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Old 02-04-2012, 02:00 AM   #1
pcfpatrol OP
Joined: May 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oddometer: 67
3 Blokes, 3 kids, 3 bikes, 3 days

Had a big weekend away on the bike two ago.
The group consisted of myself with my mate Tim's youngest, Stephen, on the back, Tim with his other son Matthew and a mate Terry with his son Will.

Bikes were loaded with all our camping gear, food, water and a few tools and spare tubes.
We headed out through Warburton to Woods Point with a detour to Lake Mountain for morning tea.
Following lunch at Woods Point we headed to Jamieson and then on to Granny’s Flat for the night.
This was an easy run consisting of bitumen and some great gravel roads.
Lovely campsite that provided a warm river to wash in and fresh drinking water.

Day 2 saw us head toward Licola before turning off onto Mt Sunday Road enjoying morning tea at Wrens Flat.
Again this track was a relative easy one.
Regardless, along this section I lost the front end and had a low speed off. No damage to bike, self or pillion.

Departing Wrens Flat we took the challenge of a finer line on the maps and headed into Mitchells Flat where we enjoyed a walk along the gorge before partaking of lunch.
It was then that things got interesting.
Against our initial judgement call on the tracks we would tackle, we took the fine lined track north to head towards the slate mine, Tobacco Flats and onto Sheep yard.
After a creek crossing that sees you departing Mitchells Flat, we started a climb.
The map identifies this as steep.
Through the headset I commented to Tim that my front end was very light and he concurred.
With that, Tim announce the lead bike of Terry and Will had just done a side flip.
As Tim was then bringing his bike to a stop on the steep incline, he slid backwards and dropped his bike.
A solid hit on ground by Tim’s bike resulted in a broken mirror and cracked fairing along with scratches on the hard panniers.
I pulled up OK and went to assist.
About now I was most definitely glad I had gone the soft pannier option.
We chose to abort the track and head back through Wrens Flat and over Mt Skene.
Having ridden consistently in clear conditions, the clouds closed in and the soft shell jackets were put on under our summer weight, perforated jackets.

We continued through to Licola and then headed out along Tamboritha road to one of the camp sites along the river, Boobook.

Here again we enjoyed a wash, a good meal and early night.
Light showers sprinkled us throughout the evening but nothing more.

Day 3 we woke to clearing skies, dry tents and an easy break of camp.
We had the choice here to head back to Licola and home or along Tamboritha Road with the intent of coming out thorough Sheep yard and Mansfield.
The latter was chosen and we set off.
We headed to Howitt Hut for morning tea and thought with the great time we were making, a late lunch at Mansfield was a doer.

Terry, then Tim, headed off from the hut, and as I departed, I discovered I had a flat tyre.
I returned to the hut and started stripping the bike down in preparation to lay the bike down and remove the wheel.
Tim returned after 10 or so minutes and Terry a further 30 minutes later.
With a new tube fitted we commenced our journey close on an hour and half later.

Travel along Howitt Road was easy and fast once we cleared the massive pot holed section.
Then it was onto King Billy Road.
This started nicely enough and as I travelled along further, the memories of this track came flooding back.
I had travelled this in my mates 4WD only a few weeks ago and had initially forgotten the condition of the track.
If I had remembered, we would have headed home via Licola!!!!
Anyway, the steep grade was tolerable with the heavily loaded and pillioned bikes.
I certainly was wishing I had the lower toothed front sprocket on instead of the one I put on for the Birdsville trip.
Regardless, the rock steps were able to be ridden around and we all got to the top without too much trouble.
I say “without too much trouble” as 200 meters from the top I did another low speed drop as my front wheel slid off a rock after going over a wash out.
Prior to that, my little mate on the back, Stephen, had asked through the more treacherous parts of the track, if he could get off and walk.
I declined as in the heat and with all his gear I felt a ride was the quickest way to the top.
He wasn’t particularly happy with me but didn’t argue.
I could hear him chatting away to himself and wondered if he was reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Shortly after reaching the top, we stopped on the side of the track in a nicely shaded area and had a late lunch.
Mansfield was certainly out of the question for lunch now!
Heading off again we started making good ground on Brocks Road.
That was until Tim, leading the group, announced over the headset that we were not going any further for a while.
A big mother of a tree had slid down the hill and was blocking the road.
Tim was the first to inspect the situation and suggested we find another route.
With Terry and I referring to our maps we decided the boys would not like the options and went to inspect the tree.
Most of the smaller stuff we were able to clear away and with large immovable limbs either side of the main trunk, we built up either side of the limbs to make ramps and cleared enough under the main trunk to fit a bike under with a bit of manipulation.
After an hour or so of stripping bikes down, carrying gear 50 or so meters to the other side of the tree and then walking bikes through the obstacle course, we were able to again push on.

From this point we enjoyed the winding road that is Brocks Road.
A road that I find boring in a 4WD but was great on the bikes.
Tim and I had done a pillion swap back at the lunch break.
With me now having the bigger of the two boys on the back I have decide that if I take anyone of that size from now on, they must be of the fairer sex and of great interest to me!!!
Finally we cleared Sheep Yard Flat and the boys were getting excited to know we were nearing bitumen.

It was only a kilometre from the bitumen that I suffered my second flat.
This time we used our little compressor and pumped up the tyre to get me into Mansfield.
A second stop on the way saw more air added.
At Mansfield we put in a can of Tyre Weld and aired up to 45 PSI and headed toward home.
Air stops at Merton, Yea and Yarra Glen got me home safely and we arrived at Tim’s place around 8:30pm.
A long 12 hour, but extremely eventful day was finished off with a lovely meal prepared by Tim’s wife Irene.
Total trip distance was just over 700 k’s.
So where is the next adventure?

pcfpatrol screwed with this post 02-04-2012 at 02:54 AM Reason: trying to add photos
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