Day 99 Perth
We spent our time playing with the grandkids, which was the main reason for returning! We worry that they might forget us if we don’t visit often enough….happily this doesn’t appear to be the case, though Steve was gently chided by AJ when telling him about a friend from kindy that had left: “She went away Papa,” slight pause, “Just like you…” Heartstrings duly sprung!
Day 100 Perth -Melbourne
In the morning I went to see my trusty physio James at the Central City Clinic at Perth Station and Steve spent more time with daughter Jenny and the grandkids at their place near the lovely Swan Valley. We all came back together later in the day and we had more playtime with the boys before catching a late flight back to Melbourne. My former boss from my days in Brisbane, Melissa, a renowned kidney regeneration scientist, and her husband Mahlon had kindly offered us a bed that we could sneak into when we returned (everyone was abed) so that we could get on our way the next morning without having to find an overnight lay-by somewhere. We had left our van in their driveway while away, and being close to the airport, was a great solution to a small problem for us. Thanks so much Melissa and Mahlon!
Day 101 Melbourne – Loch
Exiting Melbourne was relaxed and easy thanks to a network of picturesque cycle paths including the Mary Creek Trail, Main Yarra Trail, Koonung Trail, the East Link Trail and the Dandenong Creek Trail. I followed these for nearly 70km towards Loch, our destination for the evening. Once away from the burbs I followed quietish roads through the small townships of Koo Wee Rup, Lang Lang and Nyora, enjoying the rolling hills and dairy farms on this perfect summer’s day. Not far from Koo Wee Rup I came upon a road closed due to roadworks sign. I pedalled on regardless assuming there would be some sort of surface or footpath I could negotiate only to find an area that looked like it had been freshly ploughed from verge to verge. Sheepishly I retraced my steps and followed the detour signs.
It was a fairly long day at 132km and I was pleased to arrive at the Loch council caravan park come cricket club come boy scout meeting place to the loud cheers and applause from the Kovak family and Miranda. Miranda had spent some of the afternoon chatting with Stan, Laura, and their twin daughters, Luca and Khatia, from Nimbin who were on a nine month driving trip around Australia (excluding Queensland which they were saving for a future adventure).
M had already set up camp so after I showered and had a bite to eat we drove up to the Cape Horn lookout to take in and photograph the spectacular view before having a look around the delightful town of 300 people and meeting Graham Hastie who owns the local antique store. Graham was full of local knowledge and good advice and was very interested in what we were doing and commissioned Miranda to produce a painting of his shop (so far he is still waiting…she will get to it sometime!) We took photos for future reference and returned to camp for a peaceful night.
Day 102 Loch – Yanakie Beach near Wilson’s Prom
We mapped out a less direct route to keep on back roads as much as possible as we both find the route less travelled preferable. It was a cloudy day, ‘spitting’ much of the time, much cooler than yesterday, and I wore a thermal on top though still with sandals on my feet. Once again beautiful rolling hills and many, many dairy farms with the tell-tale ‘time for milking’ cow poo at the numerous road crossings.
I stopped at Koonwarra for peanut butter and honey sandwich (one I had prepared earlier) and to buy some local wine, a sparkling from the Miranda winery (for obvious reasons). From Koonwarra, it was cycling bliss as I followed the Great Southern rail trail for about 25km, it is one of the best constructed and maintained that I have ridden.
I arrived at Yanakie Caravan Park which is about 9km from Yanakie township and checked in to our beach front site. It was not the best weather with light rain and a strong wind, however the view was fantastic and the rain was forecast to clear. Miranda arrived after about 15mins (she
had taken her time on a chalk pastel of the view from the Loch Cricket Club’s deck out of the rain) and we made camp and caught up on some admin work from the comfort of the pod.
Day 103 Yanakie Beach – Woodside Beach
We drove to Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory, very misty, lovely beach and river and beautifully coloured rocks. Miranda made a quick pencil sketch of the rocks intending to add colour later…still waiting…Late start from our beachfront camp site as I headed north towards Foster, then east once again on the Great Southern Rail Trail until reaching Welshpool. From there I followed a mix of the South Gippsland Highway and back roads to arrive at Woodside Beach caravan park.
There was quite a bit of road resurfacing work going on, the type where very coarse blue metal is scattered onto bitumen and the traffic eventually rolls it into a decent finish. Can’t help thinking what a coarse cheese grater it would be should I fall for any reason, even at slow speed great chunks of flesh would be ripped from my arms and legs. Weather was sunny and very pleasant, wind was minimal and we could hear the surf rolling in as we lay in the pod. Went for a walk on 90mile beach which was a very unremarkable stretch of sand and where many a hopeful fisherman dangled his line in the ocean.
Day 104 Woodside Beach – Bairnsdale
Leaving Miranda to do a pen and ink work of one of the beach paths I set off with pleasant riding conditions though it was overcast most of the day. I cycled on the South Gippsland Highway which was very light on traffic and had an excellent shoulder. Mostly travelling through dairy farmland where there were regular collections of mail boxes on the highway servicing various properties in the vicinity. I took a detour to view the old swing bridge just outside Sale and then followed a lovely wetlands trail for the last 5km into town.
From Sale I followed the Princes Highway that was heavy with long weekend traffic, though the shoulder remained excellent to ride on. I rode into the large town of Bairnsdale that is pitched as the commercial capital of Gippsland so took the opportunity to upgrade the pod’s jockey wheel (it had been bothering me for some time), so found a suitable replacement on my way to the caravan park, one of three to choose from. We opted for the one in town and on the river…..bit of noise from the road, otherwise very well equipped and grassy.
Day 105 Bairnsdale
Waking to a grey and rainy day, we thought it a good idea to stay an extra day in Bairnsdale and allow the Bairnsdale-Orbost rail trail to dry out a little before tackling it. A decision we would come to regret somewhat…., next week’s post will explain all :). We also took the opportunity to catch up on washing, blogging, and other domestic matters. Our day was coloured with some unhappy news so we went to the movies to distract ourselves and saw Hail Caesar, a most peculiar movie….