The original plan was to ride the snowy mountains before the weather changed and stay overnight at the Khancoban pub. However due to the unavailability of free weekends the planned weekend was pushed later and later until riding the snowies really wasn’t an option.
We needed a new destination … and Bemm River is place I’ve been wanting to check out for a while, so this was a great opportunity. So a plan was put together incorporating both longer and shorter routes so riders had a choice of how to get to our destination. The longer route was more technical with a over 100km of tight continuous winding road including a 10km stretch of gravel. The shorter route while more straight forward, still includes great riding roads.
Day 1 – We planned a late start so it was warmer. As we meet up at 10am it was 7 degrees C and foggy … but it would warm up once the fog burnt off. An hour down the road and the fog hadn’t lifted and the temperature had dropped to 2 (35F). By now Deb was very happy to be wearing my electric vest to keep the cold at bay. By our first coffee stop the temperature had managed to climb into the mid teens.
As it’s been fairly dry around here the amount available feed in paddocks is low, many farmers take to using the long paddock (ie stock grazing on the roads edge with stockmen/women at either end) for grazing. The cattle really don’t care about you and just wander across the road in front of you so its just a case of meandering through the cattle.
At Bombala we parted ways with a couple of bikes heading straight to Cann River while the rest of the group headed down the somewhat windy Bonang highway with 105km of consistent tight winding road. By about half way we pulled up and Michael’s face said it all – this road is awesome.! And the 10km of dirt in the middle deters most from using this as their route of choice. The main casualty of the Bonang was my exhaust system with the right hand pipe copping a hiding – Deb said we touched down nine times.
That night Deb was disappointed not to find the evidence of her boots scraping on the road – you know you’re hooking in when the pillion’s feet hit the ground.!
That was a fun road!
By the time we pull into Bemm River, get our rooms, and change out of bike gear the sun was starting to complete its arc for the day and disappearing over the horizon.
Then after a few drinks and a nice pub meal we head back to the cabins for a cuppa and a chat. And being the crazy party animals we are, by 9pm we are stuffed. It’s been a great day on the bikes, and tomorrow there are more great roads to enjoy.
Day 2 – the loose plan for the day was – leave by 9, grab breakfast at Cann River, lunch in Eden, and coffee where ever we feel like it.
Bemm River is a really beautiful spot and it’s been great to share this with Deb who generally only sees photos of my adventures. With such a beautiful location on such a beautiful morning it was nice to just stop and take it in. Be in the moment.
One of the challenges with these rides is to ensure that they feel relaxed, allowing time to take in the moment, with that of getting to where we are going.
After a relaxed breakfast in Cann River we headed north to the Mt Imlay road. The last time I rode Mt Imlay was over ten years ago and I remember that it was very cut up from all the logging trucks but a road that would be magic once a new ribbon of tarmac was put down. Then a year ago I came across Ladyonmotorbike‘s blog where she mentioned that it had been resealed. This road had to be incorporated into a ride. What I had forgotten was the majority of the 60km consisted of sweeping 75km/h advisory corners that went on forever seemingly turning back on themselves only to change direction with another wide arc in the other direction … over crests and through valleys. Magic. This is what my bike was made for!!
We planned on having lunch on the wharf at Eden, eating fresh fish looking out over the water watching the fishing vessels bobbing gently on their moorings. However, breakfast wasn’t that long ago and no-one was hungry. So we spent time simply gazing out over the water contemplating the world, or sitting engaged in conversation.
New plan, head back up the mountain and grab a coffee somewhere interesting. And lucky for us Deb spotted the Ragino Coffee van at the Wyndham market day. They were just packing up but were happy to turn everything back on so we could enjoy a great coffee using their own home roasted beans. Highly recommended.
With caffine levels back to a more appropriate level we head up Mt Darragh, another great mountain pass with it’s own distinctive features including the sights and smells of a rainforest. And then from Bombala a detour via The Snowy River Way to Cooma.
At this point it was obvious that the big weekend of riding, on roads that require constant high-levels of concentration, was taking its toll as the group is getting weary and we are still over a 100km from home. So rather than just pushing on we we pull up at Macca’s (about the only option) to grab a coffee and a bite to eat, and importantly to have a break before we make our way home and back to our respective routines.
It was a great opportunity to reflect on the weekend and say goodbye as we would peel off and head our separate ways as soon as we hit town.
And as the lights of Canberra appear over the hill Deb activates the intercom, gives me a hug and comments on what a great weekend that was and that we should do that more often. Yes. Yes we should.
I have said a number of times that I’m not a fan of group rides. In fact I’ve had a follow-up draft post on group rides for the last month that I just can’t finish.
As we pulled into Wyndham it struck me – enjoying group rides isn’t about the organisation, how fast or slow riders are, or the method of keeping riders together … all that stuff is just periphery. The really important stuff is that you need to be with people you enjoy hanging out with and have the time to just hang out, and be in the moment. It’s too easy to rush rush rush.
While our recent rides have been about getting Deb ride-fit for our big ride in the US in a couple of months … this ride has helped put me into the right headspace for that ride.