone would want in any one day. We arrived at the Wandi Holiday Village at around 4 pm for a welcome beer or two. After catching up with all the family Marcus and I walked to the Wandi Pub for dinner. A great evening and a nice way to finish a great day's riding.

Wednesday 5 Jan.

Sunny calm weather again and we started the day with a very nice breakfast in Bright. Having breakfast squared away we headed to Porepunkah and up Mt Buffalo. A very clear day, traffic not too bad and an enjoyable ride. Great views from the top.

From Mt Buffalo we headed to Myrtleford and on to Beechworth with the world famous bakery being the main attraction. Once again a nice lunch and coffees on the upstairs verandah which for once was totally deserted. From here we decided to ride to Yackandandah and back to Bright via the Tawonga Gap. Returned to Wandi late afternoon for a well earned beer or two and joined the family and guests for a fantastic chicken vegetable soup (well done Leah) and Dutch pancakes (complement John and Marie). More beers and cigars and chatting until fatigue eventually had its way. Another great day.

Thursday 6 Jan.

Time to head home. Another fine day which promised to become quite warm during the day.
Left Wandiligong at around 10:00 without breakfast which we planned to have in Oxley.
The planned route was via King Valley, Mansfield, Alexandra and Healesville. The road between Oxley  and Mansfield crosses the mountains which surround the King Valley and this section of the ride was particularly spectacular. Filled the bikes with petrol in Mansfield and then pushed on to Alexandra. Crossing the bridge at Bonnie Doone (you could feel the serenity) proved a pleasant experience - Lake Eildon is full of water again at the moment - and there were plenty of holiday makers and boats taking advantage of this rare event.  Pushed on to Alexandra for a well earned rest and lunch at a very nice cafe in the main street. Hadn't been here for some years and was pleasantly surprised how busy and attractive it looked - lots of nice eateries and interesting shops.

After lunch it was time to head to Healesville via the Black Spur.

Took a break in Mooroolbark at a friend's place before finally arriving in Port Melbourne at Marcus' house. Dinner at our favourite Indian place (Spirit of India) in South Melbourne. A great meal greatly improved by a number of ice cold Kingfisher beers and the end of our ride together.

Friday 7 Jan. 

Left Marcus' at 10:00 for the return trip to Traralgon. First half of the trip was in gale force winds which is interesting on a busy multilane highway. When I reached Officer on the Pakenham bypass I noticed a police car following me. After a kilometer or two the red and blue lights came on and we pulled over. Pretty sure I hadn't done anything stupid but it turned out it was part of a campaign to have a chat with motorcyclist. After chatting about the trip for a while and a compliment about the bike and my riding I was on my way again. The high winds gradually abated and I finally arrived home in Traralgon at 12:20.
Altogether a very memorable trip.

Total Distance 1180 km.

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