Monday, June 29, 2009

Yarck, Ruffy and Lockwood...

This is my first entry in a blog I which I intend to use for two purposes: to keep a record, especially pictorial, of my motorcycle rides, and to share these with the one or maybe two other people interested enough to read it; and to publish some of the essays on riding which I am working over, which are generally philosophical in nature.

Last Saturday 27th June I left home at 10.30am and was out till 6.30pm. I took a ride from my house in Carlton, Melbourne, out to Whittlesea, to Yea, to Yarck, where I had the best pie I have ever eaten - which means a lot coming from a motorcyclist who eats fancy pies in little towns 52 Sundays of the year - and while the road from Whittlesea to Yea is celebrated among local motorcylists, it was from Yarck that the real ride began for me. From there I headed into a magical triangle which few seem to know about. The triangle's points are the towns of Yea, Euroa, and Seymour. Within that area are a number of sealed roads (I am not comfortable riding dirt for long) some of which I have ridden, but others which I had not, and with a full tank of fuel at Yarck, it was the intention of this ride to explore those I had previously left unexplored. It's my pleasure to confess that I failed in this - there's more!

My first stop after Yarck was the cemetary at Gobur. Only a few graves, most of which were pioneer graves from the late nineteenth century.

I also found a nice large moss-covered rock on which to take some pictures. The rear wheel was sliding from under me as I rode on and off this slippery fragile environment...

I stopped at Yarck to find a cafe, which quite surprised me as it's a bit out of the way! I decided I would ride on and then visit the cafe on my return. The roads between Yarck and Ruffy shifted between rolling winding hills, a short twisty mountain section, open straight roads, and various shades in between. From Ruffy the landscape was much more hilly, winding mountain-like roads with deep drops to my right into valleys with streams cutting a path through their base. It is mid-winter and the land is beautifully green! With the lambswool WWII-style bomber jacket my partner just bought me, I was warm despite my exposed speeding body and the cold damp day.

I eventually reached Lockwood, which involved crossing the Hume Highway. I immediately turned round and returned south of the Hume and into my magical triangle once more, and explored the 'old Hume Highway' - a stretch of road paralleling the current Hume, left over and useless, going nowhere and un-trafficked. There was something eerie about it, this silent empty road with all the trappings of a speeding deadly and busy highway - a kind of post-apocolyptic scene perhaps - especially with the small gums growing up through the cracks in the asphalt; or maybe it was that vague sense of oddness I often feel about he disjunction between time and place, of the presence of past things, I waited to be rear-ended by a ghostly 70s Datsun as I cruised along at 60kph. It was a little haunted, especially at the point where it faded off...

I return to Ruffy and to the cafe where I chatted to other patrons (being clearly a motorcyclist seems to make you noticeably loved or hated in a lot of places to a degree I never experience without my bike and leathers).

 I went for a walk around the town, met some sheep
found a mushroom
and set off again, this time exiting the triangle via Highlands:

From Ruffy to home took me 2.5 hours, with half the time spent on the Hume Highway, trying to get home in time for dinner guests on a dangerous and unpleasant pitch black highway. But it was a wonderful day that refreshed my soul in the way that such rides do for me, in the way which I miss when I can't get a good ride in. More on that at some other time.