Melbourne Branch Odyssey
looking back at the past couple of years, I feel it is timely to remember the
main stated aim of the Ulysses Club is: “To provide ways in which older
motorcyclists can get together for companionship and mutual support.”
the 22nd Melbourne Branch Odyssey at Mansfield provided exactly that
sort of camaraderie and I enjoyed it with over 30 others.
we read of road closures everywhere, route planning became a serious challenge.
I had a sense of déjà vu as I set off on Friday, 14 October and thought back to
the flooded roads I encountered on my way to the national rally at Warwick, Queensland
earlier this year! I know of at least 10 people who were unable to attend the
Odyssey, mainly because of the floods in Victoria and NSW. My thoughts go out
to all those who will be dealing with the effects of the floods downstream from
Lake Eildon (and further afield) for months, if not years.
usual route to Mansfield via Yea was simply not an option and many other routes
were also closed. Lots of communication and checking of road and weather apps
occurred as people plotted their way up. Quite a few travelled in small groups
via Healesville, over the Black Spur to Mansfield without major incident. We
saw water partially over the road as we crossed the Goulburn River near Alexandra.
We saw lots of closed side roads and obvious flooding all around us.
these challenges, many of us got through and enjoyed the Friday night BBQ in
rather cool conditions. Many tales were told of the challenges overcome in getting
to the Odyssey. One member’s trip from South Australia was several hundred
kilometres longer than he had planned. A group from the Blue Mountains in NSW
gave their car a thorough under body rinse while exploring back roads in “Kelly
Saturday morning, ten of us (including a couple enjoying their first event /
ride with Melbourne Branch) enjoyed a ride around Lake Eildon. We took it at a
cautious pace in view of the potential hazards and stopped more often than
usual to take some photos and simply enjoy the countryside which was
beautifully green after all that rain! The ride from Jamieson to Eildon is heavily
forested and extremely winding with a good road surface. We saw kangaroos, a
wallaby, mudslides, trees down and water over the road once, so we figured the
cautious pace was appropriate. We had lunch in the Eildon town square as “take
aways” from the local cafés and enjoyed a good chat. We then checked out the overflowing
spillway of Lake Eildon. It looked both beautiful and spectacular, but I was
mindful of the distress it was causing for those living further downstream. We then
rode over the weir wall and up Skyline Road taking in more views. At the Fraser
National Park turn off, four members on adventure bikes split off and rode the
gravel road to Bonnie Doon. The rest of us enjoyed descending through
delightful hills to Alexandra and then followed more open highways back to
some R & R, about 30 people attended the Saturday night Odyssey dinner at
the golf club, where we had ample time to simply chat, partake and relax. The
club provided a courtesy bus to get us all to and from our accommodation. I
believe these simple arrangements work well and enhance members’ ability to
simply enjoy the camaraderie.
thanks to all who came along and made it such an enjoyable event. We had a great mix of people including some members
who no longer ride, yet still enjoyed the camaraderie with “old mates”. It was
also great to see five branch committee members go on the Saturday ride along
with the “brand new” members. A special thanks to Pat Ryan, who was the
registrar and arranged dinner and liaised with the caravan park where most of
One member was keen enough to arise early on
Sunday morning and he then road to Phillip Island to watch the Moto GP in
person! I’m well aware that weather
impacted recent Odysseys in NSW and SA too, and it is great that members still
get out and make the most of circumstances.
about to renew my Ulysses membership for years 31 to 33 as I’m still ever so
happy with the camaraderie and enjoyment I get from being part of this great
John Cook #5048 DM 51