Tuesday, March 20, 2007

ROADTRIP!!! Ruffy, Lake Eildon

I won't go into all the details, but through work I found out about a little place called Ruffy. Not much to Ruffy -- aside from the Ruffy Produce Store (above) there's the local CFA shed, a small primary school, and not much else! The Produce Store does, however, have something of a reputation for its food. On hearing this I decided "Hm, what better way to spend Labour Day Monday then on a road trip?!"

A couple of hours from Melbourne, if you head north on the Hume Highway you'll pass Seymour and, not quite 20km on, will see a right-hand turn for Ruffy. Follow the signs and you'll wend you way through some lovely countryside - rocks and hills and trees everywhere, lovely, just like where I grew up. Anyway, you get to the intersection at the CFA shed and turn right, and there you are -- the Produce Store.

It's a great little store - lots of local produce for you to buy. The menu for eating isn't extensive, nor is it low-cost. For about $20 you can get a produce platter with a selection of delicacies that looked damn fine, however my guy and I decided to go for something a little more simple: a ham and cheese toasted sandwich.

But this was no normal ham and cheese toasted sandwich!! Succulent shreds of ham, generous slights of gruyere cheese and a light and slightly spicy mustard sandwiched between lightly toasted slices of ciabatta, each sandwich cut into three wedges. One bite and we looked at each other, eyes wide, making "mmmm!" noises. I tell you, you have not eaten a ham and cheese toasted sandwich until you have eaten one of THESE ham and cheese toasted sandwiches. Oh, and the milkshakes... bliss. It was all spot-on, just brilliant. I will admit - I was a pig, I had two sandwiches, and finished them too. But it was just THAT good.

The locals were nice and friendly... this particular one made herself comfortable next to my chair and was absolutely adorable. If I'd thought I could get away with it I'd have tried to smuggle her away when we left.

Aside from wanting to "do lunch" in Ruffy we hadn't planned much further at all. Victoria is all new to me, so I'm excited to see as much as I can. Nathan suggested we head out to Lake Eildon. A quick check of the map, removal of the car roof (not as drastic as it sounds, it was a targa top) and we were on our way. Across and down through Gobur, Yark, across to Alexandria
then on to Lake Eildon we went.

While there is quite a bit to see in Eildon, or so it seems, we didn't spend much time there due to time constraints. We went out to the dam for some pictures, and to see how little water there actually is in the dam. It's scary. Oh, and although it's small, see the noble white steed in the carpark above - it did well on it's first long trip since coming back on the road. But I'll be looking to explore Eildon a little more thoroughly at another time in the future.

From there we went back as far as Thornton, then cut through to Taggerty and headed south for Buxton. At that point we veered off left onto C508 and joined the C512 at Marysville. From there it was a gorgeous twisty drive through leafy green forest to Cambarville, then down on the C511, with a detour out to the Upper Yarra Dam. Back onto the main drag, more twisty leafy scenic driving heading to Warburton. By now time really was ticking away, so we kept going straight out past Launching Place, before turning left on C424 and making for Gembrook. Unfortunately an unscheduled stop in Gembrook ate up more time, but a little while letting the car cool, and a refill of the radiator with mountainous Catholic water (ie. from a tap at the local church) and we were on our way again. Home via Pakenham and Berwick to visit our respective families, we finally stopped about 10.30pm - about 12 hours after we set out. A REALLY nice day, and if anyone enjoys day-tripping as much as I do, I can recommend that route. All sealed roads (although some are a little rough), but some truly beautiful scenery.

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