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South Eastern Australia

By Wom Battle
Category: Rides

After a good night's sleep in Eden an 8.30am start was in order for the final part of our journey to the 2011 Victorian State HOG Rally in Mornington.  It was the first time I'd had the opportunity to travel south of Eden and I was looking forward to seeing what was about.

Sadly though, the rain made it difficult to see anything much.  We all met up at a local service station in Eden and fuelled up.  There was a noticeable lethargy in the group, no-one rushing to head out into the falling rain and stiff breeze. The plan was to stop at Cann River, about 109ks away, for a quick fuel topup where  The Heffster and I had also decided to grab some breakfast there.

We arrived happy enough, it never really takes long to settle into the fact that you are going to be wet and the additional concentration due to the wet roads and restricted vision keep you busy even if you can't see the scenery.  We arrived at Cann River one short, one of the group had a gear lever come loose and had stopped to do it back up.  What was supposed to be a quick stop turned into 45 minutes as everyone decided some warm food and coffee was in order.  A number of Ulysses members that were heading in the opposite direction to us stopped in and gave us the news that the weather ahead wasn't getting better.  Another group of riders who had travelled down the Monaro Hwy from Bombala also arrived, all very chatty.

Time was getting on so five minutes was called and we headed back out into the rain for the next part of the ride to Lakes Entrance 133kms further down the road.  Happily by the time we reached Lakes Entrance the weather had improved but because of the conditions and longer than expected stops we were running behind schedule so we fuelled up quickly and were on our way.  The scenery around Lakes Entrance, particularly from the steep climb on the western side were spectacular.

The next stop was initially going to be Sale, but hunger got us by the time we reached Stratford so we located a cafe, that turned out to be suprisingly good! and had lunch and a few laughs.  Improving weather always lightens conversations.  Heffster and I decided to hang back for cake and more coffee while the others went ahead, we thought we'd catch them somewhere in the last 233ks of the trip but weren't really too concerned either way.

We did catch the group outside of Sale, they had stopped for fuel.  They appeared to be about to leave so we pulled in to rejoin them and the announcement was made that since I had a GPS I was leading the group to Mornington.  I had no time to refuse, no time to tell them I was a follower not a leader, no time to tell them that my GPS wasn't talking to me and that the onscreen directions it was at that time giving me were telling me to do a U-Turn and get on a freeway that had been closed to traffic.  So with fingers crossed, Heffster immediately behind me laughing loud enough for me to hear him I began heading in what I thought was the right direction hoping that the detour signs would eventually get me back in sync with the GPS.

As we approached the outskirts of Melbourne it got hotter and hotter in the wet weather gear.  The GPS that was finally giving me some advice, although hard to see in the bright sun, kept us on the Freeway and turned us south before getting into the City.  It was about 4.30pm and we hit gridlock and I felt like I was starting to melt.  I was getting more stressed that I might make a mistake and lead the group on a wild goose chase.  Heffster had stopped laughing by that stage.

Happily though, we found our way to Frankston, with the group only being split once by lights and turned south and with one very minor hiccup soon resolved and some guidance by our local we were at the Rally Site, ready for registration and hanging out for a beer! 

The goup Heffy and I were travelling with were staying off site so after registration we said our goodbyes, unpacked our gear as far as possible into our own accommodation (the smallest tent ever made) that had been set up for us by some of the local HOG Members.  That done, it was time for a beer, some Jim Beam, Food and a really ordinary night's sleep.


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July 2020