With the hard work all done, Karl & I woke early Friday morning excited to begin the annual pilgrimage to Tintaldra. This event has been going for 6 years and now is a co-ordination between Sydney, Victoria & Canberra riders.
It’s cool and dark what else would I expect at dark o’clock and we head off to Pheasants Nest to wait and meet with 98% of the Sydney crew. Everyone slowly rolls in and are equally excited, especially Gene who has never been on a road trip before. By the time we are ready to leave the sun is up, the wind has picked up and we are on our way.
Our SR Tintaldra Convoy battles against the winds travelling down the highway for Goulburn – toilet stop thank goodness another bump and I think there’d have been a whoopsie. It’s so cold and the sun is out just to fool us….grrr. My lips feel blue, poor Leonie’s nose is frozen, Eve & Stevelyn are flapping their arms around trying to get warm, Karls’ laughing at everyone, Gene & Paul are off warming their lungs from the inside and Nathan well I’m not sure what he was doing. Time to go and we all have more layers on now, so hopefully everyone will be warm enough. Karl had pre-warned us that wind chill during the day could hit -6 degrees (let’s hope not).
Coffee, hot chocolate, relief breaks and fuel are all in order at Hume. We all stand around having a chat and laugh while some lube up their chains (not me I have a “loobman”). Did I mention it’s windy and chilly. On the road again, god that’s a good name for a song as I bop along to my C&W down the Monaro Highway at the tail of our convoy. How windy is it and the sky is clear as and blue. Looking out across the landscape the tops of the trees and tall grasses are bowing to the sheer strength of mother natures winds, I’m sure even the cows were having trouble standing against her forces. I’m watching Gene’s bike leaning and he hangin onto her to keep her upright and not paying attention the gust that caught him catches me….oooops (heart flutters) pay attention Kimmie.
We all roll into Cooma, still the weather gods are playing games with the illusion of a beautiful summers’ day. The wind hasn’t let up all the way down the Monaro and has us sideways fighting to stay upright.
The usual haunt for lunch and to Tony’s and my surprise we see a sign telling us we can “ride home on Harry”..LOL the sign actually said “ride home on an Indian”, close enough. With full bellies it’s time to go and hit my favourite section of road – The Snowy Mountain Way to Adaminaby. Message from Andy (one of the missing 2%) he’s leaving Queanbeyan – cool.
Old and new faces, lots of introductions, a few drinks in and the stories start to flow as the sun goes down slowly and is replaced with a beautiful fresh evening blanketed by a qazillion stars. “Dinner is served” cries Aisla and we converge on our baked dinner like people who haven’t eaten all day. As usual there is enough to feed an army AND we will still have dessert to come…..yee haw!! The plan for Saturday’s ride is decided, a decent days ride but for 26 riders let’s see how the turn out is in the morning.
It’s getting late and still not sight of our last 1% rider Paul and I make a call only to get voicemail again. Not long after, we hear the rumble of a bike in the distance and then pass by the pub on the main road. Karl and I are running up the side road from the park and I holler out to Paul. By the time we reach the pub, Paul has stopped at the end of the street – thank god I’m out of breath. I ring him and he answers – phew LOL. “Turn around and you’ll see me standing in the middle of the road”. We direct Paul to the park, get him settled and fed as he tells us of his trip down. The stories and laughter are flowing from all directions, where has the time gone and desserts out – Ailsa’s homemade triffle – YUM! In true rider style we graciously THANK Rick & Ailsa for hosting us yet again and for putting on such a tantalising banquet for us.
Time flies in moments like these and it’s time to hit the hay. Karl & I are exhausted and looking forward to a Tintaldra’s night sleep. No doubt most others will be up til the wee small hours.
We wake to a beautiful day, the fire is going, Rick and a few others are looking a little bit worse for wear…LOL. But in true Tintaldra style Rick pushes through and cooks us a bang up breaky of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomato, toast, tea and coffee….awesome.
Those that are riding with us today, it’s time to get a wriggle on and head for Corryong for fuel.
It’s cool, a little cloudy but the sun is up there trying to poke its head through. All up there’s about 15 of us for today’s ride. Once again Karl leads out and Cam has kindly offered to be TEC for this morning’s run. Friendly flashes from oncoming riders warns us that Mr Plodd is up the road waiting for us…..it won’t be his lucky day as we all pass through as law abiding citizens. Once safely out of town and the front guys pick up the pace, followed with a decent gap by Esther and then myself, then a big gap to the back pack. The boys are gone and Esther is setting a good pace until we get to the bends and its brakes on. After a bit she waves we through and I’m off on the hunt for the boys.
Love this section of road running along the river out of Walwa and Angel is set to boogie – let’s gettem girl. We are hunting and soon I see the rear ends of Nathan & Paul up front not far behind the 3 others, hammers down and I close the gap and stick with them. Sun’s out now and glistens off the all the water in the fields and river, casting shadows over the road through the trees, magic. We come to a crawl as cowgirls are herding cattle up the road. They indicate to Karl to ride on slowly through and we do just that, cautious that they could dart out at us at any moment. We get going again and it’s a nice run and a good feeling to keep pace. I’m overtaken by Stevo and he disappears in no time hence the boys take it up another notch. I know this road and know what’s coming up and decide to stay where I am and take Granya at my pace. There’s a bit of gravel through Granya this time, so it’s steady riding and I regroup with the guys and the end of the road.
We wait til the entire group has pulled in and decide to head into Tallangatta for loos and a coffee.
12noon already and Karl & I decide to call our stop in Tallangatta lunch, so let everyone know. Folks are happy as not all are feeling 100% for various reasons or just don’t have their mojo on. What I love about these days is you get to spend time with some of the best people you could meet. Learn about and make new friends that you’ll keep for a long time. MJ’s Bakery did a roaring trade this day while we all spread out through the park and bakery enjoying the sunshine and good company. We make a new plan for the remainder of the day and decide to head back into Corryong for supplies and then onto the Southern Cloud Lookout on Tooma Rd.
The group breaks again and it’s a nice run along the Murray Valley Way. About half way to Corryong we catch up with Gene who is setting a nice pace and so he leads us into the Caltex servo (about 20kays). A couple of the boys buy 2x 6 packs of alcoholic cider something or other and I generously offer to carry it in my top box for them. So with the cargo safely tucked in we headed back into Tintaldra and across the bridge into NSW riding through such peacefulness it just amazes me this country of ours and onto the Southern Cloud Lookout. Again have to thank the corner markers and I waved at Stevelyn to let him know were the last riders and to come.
What a sight when you pull into the carpark of the lookout – purely breathtaking. Words just can’t do the sight that beholds me justice – thankfully I had the camera and I will let it explain. I open the top box to check the precious cargo and OH NO – there is 2 inches of alcoholic cider swimming in the bottom along with my winter gloves and wet weather jacket…..YUK!!! Couldn’t help but laugh. Not a bottle was broken but the jiggling had built up pressure and forced it’s way through the screw tops.
We are missing two riders – Peter & Stevelyn, the last two corner markers. Eve messages and rings Stevelyn but no answer. Peter apparently had gone back to the last corner to check for him but if he wasn’t there was going to head back to camp. We all take in the sights and start to head back to camp ourselves.
Tonight our wonderful hosts have put on nibblies before dinner – they are fabulous. While everyone is having a good giggle about the cider including me, I have to get my gloves washed out and dried for the morning and boy they stink to high heavens….LOL. The boys get the fire going, the gathering around the fire is like a bunch of long lost friends catching up. Beautiful Ailsa has prepared a wonderful Chinese banquet for dinner tonight and again we devour her wonderful cooking.
In between socialising and dinner, I’m checking on my gloves which are still in the drier. Leonie god bless her takes them out of the drier and wrings them out in a towel OMG the amount of moisture that came out of them. After an hour in the drier they still don’t seem to be getting drier. Leonie had suggested stuffing the fingers with paper towel so I figure what have I got to loose. What a brilliant woman and after half an hour they are already drying out much better.
It’s dark, embers are floating about the fire and everyone is enjoying themselves. I’m sure there are many fishes that are “this big” happening tonight. The gloves forever the gloves tonight and replacing the paper towel and more drying, hopefully another hour will do the trick. After three hours in the drier, EUREKA – they are dry. Thank goodness for that, cos I’m exhausted and have to hit the hay. We make a plan for the morning and ask Rick if he could do early breakfast – “of course” he says “no problem”. Karl & I say goodnight.
This morning we awake to pea soup…hmmm. Rick bless him is already up starting breaky and the boys get the fire going again cos it’s chilly. The Sydney crew travelling with Karl & I are up and madly packing. Slowly the rest awaken and emerge from their cosy lodgings, some still wrapped in their blanket…LOL, I did say it was chilly.
After a deliberation with myself I advise the crew we WILL go up The Alpine Way. This isn’t a piece of road I’m particularly fond if but some of these guys haven’t done the road before and you can’t come all this way and not do it!! So, with breaky consumed, a massive Thank You to Rick and Ailsa and the farewells and safe riding phrases are underway. Speaking of underway we should be and Karl leads the way with me at Charlie into the pea soup. It was difficult to see the roads this morning even knowing the roads, so I can only hope and imagine those that don’t are taking it easy. We pull into Khancoban for fuel and we have a little chat to the group about the road and the possible encounters, we don’t want any mishaps. Winding up through the mountain the fog starts to lift (thankfully), the sun is out peeking through the foliage and it’s a pleasant but cool road.
Following Gene & Steve it’s clear to me that they need to be following me instead (that and Angel was going so slow she as spluttering).
Once in front of the boys we pick up the pace a bit and get to enjoy the scenery. I remember the first time I came through here and stopped at Tom Groggin to take in the view, so I decided I would do the same for Gene & Steve. They are wrapped cos the view once again hasn’t disappointed. We take a couple of pics and head on our way conscious that the rest of the crew will be waiting for us at Scammel Spur Lookout. Once again our trusty corner marker guides us up the turnoff and we all have a break, take some photos, use the facilities and before you know it, it’s time to hit the road again.
The crew have well and truely left us for dead and the boys and I are moseying along. I must say I much prefer travelling this way than coming down the Alpine Way. The road is the clearest I recall ever travelling it, it’s almost like a sweeper went through before we got there. A couple of oncoming vehicles decide they want my side of the road for than me so I flash them and further oncoming traffic to hopefully warn them to slow down (I didn’t want the boys having any problems). We pass a couple of rest areas along the way and I think we are doing pretty well. Past Leather Barrel rest stop I see Paul heading toward us, crap. I instantly think we are so far behind they have sent out a search party for us. A few corners later and Karl is heading towards us …..ooops we must be so far behind everyone they are really concerned. We keep going, with me knowing the boys would turn around and catch us up but we don’t see them.
Eventually we pull into Dead Horse Gap where the rest of the crew are waiting. Out of the mountain and sitting in the open the wind is blowing and chilly. It turns out that Paul’s exhaust had come off and as luck would have it Steve saw it on the wrong side of the road “in tact” amazing. Karl pulls up we advise him of where the exhaust was sighted and he and Stevelyn go back down again to help Paul who is no doubt scanning everywhere for his exhaust. The rest of us continue on and will stop at the Caltex in Jindy and wait for them. The road from Dead Horse Gap through to Jindabyne is open sweepers with good road surface….noice! We strike a bit of traffic but you know what, it’s such a beautiful day with the sun beaming down on us, it doesn’t matter. We wind our way through the mountain and before long we reach the end and the glorious sight of Lake Jindabyne. The lake is so blue and the sun is dancing on its surface, what a beautiful sight. Just up the road we pull into the Caltex and it’s not long before Karl, Paul and Stevelyn pull in. We aren’t stopped here long, it’s still early and push onto Cooma for lunch.
In Cooma we opt for KFC for lunch today, as we are eager to get home and the day is getting away from us and the temperature is rising…YAY! Some of us remove a layer and we start our voyage down the Monotonous *cough* I mean Monaro Highway. It’s pretty uneventful and we all regroup on the outskirts of Canberra and Karl tells me to lead the group into the servo we always stop at in Queabeyan. YAY, I get excited I get to see the front of the group but that doesn’t last long as Karl soon overtakes me and leads the way (me cracks shits in helmet). By the short time we get to Queanbeyan I’m truly peeved and tell Karl so. Not that Gene and Steve have done anything wrong, they have ridden fabulously all weekend and watching them grow as riders has put the hugest smile on my face. However I am over being Charlie and need to cut loose, Nathan graciously takes on the role of Charlie for the rest of the trip.
Out of Queanbeyan, through Bungedore and I’m thinking of the roads ahead all excited but it will have to wait for a bit as there is heaving traffic and road works….grrrrr.
Sitting behind Andy we finally get a break and we get going. I’m not happy and need to get mobile, so indicate for a bit thinking Andy had seen me and them vroom, I’m gone – bye Andy. I found out later that Andy hadn’t seen my indicator and I gave him a shock as I shot past him….he he he. The fun is over all too soon as we reach the Hume Highway at Goulburn. Running the Spume is rarely exciting however we did come across Mr Plodd parked in his usual spot as we head down the long straight of road over the wind bridge all of us law abiding citizens. Next stop Pheasants Nest for final fuel for those that need it and goodbyes.
Before he all head off more photos are taken to commemorate our adventure for the weekend.
Karl and I finally get home some 1558 kays later.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.