1. The Hotham Salute – This is a form of polite greeting used by motorcyclists when greeting their fellow riders after a particularly hard piece of riding. It expresses joy, satisfaction and brotherhood. It involves making a fist out of your right hand and then raising the middle finger. The original Hotham salute involves keeping the palm of the hand turned upwards so the middle finger points vertically upwards (known as the Hotham Classic). There are several variations of this simple greeting now in operation.
2. LightArse – A person who packs light for a trip and intentionally leaves out essential items like toothpaste and chain lube that he plans to borrow off his travel partners. A lightarse is also known to order just the burger at mcdonalds and then steal other people’s chips when they’re not looking…
The 4 bikerteers arrived (Dan, Joel, Jarred & Harry) well in time for a 6:30AM departure from Sylvannia Maccas. The 5th bikerteer, Robbo, was sorting out issues with the red dragon and was planning to join us further down the road. The highlight of the departure was Jarred firing up his new pride n joy, the twin, which inaword sounded IncrediblyAwesome. We had a blissful, zero traffic, run down Old Princes and up MacPass, events of a few days past fresh in our minds as we passed Coralee point. Slabbed it down to Gundagai where we met up with Dan’s “mythical” uncle, who everyone has heard of but no-one’s seen. A rather fine gentleman he turned out to be as he inspected the R1 and then was very appreciative of my choice of bike, leathers and helmet. “The complete riding package” he called me, ok he didn’t say it in exactly those words but I could see it in his eyes. A man of impeccable taste then but what’s he doing being Dan’s uncle??!!
The fun stuff started with the long sweepers between Gundagai and Tumut and into the Koscioszco National Park where we copped a bit of rain. But as we reached the high point of Cabramurra and started our descent into the watershed of the Murray river, the road was dry and the magic really began. The dry snowgums on the mountainsides looked eerie and provided a surreal backdrop to the beautifully twisty road down to the Tumut Pond Dam. Dan was really hot on this run and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t keep up with him. Having ridden the Blackbird later, I’m amazed at how easy he makes it look in the tight stuff. I rode Joel’s Gixr between Khancoban and Corryong and was really impressed. Such a well balanced machine with impeccable handling, I immediately felt comfortable on it. It was a relaxing run down to Mt. Beauty with the only excitement being created by a rather dodgy double whammy overtaking maneuver performed by yours truly on unsuspecting Joel and Jarred, which left Jarred shaken but thankfully not stirred. Mount Beauty isn’t really a mountain but it sure is a beauty, nestling in a green valley at the foot of Mount Bogong. Excellent value accommodation was found at the Bogong Moth Motel and a fun evening was had chatting away over a pint or two at the local.
Undoubtedly the best of day of riding I’ve ever done in Australia, what a magic day!
Start the day on a return journey up to Falls Creek and boy did that road wake us up! Nonstop 35-45 corners and when I say non-stop, I mean non “tip in left, stand it up, flick it right and repeat 2000 times till Falls Creek” stop. Beautiful surface, alpine scenery and fresh mountain air – If you’re in the area DONOT miss this road. Back down to Mt. Beauty and get stuck into the climb to Tawonga gap, another magic piece of road. The ascent is steep and short while the descent is more leisurely and flowing. In fact the descent was so much fun that even the usually restrained Jarred couldn’t resist it and matched the twisty road with some lusty twists (of the wrist) of his own!
The first section to Angler’s reach is technical as FUCK, or so I thought till a wanker on a BMW went past me carrying a pillion, showing me my lowly place in the motorcycling world! The road follows the Mitta Mitta river through a steep sided gorge, sometimes ascending high above and sometimes descending to the scenic river. We then hit a dirt section that is rough and corrugated and goes on forever and we think OK we had 20Ks of magic and 20Ks of dirt hmmmm…and then we stumble on Alladin’s cave. The dirt gives way to bitumen so smooth, it feels like grippy Marble. Corners so predictable they feel like they were drawn with a compass and curves so frequent the bike’s never straight for more than 2 seconds! And just as I was about to orgasm, the dirt struck again! Haha, Gotta Love it!
The reason the King is the King (for me) is 50% road, 25% scenic beauty and 25% remoteness. Now those motorcyclists who place more emphasis on the road itself may not agree that the Omeo is a better experience than the Oxley or even the Great Alpine Way but for me, the beauty of the area (some of the best camping spots I’ve seen in Australia) and the remoteness (there’s 2 long sections of rough and corrugated dirt either side protecting the hidden gem in the middle) are advantages that together outweigh the sheer quality of the Oxley’s bitumen. Not every man and his R1 will get there but I do know 1 man and his R1 that will definitely be going back!
At Mitta Mitta we decided to have a look at Dartmouth dam, which is the highest earthen dam in Australia. The Dam rock wall rising hundreds of feet above the valley floor was impressive enough but more impressive still were the thundering noises that were booming off the surrounding cliffs. We thought a bloody tsunami was about to hit but then we realized Tsunamis only happen in the ocean DOH! Intrigued, we ascended the road to the top of the dam very carefully, expecting some sort of rock avalanche in progress but what we saw completely knocked us out.
We had stumbled onto the highest drag racing strip in Australia! A bunch of motorcycling hoons (A vile and mean looking bunch they were too, the very people who give motorcyclists a bad name!) were using the road across the dam wall as a drag strip and racing their bikes across! Watching from our hidden vantage point amongst the trees, we watched a Gixr square off against an R1 (what a beautiful looking R1 that was too!). Away they went screaming across the dam, sending booming echoes all around and then they turned around at the other end and did it again!
As we made our way out of Mitta, we met up with Robbo (you’d forgotten about him hadn’t you, we ll we hadn’t!) and carried on to Corryong to settle in for the night. Kudos to Robbo for his commitment to the trip. Despite a broken bike, bad weather and a moving target, he stuck with it in his good humored way and it was good to have him on board. Corryong, Victoria didn’t quite live up to its reputation as party capital of the high country but we did manage to have a good night recouting riding stories from times gone by. Of course, the stories got more and more fantastic as the night went on but hey as Dan says, never let the truth get in the way of a good story eh?!
OK you can relax now, get a cup of tea and stretch your legs coz Day 2 is finally over!
I’m exhausted from Day2 so this is my short hand version of Day 3
Overcast, Start riding with full wets on. Too hot, take off wets in front of Tintaldra hotel. Starts raining 5 minutes later. Wear wets again. Get onto massively slippery dirt road. Turn back. Avoid “death by motorbike” suicide attempt by cow calf. Survive.
Experience torrential rain, all sorts of debris on the road and gale force winds en route to Tumbarumba. Survive.
Narrowly avoid a deaf and blind Echidna on the road to Tumut. Survive.
Eat lunch at Gundagai maccas and decide to head home a day early as the weather wasn’t looking like changing the next day. Change plan on the fly and avoid the slab by heading out towards Cootamundra.
Undergo Near-Death experience on a backroad while daydreaming at ++. Survive!
Swap bikes with Jarred and I’m immediately impressed by the only bike that comes close to the “Awesome Feel” of the R1. Coming off the R1, the ride was a little underwhelming but that twin engine is, no doubt, in a league of its own.
Say our goodbyes at Suttons Forest. Me & Joel tackle MacPass, with me not more than 5metres behind Joel the whole way down, no pressure mate, I’m just hanging around! We say goodbye exactly where it all began 2000KM ago – Sylvannia Maccas!