October cycle tour map

October cycle tour map


Monday, October 29, 2018

Bridgewater on Loddon to Huntly

Bridgewater on Loddon to Huntly = 52km
Cummulative total = 405km

Well we are home now.  Got home just before lunch, watered the garden, had lunch and a cuppa and hung out 2 very big loads of washing and now just kicking back enjoying sitting in my lazy boy chair.
Not sure where or when the next trip is!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Wedderburn to Bridgewater on Loddon

Wedderburn to Bridgewater on Loddon = 54km (via back roads rather than the Calder Hwy!)
Cummulative total = 353km

It was a quiet night at Wedderburn campground and no one came around to collect fees so in the morning we went to the office and again it was still closed ... so we left without free camp last night!!!
Expecting a tough day again today and opting for the longer distance on quieter roads over the shorter distance on the Calder Hwy. 
We did have to do a few kms on the Calder hwy but it was ok as it was early in the morning.
The back roads via Mt Korong and Powlett Plains are much nicer (it is nearly 17km longer!) but well worth it.  Our route on most of the roads were going in an east direction or a south direction and the wind is coming from the south - strong this morning (eased off in the afternoon after we arrived!) but it was ok to get into a rhythm and grind away.
Going along and there is no one around and we think only 2 cars passed us on these quiet roads we came across a little graffiti on the road ...
 can you believe that? it is a sign that we are on the right road for a vanilla slice!
It sure is picturesque around these roads and we found a new camp spot at Mt Korong - easy access on the fire track but best to come on a weekday or later in the day as I don't think you are meant to stay but it looked very appealing and quiet!
 just us on the road ...
 and a few of the locals ...
 it was blowing a real cold wind from the south and my toes were cold so I really envied the trio above as they looked so warm - I am not going to envy them next week when our temperatures go above 30 degrees!
A view as I climb a small rise with Mt Korong in the background ...
 So after a cuppa at Powlett Plains you cycle 13km and meet up with the  road that allows traffic to divert around Bendigo and by meeting up with the Calder hwy at Bridgewater on Loddon and continuing on through Marong - now we thought taking the back roads hooking up to this road was going to be quieter than the Calder ... well we were wrong this road was busy as - I say it is not the diversion around Bendigo but they are all rushing to the Bridgewater Bakery for the vanilla slices!
So we pedal hard for 14km into a strong headwind racing these people in case the vanilla slices all sell out!
We do get there at lunchtime and outside sitting area is packed, both sides of the Calder is lined with parked cars - yep they were in there getting their vanilla slices - so we decide to go straight to the campground and have a cuppa and lunch and shower then go up for afternoon tea.
This campground was washed out in the 2011 flood (you may remember camping here dad in 2010 - you made Neil build a small campfire!)  Well they have made it smaller and refurbished it - it looks great now and camping unpowered for us is $25 which is quite good - as usual there is only a few unpowered sites and they are at the end of the park but that is ok as it is quiet and it has trees for shade and we are close to the river

 It would be really busy in Summer along here as there is a speedboat and water skiing ramps close by and the unpowered tent sites are just at the end of the waterskiing lane so it is a little noisy until 5.30pm but from Nov 1 water skiing is extended from 8-8.30pm until April ... crikey it would be miserable and crowded here over christmas and summer.
 So at 2.30pm we walked up to the Bakery along the path that follows the river - quite nice really.
By the time we get there there is no queue and still alot of slices left - they are $3.80 each so we get one each and are about 6cm x 6cm x 4.5cm high, look at Neil rubbing his tummy!
 We have cycled a few kms to get these (despite that we live about 40km down the road!!!)
 Yep I am shoving it in my gob!
 Could only have it with a cuppa ...
So the prognosis?  well I am not going to compare it to Flos (as she doesn't have a Bakels account or have here own pastry made to specifications!) and you cannot compare something that comes out of a bakery that uses industrial products enmasse to create something and then compare it to Flos who is using supermarket home products.
But you can compare this vanilla slices to other vanilla slices at other bakeries.  It is really nice - the custard part is similar to what we used at work for trifle but probably is a little lighter and fluffier, the pastry is drier and keeps the slice together, the icing is a little too thickly applied for my liking and tends to make it a little sickly by the end of eating it, but take the icing away and it is lovely!  Definitely better than the one we had in Birchip all those years ago - that also had the honour of making vanilla slice of the year sometime!  mind you nearly every town we go through tends to claim that title!
So tomorrow we are home - coming in along some road that comes out at Howards road - we have done it before but can't quite remember the names of the roads!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Boort to Wedderburn

Boort to Wedderburn = 48km
Cummulative total = 299km

Hi De Hi campers!  it was a tough day today!
Not alot of photos as we have been on these roads before, well at least alot of the places seemed familiar!
We left around 8am and there was very little wind so that made the ride pleasant to our first break at Mysia ... from there it was all headwinds all the way to Wedderburn! 
I do say the following with a smile on my face ... Neil really struggled with today!  I know it seems really mean to say it with a smile on my face but Neil never struggles - it is always me!  but I knew today was going to be into a straight headwind and we were very fortunate to make it to Mysia with little or no wind.
The going was tough as the roads were out in the open and you were exposed to the full wind (no sheltering behind trees!) and to make it a little worse - from Borung to Wedderburn you cross over a very small range but from Borung to about 5km out from Wedderburn you are slightly rising and again you are out in the open so all you can do is just turn off from the wind and think of other things - Neil couldn't do that today but me ... well I sewed a pretty shirt in my mind!!!
So 5km out you get into the part of the range that is a little hillier but amongst the trees and that was easier as the trees provided respite from the headwind.
We were relieved to get to Wedderburn and are staying at the campground. 
This is our 3rd time here - I like the town of Wedderburn and this campground is quite crowded by small town standards - a mixture of permanents and long stay blow ins as apparently it is very cheap to stay here powered - hence the crowd! 
We haven't paid yet as the guy on the phone said he will be around later and he said to camp by the mud hut which is in the open at the front - we thought far out - stink!  So we choose another spot where there was no power points and under a shady willow tree ...

 So after a cuppa, lunch and shower we headed off into town to get our dinner at the local Foodworks and they had 1/2 chickens for $6 so that is for dinner along with a small pasta salad - could have got a chicken and chip meal but the chips would have gone soggy and cold by dinner time!  We also got a four pack of Cornettos which we polished off in the park!
Since last being here they have given the main street a bit of a make over - redoing the footpaths and planting gardens and doing up the public toilet and memorial park on the mainstreet - most shops are not open or in business but the street has a very nice "stop here" appeal to it ...
 and it even as a bike path!
Tomorrow is Bridgewater on Loddon and we are going to go and line up and get a piece of Vanilla Slice - from the Bakery that was judged as having the best Vanilla Slice in Victoria 2018 - you might have competition Flo!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Pyramid Hill to Boort

Pyramid Hill to Boort = 42km
Cummulative total = 251km

It was a very nice restful day at Pyramid Hill yesterday, a little chully in the shade but a little too warm in the sun .... I could never get it "just" right!  We did have a little visitor in the part yesterday, actually Neil spotted it as he was going to the toilet - a small snake about 25cm long (so a bubba but just as lethal as its mumma!!!) sunning itself on the corner of the toilet block, it sensed Neil and ducked into one of the many holes - we were very cautious when going to the toilet - don't think it could get in any of the toilets but definitely it could be hanging around outside!
We left to a bright sunny day but the wind is blowing predominantly from the south so it is a little cool - in fact it is blowing from the south for the remaining days that we are cycling so that means cooler weather and headwinds!!!
We are in the town of Boort which todays ride was predominantly west so it was a cross head wind for us - the legs held up pretty well and it was on 42km to get here.  The road was quiet to the Loddon Valley highway and we were on that for around 1km and that had more cars and truckls pass us in that short distance than what has passed us over the past week!  Glad to get of this road and take a quieter road to Boort - although that wasn't as quiet as what I thought it would be - but ridable and everyone was patient with us!
We did cross of the Loddon River Dad and this is was it is like ...

 at this point it looks ok but not sure on the situation with trees down blocking your way.
We got to Boort around lunchtime and this is our 3rd time here but this time we have wikicamps and we decided to give the showgrounds a go.  Previously we stayed at the caravan park on the lake and the first time he stuck us at the far end of the park right next to the ski club and we basically had to get our touring gear together just to the toilet as we were so far away from it and to top it all off he charged us a fortune!  The second time he still charged us a fortune but put us at the other end of the park but closer to toilets.  On both occassions I never really thought much of Boort - so this time they have opended the showgrounds and we arrive and it is really quite desolate and the notice says you are to be fully self contained but wikicamps says tents are ok and it has toilets and shower - we see the toilets and find the shower (more on that later .. you are going to love it Sharon!!!).  So we are not sure if we can stay here so we cycle into town to ask at the tourist info ... while waiting for Neil I take a photo of the 2 bikes
 so apparently it is ok for us so we come back and another couple in a caravan has rocked up so we decide to pitch not far from them ...
 as you can see from our outlook it ain't flash but you put a donation in the box - since we aren't using electricity I think we will pop in $5 - but once you see the shower you might think $2 or $0!!!  Our outlook ...
 So after lunch another caravan turns up so we think there might be a crowd here (later another van turned up!)  so we should hit the one and only shower ... well first the toilets - I have always thought it strange as we have cycled over the past 9 years and through some very dry spells that the small towns don't adopted water saving measures - the Australian need to have green grass in such an arid environment is really bizarre and so sprinklers are constantly going but the toilet cisterns are just out of this world - they are massive and don't have half flushes so you have to do a full and that goes on forever and uses around 100 litres of water per flush - no exaggeration there!  So the toilets here have the biggest cisterns I have ever seen - this is why Little Boort lake is dry!
Onto the shower ... Sharon brace yourself for this ... the change area (it was ok)
 inside the shower!

I can hear you scream Sharon - LOL it was a little on the grubby side but it had really hot water and is probably the worst we have encountered but we still had showers in it!
So clean and refreshed we walked into town and there are a few more spanner art works in town (and no we didn't visit him as he lives to far out to ride there and back) a seat around a tree ...
 and something that had seats on them

 other works from other artists - a fish
 and a shag
 here is Lake Boort itself
 while in town the museum was open so we went in there and look what I found!
So tomorrow we are heading to Wedderburn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Lockington to Pyramid Hill

Lockington to Pyramid Hill = 62km
Cummulative total = 209km

Today was our biggest day of our 1 week tour and also our 3rd day cycling.  So we both had a good nights rest and we left early at 8am.  No sooner had we started the wind kicked in and fortunately for us our ride today was a series of west and north roads and the wind was blowing from the south with a tendancy on the west roads to be a slight tailwind to make our life incredibly easier today. 
Most of the roads were back country roads and we saw no one until we got to the road to Mitiamo.
One of the back roads that we came across was in my surname to I took the mandatory photo ...
 the orange box is someones fridge letter box and as the sign suggests the cemetary is also on the OBrien road!  As you can see below we are stuck in traffic ...
 So there is not much around except crops and livestock and although it appears boring there is always something to look at ... below is a photo of 3 cattle - of which one is white (well off white!) with black markings ...
 now I know you are all thinking what the heck did she take that photo for ... well think about it ... how many cattle have you seen that have black SPOTS? This is my first! now don't mistake cattle that have PATCHES  as this is NOT the same!  there are heaps of cattle that have patch markings but not too many that have small spots ... this is a new breed of cattle - the Dalmatian cow!!!
Yeah whatever!  So with the cold wind blowing us from the side and helping us along we made good timing to our cuppa spot at Mitiamo.  This is a quiet sleepy little town that is near Mt Terrick Terrick state park.
 from here we continue along this really good road west for about 9km and then turn north towards Pyramid Hill.  We have the wind behind us now and we are pumping along nearly 5km per hour faster than normal.  The legs are weary, the butt is sore and the shoulders and arms are also tired by now ... lucky for that wind.  It is a nice road and the traffic is light.
Below is me with Pyramid Hill in the background ...
 And as we get closer to town we can see a clearer view of the Hill which stands 192m above sea level.
 The caravan park is on the east side of town about 1km from the town center.  We get here and there is not many caravans and not likely to be!  We have stayed here before and it is a well kept town caravan park - the amenities are old but clean - I presume I am the only female here so I can safely say the womens facilities are my ensuite!!!
Now you remember my rather large thermarest - the one that needs its own trailer due to size ... well here it is below - it is light but bulky ... use me as a guide to guage sizing!
 our campspot under the tree ...
 and since we got here the runway for the airport is right at the end of the park and the crop dusters have been busy all arvo
funny enough as we approached town we say this cloud of dust and all of a sudden this little plane appears so we assume the dust is the chemicals for the crops and I think hell it is a little too windy to be dusting at this time of the day and so close to town as we could watch the dust drift northward ... but upon getting here we realised the dust was actually dirt or chalk from the runway as they take off - they create a real thick cloud that drifts from south to north with the occassional drift over towards us.  But it has been entertaining for us this arvo.
Tomorrow we will take a rest day here and head off to Boort on Friday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Aysons Reserve to Lockington

Aysons Reserve to Lockington = 40km
Cummulative total = 147km

Wow we both had terrible sleeps last night!  It takes a few nights to settle into sleeping on a thermarest - we have to wake to turn as you can't roll like you can in a bed - you have to turn on the spot so to speak so tonight we should be asleep by 6.30pm!!!
It was a nice restful afternoon and one of the many many caravaners did point out to Neil that last week a ranger moved on a tenter that was on the other side of the bollards like we were - but none came! will remember that next time we camp at Aysons reserve ... although there are no signs.
So we left around 8.30am and it was a cooler day and overcast.  It was 13km to Rochester where we picked up a loaf of bread and on our way out we took photos of the Silo art ... the first is of an Azure Kingfisher ...
 and a Squirrel glider ...

they are pretty impressive!  There was no one there so we could plant ourselves anywhere to take the photos, we did try and take some selfies ... this one is with only half of Neil ...
 this one is a good one of both of us but hardly any of the art work with our 2 oversized heads ...
 by now Neil was getting impatient with me and the very last shot was Neil sharing his nostril hair with you all! ...
 So from Rochester we took the Diggora rd west and by 9.30am the wind was picking up and instead of a northerly like yesterday we had a westerly and this road was going west!  It wasn't so bad to start but after 16km of this long straight road the wind was becoming strong and swinging to the south a bit.
Just before we turned north onto Lockington rd we took a little break ...
 when I look at our trailers post Kouta I think it feels like we are carrying nothing, sometimes I do look behind to see if I am still towing the trailer - Koutas constant moving around in the bob reminded me that I was still towing the trailer!
Neil now has a massive orange dry sack on top of his bob bag and that alone is 2 pillows and my thermarest - it is almost twice the size of Neils thermarest when packed up!  My gear is almost level with the top of the bob trailer, Neils is like it is a 2 storey house!
 So back on the road and as you can see it is peak hour and the traffic is bumper to bumper ...
 Along this road are predominantly crop farms with the odd farm herds here and there.  It is hard to say what the state of the fields are - to us they look dead but then we see they have cut and are drying and any grain is half the height of what they should be and Neil points out that they may have a new type of grain that puts its energy into the head rather than the height.
So we turned north and the wind was slightly behind us and that was a relief - the legs were beginning to feel it!  So it was only another 9km until we reach Lockington.  We haven't been here before and the community travellars rest is nice and had good reviews on wikicamps.  It costs us $10 and we are shoved to the side due to having a tent but there is plenty of shade for us except for late arvo where we will be in the sun but that is ok - it is a strong cool south westerly now!

Some towns will create these spots for the passing tourist and they are usually attached to the local park and public toilets - this one is set up quite nice and has a rotunda and a free bbq - sausages for tea tonight! This place also has a shower which was nice.
Tomorrow is a longer day to Pyramid Hill.