Not sure where the warm weather went. Or the sun. Menacing clouds are rolling in from the west. Weatherzone has some bad words on the prognostic. Maybe they’re wrong. Hope they’re wrong.
Dan is up early as usual and we go for coffee. The other two are still sleeping as usual. We leave late. As usual.
We head north through some back roads towards the Murray. This should allow us to avoid the police on the main road and follow our beemer friend’s tip on a little hidden gem. Rain arrives just before we hit it but it was still fun. Maybe we’ll come back on the way up for further exploration. We stop in some little town for some breakfast and ron asks for a bowl of chips with a fried egg on top. The lady looks at him strangely.
From there we head towards Mt. Beauty. The road runs through a valley surrounded by mountains playing hide and seek though clouds and mist. By the time we get to the town is time for lunch and the rain has intensified. We are soaked by now and drip dry on the information centre’s floor while the nice lady informs us of the local road’s conditions. Only one road remain open from here to Omeo. We have to through Bright and the climb to Mt. Hotham. Sounds lovely.
As we get higher we hit the cloud base and visibility diminishes drastically. At some point the only way to tell where the road goes is to follow the orange lines that flank the road. Pace has dropped to a crawl and I have to ride with the visor open as there is not enough air flow to prevent fogging even with the pinlock internal visor.
Temperature has dropped to single digits but I am still surprised at the first sight of ice. We finally reach the plateau at the top of the mountain and are greeted with a strong blizzard sweeping across the road. This was not on the menu. Can’t believe that 24h ago we were at Thredbo with temperature in the mid 20s and blue sky all around us. We reach the ski village and start the descent. The conditions improve quickly on the south side of the mountain. Still raining but compared to what we just passed this feels easy.
Omeo finally comes into view and we stop for petrol and to gather ourselves. That we will all remember forever. The day is nowhere near the end though. Next leg is the remaining descent to Bairnsdale through the valley along the river. Somewhere along this stretch the road is under repairs and the torrential rain has transformed the dirt into mud. Ron gives Ben a sprayed beauty treatment. Ben’s visor was open…
The rain relents as get to Bairnsdale and the highway patrol vehicles are all parked in front of the police station. It seems that our luck has finally turned today. A few kms out of town something very dark greets us in the horizon. A massive storm cloud is rolling towards us and we have nowhere to go. We quickly stop for a photo and as soon as we get on the bikes again we are hit head on. For ten minutes we are pelted with rain and shown around the road by strong winds. Luckily the road here is straight as an arrow so all we have to do is hang on and break through on the other side of the storm.
Final stop for petrol in Sale and we ask Ron to enter direction on his g maps. We’re stupid like that. Doesn’t take long for him to take a wrong turn that may or may not be preceded by a u-turn in the middle of a four lane divided highway. We ignore him and keep going. Ben decides do stop and wait for him. He’s good like that. Ron catches up and thunders down the road. As we get to Morwell he takes the wrong turn again. Me and Dan ignore him again. We’re learning. He then finds the wrong motel. What can I say…
We arrive 11 hours after we left. The hot shower is one of the best I’ve ever had. Beers taste great too. We made it! I can envision some snoring tonight…