Day 2 Part 2
The road up to Mt Buffalo, climbing on the Lawnmower was a breeze and the road surface condition itself was great. Just a pity there had been so much rain in the area dumping so much debris on the ground, making things a bit sketchy.
Given all the minor setbacks and thick fog which didn’t let me see the lookouts properly, but I still fell in love with the place and vowed to get back – sometime. Although there is only about 30-40kms of the road up to the top chalet, you will want to go slower just to take the magic and beauty in (in EVERY corner). I would have loved to spend longer there but time was pressing the Lawnmower and me, on.
By the time I set off from Bright with my gear, it was already late lunch time. Due to this I skipped lunch and pushed on to Omeo. At one stage, I was incredibly lucky to find two random motorbike riders heading in the same direction as me, towards Hotham Heights.
They seemed to be locals as they meant business! They were twisting that throttle seriously, but since they were playing cop-fodder for me, I also gave the Lawnmower the berries. I kept pushing the Lawnmower to its climbing limits, almost twisting the throttle to the stop for most the way. Every straight they’d leave me behind, every set of corners I would reel them back in and sit on their tail until the next straight. And there I stayed for dear life as the clouds rolled in and fog, so think and windy it would push the bike sideways! Uugh!! No more than 5m visibility in front of me and even then I could barely see the brake lights of the bike in front of me. Scary stuff!!
I was beginning to evaluate my life choices at that time, wishing for the summit and the descent to come quick. This is not something a motor biker generally wishes for, but these conditions were really testing my limits of my own safety.
I was most thankful for the Shoei’s pin-lock anti-fog system since the inside of my helmet was thick with moisture. The water that was collecting on the outside of my jacket, dribbled towards my cuffs but there the water droplets stayed – and froze over at the summit!! Holy cow – I’ve never been in such conditions.
More than a bit stressed, and what seemed like the summit would never end, the downhill whizzed by what seemed like only a couple of minutes once the sun broke and the clouds and fog then dissipated. Just like that.
Once we got past Hotham Heights, I had pushed my luck enough for today and eased off the throttle. The two bike riders twisted their throttles further on their litre bikes and left me behind even at $1.30 clicks – they REALLY meant business now! I backed off some more and once the water started dropping off me, I slowed to take in the scenery. I wanted to get back to enjoying the trip, and getting a little more relaxed past that bit of weather ‘excitement’. I was also enjoying the Lawnmower’s engine once more as it was now all downhill and he didn’t have to work so hard coasting downhill. 🙂 I still made Omeo in record time! Of course in situations like these, I would have loved to have a video camera as I was not stopping for happy snaps.
In Omeo there is only one fuel station, so made a beeline for that and after fuel, some food and a quiet prayer for surviving the summit, my sights were on riding the Omeo Highway all the way to Mitta Mitta. When I rode to Melbourne I did only a little park of this highway but turned off at Bogong High Plains road instead.
So what was this piece of Mitta Mitta Road that’s so special? What intrigued me the most is that Google maps was saying this section of road would take 2.5hrs to do – surely it was exaggerating a little? It didn’t look that long…
So left town and from the Falls Gap turn off, not a person on the road. The corners tightened & came one after another, & another, & another & more!! In the end the only thing that beat me not finishing off the road in one, uninterrupted ride was needing to pee! No! I was holding my bladder for a while, but wasn’t finding any places to pull over between the endless corners. Finally, when I thought I would burst, there was a random picnic area, with a rudimentary looking loo. By that stage, I didn’t care what it was – I was using it!
Hovering over the can without an actual seat toilet, I was reminiscing of the road just ridden: What a fabulous road! I was hooked. 🙂 I think the Omeo highway quite easily rivals (if not, beats) the Putty Road in New South Wales in the fun factor. The isolation, the nature and the lack of cop patrols certainly make it score higher points.
Walking back to the Lawnmower I was able to survey the surrounds and also take a peek at my phone map. I was now mindful of the time that I was not going to make it back to Melbourne anywhere near close to daylight. My thoughts turned to where 4-5pm would catch me and where would I be able to get some last minute cheap accommodation. My best bet was going to be a pub somewhere. However there was no reception here, so I would have to press on and make a few phone calls in the next town.
Favourite random item of the day: The BIG Peter, Peter pumpkin eater stand at Eskdale. I took the opportunity here, to check my phone for reception and make a couple of calls to some town’s pubs. Two didn’t have anything available, and I left a message for another. The winds were now quite harshly picking up, shifting my bike on the stand, so I thought to move on towards Tallangatta.
By Tangambalanga, I heard my phone ping through another pocket of reception and it was the pub in Beechsworth calling me back stating that they had a room available for tonight. Brilliant. 🙂 The owners stated that by the time that I would get into town they would have left (as it was a week day they shut it), so they gave me instructions on where to let myself in and where to park. That was good enough for me!
It was quite late with last bits of the day’s light left by the time I parked, and locked the Lawnmower up. I took everything I could off it, and followed the pub’s owner instructions on how to get in. I found a small single room, very basic and very ancient (but what do I expect for $45 a night?). I dumped everything and then soon realised that although there was some sort of piped heater – it didn’t work. Grrrr. I went around a few areas in the pub to see if there was by any chance a small portable heater, but no joy 😦
That night I piled on everything I could onto the bed and myself. The night got to about 2 degrees with wind that I could feel a bit coming into the room from the corner of the badly shutting window. It wasn’t a pleasant night. If I don’t blog tomorrow, send out a search party as I’ve frozen to death!