On the 22nd and 23rd February, 7 riders headed off to Phillip Island for 6 days of great riding, thrilling racing, superb camaraderie, unbelievable weather (especially for Phillip Island), a few misfortunes, and domestics.
The 7 riders were:
- Greg Vinall on Stuart, a Suzuki SV650S
- Peter Williamson on a BMW K1200R
- Margaret Struthers on a Honda Deauville
- Rob Smith on Brontë Buell XB12X Ulysses
- Nathan Taylor on a Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit
- Richard Bull on Beautiful Betty, a 2004 BMW R1100S
- Ken ‘George’ Taylor on a Suzuki V-Strom
Greg left early to visit family. His itinerary took him to Jindabyne, Lake Eildon, Melbourne, and Koo Wee Rup to meet up with the other intrepid riders.
Day 1 (for Greg) started in Bathurst and finished in Jindabyne, with delicious salmon crépes at the Breizh Café, Ainslie, with his Mum. Along the way he encountered the obligatory kangaroo nearing Wyangala Dam, a dead sheep covering half of the road, and a fox that came within mm of his life leading into Frogmore. The Monaro Hwy was the usual boring ride (although a couple of Sports bikes whizzed past at over 140 clicks – and a rarity, there were no coppers on the road). Quote of the day came from the young female receptionist at the Jindy Inn: “Everything’s easy in Jindabyne”.
The itinerary for the other 6 started on Greg’s day 2, and took them to Tumut, Tallangatta (overnight), Healesville, Koo Wee Rup and Cowes. I wasn’t on this leg, but I did hear a faint rumour about a little incident where the group became separated, and of careful and cautious riding.
Day 2 for Greg involved him losing his license. Luckily it didn’t involve the Victorian Police, but instead involved carelessness, losing it around Yackandandah. I’d like to thank Andrew Dunn, a complete stranger to me, for his magnanimous gesture of lending me $50 at Whitfield (where I learnt of the lost wallet), which at least allowed me to buy enough petrol and food to get me to Melbourne, where my equally generous daughter, Marnie, lent me her credit card and $600. Thanks Andrew and Marnie!
It was a looong day of 720km of riding, including:
- about a dozen roos in the Alpine Way near Thredbo (and one who had an aversion to the bush, and hopped in front of me for about a km, at 18kph!?),
- a wrong turning, and
- 130km of 40kph travel futilely retracing my steps from Whitfield back to Yackandandah in search of the missing wallet. [After cancelling my credit cards, I received a call from the Albury Police; the wallet had been handed in.]
Unfortunately I missed the twisty road between Mansfield and Whitfield, and the even more twisty road around the back of Lake Eildon.
Day 3 (for Greg): The best time for traversing Black Spur, it seems, is early in the morning without traffic and pernickety Victorian policemen – good quality road, nice visible corners, pleasant temp. Could be done repeatedly with these conditions and ambiance.
I caught up with Marnie at The Good Egg, using Google Maps and bluetooth earphones to get there without a hitch. Thank goodness for a daughter who looks after her money. Marnie was able to lend me $600 plus her credit card to get me by until I could replace my lost cards and money.
Because the others got split, I went on to our accommodation at Cowes and picked up the key ahead of time. Thinking that they all may need some lubrication I bought a carton of Tooheys and some nibbles. I thought the carton would be too much for the weekend, but it was almost all gone on the first night!
There was continued discussion for the rest of the trip on the travels of today.
Day 4: at the track, after a slow start. I bought some earmold plugs, which have proved invaluable since.
I didn’t record any more of the trip after Day 4.
It was a wonderful trip with some wonderful roads. We should do it again!