The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions,
and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world.
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Great Ocean Road, Victoria #1,
Australia Blog, Daily Journal, Travel Writing
Nelson to Melbourne, Australia
(October 21 - November 13, 2006)
||Mount Gambier - Bush camp Nelson.
We received an email last night from a reporter with the New York Times.
He is writing an article about how couples get along while traveling for
a long time. The article should be coming out in three weeks or
so, when it does I will provide a link in my journal to it. I
guess Tim and I have mastered getting along while traveling. It
certainly is different then when we were working at home. Again it
was raining in the morning so we did not leave until after l pm. The
wind was in our face and waiting until the afternoon did not help, it
usually is stronger in the afternoon. We picked up water in Nelson and
bush camped about 8 km past Nelson. We did not have much time to
pitch the tent and make dinner before sunset was happening. Just
as the sun was setting a pair of kangaroos stopped by our camp to check
us out. Actually they were quite startled that we were there and hopped
off after staring at us for a while. The evening was really cold.
I wore all my clothes to bed including my jacket, hat and gloves.
It was below freezing, it has been a long time since I have slept in
this cold a temperature. We also arrived in the state of Victoria
today and set our clocks a half hour ahead. In about a week we
spring forward another hour for daylight savings.
the ride - wind from the southeast, a cold head wind.
||Bush camp Nelson - Portland. We set out early and
the wind was still in our face. We are riding through pine forest here
and there. Planted by Kimberly-Clark. Today happens to be Sunday
so the road was free of logging trucks. I had read in previous
journals that the road here was narrow with no shoulder. Well they
tried to remedy the situation but did a so so job. They laid the gravel
down but skipped the final rolling so the pavement was uneven and was
getting pot holes rather quickly. We stayed at a caravan park in
Portland, paid $18 for an unpowered site.
the ride - wind from the
southeast, a cold head wind.
||Portland - Port Fairy.
the ride - wind from the
southeast, a cold head wind.
||Port Fairy. Took the day off and explored
Griffith Island and the town itself. Nice town. We ride our bikes
all over now and Tim and I rode into town to buy groceries. We
were riding in one direction and then rode across the street to get to
the grocery store. Tim stayed outside with the bikes while I went in to
shop. Tim sat down on a bench next to a local and the local
proceeded to tell Tim that he broke the law by riding across the double
yellow line. Whow, that is a new one, someone telling us that we
broke the law while riding our bikes. The fact is true, we should
not ride across a double yellow line, but this particular law is broken
by cars as well, still it does not make it right. Ok my point, people
follow the rules for the most part here, not so in Asia so we tend to
ride without regard for the rules. We had the same problem when we
went back to the USA after traveling in Latin America for two years.
||Port Fairy - Peterborough. It rained in the
evening and we were not sure if we were going to leave the next day.
Morning came and the sun was out so we decided to ride to Peterborough.
At first we had a tailwind but by the time we rode into Warrnambool,
29 km away, we had a headwind again. The wind was out of the
southeast and in our face. We did make a few stops along the way.
We tried to use the wireless hotspot at McDonalds but we could not get
on. We tried to buy a Phoneaway Card for Telstra, it turns out that the
lady at the cash register sold me the wrong card. Then I tried to
use my credit card on their web site but that did not work either. I
have never had such a hard time connecting on a wireless connection.
We pushed on to Peterborough into the wind and stopped at the Bay of
Islands before we went to the caravan park. The caravan park was
$20 Au ($15) it had a nice camp kitchen and great showers, a hot shower
took the chill off. As we were setting up the lady next to us
asked if we wanted a cup of coffee, sure we said, and sat and talked
with a couple from Perth who were driving their caravan around
Australia, they thought we were crazy but then again they all do. The
coffee was a welcome warm up after a cold day of riding.
||Peterborough - Princeton. This is one of the
spectacular sections of the Great Ocean Road. We took our time
today and and stopped at every viewing area, including the famous twelve
apostles. I heard over 6 different languages while viewing the 12
Apostles which are called sea stacks by geologists. The day was
sunny and we even had a tailwind. We made camp near the town of
Princeton near the estuary.
the ride - terrain flat,
tailwind from the southwest
||Princeton - Cape Otway Bimbi Park. We woke to a
cloudy day and realized we better pack up the tent before it rains.
We knew if we could get everything in our panniers our gear would stay
dry. We rushed around and started riding earlier than usual.
The rain came just a kilometer down the road. We began climbing
immediately and the rain came down in sheets, I was glad to be riding up
hill because it kept me warm. It was not a good time to find out that my
gortex socks are not water proof anymore. What can I expect after
wearing them for 4 years. In addition, I had the wrong socks on, cotton
instead of wool so my feet were ice blocks going up the hill. We rode
from sea level to 550 meters (1800 feet). The ride was better once
we were in the rainforest. At Lavers Hill we stopped and had lunch and
warmed up inside. The wind had picked up since we were inside at
lunch and the road was now dry. We planned to ride back down to
sea level and back up another hill to Otway National Park. The
road was dry but steep is some sections. The wind was coming off
the ocean at 20 or 30 mph, in some places it was a cross wind and I had
to get as low on the bike as I could to keep from being blown over.
At one switchback I was blown from one side of the road all the way over
to the other side. Scary, I was grateful that there were no cars on the
road at the time. After 3 or 4 sections of fighting the wind I was
feeling pretty tired. The last two kilometers up the next hill
were pretty steep. I was feeling pretty worn out when we turned to
go to Bimbi Caravan Park where we planned to camp under the koalas.
It was 7 km to Bimbi Caravan park through the national forest, it is a
temperate rain forest with Eucalyptus trees also called gum tree. When
we reached our turn off we looked up in a tree and there she was, a
momma koala with her young baby. It made the days effort totally
worth it. We rode into Bimbi Park and set up in an unpowered site
for $17 Au $(12.75) have a look at their web site.
|Oct 28 -30
||Cape Otway Bimbi Park. We went hunting for koalas
today and we found fourteen in the campground alone. I really enjoy
watching their behavior patterns without disturbing them.
Apparently, it is mating season now and since koalas are nocturnal they
carried on all night long. The male koala makes grunting noises
like a wild pig or monkey, the female koala makes a high pitched
screaming noise like a women screaming. I never thought I would
say this but the koalas kept me up most of the night with all the noise
they were making. We settled into the wonderful camp kitchen and
working on our third video for Malaysia. This one is about David's
Guesthouse in Malaysia, we really had a wonderful time there and hope
other cyclists will visit him on their way through Malaysia, his web
site is :
We did make a short trek to Rainbow falls near station beach.
It was a nice three hour trip but the flies were really bad. I had to
knock at least 50 of them off of Tim before we went inside the camp
kitchen. I guess flies are pretty common in Australia, the one
thing I do not like, I even had one dive bomb the back of my throat.
I had no choice but to swallow it. Yuck!
||Cape Otway - Apollo Bay. I woke up with a cold,
sore throat, stuffy nose. The works. We decided to ride
anyway because it looked like the weather was going to turn bad in a
couple of days. I was achy all over so we made it a short day to
Apollo Bay. We had some climbing to do to get back to the road and
then took a rest at Mait Rest, it is a small piece of rainforest that
has not been touched by logging. Then it was a long quick
descent, well mostly, into Apollo Bay.
||Apollo Bay - Anglesea. This has to be my favorite
section of the Great Ocean Road, great views of the ocean all along the
way. We happen to have a nice sunny day and a tailwind to boot. I
couldn't be happier, well ok, I could be happier. As we were
traveling along I heard a noise and to my great disbelief, I saw a Koala
in a tree, not one but two. OK now I was really happy.
Nothing like watching a couple of koalas, they are usually nocturnal but
here it was the middle of the day and they were wide awake. I
think that mating season may have something to do with it. We
stopped at Lorne and had lunch and gave Ed a call in Anglesea. We
met Ed and Gaye in Vientiane Laos, they were riding from London, England
to Anglesea, Australia. Their web site is
www.longwayhome.org Ed was home
when we called and rode out to met us on the road. They live near
the Anglesea golf course, famous for it's kangaroos. Due to the
ongoing drought in Australia, Anglesea is
on level three water restrictions. Even though we, Tim and I, lived in Arizona a desert
we always had plenty of water and never really have been restricted on
our water use. One thing is for sure, Australians do not use their
bath tubs. I have seen them turned into decorations but they are not
used here. I feel a bit wasteful about the way I use water, now my
showers are short, really short. Gaye reuses their grey water
(from the washing machine) on the plants outside. A minimal amount
of water is used to wash dishes as well.
||Anglesea. We had a rest day with Ed and Gaye and
I really needed it. I was sicker than a dog. I could not
breath and my sinuses are swelled up too. I went from a cold to
hay fever and back again. Ed and Gaye treated us well and cooked
fantastic meals for us too. Ed showed us a bike route up at the
top end, from Cairns to Darwin that is on dirt roads and riding from
river to river. It sounds like an appealing ride, well until Gaye
said, watch for crocs when you go down to the rivers edge. We will
keep the ride in mind when we get to that part of Australia.
||Anglesea - Castlemaine. We have been writing
email with a few folks from the Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club and it
turns out that they were going to Castlemaine for the long weekend.
Australia is the first country I have been to where the entire country
goes on holiday for a horse race. My kinda place. We decided to
ride to Geelong, take the train to Melbourne and then take another train
out to Castlemaine. We were told that we could just roll our bikes
onto the train. We could not believe it was that easy but it was.
We rolled on in Geelong and then changed trains and rolled on again.
Before we knew it we were pushing our bikes off in Castlemaine. A
change in plans is always a welcome event. Turns out that it was warmer
and drier in Castlemaine.
|Nov 4 - 8
||Castlemaine. The bike club started showing up in
the morning and they just kept pouring in. There was every kind of
rider that you could imagine, from young to old and from recreational
rider to racer. There were a number of rides planned for the day
and we decided to ride with Glen to the Welsh village. I think
there were 17 riders in all and we took off for the hills to find the
Welsh village. Castlemaine is in the heart of gold mining country
and this area experienced a gold rush at the same time the States had
their gold rush in the mid 1800s. Well we rode and rode and never
did find that Welsh village but I have to say, a good time was had by
all even when we had to get off our bikes and walk/slide down the hill.
The next day a majority of the club rode to Mauldon, a small little
settlement, for the annual folk festival. There were musicians and
dancers on every street corner. Over the weekend we finally met up
with Jenny and Peter who had been emailing us about the club and the
weekend's activities. Jenny has been following us for over 4 years
so she certainly knew us well. Having someone know us well and
then not know them very well at all is a strange phenomena that has
resulted from our web page. It still feels a bit strange but we
quickly get over that because familiarity sets in quickly. We went
on two more rides over the weekend, it was nice to ride unloaded.
Our plans were set, we were going back to Melbourne, stay with Jon
Miller, the club president and then go on to Tasmania via the ferry.
All we had to do was get on the train from Castlemaine. The club
had hired a D class car which is basically a baggage car because there
would be at least 11 bikes getting on the train. We were all lined
up on the platform ready to get on when Glen yelled, "There is no D
class car" as the train rolled in. The conductor was quite
confused and only let 3 of the 11 cyclists on. Ouch! we were now
separated and a lot of people were going to be getting home late.
Some of the best laid plans can go hay wire. The next train wasn't
for a hour so we all had time to plan for the next disaster (not getting
on the train). The train rolled in, we spread out to different
doors and there was a mad scramble to get on the train. Luckily,
the conductor on this train let us on, I guess she was ready for us this
time. In the end there were 15 bikes on the velocity train.
We arrived in Melbourne an hour and a half later and followed Jon
through the streets of Melbourne to his house.
|Nov 8 - 13
||Melbourne. We stayed in Jon's extra room down
stairs. It was like having our own apartment. Our plans were to
stay for a couple of days, go to a club meeting and then go on down to
Jon is an IT guy and had to go to work the next day. Jon does
not own a car and commutes to work by bike and has for years. Tim
and I have traveled on our bikes for years but we have not been
commuters, usually when we get to a city we use public transportation.
Here in Melbourne there is plenty of public transportation but it is
also easy, relatively, to commute by bicycle. There are bike lanes
everywhere and more importantly, the drivers are use to sharing the road
with bikes. I was really impressed the morning that Jon rode his
bike to work, in the rain. We ended up staying longer in Melbourne
then originally anticipated, we attended a club meeting, I can't say I
have been in a room with so many touring cyclists. We watched a
talk on the use of a GPS, the speaker didn't really know his audience,
we all wanted to know more about the higher end units not the lower
basic units. Ah well it was still an interesting talk. We have
often contemplated getting a GPS but I still do not see the benefit
outweighing the cost. I would welcome any information for someone
who uses one and can't live with out it. There wasn't much time at
the club meeting to give a slide show on our trip so we planned an
impromptu get together at Jon's house. First we spent the day with
Glen, a lifetime member of the Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club, he showed
us Melbourne by bike. We also visited Seres (I don't know what it
stands for) where they grow organic vegetables and have a bike recycle
center. It was interesting to watch people go through old bikes
and grab the parts they needed to fix their new bike. We also
stopped by the Botanical garden and local bike shop. Tim replaced
a chain, again, and on the way home it broke again. Ok, we have
not had chain problems in years and now it seems we have the plaque.
Saturday night came and Tim gave a slide and video show about our trip.
We just recently finished a video about our friend David in Malaysia.
Check out our video page to see it.
9-15-06 to 9-15-07
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