2023 Indi-Pac Day 22 Report

Saturday April 8, 2023: OK, the few hours in a hotel room resting and checking weather maps etc turned into an overnight stay at the Golden Age Hotel where a furious game of mental tennis played out in Room 23.

Forehand: “get out there amongst it you pussy”.

Backhand: “awww but it’s cold, windy and it may even snow up on the mountain.”

Forehand approach shot: “I don’t give a shit. We’ve been holed up too long. GET OUT THERE!!.

Full blooded top spin backhand winner down the line at full stretch: “I reckon there’ll be a weather window late morning / early arvo. Lets aim to be on the road by 8am.”

Racquet gets flung into the net: “Fuck, where did that come from?! Ok, you win………..I still think you’re a pussy though.”

On the road at 8am……on the dot!

Saturday April 8, 2023: I made a friend at the Motel who I bumped into at the cafe opposite. A lovely bloke from Wollongong on a Motorcycle touring holiday. He was fascinated by my bike and the Indi-Pac.

Saturday April 8, 2023: and then me…..

Up out of Omeo on the Great Alpine Road to Mount Hotham instead of the other way out of town on the Omeo Highway to Falls Creek, as per the usual Indi-Pac route. There had been a rock fall just before the start of the ride on the Omeo Highway rendering it unpassable, but there was still a viable way over the mountains via Mount Hotham.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Up out of Omeo on the Great Alpine Road.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Up out of Omeo on the Great Alpine Road. Take 2.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Up diddly up.

Saturday April 8, 2023: More up diddly up.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Time for a break…

Saturday April 8, 2023: Too cloudy too see Mt Kosciusko….information will have to do.

Saturday April 8, 2023: And a bit of down diddly down.

Saturday April 8, 2023: yep….

Saturday April 8, 2023: Despite the sun coming out it was still very much heavy gloves weather.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Still going up.

Saturday April 8, 2023: The first part of the climb had been relatively quite traffic-wise.

Saturday April 8, 2023: If those dogs could talk reckon they’d have a very Aussie accent….

Saturday April 8, 2023: Up periscope…

Saturday April 8, 2023: The 4WD’y types love a convoy.

Saturday April 8, 2023: A very typical specimen. Raised suspension – check! Older model Nissan Patrol, Toyota Landcruiser or Toyota Hilux – check! Two-way radio antenna – check! Bullbar – check! Snorkel – check! Stickers on windows – check!

Saturday April 8, 2023: Love it when a stereotype comes together.

Saturday April 8, 2023: ….and up.

Saturday April 8, 2023: As the sign says…..Dinner Plain (pop. 230) also had a rodeo on over the Easter long weekend.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Getting up amongst the Snow Gums…..aka Eucalyptus pauciflora.

Saturday April 8, 2023: 😂😂😂……a convoy of……a gaggle of…..?

Saturday April 8, 2023: Just about to the summit now, rolling through the Mount Hotham Ski Resort.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Just about to the summit now, rolling through the Mount Hotham Ski Resort. Take 2.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Coooooweeeee!

Saturday April 8, 2023: Happy to be here!

Saturday April 8, 2023: Happy to be here! Mount Hotham Ski Resort.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Mountains Aussie Style.

I saw this Facebook Post later in the day. Looks like I nailed it!

(“Still think you’re a pussy………….That was too easy. We should have started earlier!”)

Saturday April 8, 2023: Time for some down diddly down fun….

Saturday April 8, 2023: Fellow Hard Bastards.

Saturday April 8, 2023: It’s not gonna be all down hill though….

Saturday April 8, 2023: Mind the edge…..riding on the left has its benefits.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Love it up here.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Coming through….

Saturday April 8, 2023: It’s not gonna be all down hill though….Take 2.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Now it is….

Saturday April 8, 2023: Down diddly down.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Down diddly down. Take 2.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Down diddly down. Take 3.

As I rolled through the beautiful little, old gold mining / current tourist town of Harrietville (pop. 338) at around 2:30pm, I let out a massive sigh of relief, which was soon replaced by a wide pie munchin’ grin.  I had been worried about that climb but it had turned out to be a piece of piss.

One down, one more to go either tomorrow or early the next and then plain sailing all the way to the Sydney Opera House baby!!

(or would it be? What do they say about ignorance being bliss and stuff?)

As I was unsheathing myself from extra layers, long pants, gloves and extra socks I received an Afternoon Tea invitation from Tim James’ (aka “Pugwash”) wife Sue?? (aka “Wife of Pugwash”)……yep, I just confused myself too.

Sue?? and Tim, both retired Police Rescue legends live right on route and Sue had been the consummate Indi-Pac trail angle to date. We had a lovely conversation about all manner of things; how proud she was of Tim (currently storming towards Cooma), how much they love living in this beautiful part of the world, the Ole Dart, and how tough the climb over the NSW Alps is, etc, etc……..all washed down with cold Coke, hot coffee and a plentiful supply of toasted hot cross buns.

I must admit that my eyes glazed over at the NSW Alps bit even though Sue showed me the elevation profile……….surely not, I thought.

Back into it an hour later and a very pleasant ride to another beautiful, touristy town – Bright (pop. 2,620). I was on a mission to get new sunglasses (I had left my previous pair in Omeo) from All Terrain Cycles, a bike shop in Bright and unfortunately couldn’t stop to say hi to a couple of dotwatcher’s who kindly took time out of their day to cheer me into town.

I had nice chat with Gareth Lentle though outside the bike shop to make up for my rudeness.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Cruising to Bright. The road from the right would have been the road used if the route to Falls Creek hadn’t been closed.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Rolling into the very busy main street of Bright.

Saturday April 8, 2023: All terrain Cycles, Bright.

It was a pretty quick stop by my standards, and armed with a new pair of sunnies and a hotel booking in Beechworth (pop. 3,290) it was back into it, past another booze bus (I’d forgotten how hardcore the fuzz was in this part of the world) and back onto the very busy now Great Alpine Road.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Another Booze Bus…..this one heading out of Bright.

Saturday April 8, 2023: Plenty of traffic now on the Great Alpine Road.

Finally a right turn off the Great Alpine Road onto quiet, back roads. As the darkness closed in I remember thinking to myself, I am so fucking sick of riding in the dark! The reduced sunlight hours in this ride vs the Trans Am and Trans Atlantic Way is significant (circa 6-7 hours, even more in Ireland) and is a bit of a shock to the system for those based north of the wall.

To make matters worse…….yep, time for a bit of a whinge, the kangaroos were out in force. Not the cute little, fleet of foot wallaroos I saw near Mt Gambier, these were the big fellas, the 6ft plus barrel chested Eastern Grays that could at any moment come bounding out of the dark and crash tackle me into next week. There was only one relatively close call that had me slamming on the brakes, but that was enough to ramp up the anxiety and have my head on a swivel for the next couple of hours.

Furthermore……….(here he goes)…….I was riding towards the backside of a pretty hardcore storm. Barely any rain, just an intermittent light drizzle but a ferocious wind that had already deposited all manner of branches, bark and crap all over the road.

In fact when I finally rolled into Beechworth at around 9:30pm, it was obvious that the town was under a partial blackout. Plenty of Saturday night revelers were milling about near the pubs but there were no lights on. My hotel had only just got the power back on. The hotel manager was actually just about to lock up as he didn’t have any outstanding reservations – mine hadn’t come through.

A close call to be sure.

Hello darkness my old friend…..

I’ve come to talk with you again…..

Because a vision softly creeping…..

Saturday April 8, 2023: Beechworth.

The Day According to Strava:

 

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