Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nyah, Damien, Jeff

I just returned from an overnight ride with two friends, Damien and Jeff, to Nyah and back.  I have wanted to share with friends the route which I've ridden when travelling to visit my Mum, a route which has become rather special to me.  

The first step was to head up the Calder Freeway to Woodend and across to the springs and gushing blowhole of Hepburn.  From there onwards we were to pass through nineteenth century gold-digging country for many miles.  This is a country of hills, of soft soil and scraggy bush.  At Maldon we climbed the tower to look out over our route and the surrounding country.   

North of Maldon I led the group on single lane, empty ribbons of tar through green paddocks and yellow canola, through townships such as Eddington, Dunnoly, and Moliagul...stopping here and there to look at the whatever took our fancy.

Our intermediate destination was Melville Caves.  These are named after the bushranger who used them as a base during the nineteenth century to rob gold-rush travellers.  I usually visit them on my own with no people about, which can be eery, so it was a different kind of exploration this time, but a very fun one.

Just after leaving the caves I almost collided with a massive eagle which avoided me with a slow woosh, woosh of its massive wings.  

We made for Wedderburn and petrol, but the station was closed.  So we pushed on through those tiny gatherings of houses and pub that dot the road to Boort.  The light faded as we rode on and on.  At the Kerang I stood, ate a Freddo Frog, and watched a Royal Enfield being ridden up and down the street! The rider pulled over and we had a nice chat.

It was night when we left Kerang.  Damien was riding my old SR500 which he recently bought from me, and he was feeling strained on it, so we swapped bikes and I led on the SR into the night.

It was a beautiful night and the Spring air was delicious in that way known only to motorcyclists.  I loved the the drone and hum of the SR as I chased my headlight into the rise and fall of the dark road. Until that headlight died and all was dark!

The inside of the switch had collapsed.  We had no knife to hotwire the headlight itself, so with limited tools I smashed the useless unit apart and played with the wires in the dark, creating light once again.

As we neared Nyah the air changed and I could smell the Murray River.  It was a wonderful night ride!  This great song was on repeat in my head.

The next day I took the fellows south via a different route, through riverina country.

Given how much activity we enjoyed over these two days I did not take many photos.

We stopped at the Pyramid Hill where once Major Mitchell, the first European to come to this country, stood and reflected on the life that settlers would one day make here.

The further we rode, the more Damien's SR500 began spewing petrol, so in Bendigo we stopped and it was Damien's turn to do some repairs with limited tools - a publican loaned us a bottle opener with which he trimmed the fuel hose.

We sailed down the McIvor Highway and through twists and turns into Melbourne.  Another ride passed into memory to enrich the store.


  1. Well written!

    Thanks for a great weekend. I feel guilty now about being such a whiney little girl when my arms hurt.

    Look forward to the next one! ... and new bars and head bearings.

  2. Was great having the three of you stay with us. I wasnt aware of how bad the altercation was with the unhappy petrol bowser hog :( Crazy.
    Great post as per usual Matthew, look forward to the day you publish a book. As Damien said,"you have a way of making horrible rough roads sound wonderfull with your poetic discriptive words" :) love mum xo