The Mighty Murray River!

The Mighty Murray River!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

West of Ensay to Omeo

West of Ensay - Omeo = 45km (via b500) ridden on Wednesday 28 October
Cummulative total = 683km

It was another beautiful morning and when I opened the tent up yet another wallaby was hanging around it must have been grazing at least 50m from the tent but by me opening up the tent I think I frightened it off. But you could hear wallabies bounding around us all last night as well as noisy croaking frogs.
We got a nice early start (as we are getting really quick at packing up!) and continued along our little quiet road, with excellent bush camping sites along the river, quietly going along we see a Kangaroo grazing along the side between the road and river and we must have startled it as it panicked and starting bounding along with us and was about to cut up and on to the road when it decided not too .... whether or not it realised that it would collide with us or just thought no that would lead to danger ... he continued on and as we passed it backed tracked and went up and over the road at the point where it was going to do it previously!!! Even I thought, that at that point where you could see him going for the road, that OMG it is going to collide with us if it comes up onto the road! LUCKY!!!
The quiet road rejoins the B500 and we travel along to Swifts Creek. The legs are pretty stiff and felt like lead at that point. Omeo is only another 25km fro Swifts Creek so we continue on. Just out of Swifts Creek is probably the only flat piece of road on the B500 so we enjoyed that part but I knew that just before Omeo there was a climb as the map showed that we were to climb over the Continental Divide at one of the lowest points in the Divide (755m above sea level) and as the road turned you could see the climb coming off the valley floor. And so for the next 2 hours we just climbed - up, up and up.
By this time my legs were just full of lactic acid (I felt like a Geelong footy player!!!) after the undulating hills of the days before. And believe it or not Neil was feeling it too!!! Woo Hoo I thought he too is not invincible and feels aches and pains!!! (mean aren't I!!!) so I could winge all I liked!!!

These hills just went on and on and on and finally we hit the top at 755m and were relieved that the 9km hill was over.

So we went down into Omeo and was relieved to get to the campground to have a well earned rest.
Lovely campground that is very dog friendly and huge so Kouta can roam around a bit. We will stay here 2 nights and recover before the 55km climb to Mt Hotham which we will do over 2 days. At least we know that it is just straight climbing and not up, down, up, down with no recovery time.
Looking forward to the climb and have pysched myself up for this and I don't think it will be as bad as what we think. We know the first 25km is 6.5% - 7.5% and then the last 30km is plateaued at 2% - 3%. There is a bush campground at Victoria Falls which is 26km from Omeo so we will head for there on Friday and finish the climb on Saturday and down to Harrietville.
From there we head to Bright and follow the rail trail to Wangaratta where we will meet Neils' parents there - I am hoping Flo will bring along some baking (especially 'grubs') when we meet them ... so if you are reading this Flo and Neil has forgotten to mention it to you I would love a double batch of grubs (1 batch for when we are Wangaratta and the 2nd batch for on the road!!!)

Bruthen to West of Ensay

Bruthen - West of Ensay = 60km (via b500) ridden on Tuesday 27 October
Cummulative total = 638km

We woke up this morning to a very sunny and crisp clear morning. We sort of knew that the next 4 days of cycling were going to be hard especially the climb up to Mt Hotham but I suppose everyone concentrates just on the Mt Hotham climb and forgets that we actually have to get to the base of the climb which is at Omeo ... well it is one hell of a slog just to get to Omeo itself!
There is a 16km climb up Mt Elizabeth (900 odd meters above sea level) and the photo below shows me climbing.

After a 8km downhill we meet up with the Tambo river which we follow for the rest of the day and a bit of the next. By the time we got down to the river it was around 10 oclock and the sun was particularly warm and the road followed the river and there wasn't a flat piece of road all day it was short sharp undulating hills ... it was just up and down and up and down and over the km's it just wore me down (Neil was okay as per usual!).
Along the way we met a german touring cyclist going the opposite way to us and I tell you she was a very strong cyclist and was doing some outrageous distances basically for that day she was going from Omeo to Bairnsdale and over the following 2 days she was going to make Melbourne! CRAZY I thought! She is the 6th touring cyclist we had met - the first was a Japanese guy at Taralgon, a Japanese couple at Orbost (both lots were going from Perth to Sydney following the A1 all the way), another couple (American) we met out of Orbost also going over Mt Hotham and then this German woman. Yes there are always alot of crazy people out there just like us.
Anyway back to going up and down continuously it sort of drains you a bit cycling like that and in the end I decided that I wouldn't be able to make Swifts creek (75km of hills is not my idea of a holiday!) so I spat the dummy and said I am not doing it and just before Ensay there was a little quite road that we followed and at the 60km mark we found a beautiful bush campsite so I said this is it for me!!!!

Neil with the raging Tambo river!

Our bush camp for the night! simply gorgeous and quite with the river flowing and in the evening the frogs croaking (which croaked all night very loudly and woke me up quite a few times!)
After dinner of baked beans and spaghetti (mmm yum!) we were just sitting there enjoying the peace and quiet (ironic really as our life is always peace and quiet without kids so appreciating the quietness makes no sense really!) well more enjoying the tranquility of nature and just across the river a fox trots along and realises that we are there and bounds off and then a wallaby bounds along sees us and thinks oh who and what the hell are they! So for at least an hour we waited very quietly (very difficult to do when you have had alot of dried dates and apricots ... lets just say there was alot of thunder that night but no rain!!!) wishing and hoping this wallably makes its way down to the river and finally it did!

We were over the moon that it finally made it and it was better than watching TV. Gotta love nature.

Lakes Entrance to Bruthen

Lakes Entrance - Bruthen = 36km (via A1, C605 and the rail trail)
Cummulative total = 478km

Today was a nice easy day for us just a short ride up to Bruthen from Lakes Entrance. Tomorrow we will be taking the Alpine Road and we will be going through some very hilly country. So rather than do long arduous days and get to Bright by the end of the week, we decided to do smaller days and enjoy it more!!!
So we took a series of roads to get to Bruthen (we were here a week ago!) first we took the A! and climbed out of Lakes Entrance which I think is a nice town this time of the year but I would imagine it would be very busy during the xmas and summer break and even this long weekend (Melbourne cup) so we are glad not to be there then, mind you we should hit Bright on Sunday and that town is booked out entirely so hopefully they will still have room for us in the unpowered sites!
At Swan Reach we took the C605 for around 5km and then we linked up to the rail trail that we did the other day. As soon as we hit the trail we took Kouta out of the trailer and let him run along side of us as we pedal along, now I am not too sure how he took it, personally I think he was a little put out that he had to walk! I tell you that dog is becoming more and more "human like" since he has been with us on this trip (at least it is better than Neil and I becoming more and more "dog like"!!!)

It is very windy today and we hope it will be with us tomorrow as we head north so then it will be a tailwind! But in saying that it is cold. So if the legs will allow us we will try for Swifts Creek tomorrow and if they fail us we will bushcamp about 5km south of Ensay.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Orbost to Lakes Entrance

Orbost - Lakes Entrance = 58km (via A1)
cummulative total = 542km

So here we are in the lovely Lakes Entrance. It was a hard day cycling for me today (Janet) but Neil just takes everything in his stride! I think it was the fact that I didn't really want to cycle on the main highway (I prefer quiet roads) but we had no other choice. It was up and down, noisy and just plain ole yucky! But we eventually got here.
The caravan park is in the middle of renovations so we are stuck in the corner out off everyones way which is great for the dog as he gets to run around and we are only a small walk away from the beach.
Below are photos of Kouta and his FIRST encounter with the surf and I have to admit that he doesn't like water especially a bath or a lake but he LOVED the surf. Photo 1 is where he approaches it and Photo 2 is his reaction!!!

LOL he was hilarious to watch and he loved it so much he thought it was a game between him and the surf. He loved the surf bubbles and chased them all time. It was also hilarious to watch Neil with the dog lead having to keep up with him!!! Kouta is now currently dead to the world and is so exhausted.
We stay here at Lakes Entrance until Monday so tomorrow I think we will be spending our time at the beach amusing Kouta!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tostaree to Orbost

Tostaree - Orbost = 29km (via rail trail and A1)
Cummulative total = 484km

Today is a rest day here in Orbost which is our turning around point. Yesterday was a short day but it was still a very hard day.
We left our beautiful bush camp at around 9 o'clock thinking that we would be in Orbost around 11 o'clock ... well think again! 12km down the very rough track a piece of stick got caught in my front wheel and bent my mud guard and broke 2 of my spokes on the front wheel! "Lucky it was the front wheel which doesn't take alot of weight and not the back wheel which has most of the weight" ... that is what Neil said (always looking on the bright side of things) whereas I cannot repeat what I said since this is a family blog site!!!!
So we very slowly and tentatively continued down to the next road exit (Simpson creek road) to join up with the main highway, for me it was an agonising 2km and once we got to the highway we had to decide whether to go to Orbost (closer) and hope that there is a cycle store to get spokes OR go back to Nowa Nowa and then on to Lakes Entrance the next day where we know there will be a cycle store. I decided to risk it and go to Orbost ... lucky as there was a sports store and Neil got spokes to replace my 2 broken ones (we also bought extra just in case!). So I cheered up when Neil fixed the wheel.
I am not disappointed that we didn't finish the trail (we had another 10km to go) as since Nowa Nowa the trail had become almost too rough for a loaded bike. I think the trail after Nowa Nowa is more suited to mountain bikes with suspension as I think it is a combination of recent rain which has made the track difficult and the exposure of very big gravel stones which you can't seem to avoid and over the time and km's you really begin to feel it in the back!
Well Orbost is a small town on the Snowy River, we looked for 'the man from the snowy river' and couldn't see him or his horse. The campground is quiet but we have to keep Kouta strictly on a leash, but we are a very short walk from a reserve where we can let him roam. Otherwise the campground is basic, free bbq (but no kitchen), table and chairs, ping pong table and clean amenities. The town has a medium size Foodworks where we had to buy milk powder ($8.50 for 1kg!!!) I think Neil forgot just how much milk powder is now but it will last us for over 2 weeks.
Tomorrow we head for Lakes Entrance and today I will sort out our timetable to get us up and over Mt Hotham and into Bright for the next rail trail.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bruthen to Tostaree

BRUTHEN - TOSTAREE BUSH CAMP = 40km (via East Gippsland Rail Trail)
Cummulative total = 455km

Still no internet reception out this far and not too sure if we will get it in Orbost so I will type this as a document and post it on the blog when we get the internet reception.
Today we continued on with our journey through the East Gippsland Rail Trail. We started out with a gentle meandering climb to Colquhoun, since it is a rail trail the gradient for the climb is nice and easy. On our way up we encountered some cattle on the trail and they wouldn't budge so Neil was carefully shooing them off the path meanwhile Kouta was going absolutely bananas in his little trailer, he was desperately trying to get out and have a go at them! We climbed for around 12km and the a gentle decent to Stony Creek and on our way down we saw a wallaby and again a little further on. At Stony Creek we came across our first trestle bridge. Now these are really old and are not used as part of the trail, it is a pity as it would be fantastic to ride along them ... I suppose safety should come first! Since you don't go over the trestle bridges the trail has a very steep and gravelly descent and then on the other side there is a very steep ascent, of which it was safer to get of the loaded bikes and walk down and up these descents and ascents!

A little further on we saw (at least we think is was) a Lyre bird so Neil went a bit 'David Attenborough' and got excited and quickly got the camera out to take photos of it.

We got to Nowa Nowa at around lunch time and dipped our feet in the river there at the recreation ground. Now that was a welcomed relief as the day was beginning to heat up ... here we were a week a go freezing and now we have a hot 28 degree day! mind you I am loving the hot weather and believe it or not and I think this is the first time I have ever done this but I had to put sunblock on my arms!!! as I could feel the sun burning them.
From here the rail trail became very steep and extremely rough in places to Tostaree. Originally we were going to come back to Tostaree on our way to Lakes Entrance but since the trail is really rough we have decided to go via the road. I think the trail is okay for unloaded bikes but since we are carrying a bit of weight with each bike the rough gravelly parts are really hard to navigate.
But in saying that we are bush camping tonite and are camped not quite under one of the trestle bridges along the trail. It is a beautiful spot next to Hospital creek, we even had a quick wash in the creek as it is a very hot day and the salt and sweat quickly builds up so a refreshing cool dip in the creek was a must.

Tomorrow it is a very shot trip to Orbost where we will rest for a couple of days.

Paynesville to Bruthen

Paynesville - Bruthen = 51km (via Bairnsdale and East Gippsland Rail Trail)
Cummulative total = 415km

The day started with mossies and hayfever, poor Neil basically he did most of the packing and all I managed to do was blow my nose, curse the mossies and pack up the food bags!
We cycled the 18km into Bairnsdale to stock up on food and tissues and went to the information center to find out where the trail starts. Picked up a very informative map there that covers us all the way to Lakes Entrance and up to Bright. Found the bike trail and of course did the mandatory photo sessions.

The trail was sort of sealed between Bairnsdale and Nicholson which is around 9km away. Lovely trail, not too many people on it but there was an older man ahead of us and Neil spoke to him at Nicholson and it was Michael Oxer who was one of the original members of Bicycle Victoria and who is now the chairman of the management committee for the rail trail. Which do an excellent job with the maintenance of the rail trail as after Nicholson the trail becomes unsealed and the usual Lillydale topping and sort of fine sand gravel that when riding along it it feels as though you have a flat tyre! Going along a rail trail is alot harder than a sealed road but I think Neil and I both agree that it is far more pleasant to go on a trail.
At Nicholson we had a small food break and enjoyed the scenery, we met on the bridge a man who said that his wife is just up the track and heading to Bairnsdale and is walking from Orbost to Bairnsdale as part of the Relay for Life Cancer Research. She left Orbost on Saturday and walked 38km the first day, 30 odd km on Sunday and will arrive in Bairnsdale Monday afternoon with the grand distance total of nearly 100km ... wow what an effort!

So there we were cycling along the trail enjoying the quietness and the path to ourselves. The weather is warm and sunny and we both have begun our free sun tanning session where we end up with these ridiculous tan lines! Didn't see alot of wildlife but we did see heaps of wombat holes along the path, you knew they were there as there was always these little dirt mounds on the path from where the wombat while digging his/her hole has kicked the dirt onto the trail!
We made the 30km to Bruthen and are now camped at the local campground which is right next to the sports ground and has a caretaker. It is costing us $15 to camp and the showers and toilets are okay, has a very charming and rustic kitchen which has a fridge, bbq, toaster, jug, sink and power points so we can plug the computer in, but the reception is not so great, similar to dial up! so we can't put this on tonight and will try tomorrow.
We went for a walk this evening and there was a horse in the field that we walked past and the horse came up to the fence for company and below is a photo of Kouta encountering his first horse ... I think he was thinking some where along the lines of ... "wow this is a big dog"!!!

Tomorrow we are free camping at Toastaree in a roadside stop. Only a short day around 37km and I think the temperature is going to get even warmer tomorrow.
Happy travels everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rest Day @ Paynesville

We went Koala hunting today at Raymond Island which is a free and about a 2 min ferry ride from Paynesville. We were able to take the dog so we thought we would look at the island from the bikes with Kouta in tow.
Raymond Island has a few 'exclusive houses' and also some older style boat houses and I think it is quite a trendy place to have a holiday home. Personally I would love to have a house there especially if you have a tree with a Koala in it at no extra cost!!!! How fantastic would that be, the first koala we spotted was in a tree just outside someones house! I spotted the first and Neil spotted the next 10 koalas, after that we resorted to looking for kangaroo spotting which I thought would be easy but they were all hiding in low lying scrub and lucky Neil had is 'tracking wildlife' outfit on as he spotted 3 sets of Kangaroo ears! On the top photograph can you spot the 3 Kangaroos?
Nice island for nature and we saw heaps of birds - I have never in my life heard so many Kookaburras or Cockatoos since I left Melbourne they are really loud out here in the bush and country.
We also spotted (I really should say Neil spotted) 2 galahs feeding their young ones in their nest and we managed to get a pretty good photo of it. Neil also documented nearly all 11 koalas we spotted (just in case they are needed for tagging reasons?!!!)

Tonight we are going down to the town center to have 'fush 'n' chups' for dinner and we will eat it somewhere along the beach even though it will be freezing but the scenery is lovely. Besides it means we will be able to escape the relentless mosquitoes that are hanging around here. Which is common in October and apparently the first hot day they will disappear.

Tomorrow we head into Bairnsdale to start the East Gippsland Rail Trail.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stratford to Paynesville

Stratford - Paynesville = 70km (via c106 and a dirt road!)
Cummulative total = 364km
wind w sw

We must be getting quicker at packing up now as I think it only took us 1 1/2 hours today. Below is a photo of our campsite in Stratford - the river is the Avon. Quite a lovely setting even if we were tucked away in the corner of the campground!

We knew today was going to be a long ride so we started out early at 8.30am with the wind behind us again along the c495 and linking up to the c106 we continued our average of around 20km per hour which is quite good for touring. Within about a hour of starting we came across this echidna on the side of the road ... and it was alive! As soon as it saw us it started to burrow into the ground, now I have never seen a 'wild' echidna before only in the zoo or a wildlife park, but below is a photo of the first of 2 that we saw today!

We had lunch at some obscure name town that consisted of a CFA shed and a town hall, it probably had a population of 12 people and 3,000,000 mosquitoes of which we managed to kill 10 all up!!!!
Just after this town at about the 52km mark we found our turn off (Comleys road) and it was a dirt road (i found this road on the Google map and didn't realise it was going to be unsealed!) we took the road anyway and it was a change from the tarsealed road. It started out relatively smooth and then turned quite rough in places! But I love going along roads like that.
Here is a photo of neil coming along the road.

We were on this road for 6 1/2kms and then it linked up with the main road that goes into Paynesville, if we didn't take this comleys road then we would have to go into Bairnsdale I think.
The Resthaven caravan park is lovely, doesn't have unpowered sites so we have a powered site and are sitting here at the picnic table with our laptop the only thing that requires power! The facilities are excellent here. Paynesville is a nice little place, full in Summer I would imagine but otherwise Neil and I are the only ones camping while everyone else are either permanents or in caravans.
Tomorrow is a rest day and we might go over to Raymond island, not sure yet as we have to find out if they allow dogs as there is alot of wildlife there. The ferry is apparently free.
Until then happy travels!

Friday, October 16, 2009

rosedale to stratford

rosedale to stratford 46km
cumulative total 294km
wind w to sw

we took backroads to maffra this morning and i must say they were excellant. no traffic.
must have a good local member. mostly dairyfarms and cows to look at. dog likes the smells.
there is very green lush grass everywhere. and surprisingly water channels in every paddock that were full of water. must do a lot of irrigation over summer.

tailwinds all the way kept us cruising at 20km+. very flat and we a getting stronger as each day passes. janet is strong on the flat and I am stronger uphill. our mood is on the up with the change in the weather. in 9 days on the road it has not been above 17C and most of the time it is 12 or less.
janet is currently chatting to sharon in auckland. they have been talking on skype for 1hr 20min and only used 30mb. our internet reception with optus is excellant.
enough for now. photos tomorrow

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Traralgon - Rosedale

Traralgon - Rosedale = 40km (via Glengarry)
Cummulative total = 248km

Just a short ride today basically just down the road to Rosedale, we are free camping at a rest area along side the main hwy! We took the quiet country road via Glengarry and probably had less than 10 cars and trucks pass us either way today! fab riding, flat and with a tailwind. Thought there was a caravan park here but only a rest area, a few others are here as well.
Stopped raining today so we could ride but it has been showery this afternoon which was predicted. We felt like Dorothy in the wizard of oz today as you could see the rain and weather coming from our left where the divide is and heading behind us and to the right where the other set of mountains are and as we pedal along we are both thinking is the weather going to catch up to us and pour down or is it going around us ... lucky for us it went around us until we got to Rosedale and then it just poured down right as we were putting the tent up!
Tomorrow I think we are heading for Stratford and the weather is improving!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RAIN and more RAIN

almost 8 hours of rain have fallen since 7am and it looks as though it has gone for now. will go and bucket the water from a hollow near one corner of the tent. fortunately we have the camp kitchen and a power point. played 2 games of scrabble, scrutinised the BOM radar to see when the rain would pass, annoyed dog and stared at the sky. one of those days you wonder why we ride bikes. at least we are dry and warm.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Warragul - Traralgon

Warragul - Traralgon = 74km (via c103, normally it would be 55km via the Princess highway)
Cummulative total = 208km

Here I am sheltering at Moe, it is bitterly cold when you stop cycling!

Here we are just passing the Yallourn Power Station!
Well what was suppose to be a 55km day turned into a mammoth 74km! We were ummming and aahing over whether or not to go today as there was forecasted thunderstorms, but we woke this morning to a beautfiul day and looked at the weather radar on ninemsn and decided that we would start out and head towards Moe (the next caravan spot) and revise it from there.
Looking at all the local maps and what maps we have there was no road that runs along the Princess hwy/fwy so after Nilma (about 6km on) we would have to join the hwy. Cycling along the hwy is not my idea of touring ... it is noisy, boring and noisy! We got to Trafalgar and decided that all local maps are made by idiots as there was local roads running parallel with the hwy so we jumped on them to Moe and it was lovely riding along these roads.
Got to Moe (33km later) and decided that we should continue as it was cloudy and a few spots of rain here and there but nothing major.
From Moe we took the quiet c103 road to Traralgon, so we passed through Yallourn where the big power station is and the open cut coal mine ... didn't see any protestors, but the ride was beautiful, a bit up and down but we had a slight tailwind that we greatfully appreciated.
Originally we were meant to bush camp tonight at Sandbanks reserve (6km north of Traralgon) but since thunderstorms were forecasted we decided that we should make for a caravan park in Traralgon ... lucky as the Sandbanks reserve was a huge area great for tents and vans but with a sign to say no camping!!! I suppose it is too close to Traralgon and there were houses an km on!
Now in all my travels I am very sensitive to towns ... I look at it from the perspective 'would I like to live here' and this is based on how easy it is to "use" the town. Now how would I "use" this town? i think is it bicycle friendly, does the road structure flow or is it all parking and driving all mixed up and is everything well labelled and thought out ... Traralgon is NONE of the above. As far as I am concerned if they are still looking for a place to put nuclear waste drums well Traralgon is the place (and leave the lids off too!!!!) Stupid is the only way to describe the town. The city center has angle parking on every street and both sides and so the traffic is stopped if someone wants to get out of their parking, it is all higglety pigglety, and drivers don't know what is going on, the information center is in the middle of the town and on the hwy so too bad if you approach it from one of the smaller outer country roads, nothing is sign posted and to make matters worst ALL 3 caravan parks are half way back to Morwell!!! Lucky Neil is so calm and level headed as far as I am concerned blow the damn place up! So we had to back track at least 6km into a head wind to the caravan park. But on a positive note the caravan park we are in is called the Village CP and it costs us $18 to camp including showers, camp kitchen (pay bbq) and the lovely lady put us in a very sheltered spot since we are camping and the wind is strong.
So dinner is nearly ready and the wind has died down and it has stopped raining. Tomorrow I am not sure where we are heading for ... as usual it depends on the weather!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Warburton - LaTrobe River camp - Warragul

Warburton - LaTrobe River camp = 43km
LaTrobe River camp - Warragul = 43km (cummulative total = 134km)

Well we missed a few days due to bush camping and no reception!
We left chilly (pronounced "chully" in my accent) Warburton on Saturday morning and it took us nearly 3 hours to have breakfast and pack up ... are we sounding a bit like Phil? anyway it was a quick ride back to Yarra Junction to pick up supplies as we knew we were going to bush camp that night. We picked up the C425 road to Powelltown which is 16km from Yarra Junction ... lovely country through there, somewhat rolling with hills but rideable. We had a nice spot for Lunch in Powelltown as there is a rest area with tables and a pit toilet (called an environmental toilet ... less smell!). Moving on towards Nojee just 1km out of Powelltown we start to climb for about 5km. Now going up a hill with a trailer in tow is alot different to going up a hill with loaded saddle bags ... I think it is because with loaded bags the weight is centered around your legs and mass whereas the trailer drags behind you so you really use your lowest gears but in saying that when you go down a hill or incline you pick up speed incredibly quickly ... just ask Kouta who I am sure was barking out 'mush' (spelling?) to me yesterday when we 'hooned' down some inclines!
Anyway going through c425 is hilly but okay, I don't think there is a single piece of flat road! 14km on from Powelltown we hit the Ada road turnoff which is where out bush camp site is. It is about 400m off the main road. It is a very primitive campsite used by 4wd drivers and trail bikers so being the weekend it was well patronised but they were courteous even when we were cycling during the day the general traffic was good.
Below is a photo of our campsite.

The pit toilet was too far away for me to walk and it was near a couple of weird people! So I used the bush and believe it or not while I was ... you know! ... a LEACH must have crawled on my leg and attached itself to me, so here it was sucking away and I had no idea until I went to bed and saw it there! ... ew yuck ... lucky Neil knew what to do and we lit a match and it let go and I quickly squashed it ... I had no idea there were leaches here ... we are not in the Amazon! I could embellish it more by saying the leach was huge ... but I am not it was about a centimeter long!
Anyhow below is a photo of Neil utilising the BOB trailer as a table - just flip it upside down and place jandals to level it and there you have it our very own handy table!

After a good nites sleep we got up to a nice crisp morning (not as cold as Warburton!) and again took around 3 hours to have brekky and pack up ... we really are sounding like Phil aren't we! Anyhow just 4km down the road was a turnoff to head to Neerim or you could continue on towards Noojee and turnoff just before there ... but which ever road you take ... the only way is UP!!! I would say the climb we did on a quieter road to Nayook was around 5km and on our way up we were so slow and quiet that even the birds didn't flinch and fly away as we appoached them! Just look how close we got to this bird below as it watched as crawl on by!

but once at the top (at least I thought it was the top I still managed a smile!

From Nayook all the way to here at Warragul it is up and down, you are either climbing or going down a hill! Perfect beautiful country though at bit like the North Island of NZ! and while we are going up a hill very slowly we could get the time to look in the distance to see where the fires had been and I have to admit it is a rather eery feeling looking at the hills now as the trees are still there but with no foliage so you can see right through them - the trees are just a silouette. Lunch was at Neerim South - a well populated and friendly town that I think probably would get alot of its' business in Winter from Mt Baw Baw, which I think we saw with only a little bit of snow on it.
43km later we reach the 'bigger than I thought' town of Warragul, we approached it from the north where there is alot of new housing so I would say the town is expanding.
Here at the campground in Warragul, which I have to say is excellent, we are having a rest day to let the legs recover from all the hill climbing. It cost us $24 to camp for 2 each night and the showers are included, there is a fab camp kitchen that is covered with free BBQ's, fridge, toaster and jug ... just brilliant.
We had sausages last night on the BBQ and Jenny from work gave me a BBQ silicone mat to use on a BBQ so you don't have to clean, well neil had his doubts but he loves it now ... it is really handy to have, so simple to just place it on a BBQ, cook without oil and then just wipe clean!
Tomorrow we are in a roadside stop just north of Taralgon at a place called Tyers so not sure if we will get reception but until then we hope everyone is well!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kookaburra watching

A rest day at warburton watching the kookaburras feed. A cold night but we had the dog to warm us. He will stay in the tent until he is used to camping. There is an orange mesh around the vestibule so that he can't wander after every noise. Been for a walk to the river lookout, top photo and washed dog. The laundry is done and a lazy day to come. Very good internet reception up here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Woo hoo we're on our way!

Bayswater - Warburton = 48km (via rail trail)

We are in cold but sunny Warburton, it is damn cold!!! Kouta is currently fast asleep while we start preparing for dinner.
One thing is for sure that we are out of condition and practice!!!! Starting with the 2 hills (canterbury rd and Mt Evelyn) where I have to say I (Janet) ended up licking the front wheel and Neil walked parts of it!!! Our lungs are still recovering!
But at Mt Evelyn we joined up with the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail ...a beautiful trail that runs up a valley with Mt Donna Buang (spelling?) on one side and hills on the other ... simply marvellous. The day was hard due to the 2 hills at the start but I think next time we might go back to training it to Lilydale and doing the 5km gentle railtrail climb to Mt Evelyn. But it was still an enjoyable day and by the end of the 46km our legs began to feel it.
On our way through the trail we saw John Woods (actor from Blue Heelers) and his little dog and I nearly fell off my bike ... I didn't know he lived out this way (well East of Melbourne) but Neil knew he lived somewhere here.
The country side is very lush and green and the caravan park here are Warburton cost us $20 for unpowered and takes dogs. The showers cost $1 for 5mins but I am sure I only got 3 1/2 mins! I know we are out of season for camping and I know tonight I think it will get absolutely freezing but we have a campsite alongside the Yarra and I am now wondering if the waterflow noise will keep me awake tonight!
Tomorrow we should be on our way to Noojee - until then ciao!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fine tuning the bikes

Yet another ride down to Jells Park, this time with the dog and ALL the luggage in tow. The above is a photo of Neil and his bike. He has the essentials in his trailer and below is a photo of me on my bike with the other essential ... Kouta!
Looking at the 2 bikes without big back panniers is a little unusual but the 2 BOB trailers tow absolutely perfectly ... they attach to the bike with ease and certainly follow the line of the bike.
You do feel a little pull from the weight of the trailer as you go up a hill but after touring with back panniers for so long I am sure we will adjust to the 'feel' of the BOB trailers.
Another point of interest when travelling with BOB trailers is the fact that previously we had 2 big rear panniers to put our essentials in and now those 4 panniers have had to become 1 trailer bag (which is near impossible) so we had to resort to 2 small front panniers now attaching to the back of my bike just for the little bits and pieces that are essential for touring.

Tomorrow is another day of cycling to Jells Park, we are just getting our legs 'in' so to speak ... not too mention just look at my WHITE pale legs ... will have to change that!!!!