Fugue for Dirt Roads in B-Flat(tyre) Minor(breakdown)
This thrilling 210-km adventure-packed ride is easily doable but is not for the faint hearted. But then we are all Vespa Adventurers aren’t we? There are lots of dirt and gravel roads (about 94-kms), some very steep indeed, but these will get us to some amazing views that will take your breath away. See the photos taken along the route.
Our departure point will from our usual meeting place in Eltham, the Zen Den Cafe. Pretty soon we’ll be doing our first dirt road hill-climb up Allendale Road towards Kangaroo Ground. This road is steep and is advised as a 4WD track, but heck, we’ve got 1WD Vespas so it’ll be a piece of cake! We will pass through Cottles Bridge and then take the lovely windy Hildebrand Road. At the start of Jacksons Road (dirt) we are about to climb straight up a mountain spur to Kinglake via the exhilarating Bald Spur Road (dirt). This is also marked as a 4WD track. All the views are behind us so we may have to stop on an incline on the way up to have a squizz over our shoulder. Near the top we will visit a serene memorial to the nineteen people who lost their lives along this road in the 2009 fires of Black Saturday.
After Bald Spur Road we may need a stiff drink at Kinglake to calm the nerves but then its on to Glenburn via a pretty back road. A fuel stop at Glenburn is planned for any thirsty scooters. After a nice breezy run along Break O’Day Road we’ll shimmy up Flagpole Hill (dirt) for a fabulous view of the ranges to the north from Yea in the east to Tallarook in the west. We will then wiggle our way along Spring Valley Road (dirt) before joining Upper King Parrot Creek Road (also dirt). Along King Parrot Creek Road we will turn off to the west at Fairview Road (dirt) and start climbing into the Tallarook Ranges.
If it was summer, we would ride down a gnarly rutted track to visit the 1890s Trawool Reservoir with its granite masonry wall but these access tracks are closed during winter months. Horans Track will get us out of the forest and when it starts to climb up onto high cleared land, the views are simply gob-smacking. This road was rather ‘gravely’ when last I rode it. After a photo stop we’ll wind our way down to Murchisons Gap for another great view where we will have a picnic lunch at the “Valley of a Thousand Hills” lookout.
After lunch, Murchisons Spur Road (dirt) will take us to Strath Falls in the Kinglake National Park. There should be some water at this time of year so a visit to the lookout will be in order. A collection of dirt forestry roads will pop us out at Flowerdale and finally a bitumen road at last as we head towards Kinglake West. Time for a coffee and snack at the Flying Tarts Bakery in Pheasant Creek. Shortly after we will be heading down beneath the power lines of Bowden Spur Road (dirt) with its hairpin bends and amazing views of the distant city skyline as we descend rather steeply down the mountain to Strathewen. That’s the end of dirt road riding.
At Hurstbridge some riders will continue straight on to the city while those from the eastern suburbs head off in another direction, or we can all go to Pete’s place and watch him wash our scooters then apply ‘product’ until they are all bright and shiny again. If we are not too critical of Pete’s workmanship, he might even offer to clean our air filters for us. Sorry Pete, just joking.
The route is rather complex, beyond g00gle maps to work properly and even Motowhere ran out of points towards the end of the route, but here it is: https://www.motowhere.com/explore/route/Vespa-Adventurers---Dirt-Road-Dirge
Winter is not a bad season for riding dirt roads provided it hasn’t been raining for a few days beforehand. With the dust damped down, its much more pleasant for those riding behind. A sunny winter day would be great if we can get one. If you are up for this kind of adventure, just indicate your interest on this post and we can work out a date.