Up at sunrise today. My favourite time of the day is always early morning. Listening to the bush coming to life as the first bright orange rays of sunshine crash through the trees. I love the bush.
I have around 120kms or so to go. I have a quick cup of tea and some porridge. I think it might be a warm one today. It’s already quite warm and only very early. So I pack up Mabel and head off for Albury-Wodonga.
I dodge through roadworks and roundabouts. I climb rutted steep narrow tracks strewn with rocks the size of my head, and Mabel bravely sticks her chest out and putters on. Go Mabel!
As we slide out of one gravel intersection and onto some bumpy tarmac I realise I have been past here before. We are nearly in a town called Glenrowan! For those of you who dont know the significance of this, let me explain.
Here in Australia, way back in the day, bush rangers used to range this bush in these parts. Seen in a weird romantic way as being almost like a Robin Hood type of character. Except they didnt rob from the rich and give to the poor. They just robbed. In this part of Victoria, it was Australia’s most famous and much loved bush ranger and his gang who made their last stand against the police before eventually being captured in 1880. Ned Kelly and the Kelly gang. As I am sure you can imagine, everything in this town has a Ned Kelly theme. As I passed through early there wasn’t much open. So I grabbed a picture of the big Ned and continued on.
The temperature was well and truly on the rise by now and I could feel the heat coming off Mabel’s little engine and the hot bitumen. Just on the outskirts of Albury, maybe 6 km’s to go, and I was faced with a steep hill. Ignoring all the warning signs I clicked Mabel down a gear and racing her engine we hooned up the slope. I was soon back down to first gear, her engine screaming in pain. Her speed dropped and dropped until it was too slow to even keep her standing up. I pulled on the brakes, kicked her stand down and climbed off. It was steep. I gave the hot ticking engine 5 minutes to cool down a little before kicking her into life. As I muttered a million apologies to Mabel for making her work so hard on this hill, I put her into 1st gear and with a gentle rev I pushed her up the hill while she leant on my side. This is one hill she just could not carry me up. As the hill started to flatten out Mabel made a run for the top, dragging me stumbling and swearing alongside. But we made it. I was stuffed. Sweat poured off me. I am an unfit bastard!
After that hill it is all downwards, through sweeping curves. I built up a blistering pace of 75 km/hr. All the way into town. I grabbed a tyre from Albury Yamaha and after strapping it to the bike I headed off out of town. Todays destination was Khancoban. A gorgeous little town that reminds me so much of a Canadian country town. Khancoban is also at the very beginning of the wonderful ride up into the mountains.
I had a few pit stops along the way due to the heat. Both for me and for the bike. She was hot. I was hot. An old fella told me that it was 42 degrees Celsius today. everything was HOT!
Before I knew it I was in Khancoban and it was only 3pm. Too hot to camp and with the mountains beckoning I set off for Jindabyne. Possibly the most beautiful town in all of Australia. I had around 100 km’s to go and figured on 2 to 2.5 hours due to the massive slopes I had to crawl up. Along the way we were passed by a group of Harleys who gave us a friendly wave. But even with me ducking down low Mabel was soon left behind, wallowing in the throaty bellow of their chrome exhausts. Woohoo. We made it up to Dead Horse Gap. The highest pass on this twisting road of goodness. Mabel really started to struggle. I haven’t been able to get her carby to run right since putting a rebuild kit through it and she was working hard for the right air/fuel mix at this altitude. 1570 mt above sea level. From here it was pretty wall all downhill to Jindabyne, a beer and a steak.
Pretty much 3 hours after I left Khancoban, I arrived in Jindabyne and headed for the caravan park. After today’s hot riding I was desperate for a shower and to wash my sweat soaked clothing’. Plus last night in the tent I thought things were smelling a little….well, groinal. Just as I finished setting my tent up a massive gale ripped across the lake and was followed by freezing cold temperatures and pouring rain with a symphony of thunder! From stinking hot to bloody cold and wet with its arse blowing out, all in a day. What a country!
After the rain settled down I ran to the hot showers. Oh my god it felt amazing! Then in clean clothes I marched off to the pub for a steak before crashing out and sleeping through til the morning.