A Christmas Ride

 

Coordinating Christmas plans can be hard when all the kids are married, especially when the youngest lives on the farm, the middle one lives in the city and the eldest is a dairy farmer in Victoria and they have their other families to share time with. An invite to visit Victoria sounded the best option with lots of roads to choose from to go for a ride. Mark had already had his 4 days ‘annual leave’ and Narelle was recovering from knee surgery so it would be a very quiet Christmas at the dairy farm with the mother in law and the dog and cows.

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We set off a couple of days before Christmas and headed for the Omeo highway. That has been on our ‘to do’ list for quite a while and now it is all sealed the time had come. We left the Hume at Gundagai heading into the hills. Passed Tumbarumba we found a dirt road following the north bank of the Murray River flowing free, before it gets to the Hume dam, to Jingellic then crossed into Victoria. We fuelled up at Tallangatta and headed to Omeo 150 kms away. The Mitta Mitta River was flowing full to the brim most likely with water let out of the dam but it looked spectacular. Camping beside the river sounded like a plan for the night.

Mitta River

Mitta Mitta is a small place along the way with a refurbished pub and general store and a caravan park where they let us park the bikes under the verandah because a storm was just about to strike.

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We quickly set up the tent and went to the pub but we didn’t get wet at all. After dinner we wondered around and found these sculptures.

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In the morning we continued and the road got more and more windy following closely to the river on one side and the hillside on the other. Aaaaahhhh…this is it. All was going very smoothly until rounding one of the many, many blind corners there was a tree fallen across the road! Luckily some kind person had cut it in half and removed the half on the other side of the road. There was no other traffic so we just sailed along up and over the hills and eventually we reached Omeo and down to Bairnsdale for the best burger we have had in a long time.

Joining the Princes Highway is a sign that the trip is about to get very, very boring and the day was heating up. This is always the worst part of the trip, straight, flat roads, the end of the day and Victorian nazi police . Mark had requested some prawns for Christmas lunch and we decided that Traralgon was the best option to pick up some fresh seafood not too far from Trafalgar and found a great food market with a very understanding fishmonger who wrapped it all up in ice so we could carry it on the bike. I did make sure it wasn’t in the same pannier as our clothes or sleeping bags.

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Christmas day was even hotter but we were not having hot dinner so that was OK. Of course we ate and drank too much and Kevin kept Mark company for the afternoon milking while Narelle and I lazed about on the couch. Boxing Day was the cricket on the telly of course and much more lazing around. The next day was much cooler when we left for home and Narelle’s knee was getting much better. The cool change had made such a difference we had to put all the liners back into our jackets and when we started back into the hills from Orbost, it got really cold. We camped that night at Nimmitabel where I had last seen snow on our road trip with the girls and the grandkids in winter. The next morning the woman in the servo said that it was below zero during the night. It is summer I kept telling myself, it just feels like winter.

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From Cooma we took the dirt road to Braidwood giving us lots of practice for our big trip this year, even dealing with not being able to see through the dust when meeting a big truck on a corner and lots of wallabies who may or may not go the way you think they are going to go.

Back home the bikes are due for a clean and a service ready for next year.

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