February 23, 2024 - February 26, 2024
This is a re-run of the 2023 ride, where bad weather prevented us from completing the route as intended.
This ride may be canceled or rescheduled at late notice if that looks like it might happen again.
Grab ye’ billy and swag, jump on your iron ‘orse and get ready for a high country adventure, as we escape from the daily grind.
Leave all your creature comforts at home, because we’re going to be bush cookin’ and bush campin’.
This is a 3-day, 2 night adventure – will be aimed to be around grade 4, designed for capable riders and their bikes carrying camping gear.
The ride will be through the areas of Licola, Dargo, Dinner Plain, Hotham, Mansfield and Jamieson, an area of about 13,000 square kilometers. There will be no recce ride, I’ll simply be putting together a rough plan using my mapping resources and making the rest of it up based on what we find. We’ll pop into Dargo/Licola/Jamieson during our travels for food and supplies, but at night we’ll be camping in the bush. There will be fire.
You will need to be prepared. 300km fuel range will be what I am planning around, there will be U turns and re-routes with only a loose plan on where we might end up, what we end up doing will be determined by the conditions at the time.
It will be cold at night, and you will need to bring food and cooking equipment.
(Edit: We’ll be staying in accomodation. Just bring stuff for lunch/snack)
Over the coming weeks I will be putting a GPX file together, but its going to be very rough, I don’t expect that we will be sticking to it at all.
The Trip Plan
Day 1 (Friday – The Escape): We pulled off a pretty dodgy bank job, we were identified at the scene of the crime.. The wanted posters have gone up, we need to get way out of town to avoid being arrested!!!
We’ll ascend out of Warburton and take the most direct dirt route towards Dargo. This will be mostly Grade 2 roads, I’m not interested in doing anything more difficult this close to home. We will stop at Licola for supplies and fuel. There is about 230km of dirt road riding to do before we get to a point where we will have 3 choices, based on how everyone is feeling, and the conditions of the tracks.
1: Descend Billy Goat Bluff – I’ve done this plenty of times in a 4WD, but never on a bike. It is a bucket list item, but we’ll only attempt it if we have the right people, machines, and conditions.
2: Junction Spur Track – This is the shortest route, and my mapping marks a number of short sections which may present a challange.
3: McDonalds Gap Track – My mapping indicates that this is the easier of the 3 options, will include a bit of sealed roads.
We will then arrive into Dargo probably mid to late afternoon. Supplies and fuel again. I’m probably going to stop for a bite if I can before we head north towards talbotville, where we will pitch camp along the crooked river.
Day 2 (Saturday – Evade): We’ve had a couple of close calls while emerging for supplies, but we’ve managed to get this far, so we need to continue to evade.
We’ll head north and check out the Blue Rag Range, as well as Twins Jeep Track, both rumoured to provide spectacular views from their ridge peaks. Not having done any of these tracks, I’m not entirely sure what we are getting ourselves in to. We’ll camp at Lake Cobbler for the night. On this stretch we won’t emerge from the high country, and that way we’re less likely to be spotted.
Day 3 (Sunday – The Surrender): Having spent the last 24 hours out in the cold, wet, windy high country — suffering from starvation and exposure, we admit defeat and surrender ourselves to the authoroties. We have needed to burn our haul of cash to keep warm anyway.
We’ll head west from our camp at Lake Cobbler towards Mt. Buller, and stop in at Craig’s hut, because I have not seen it yet. For those of you who did the Merrijig ride, we’re going to cover some familiar territory. We’ll stop in at the Mirimbah store for some supplies and fuel, before we head back into the bush towards Jamieson.
Stop at Jamieson. Fuel and supplies, depending on the time of day there are a number of options to get home from here. I have plotted the route over Mt. Terrible and onto Big River Road — but we’ll see how we all feel at the time.
A Note about the grading: I’ve graded this as 4 because I have not ridden some of what we have done. It could turn out to be easier. It certainly won’t be a 4 for the entire duration, perhaps small sections we might find as difficult — there will be a lot of grade 2 riding on well surfaces gravel roads.