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Feeling the heat – Oz camping...

(Charley Smith) from the BOXERWORKS.COM forums tried to escape the summer heat we are having down under here. This is his ride report. He rides and resides in Victoria. Just because they are south don't mean they don't get some heat down there...

Brunhilde, (Airbear's 1974 R90/6) looking more like a pack animal than a thoroughbred.

With temps getting a bit ‘out there’, 42C etc, I decided to escape to the high country in Victoria for a few days. I went over Mt Hotham and along the Dargo High Plains Road. Camped for two nights at Talbotville, site of a gold mining town abandoned about 100 years ago. There is an excellent campsite with state issue fireplaces and tables, even a dunny (Oz for toilet) and a very nice river to sit in.

Talbotville camp ground.

The Dargo Road is all gravel, mostly well maintained but with the occasional big hole or embedded rock to keep one interested and focused. The track down into Talbotville (marked ‘4WD only’) is very steep and narrow, but manageable.

On the Talbotville track.

I spent a lovely cooler day just lounging around reading, swimming, eating, napping etc. Was awakened from a sleep by the arrival of George of Bethanga (Siegfried on the forum) on his Suzuki DR650. We had a good evening sittin’ around talkin’ the usual and planning the following day. We decided to go the pretty way home, over the Omeo Road. This involved a bit of cross-country stuff on unknown fire trails. We were able to get some local knowledge from a bloke in Dargo, who said he would happily take a BMW up that way. Goodo.

A really nice shady campsite on the Upper Dargo road. There are a couple more equally good sites within a few kms.

The road was pretty tough in spots, with steep sections composed of great jagged lumps of granite, areas of thick dust and exciting pot-holes. Along the way the road became a logging route, the road getting wider, but with huge corrugations. Even got airborne a few times.

Brunhilde manages this sort of stuff very well. I did a bit of dirt riding when I was a young fool, and am now getting back some of the skill and the confidence to push hard, relying on momentum to get me through the loose stuff and even power-sliding the back wheel occasionally on corners. Others will know that this is possible – I’m pretty new to BMWs and it is a very pleasant surprise to find that such a heavy road bike can do this sort of thing so well.

George on his Suzy. This area is starting to regenerate really well after the fires 6 years ago.

From Omeo we were on the home run, and the sealed road was a joy. Very curvy and well engineered. There are lots of excellent campsites along the Mitta River, particularly near Angler’s Rest (home of the Blue Duck hotel). I’m thinking that a Boxerworks fishin’ trip up that way would be very pleasant. The road then reverts to gravel, but this is a ‘highway’, so it is pretty competent.

Back down to Mitta Mitta the road is sealed again and the fast run from there back to Bethanga was an exquisite pleasure. The whole trip was 550km, more than half of it on dirt. Sitting here at the ‘puter, it’s another hot day, and I’m thinkin’ ….

An ‘action’ shot, by George Stahl.


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