Day 3 dawned sunny and dry, whoohoo. Note the difference between the same shot from the evening before….
…and, after a Bright breakfast (the guy at the cafe hadn’t heard that one before), we headed out of town to what was one of the highlights of the ride, the famous Tawonga Gap. If you haven’t ridden it, you must.
But, there was a problem. After riding through the dreadful conditions of yesterday and triumphing, you’d think I would have been sharp as a tack and ready to roll. I wasn’t. I was all over the place, my confidence at all-time low. It didn’t matter what I did, the mojo just wouldn’t return.
The lookout at the top with the astonishing views of the Keiwa Valley below couldn’t really assuage my disappointment at having made a thorough hash of the Tawonga, so we headed off down the mountain towards the lush, green pastures below.
“We were just up there!”
Somehow we found our way back to Tallangatta again, only this time it was dry. The coffee was good and we hit the road again, refreshed. Timmsy’s mastery of his phone and Google Maps got us jinking along some little backroads until we came out onto the Murray Valley Highway next to the Hume Dam again. Apart from a near-miss by an errant steer who had escaped from a nearby paddock, the rest of the run was just glorious. The road, like the other side of it that bounds the Hume Dam also, was sweeping, filled with beautiful corners and achingly beautiful countryside.
We pulled over and stopped at a big free camp site next to the river. trees, green grass, the river flowing by and a little, sandy beach that would be awesome in the warmer weather. There were several caravans pulled up there and, no sooner had we pulled in than a guy named Mick came hustling over and started asking me questions about my bike. I hadn’t even got my helmet off yet!
Seems he’s an adventure bike rider who is looking to continue riding but his 1100GS is getting too hard to manage. I couldn’t really help him since my bike is the road version but he was very grateful for the feedback I gave him. We mounted up and were on our way again.
We progressed, crossed the river at Bellbridge and onto the Murray River Road, and took in a spirited blast up and down the Granya Gap, another favourite of mine. I was determined not to repeat the Tawongs fiasco and we monstered the Gap with huge fun in the process. From here we pressed East to Tumbarumba (complete with a grouchy console operator at the servo – seriously, if you don’t like dealing with people why take a job that involves dealing with people?)
Then it was another highlight, the Link Road that takes you over the roof of Australia, through the Providence Portal and out onto the highway at Adaminaby. What a fabulous run that was.
There were two workmen painting the trout which was worth a shot, but the cafe was closed so it was going to be Cooma for the next stop, which was also our overnight stopping place.
The highway between Adaminaby and Cooma is fast and sweeping and was cluttered with lots of work vehicles in a hurry to get somewhere. Snowy II is in full flight.
We pulled into Cooma with plenty of daylight left, 425 kms of mostly challenging, twisty roads in around 9 hours. Wayne had booked us in to the Alpine Hotel, a gorgeous old Art Deco building that has retained may original features. He’d had arranged secure parking so we rolled into the service garage next to the beer garden and parked it for the night. A shower and a clean-up and a “proper” dinner in the restaurant that was well patronised by locals and us!
While we were eating a guy came through from the garage with a BMW pannier in his hand. Evidently he had parked with us. Later we had a chat and he was riding an 1100 BMW boxer with all the touring gear. Where was he riding to and from? He was riding from far north Queensland to Melbourne. Why? To deliver his bike to a guy there who had bought it from him! He was then going to fly back home. Some people.
We slept the sleep of an honest labourer and prepared for the final day of our Snowy odyssey.