The Mighty Murray River!

The Mighty Murray River!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Camperdown to Colac

Camperdown to Colac = 62km
Cummulative total = 1305

We are now sort of back home!  Should be back in Melbourne on Tuesday sometime. 
We both enjoyed cycling in and around the Wimmera and will definitely go back there again ... there is still a few bits and pieces of Victoria left to do.
See you all next year - Feb-March are just a short series of rides planned and the after Easter in April is the big one north then west to the center and back down and around the peninsulas in SA and back to Melbourne.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Warrnambool to Camperdown

Warrnambool to Camperdown = 72km
Cummulative total = 1243km

It was a tough day today although the legs felt a little heavy we coped with the hills quite well - rode a hill then recovered, rode another hill then recovered and that was todays cycle.  As you can see from the profile it is a constant gradual (at times) climb to Camperdown.  But the real hilly part was the last 20km to Camperdown, one thing the profile doesn't show is the last hill to the campground which is one we have done a few times now and I am sure we will do it again in the future!
We left Warrnambool around 7.45am and headed out on the Wangoom road which is lovely and quiet once past all the houses on the outskirts of Warrnambool.  It is popular with cyclists as we came across this sign -
Along this road is Hopkins Falls - we went here November 2010 with Ray and Flo after a considerable amount of rain and Emu Creek was flooded.
Here is todays photo of the falls -
here is November 2010 -
here is todays falls -
here is November 2010 -
so there is a considerable difference to say the least! 
We didn't stay very long as it is only 14km from Warrnambool and we still had lots of kms ahead of us and besides it was very cold today.
Before we left this morning we got a list of roads that we had to go along.  We had decided to go along back roads rather than the main highway although it would be shorter to go via the highway!
but the roads were lovely and quiet and came across very few cars.
Lots of farms out here - especially dairy and one farmer had a very interesting statue alongside his letterbox -
We went on a 2 unsealed roads today and both were a few kms and okay, a little rough in places and both had hills in them - the Gores road was okay but the Naroghid road at the start had a steep munter of a sooty grunter and I thought I would have to get off and walk but I suprised myself and made it the whole way. 
This is Gores road -

and this is the top of the first part of the hill on Naroghid road - you can see it just drops away!
From this road it is up and down, up and down to Camperdown.  At the top of this hill you can see the communication towers (which is where the Camperdown caravan park is) and you are on the same level as it but then you drop, only to climb again to the Camperdown - Cobden road and then you go down again and only to climb up to the towers and caravan park!
So happy to be here and Kouta went straight to sleep to recover from all the climbing!  the legs feel good so it must be a sign we are fit for cycling after nearly 2000km over Oct and Nov.
Tomorrow is to Colac and again we will go via the back roads so that adds another 15km or so!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Killarney to Warrnambool

Killarney to Warrnambool = 23km
Cummulative total = 1171

It was a lovely rest day down at Killarney.  Despite having a very windy and stormy morning with the tent being blowin' around a bit!  It turned out to be a cold by sunny day.  Walking along the beach in all the clothes that we have with us and also the raincoats!
Despite it being very windy the bay was still relatively calm but I think too cold to swim in!
but walking along I looked at Neil and all this trip I have cursed him because before we left he decides to cut his own eyebrows and made an absolute mess of it so that now as it grows the left brow has sort of a curl to it ...
This morning it was still raining again but it soon cleared so we slept in a bit knowing that we only had 25km to ride to Heather and Anthony's home in Warrnambool.  We were going to go along the rail trail but since it has been raining a bit we thought the trail would be soft and also the lilydale topping would flick up all over poor ole Kouta like the rail trail to Foster!  So we took what I like to call the 'spud roads' which is the back roads to the base of Tower hill which are full of potato farms and even along the highway there are a few of them.
The highway was very busy but we only rode along it up and over Tower Hill to Illowa where we took the old highway road to Dennington and then jumped back on the main road but that had a bike lane the whole way and then voila! here we are at 'Hotel Warrnambool'.
Hotel Warrnambool also has a resident dog called 'sooty' that has had a haircut and looks about 10 years younger than what he should be!
so happy to be in a warm place and not have to pitch the tent up in the wind.
Tomorrow onto Camperdown - a longer day because we are not sure the Cobden campground is still going.  So hoping we have a tail wind!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Penshurst to Killarney

Penshurst to Killarney = 60km
Cummulative total = 1148km

We arrived here at Killarney Beach reserve yesterday around midday.  We didn't have our 31km per hour northerly winds more like 3 point 1km per hour winds!
But we still got here in good time.  The road we took was alot busier than what we thought it would be ... in fact it was the busiest road so far on this trip.  It is a 'c' road but it had more traffic on it than a highway!  There was a few trucks that were carting something from where they are building the wind turbines, so they were only on the road for a 30km block.  But the local traffic was heavy and that means more dickheads taking unneccesary risks - alot of overtaking us with oncoming cars!
We did get off this road when we got closer to the coast and it was a relief to get off it.  We found a quiet road that goes to Woolsthorpe and that was only a 1 lane road with NO traffic! is was glorious!
These roads waunder through the area west of Koroit and funny enough we stumbled across the Warrnambool to Port Fairy rail trail.  So we will come back to the rail trail when we leave here tomorrow for Warrnambool and just see how far we can go along this trail as the last few times we have come through here the trail wasn't complete.   So here is Neil at the rail trail -
Just before getting to the main highway we came across probably the biggest church (no longer in use) for a small town that we have ever seen!
So we got here just on midday and the Killarney beach reserve is one of the Moyne shire campgrounds - a bit like the one at Yambuk.  It is a nice spot alongside a sports oval.  There are a few vans here and our little tent is tucked under some ti trees behind sand dunes.  We chose this spot because there was forecasted storms and strong south westerlies today - and we had a storm last night and today there are very strong winds and rain showers so it was fortunate that we have a little shelter from the dunes and trees.
I had to take a photo of Neil wearing a certain pair of shorts that I know when you look at the photo you are going to say something along the lines of - "what is he thinking!"  But first let me tell you the story behind these shorts - when we first cycled together 14 odd years ago Neil bought these 'running' shorts for 50cents up at Emerald in Qld when he was 38 years old and back then when wearing the shorts he look alright in them ... but now he is 52 .... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I don't think so!
I like to call them his "fancy nancy shorts" LOL!!!!
In the evening we went for a walk along Killarney beach and you can't hear the surf and when you climb over the dunes you can see why - Killarney beach is a very sheltered beach that is perfect for swimming in.
the trees in the background is Port Fairy which is around 10km from here
there was a few people on the beach all with dogs since there is no restrictions here so there are a lot of happy dogs running in the water, bounding around, splashing about ... and then there is Kouta who hates the water ...
I laughed as when you look at everyone on the beach with dogs all the dogs are in the water and the owners walk on the sand ... but with us it is reversed ... Neil and I are in the water and Kouta is on the sand!!!
We are staying here today as it is cold only 16 degrees today and we need a rest and then it is a short ride tomorrow to Heather and Anthony in Warrnambool and 2 days to Colac to be home on Saturday.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cavendish to Penshurst

Cavendish to Penshurst = 65km
Cummulative total = 1088km

It was a cool morning when we started and we took the Henty highway for the first 7km and turned left onto Hensley Park road.  This road is a quiet local road but this morning was quite busy we thought!  This road also has Hamilton Airport on it about 10km from Hamilton.  We did stop for a break just outside the airport hoping a small plane would land as we could see that there were people and 'av' gas trucks out near the runway.  But no plane turned up while we were there.
The road from the turnoff to the airport is relatively flat with a little bit of rolling.  After the airport it is more undulating but okay.
We picked up supplies for the next 3 days at Hamilton and took the Glenelg highway out eastwards to the edge of town and then took the turnoff  to Chatsworth.  This is a quiet road which we have been on before.  It is a lovely road with a view of the Grampians on your left for most of the way.  Last time we were here (feb/march 2009 I think) the area around us was very dry and the lakes had no water in them.  This time the land is very green and lush and the Lakes had water and heaps of birdlife in them.  By now you should have guessed that I love the Grampians so here is a few more photos for you!
Just cruising along and liked this view:)
We did have a break on the small lake next to Lake Linlithgow and this bushland reserve would make the perfect bush camping - a bit out in the open but the road is quiet so no one to disturb you.  But the view of the Grampians and Mt Abrupt is absolute superb!
From here it is about 5km to our turnoff and then another 10km south to Penshurst.  As you turn right towards Penshurst you get a view of Mt Rouse.
The campground is nice - basic with a free washing machine so although we got here a little later than expected we still did our washing and are hoping it will dry.
The weather today was suppose to be 31 degrees but it was cold in Hamilton at 10.30am and only really started warming up around midday but I don't think we will be getting to 31.  We hardly had any wind again today - I think it is suppose to blow a northerly to get that 31 but they are forecasting that tomorrow so fingers crossed it blows from the north as we are heading straight south to Killarney on the coast.
Here is our camp spot at Penshurst -
We are under acorn and pine trees.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cherrypool to Cavendish

Cherrypool to Cavendish = 55km
Cummulative total = 1023km

It is alot cooler at night now and we are sleeping like logs - even Kouta sleeps the whole night through - he only moves when he feels that he should get more of the sleeping mat!
We woke this morning and it was cloudy and a very very light drizzle passing through but we could see blue sky further on so we really had no other choice but to go rain or shine!
On the highway again and just out of Cherrypool we are close to the Grampians on our right and Black Rock state park is also close to us.  It is lovely riding along this highway!
As you can see from the photo above the bulk of the Grampians was shrouded in clouds and it wasn't until mid morning that we could begin to see them.
However on our right the low mountains weren't covered in clouds and I think this is Mt Byron.
So the ride along the Henty highway certainly changes from open pastures to fields with alot of gum trees in them.  Again we saw alot of wildlife - heaps of wallabies and we managed to see 4 emus - man they are so funny when they see us and run.  They don't run in an elegant way more of a fast plod using their ungainly long legs and because their bodies are so big that they tend to bounce along and look like they are going to topple over and off course they don't run in a straight line but swerve in and out of imaginery obstacles!
Our first stop was around 20km from Cherrypool and here we could see the Grampians.
and this is the road we were on -
It was a good highway when it is in the Horsham Rural City shire but once it crosses into the South Grampians Shire ... well lets just say the South Grampians shire is not very rich!  the road deteriorate very quickly.  It must get a fair bit of truck traffic as the damage is on the white line strip on the side of the road.  We did notice that there were more trucks this morning compared to Saturday.
We had a coffee break with a good view of the Grampians
the clouds are lifting!
Just after this point (at 36km) the road undulates for around 5km and the road also is ripped up in places - not sure why just in this particular section the road is broken up but there were long stretches of road that have humungous holes!
Although todays ride was not flat it was neither hilly more rolling with an undulating section.  So it was nice riding and believe it or not we hardly had any wind!
We arrived at Cavendish at midday and the camping reserve is alongside the footy field.  It is nice and just down the hill is the Wannon river.
It costs $6 per person for powered and $5 per person for unpowered so we splashed out and opted for powered!  There is one other couple here.  Cavendish doesn't have a store and only a pub and probably gas station.  We sort of guessed there was no shop so we bought extra food with us - tuna mornay tonight!
This afternoon we went for a walk down to the river -
Tomorrow is Penshurst and the weather is meant to become warmer again so maybe fingers crossed we will get a tailwind with a northerly!  We looked and saw that Tuesday is a northerly so we may not have a rest day at Penshurst and take advantage of the northerly and continue through to Killarney!  But Elders change their weather forecasts by the hour so we will see tomorrow evening!

Horsham to Cherrypool

Horsham to Cherrypool = 50km
Cummulative total = 968km

We stayed an extra day at Horsham on Friday not because of me faking an injury to see the carnival but more that it was inclement weather.  It rained Thursday night but not alot more thunder and lightening than anything.  In the morning it was very grey and overcast and it looked okay to go so we had brekky looked at the radar and saw all was clear around Horsham and further south to the Grampians so we packed up and just at the end of packing up a very light mist came and stayed for a while.  So we ummed and ahhhed as to go or not.  The forecast was a 90% chance of 10-20mm so we decided to stay, an hour after paying for another day the weather lifted ... don't you just hate that when that happens!
It was a nice restful day we were both glad of it as it wasn't hot or cold but just the right temperature to hang around and do nothing unlike the day before where it was sunny and hot and we had to keep finding shade!
So Saturday morning looked alot clearer - still grey and overcast but no rain threatening.  It was cool for the whole day and we had a south westerly or head wind as we took the Henty highway.  This is a relatively quiet highway and not alot of traffic going our way but quite a few going to Horsham. 
We had a change in scenery a bit only one or two wheat fields south of Horsham but more grazing land and hay farms maybe the area is just to lush and wet for grains.  But we do get to see the Grampians in the distance.
Sometimes we see them and sometimes the road veers away from them, not to sure how close we will get to them further south.  The Grampians are on our left and on our right is Black Range State Park.  There is plenty of wildlife in the fields.  we saw a wallaby on the side of the road and when a truck passed it it was okay but when we passed it on the bikes it panics and bounds off!  The same when a hare crosses the road in front of us and pauses to look at us and panics and shoots off in front of us.  It is funny seeing the wildlife react to us who do less damage to them compared to trucks and cars!
It is nice riding along the highway and there are plenty of gum trees and fields as scenery.
We come to our camp spot at Cherrypool - it is only a highway stop and is a bush camp alongside the Glenelg river.  There are not many spots with river frontage but where the toilet use to be there are a few spots but that is too much out in the open for me to go to the toilet!
So we set up camp amongst the trees and shrubs.  There was a caravan about 75m further down and they are thankfully quiet!
Here is our camp spot -
Weetbix for dinner tonight as we have had to carry extra water with us and weetbix uses very little water to make, eat and wash up after!  Mind you if Neil had is weetbix a bit drier like us Kiwis then we would save alot more water!!!! LOL.
Tomorrow is Cavendish.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Warracknabeal to Horsham

Warracknabeal to Horsham = 61km
Cummulative total = 918km

Well here we are back in Horsham - we were here just under 2 weeks ago.  Things have not changed! if anything there is less people in the caravan park.
Todays ride was tough - our 4th day cycling and the head wind was very strong around 30km per hour.   We left early as well hoping to get a few kms in before the wind picked up but the wind started out with us!  We went along the Borung highway for a bit until Wallup and then hung a left hand turned and headed straight south for Horsham.
The going was very slow due to the openess of the country so you sort of feel the full 30km per hour and gusts over 40km per hour.  So we plodded along and the legs after 3 days of riding felt very heavy this morning.
Our coffee break was around Murra Warra.  I think this is just a locality but we did find the local hall ...
It was a very wind spot and we sat there freezing and even Kouta was cold as he decided to sit on me and curl up on my lap - I didn't mind as he kept me warm and I obviously kept him warm.
Didn't really want to start out again as at this point we were only half way and the next 30km didn't seem all that appealing!  this is a photo of the road ...
We passed through a place called Kalkee and took some photos for Ray to look at - we saw 2 houses on our left as we came in.  Neil said the place has changed and there is a big sports oval/community center and also a motorsport/speedway type facility.  Will show you the photos when we get to Colac.
So grinding away and about 10km from Horsham we were pulled over by a reporter from the Warracknabeal Herald and he took photos and notes and apparently we will be in the newspaper that comes out this Friday morning here in Horsham.  So before heading of we will stop by the Newsagent and pick up a copy!  So with a spring in our step we managed the final 10km in no time! although I did feel that the wind eased off a bit for us and it was  a welcome sight to see the water tower which tends to indicate a town.
Coming into Horsham the wind really died down and while setting up the tent there was barely any wind ... just our luck.   But it did come back later in the afternoon.
Looking forward to a rest here in Horsham.  They are predicting rain on Friday so we may get stuck here for another rest day - I hope so as there is some street carnival on this Friday - might try and fake an injury with Neil so we stay!  We have completely run out of food so we will restock here in Horsham and should be back in Colac by the end of next week - weather permitting.