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.



  1. Hi Matt, I enjoyed reading your blog. I will show it to your dad. Is there any chance of you attatching some google maps to this? Then we will be able to see exactly where you have been.
    p.s. I wouldn't worry about that datsun, your father sold it years ago.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.