The Mighty Murray River!

The Mighty Murray River!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Geelong to Werribee to Bayswater

Geelong - Werribee = 53km (ridden Friday 4 December 2009)
Cummulative Total = 1961km

We are now back in Baywater, Melbourne. We arrived home yesterday and I was too tired to do this blog!
We started very early yesterday morning so that we could catch the train from Werribee to Flinders St and then onto Bayswater before the peak hour rush.
We cycled through the industrial estates of Corio and Lara to connect to some very quiet country roads to Werribee. It was a pity there was no campground in Lara as that looked like a nice place to stay, in fact it looked really nice to live in, big enough to have a table tennis association and a supermarket which is all Neil and I need to survive!
But it was nice riding through the quiet country roads looking in the far off distance to see if we could spot the skyscrapers of Melbourne, eventually we could see it through the smog! And we also had a gentle tail wind so that made things a hell of a lot easier than the day before!
We got to Werribee and caught the 11.06 train and arrived in Bayswater just after 1pm so that was pretty good going!
The grass was very long (it came up to between Neils knee and thigh!) so while Neil cut the grass I unpacked everything.
So now we just sit back and reflect on the past 2 months cycling and what changes and improvements we can make for the next tour.
One thing I have not mentioned in any of the postings of this blog (due to not wanting to jinx ourselves!) and that is, believe it or not, we did not get one puncture between the 2 of us!!!!
So that is all until the end of January/beginning of February.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Aireys Inlet to Geelong

Aireys Inlet - Geelong = 58km
Cummulative total = 1908km

WHAT A DAY!!! For me today was probably the hardest day so far - Neil thought that the first day of the 2 days that it took to climb Mt Hotham was the hardest day so far but today was a gruelling day of headwinds, not just a gentle breeze mind you, but full blown, gut wrenching, heart breaking, mind blowing WIND!!! It was a Northerly this morning and according to the Elders weather forecast site the winds ranged from 17kph to 35kph and then it switched to a north westerly and increased to 50kph at around 1pm (we were still riding at that point and going into it!) and has now switched to a west south west when we arrived at our campground. Man it took us sooooo long to get here mind you some damn useless bicyclists didn't help our case when giving us directions on the best way to cross Geelong ... damn cyclists!!!
But first the ride to and out of Anglesea was up and down with a rather long hill out of Anglesea, but we left early this morning at 7.30am hoping to get some km's up before the wind but alas the wind was up well before us this morning!
Once we turned north to Geelong the wind was right in front off us and the speed dropped down to around 12 - 13kph!!!
Once we got to Waurn Ponds we met to cyclists that obviously worked at the University up the road as they had British Accents and were very hoity toity! All I have to say is that they maybe educated but unfortunately they lacked the necessary skills to explain the ideal way to get through to Geelong to the Ballarat Hwy (which is where our campground was). One starting rabbiting on about a bike path through Lara (which is well past the Ballarat Hwy in fact we will pass through it tomorrow!) and the other started mentioning street names and the like. So we left them still unsure as to whether to take the ring road or go through the city.
Neil thought I wanted to go via the ring road as it was hilly but the shoulder would be good, I didn't really care which way we went as both ways were going to be difficult!
We opted for the ring road but unfortunately bicycles are not allowed on the freeway between Ceres and Hamilton Hwy so we had to get off at the Ceres turnoff, unfortunately the 2 cyclists weren't really clear on telling us that!
So we came off and down to Shannon Ave and continued on until we met the Ballarat Hwy, clearly we should have taken the option of going through the city as it would have been alot easier. As riding along the Shannon Ave road was good, alot of traffic but there was 2 lanes, off which cars stayed out of the left lane (as there was the occassional car parked in it) so it wasn't too bad to cycle in and we suspect that is what it would have been like if we had gone through the city ... oh well next time!
So by now the day was just dragging and the wind was incredibly strong that it was blowing me all over the place and there was dust and I think one point the gust was soooooo strong that I managed to pedal and not actually gain any ground!
Right now it is 5.50pm and the wind is still around 50kph, we managed to get the tent up and have the doors open so the wind just blows through!
We are here at the Eldorado campground (the only campground in Geelong to take dogs) and last night I said this was going to be ultra expensive ... well this is a new camping cost record .... $36.00 to camp! and that is with our top tourist discount, unpowered but we do have our own ensuite as they don't have a shower and toilet block and every site has ensuites .. hence the cost.
The camp kitchen is well equiped so we have definitely blown the budget for today.
I forgot to mention that yesterday Kouta had his photo taken quite a few times (in fact he has had his photo taken while in the trailer quite alot on this tour!) Some actually slowed down and took a photo as they passed us and one actually stopped on a hill and got out and waited for us so they could take a photo ... so watch out Richo ... Kouta is now a "SUPER STAR"!!!
Tomorrow we head for Werribee and I think we will have a tail wind and then hopefully we will be able to get on the trains and be through Melbourne before the evening train rush.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Skenes Creek to Aireys Inlet

Skenes Creek - Aireys Inlet = 60km (via the Great Ocean Road GOR)
Cummulative total = 1850km

Everyone says that if you are to see the GOR then their is no better way to see it than by pushbike, mind you all that have said it to us have never seen it by pushbike and clearly have this romantic view that by riding your pushbike must be the better way to see the GOR ... I don't think so Michael!!! I reckon the absolute best way to see the GOR is by walking along the roadside with absolutely no cars for the entire time it takes for you walk the GOR ... you're dreaming Jonesy!!!
Back to reality it was a very pleasant ride from Skenes Creek to Lorne, we started out at about 8am and there was very little traffic until around 9.30am and even then there still wasn't much. The road was a bit bumpy but had an okay shoulder that at times we could ride in to let cars pass us, otherwise the shoulder was too rough and dangerous to ride in. The road was up and down but the gradients were easy and we had a head wind the entire way to Aireys Inlet.
There were nice stops at Kennett, Wye and Cumberland Rivers.

Looking back towards Skenes Creek and Apollo Bay way in the distance!
I was dreading going through Lorne, I tend to struggle with the traffic through busy places with the loaded bike and Kouta (as he has a tendancy to move about in the trailer and causes all havoc with my steering of the bike!) and I knew there would be a narrow bike lane between parked cars and the car lane and I also knew that there would be some idiot blocking it at some point and I would have to come into the car lane and I also knew there would be some irrate driver who would get annoyed because I have had to come out into the car lane and she would not like that at all ... and I WAS RIGHT that all happened as we went through Lorne!
Man that place should be NUKED with a nuclear bomb, what a pretentious little town, and the schoolies were there by their thousands, OMG I think schoolies should be seriously replaced with CONSCRIPTION!! good idea don't you think?!
The road from Lorne to Aireys Inlet was worse I thought (Neil thinks it was better) still it was bumpy and there was a marked increase in the traffic (definitely everyone stops at Lorne as there was nowhere near the traffic on the other side of Lorne going to Apollo Bay!) and heaps of P platers but they weren't too bad with us, I find that drivers are not quite sure what to do when they come across us (or any cyclists) and some even hesitate when overtaking, earlier today one driver just down right irritated me, I was cycling along and saw they hung back when overtaking Neil and then they procrastinated with me, meanwhile I had moved over to the shoulder and there was plenty of room and slowly I ran out of shoulder and they still had held back, I turned my head and almost came to a complete stop as I had nowhere to go except for back on the car lane and I wasn't sure why this person hadn't overtaken me, anyway he must have read my lips as I said a few choice words and indicated to overtake before I had an accident on the non existent shoulder that was ahead!!!
Anyway the scenerary anywhere along the GOR is spectacular and we were fortunate today that it was a lovely sunny day so we could see alot of the coast line ahead of us.
We were previously going to continue on to Anglesea, but when we rang up from Colac to check to see if one of the 3 campgrounds take dogs they said yes but no to tents (what the hell kind of campground doesn't allow for tents!) and then the other 2 campgrounds at Anglesea took tents but not dogs! In fact I think we should also NUKE Anglesea as well as Lorne! I remember last time we came through the GOR Anglesea campgrounds wanted $62 for camping the Tuesday after Easter break ... we said No Way Hosea!!! I remember we ended up at Winchelsea for $12!!! So I don't like Anglesea very much we find it very difficult staying there with our choice of camping and mode of transport!
But the campground at Aireys Inlet took tents and kouta, so it is a nice campground but also expensive to camp (unpowered = $28 with a top tourist discount!!!) so it is definitely expensive anywhere along the GOR. But the facilities here are lovely, the showers and toilets are nice and clean and the camp kitchen is brand new and I am seriously thinking of permanently moving into this caravan park just to enjoy the brand new kitchen they have - very modern!

beautiful clear water (cold though!) and in the distant is Aireys Inlet - the tip is where the split coast lighthouse is.
So tomorrow we head for Geelong and then onto Werribee on Friday and then home, we think camping at Geelong will be ultra expensive so have decided to flag our rest day there - have to watch our pennies now since we are a 'voluntarily self funded unemployed couple' (like that!!!)