The wheels are in the air and we are certainly off the bike but no this is not the accident that kept us in Melbourne, this was a mere inconvenience.
In this blog we make it to the ACT and Canberra ready to explore the capital city and see what makes it tick.
Blog 227 Seldom Seen 15th – 16th April 2012
We got a good send off even Mika came over for a kiss goodbye and yes his tongue was very rough. Ken had suggested given the good weather we should go up the Snowy River Road and Barry way, a 117km dirt road traversing the state of Victoria and New South Wales and an interesting route to Canberra.
Buchan was our last petrol stop and we encountered a group of bikers on a ride out, we got chatting and they suggested we take lunch in the nearby Buchan caves reserve. It was a lovely spot, very tranquil, we didn’t have the time to explore the caves though.
The Barry way pretty much began from here a lovely road, rolling hills and sweeping views. Three overlanders passed going the other way, just around the corner we stopped at Seldom Seen garage. We couldn’t not, a more eccentric, colourful place you couldn’t hope to see and that was just the garage. Meeting Dave and his dog Bryan made us feel quite normal. Looking through all the memorabilia, we found some cups suitable to drink out of and were gently cajoled into making coffee whilst we had good yarn. Dave got all the interesting people stopping by and had only just said goodbye to the three overlanders we passed earlier. We were just about to leave when we heard the unmistakable sound of another Guzzi approaching. It was his neighbour Terry and it was almost an hour later when Terry left and we also made tracks.
We had strict instructions to backtrack to Seldom Seen lookout and swung off on the dirt road. We should have got a bit of a clue in the early part of the track, deep grooves from rain run off criss crossed across the single lane, almost vertical track, after about 6km and by now in first gear having negotiated some sharp corners we were fairly close to the summit. Still travelling up the steep rutted track way we were running out of Omph, the inevitable was going to happen and soon, a valiant attempt to wring the last forward momentum just resulted in, an at first graceful slide back down the incline until the wheel dug in and the bike landed wheels airborne with precious fuel streaming out. Torn between a once only photo and saving the bike I took one quick shot before helping Kev to right her enough to stop the fuel despite him shouting at me. Annoyingly we had torn the roof again but we were ok. Getting the bike back upright was going to be a game, up was obviously not an option. Removing one set of panniers allowed us to use gravity and we slowly controlled a gentle spin to face the right direction, after replacing the pannier we decided to get Kev on the bike whilst I got her upright, not as hard as it sounds now the slope was in our favour. Once upright he had no option but to ride down until the steep slope eased enough to stop.
We by now realised why Seldom Seen lookout was so named and it retained its mystery once more.
We had about an hour left before night due to all the delays and we were just about to leave the tarmac and start the main dirt section but we made it without further incident to the wonderfully named hamlet Suggan Buggan and a lovely free camp at the bottom of the valley. The evidence of the recent storms was plainly obvious with all the debris littered around and we could see the camp-ground had been underwater. We were not too concerned as the weather forecast was dry for the next few days. Kev used the last of the light to source firewood.
The fire was most welcome as the nights were getting cooler.
After a good sleep we woke early and re-stoked the fire into life. It was a cold damp huffy breath morning, the sleeping bags still dewy as we packed them away.
Leaving the valley floor we climbed fast up the twisty dirt road thankful we hadn’t tried last night in the fading light. During the day it was a glorious ride.
We dropped down to follow the course of the snowy river which crosses the border into NSW at Willis where we encountered two cyclists, we exchanged information on the route to come and took photos of each other. NSW didn’t have any signage so we posed in front of the Victoria one instead. Kev and the bike are half in Victoria and half NSW the rock straddles both states.
Tracing the course of the river we paused in the many camp-grounds to take photos. The road we were following is an ancient one along Aboriginal trails. Each summer they came from all directions and visited the high grounds to take part in ceremonies on the home of their ancestral spirits. These trails were then used by the explorers and graziers in turn.
Eventually we headed up out of the valley to the view point at the top, the road was a delight in the dry but you could see that in the wet it would be treacherous. The rivulets of flood water that had formed grooves across the clay/sand were exciting at times even now it was dry, in the wet this sand/clay mix would stick to the tyres and bog you down big time.
Back in farming country the landscape changed again and we encountered some of the marble rocks similar to the ones in New Zealand on the coast. The metal sphere sculpture we saw later on the main highway to Canberra we assume was a reflection of the rocks we found.
All too soon we arrived at Jingellic for a well earned lunch. We had to sit on a log as the lake had flooded the lower picnic grounds, here we made the decision to head straight for Canberra up the main drag and our contact Mark.
Having travelled through every state and posed in front of all the state signage we kept an eye out the ACT sign. Now bearing in mind this is the capital of Australia we thought it would rival the best of the rest. Did you see it?, yep we nearly missed it too!!!! Check out the last photo again.
Having made better time than expected we beat Mark home so Kev, never one to sit idle changed the gearbox oil in his driveway whilst we waited.
We all hit it off instantly and were soon in the car heading off to meet up with Pete Roper and his wife Jude along with others. Pete has been a big name associated with Guzzis from when he emigrated from the UK many years ago. A social evening followed with a few beers too. Pete is third from left, Mark is just peeking round the corner second from left and Ian is the guy with white beard. Ian has been following our travels for some time now even before we arrived here and it was a pleasure to meet up with him. He turned up at Marks the next day to see the bike in the flesh and take some pictures he also gave us a very generous donation, thanks Ian we really appreciated it.
Next up – Exploring the capital.