[There is no ‘Part 1’ yet, as I haven’t had time to write it all down!]
One ‘memorable’ event was when we paused in a small town to decide the easiest way to get to the south and east, and the main coastal road. I genuinely thought the quickest way would be to cut diagonally across, rather than take the two straight (one south and one east) roads joined by a right angle turn. Convincing Gabrielle to take this route, it turned out to be fantastically scenic
The great views, however, were because of our rapid ascent up above the green plain. Riding up hills is not Gabrielle’s greatest source of joy. But, as a result of this shortcut, I know that she prefers Hills to ‘undulations’….
No too much further down the coastal road, Gabrielle pronounced that she was done, that she was stopping. With the criticism of my route still ringing in my ears I was very concerned: thinking she meant she was finished cycling for good! I tried to comfort her as we rolled into the shade and agreed to stop for lunch. I don’t think it was until much later in the day that I realised she was only ‘done’ temporarily, as in she was ready to stop for food..
There is a great Aboriginal-owned youth hostel in the middle of nowhere with a native plant nursery out the back and some re-constructed aboriginal stone shelters. Just down the road is an estuary and some offshore islands rich with Aboriginal history. If I recall correctly, This area was also the location of the Aboriginals referred to in Jared Diamond’s book (Guns, Germs and Steel) as starting to cultivate crops, having advanced fishing techniques, and the beginnings of a permanent settlement. I recall if was not too much further on to the volcano that you could ride down inside to the nature reserve. We avoided it because of the necessary up and downs on heavily laden bicycles.
It was windy riding along the coastal strip near the wind farm! Gabrielle was not happy! I tried to alert her to the fact that her red, billowing rainjacket may be slowing her down…
Otways and McDUFF’s!
Through the Otways I was really surprised by the number of pine plantations, sheep and recently logged areas interspersed amongst remnants of native forest: I was expecting it to be almost entirely forested. Near the top of the Otways, we rode down into a valley off the side of the highway to do a walk through the forest. Apparently the area is the home of lots of fireflies at night. I thought the trip down and up was worth it, and we saw another cyclist there who I’m sure agreed! He was European, and was heavily laden with big ortleib panniers and a duffel bag on top of his rear rack..
Later in the evening, we pulled into the small town of Laver’s Hill at the peak of the Otways where we took accomodation at the pub/fuel stop/caravan park, and bought some icecreams as rewards! We cooked dinner on the outside gas hotplates before going for a walk through town looking for a phone. This wander involved ducking our heads into the ‘pub’ on what we thought was a quiet Tuesday (?) night. Opening the door revealed a packed house, but a crowd that was barely discernible through the thickest cloud of smoke I have ever witnessed. We found a phone further up the road!!
Also further up the road was a little bakery called ‘McDuffs‘ ( http://www.mcduffs.com.au/ ). In what was a sever misjudgement, we ate breakfast before visiting McDuffs. We were hoping to stock up on some food for morning tea and lunch, but upon walking inside ….We hasd come upon heaven: possible the coolest bakery on earth: a brightly decorated room complete with retro couches, bean bags and a fireplace. But the decor was nothing compared to the magnificent food. A mind-boggling array of alternative pies, fantastic breads and the biggest lamingtons and cookies you have ever seen!! The lamingtons were bigger than housebricks, and I have photographic evidence that the cookies were bigger than my head!
In terms of recommending things to other people, I think McDuffs tops my list; a big claim considering the number of copies of Robert M Pirsig’s ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ and Edward de Bono’s ‘Lateral Thinking’ I have thrust into people’s hands!