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Snowy Mountains Highway

By Wom Battle

Awake at 6am and really looking forward to motoring up the Snowy Mountains Highway this morning.  The night was mild and the forecast good enough to not be concerned about black ice.  Thinking about breakfast was too hard, I couldn't face another sausage sanga and I'd decided the night before to perhaps look for a cafe in Tumut for something a little more appealing.  I was, however, so keen to get on my way that I decided to give breakfast a miss and think more on it at Cooma.

The bike quickly packed and I was off about 7.15am, the recharged GPS guiding me out of town without having to think about it.  The morning was chilly, but didn't feel as cold as the 5amish start yesterday from home.  I was soon up to speed and was when I saw the large lake (must find out what it's called one day) outside of Tumut I knew the winding road up the mountains was about to begin.  The photo below is the end of the lake just before the real fun begins.

It's been probably 15 years since I last rode this way and the trip up was windier (is that a word?), steeper and better than I'd remembered.  Up to 1510m riding across the top of the Great Dividing Range presented a unique landscape greyed by winter.  I remembered the yellow dividing lines, the red snow depth indicators, the rocks and how fun the long sweeping corners were.  I got caught almost napping a couple of times on the bends, the new Road King doesn't have the sense of speed the old one had and I found myself tipping in a little too hot and giving the footboards some road polishing to get around with some dignity.

It was a little blowy on the top of the mountains, but I didn't give a toss.  Heading through Adaminaby I was struck that it hadn't seemed to have changed a bit since I last went through.  The countryside greened up some as I got closer to Cooma and by the time I turned left to head into town I guessed I'd counted only about 10 vehicles between there and Tumut.

I had intended having breakfast at Cooma but didn't see anything open that appealed to me so I fuelled up, dropped into Macas where I knocked back two machiattos and took off for Canberra.  I hadn't done the Cooma to Canberra trip before, usually opting to head to the South Coast via the Browns Mountains.  The traffic was lightish and the road itself similar to the Cooma end of the Snowy Mountains Hwy passing through a few cute villages.

Once in Canberra I was in familiar territory and a sign to Canberra Avenue made the breakfast decision for me easy.  It was a little before 10.30am so I headed for Manuka and My Cafe (breakfast to 5pm) for eggs benedict and more coffee.  After 900 or so k's the bike and I were looking a little bug splattered and well travelled so on the way out of town, still in need of more coffee I decided I'd drop in on the Park Hyatt for some High Tea.  Pulling into the driveway on the hog drew some puzzled looks from the door staff who were quite polite when I strolled past them into the foyer, helmet in hand.  The cafe area was busy but I soon found a seat and waited to order.  I had a nice chat to the waitress who announced she had just got her L's and was disappointed she couldn't go for a ride on such a nice day.  High Tea at the Hyatt done, it was time to finish the trip off and head home (after a trip to the lovely marble dunnies).

The ride from Canberra to home is a little over 400k's, dual lane most of the way so it was a case of cruise on, sit back, relax and eat up the k's.  A quick stop for fuel and water at Marulan (where I saw some bikes I recognised from the day before but didn't have the time to stop and chat), next stop the McCafe at Thornleigh for another quick caffeine hit.  10 minutes later I was straight back on the Harley and was home by 5pm.

740 or so k's under the belt today, 1338 for the weekend.  The ride across the Nullarbor in November's looking really good!  It's nice to know the old body can still cope with longish days riding...sore arse factor 2.5/10.


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May 2024