Today didn’t quite go to plan, a problem with my motorbike meant a little bit of hanging around while a country mechanic came up with a creative solution.
We left Thredbo and headed up hill, stopping at Dead Horse Pass for photos. And then Gary spotted a problem with my back tyre, a not so lovely bad strip along the centre. Eh? How did I miss that? And what to do? With no phone reception it was difficult to make a plan or phone someone to help. Do we turn back and risk there being no one in Jindabyne to help or crack on over the mountain knowing that Albury actually has a Ducati dealer and isn’t that far away.
So we cracked on, taking it easy (so me riding normally then) down the mountain road which was just lovely with clear blue skies, views across the nearby mountain tops and plenty of motorbikes coming the other way! Not easy riding though: tight, windey and hairy.
A brief stop at at an amazing look out, providing wonderful views of the western edge of the Great Dividing Range aka the Australian Alps, and we continued down off the range, past elements of the Snowy Mountian Hydro Power scheme and into Khancoban. Finally, with some phone reception we located a tyre fitter in nearby Corryong. Phew, hopefully this was problem solved.
We found the fitter, rode the bike into the shop and the mechanic asked how to get the wheel off. Um, que? See, Gary and I are quite ignorant about these things, we pay people to do this stuff for us, it’s far safer that way, in my opinion.
After a bit of head scratching, checking boxes for wrench socket thing that would fit the bike (located) and then came the problem of how to make the bike stand-up so he could take the wheel off. This took a while, eventually system involving a jack under the shoulder of the bike stand and a large tyre to balance it, was devised. At various times, I had to excuse myself so afraid was I that Rita going to end up on her side – easy to remove the wheel but much damage would have been caused.
This all took a couple of hours, and Gary having to stand and hold her steady on the system but we got a new tyre. And I have to say, taking a look back, and the lack of facilities in a country town, I am very grateful to young Jayden (the mechanic) and his patience and determination to help us and charged less than I would pay in the city to boot!
Quick lunch at a local cafe (mandatory pineapple and beetroot with the salad, love country towns!) and onwards we went.
Taking the Murray Valley Highway, we wound through the dry grassy valley, and over the undulating foothills of the Great Dividing Range and pine forests. Dropping down, away from the forests (and logging trucks), we found old Tallangatta, underwater. It seems that this town was established, some time ago, inadvertently on a flood plain so really had to be moved, with the flooding area being turned into a reservoir, quite the sight, with its drowned trees poking out of the water and glimpses of old walls. At very low water times, the tops of houses can also be spotted.
We turned off at Kiewa Road and took a lovely route through more lush countryside and tiny country villages. Arriving at Beechworth, a gorgeous country town, established through the discovery of gold in 1850-something, we were pleased to find our motel and pool, even if it wasn’t the greatest pool in the world (being about a metre deep) it did the welcome job of cooling us off. This town clearly maintains its economy through tourists numbers and being a regional centre, given the diversity of shops and wine bars, and is lucky enough to still have some gorgeously preserved colonial buildings.
Tomorrow, we’re going to try to follow the route we intended for today, if in reverse, which may see us end up in Thredbo, Jindabyne or who knows where? As long as it has beds, food, beer, aircon, maybe a pool. And wifi. Cocktails would be nice. Mountain views. Spa and massage perhaps.
Ps Can you tell that the Gary edited this last para?