|Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 - 12:03 pm: ||
Ulladulla to Melbourne via Jindabyne
After taking an adventure route up I decided to come back from Ulladulla on sealed roads through Jindabyne and Mt Beauty Ė more ambitious in distance than the route up. This is the route I plotted in Google Maps. If you arenít familiar with the place names you can look them up in Google. You don't really need to there are lots of wierd names in this tale.
http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&ms a=0&msid=200397136135631909892.00049c66b11625d8baa 75&t=h&z=7
Iíd heard the road from Jamieson to Melbourne had been recently sealed. I wasnít sure if it was through Eildon or through Woods Point. Best guess was Eildon. I decided to try to fit that in but it meant I had to be on a timetable that would get me to Whitfield by 5pm to be sure that I could get fuel on Sunday afternoon in a country area. Iíve been close to caught out before. Without Jamieson the distance was 1,100 km; through Jamieson added another 100km or so.
I set out from Ulladulla at 6am. At that time on a Sunday there was no traffic and the ride to Batemans Bay was great. Iíd forgetten how good that road can be because there is often so much traffic. It seems better coming from the north as well. Lots of 75 - 85km advisories through coastal forest.
Below the Bay isnít as good but not rubbish either. I fuelled at Bodalla. Probably should have waited until Cobargo to make sure I wouldnít need fuel before Jindabyne.
The GPS for my car and the one for my bike are the same brand, have the same user interface and share the same desktop software. Despite this they have completely different personalities. The one for the car has problems adjusting to deviations in the route. I have to put in more waypoints to stop it nagging me to do U-turns all the time. If you ignore the U-turns it gets sneaky. It will tell you to make a turn at some intersection and if you get sucked into that it will then tell you to do a U-turn. If you really push it too far it comes up with a message that could be paraphrased as:
ďYou donít listen to me. Why donít you ever listen to me? I donít know where the freak youíre going and neither do you. Application will now shutdown. Press OK to continue.Ē
The one for the bike adjusts on the fly. Iíd put the first waypoint as Jindabyne, and it had the route calculated through Cooma. Iíd only need Cooma if I ran low on fuel.
Just after Cobargo I turned right heading for Cooma through Brown Mountain. I stopped off just before the Brown and waited for a good gap in the traffic. This was the view up towards the Brown.
Looked like I was going to hit a bit of low cloud or mist. My father avoided the Brown most times we went to the coast. It had a reputation of being slow and narrow with cars boiling on the way up and caravans jack-knifing on the way down. It had the advantage though of being about the shortest decent from the tablelands, and itís always been good on a bike, just no way to get passed slower traffic. When I found a good gap I headed up.
I caught the last car just at the top and the mist stayed away until just about then. It wasnít too thick and the car was doing OK and useful as a marker for the road ahead. Checked the fuel consumption just out of Bemboka Ė 6.1 litres per hundred Ė good to get to Jindabyne. Up the road turn left direction Bombala. The GPS recalculated and had me turning right at Snowy Mountains Way Ė perfect. Right turn direction Jindabyne at 99km.
Nice little road, everything cool, and then gravel. After Friday I was so over gravel. What to do? I wasnít sure of fuel at Nimmitabel, so a diversion was probably Cooma. The gravel road was well graded, and it wasnít going to be dirt all the way to Jindabyne so I pressed on. Glad I did. 5km down the road I came to new seal. Hadnít been brushed so the blue metal was heaped in ridges, but it was a firm base and no problem to ride. Not much further I hit established seal road. Light grey, smooth with no patches. A bit narrow, but much better than the condition of the country roads around Melbourne.
This was high country. I could somehow see it from the difference in the horizon. It was more than the fact that there was nothing sticking up at the edges, it was shorter or longer or rounder or something. The road ambled through, never straight and never tight. The fields at the sides were planted with dense yellow grass probably for hay, and not many trees to be seen. The outlook, the road the ride, everything felt great.
Around a corner down a hill and there was a grey kangaroo warming its feet on the tar. I didnít roll on, but I didnít back off either. I figured it would hop away like one Iíd seen near Bonang on Friday. 150 metres and closing, the roo just looks at me, 100 metres and closing and I start going back through the gears. At 75 metres I figured I was going to have to stop. It was standing there with its tail stretched across most of my side of the road, no real way around it. At 50 metres it hopped calmly off the road. Down the road a bit I stopped to take a couple of pictures. You can see that corner and the hill in the far distance.
I forgot to restart the route after the stop. When I got to Dalgety I came to a tee intersection. Left was Jindabyne 35 km, right was Jindabyne 46 km. I chose right (maybe not correctly) but right it was. I figured if they bothered to give to a long distance it must have some advantage.
Amazing road. Not much different in surface and width to the one Iíd been on but there were the forests of naked gum trees that looked tortured. They looked dead like snow gums can but they were taller than snow gums. There were also large granite outcrops like the statues on Easter Island but without noses. My only regret for the whole journey was that I didnít stop to take pictures. Iíve looked on Google street view and havenít been able to find the place I was thinking of.
Rocked down the road and joined the main road to Jindabyne at Berridale. Fuel light came on at 280km about 2 km out of Jindabyne Ė perfect.
Left Jindabyne after fuel and early lunch at around 11 am Ė on schedule. Up passed Thredbo left towards Khancoban. This is a great road, well above the snow line with fields of snow gums, over the top and then a steep winding downhill through the orange snow markers like slalom. No place to stop that I could put down the side-stand and the road was too narrow anyway. Here is the first place I could find to take pictures. The snow gums were all further up.
This is a sensational road. One that you never want to end. Up and down, through cuttings with predictable corners and pessimistic advisories. Last time I did it in the car the 80km from Khancoban to Jindabyne took 3 hours.
The road was washed out in parts from recent heavy rain and there were 4 or 5 road repair traffic lights, but still great riding. Cruised through Khancoban to Corryong for a break and fuel. With the photo stop, the repair works and probably unwarranted optimism, I was running about 45 minutes behind schedule.
The main reason for bringing the GPS was for the turnoff to Mt Beauty. I didnít want to be taking dirt back-roads. The name at the turnoff I wanted was Tangambalanga which was a bit further on from Tallangatta which I didnít want, and Tallandoon which would be worse. Better take the GPS.
The GPS showed the turnoff as a sharp left reverse off the highway. At the turn the highway turned sharp right and the turn off had a straight and a reverse and a road off to the right just after. I took the sharp left and then the GPS starts recalculating Ė what the??? Direction Mitta Mitta Ė seemed to be going too far east. I pulled on to Sandy Creek Rd to get a fix, stopped and the GPS recalculated a route in that direction. I turned and faced West and the GPS recalculated a route in that direction.
Where was my car GPS when I needed it? Maybe the voices set the personality. I donít use the headset with the motorcycle GPS so thatís on the default Aussie female voice. I prefer the UK female voice which is set for the car. Maybe the Aussie one is more relaxed. You know, you set your route and it comes back ďNot sure luv. Depends on what you wanna do. Thereís a nice pub up the road, why not stop off for a couple of quick ones while I have a think about it?Ē Then you set the UK voice. If you go passed the turn youíre supposed to take she puts on stilettos and fish-nets and says ďYouíve been a very naughty boy PeteBueller; go up to my room.Ē Anyway I could have used a bit more discipline from my GPS at that moment.
The GPS showed Sandy Creek Road as the shortest so thatís where I went. Good tar, narrow again but I was making good time, and then gravel. Dirt, dirt, dirt. The GPS showed 21 km to the next turn at Kiewa Valley Highway. I turned back and cut my losses. Back to the end of Sandy Creek Road and the GPS says left. Follow it along to just after the intersection with the main highway and then ... it starts recalculating. I remembered that the Google map had a different route to Kiewa, so I went back to the main road and down until I saw the sign the Kiewa. OK I was back on route.
I turned off at the edge of Mt Beauty for Bright. 27km. I was slow; I couldnít find the rhythm in the road. The blind left handerís all tucked in quicker at the end than I expected. Here was lots of curves but I found no enjoyment. I just felt wrong on the road.
Got to Bright. That had been 220km not stop in the saddle. I needed a Ĺ hour break and I was now 2 hours behind schedule. Iíd come the 800km from Ulladulla in 10 hours, and if I stuck to the plan I still had 5 or 6 to go and all that depended on getting fuel in the country to avoid a diversion to Benalla.
After the break I cancelled the route and hit fastest home which I knew would be along to Wangaratta and then down the freeway to Melbourne Ė about 3 Ĺ hours to go. It was actually a good end to the trip. Just a nice cruisy ride Ė more than I usually think of the freeway. 1,100km in 14 hours.