Thursday 20 October: St Helen’s to Swansea

119 k 1060 metres up and 1056 down. Another day of no bikes to ride but at least we still have the rental car. The weather is perfect, warm and sunny so despite not riding our bikes it is hard not to be happy. We stopped on the way for coffee at Tiabunna. There is a general store that has been there since 1834 The first photo is the wharf there. The middle photo is a lovely old building.

After Tiabunna we stopped at a very pretty beach called Orford. The second photo from the shore of Orford of Maria Island which is a nature reserve.

Then we took a wrong turn and ended up going over an unplanned pass and went past a small animal farm. We stopped and went in and got to see Tasmanian Devils. They feed them while we were there and between three of them they got through a large kangaroo tail in about 10 minutes. They had a few fights over it and one of them ran around the enclosure a few times with it.

We also saw spotted tail Quoll and a Tasmanian Tiger snake. Thankfully there was a glass enclosure between us and the snake. We saw an Owl note the big slab of meat in his claws. I enjoyed feeding the wallaby. They were very friendly and would hold your hand while you were feeding them with their paws.

I also saw my first ever white peacock. These are not albino they are called Leucistic. This is genetic condition that strips them of all or part of their pigments. They maybe full, partially or only a couple of feathers white. They are not born white they are born yellow and it’s only when they would be getting the colours of an adult male that becomes obvious that they are Leucistic. The biggest issue is finding a female mate as females are looking for the most dazzling colour display.

After this stop at the animal park we stop at two beautiful bays Bicheno and Coles Bay. Then we stop at the National Park and do a 45 minute walk to see wine glass bay (third photo).

Photo above is us very pleased to be at the top. Second photo view of the track on the way down. Third photo a reminder of the consequences of small actions. Over a three month period walkers on the track used and removed about the same amount of sticks to aid them in walking as the white bellied eagles need to build their nests.
After our walk we stopped at the Devils Corner Winery for a late lunch and wine tasting.

This is when it occurred to me this is how other people go on holiday. They drive stop look at something drive again and stop. It has been a fun few days despite not having a bike but am itching to get back on the bike tomorrow.

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Wednesday18 October: Rest Day in St Helen’s

Not so good I woke up at 12:30 am feeling like I had swallowed glass. Thankfully we have Panadol so I had a couple of them and went back to bed. In the morning I was still not feeling flash so I did a COVID test which was thankfully negative.

Today the plan is to get a mountain bike and go for a ride to at least keep the legs turning over a bit. It is a beautiful day sunny with no wind and we head off to the mountain bike shop across the road. It is closed Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday!

We headed further into town and it turns out that unless you go on a bike tour, today there is only one bike shop that you can rent from. This shop had rented out all their bikes to other TDA riders. All that was left was two medium size mountain E bikes.

After a bit of consideration we said we would take them and booked them for 4 hours. I am not an Ebike convert, the riding position is totally different, I am not used to not having my shoes clicked in. The bike is too small so I feel like my knees are up round my ears and the seat is not comfortable. However it is a beautiful day and we spent a few hours going around the bays. There was one part where there had been a fire and the bush was re generating.

It took me awhile to get the hang of the gears and the throttle to power assist. The first small hill I got it wrong and how to get off and walk as the bike stalled. The brakes are really sharp and I nearly came off twice after breaking too hard, including 50 metres away from the end of the ride.

Later in the afternoon we caught up with Tony and Michelle and for dinner we went up the road to a restaurant called the Furneaux French restaurant for dinner. I had two entrees – French onion soup and prawns. Plus the chocolate soufflé as I had seen other people get it and it looked impressive. In reality while it looked impressive, it then collapsed and was like the consistency of an omelette. I should have had the cream brûlée, that was the other option I was considering.

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Tuesday 18 October: Launceston to St Helen’s.

This was going to be a 162 k day with 2571 metres of climbing. This is the day that I was not sure if I would get completed before it got dark and I was taken off the road. Of course as we don’t have our bikes that is no longer an issue. Due to the recent flooding there are road closures and the route ridden ended up being 175 k with 2880 metres of climbing. Michelle and Tony are the only two riding and they decided to break the ride into two sections and stayed in Derby overnight. This was over 105 k into the ride. Given that they are both extremely strong riders and they decided they needed to break the ride into two I doubt many of the riders would have managed the whole day.

We got the rental car and set off about 8:30 am. Peter is sharing the rental car with us. One of the best things as I have already said is that we can stop where ever we like for coffee, take a photo or any other reason.

We stopped first of all at a small town called Lilydale. We were going to get coffee but the best there was on offer was percolated coffee so we were not keen will try again in another place. In Lilydale we saw some interesting painted posts.

We also saw a poster for a band playing the next Saturday night called the Sweet Talk Raccoon Dogs. They are playing at a place called The Safe Shop, we saw a place called The Safe Shop. We went to have a look in case it was a cafe/Bar but it is actually a safe shop. The owner is a locksmith who travellers all over Tasmania installing and fixing safes. He is also the Sweet Talk Raccoon Dogs drummer. When they have the gigs here they clear out the middle of the shop. They get a cover band or play themselves every month and 70 plus people turn up every time.

Above is a picture of The Safe Shop with a collection of old safes along the wall. The second photo is a really old safe which is the type people used to bring their goods when they sailed from overseas. It is actually no where near as strong as it looks as underneath it is wood. The silver is paint but it does lock.

After this we stopped at Clover Hill Vineyard. We knew it would not be open but Michelle said there were a couple of good statues that were worthwhile seeing. Above a Drover and his dogs and also an Eagle.

Next we went to Lavender hill. Unfortunately the lavender is not out until December. Photo one is what it looks like now. Photo three is December/January when the Lavender is in full bloom. The photo in the middle is some flowers that I like that you see everywhere. While we were at Lavender Hill we had coffee and Lavender Devonshire scones. The next stop was in Scottsdale where we stopped at the Derby Norris Gin and Vodka Distillery. We had a look at one of the workers making the gin.

The next stop was the Dorset Hotel in Derby. This is where Tony and Michele ended up staying. We had lunch in the hotel dinning room joined by Wilfred the hopeful hotel dog. There were a number of bikers there who got the double cheese, bacon, cheese burgers they were huge. There is no way you could have picked one up and taken a bite. Tony said he had the huge burger later that day for dinner. I had chicken wings.

After lunch we went for a walk around the lake. We saw some yellow black cockatoo they are big birds. Not so great we also saw a black Tasmanian Tiger snake that slithered across the footpath it was gone too quick to get a photo. What I found worrying was it went into very short grass and even a couple of seconds later you couldn’t see where it was.

Derby is a town that has recreated itself as a mountain bike and motorbike riding bike. There are numerous trails and a number of tour companies that will take you on rides or just up to the top of the hills.

We went up some steep hills and some big descents during the day it certainly would have been a long challenging day. We went through pine and gum forests and open farmlands.

At about 140 k we stopped at a Pyengana Diary which makes cheese and shared a cheese board. The cheese was really nice so we bought some sharp crumbly cheddar and chilli cheddar to take away. We had to stop the car and turn on our hazard lights so we didn’t run over the Spiny Ant Eater as it slowly crossed the road in front of us.

We finally got to St Helen’s, we are staying at the Beachfront Hotel. One side of the accomodation had a sea view, we were on the other side. The place is very dated and you had to carry your bag up a steep staircase however, it is next to the bay and two minute walk into town.

For dinner we went to the Meresta Eatery in Binalong Bay out by the Bay of Fires Peter drove. We had dinner with Peter and another rider called Steve. Steve joined in the tour Melbourne and is a retired chemical engineer. This is his first TDA trip. We had fish and shared a bottle of Bay of Fires Pinot Gris and then a bottle of Bishop Ben Glaetzer Barossa Valley 2019 Shiraz

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Monday 17 October: Devonport to Launceston.

Today we would have had 112 k to ride and 1118 metres to climb. We have perfect riding conditions today, it’s warm and and sunny with a tail wind. However instead of being back on the bikes this morning is hurry up and wait. Up for breakfast at 7 am, and then as we are in the second group the van will not be back to get us until approx 10:30 am. We tried to get a rental car today so we can at least have some flexibility and won’t have to go straight from A to B. We can’t get one today but have booked one for tomorrow in Launceston.

First photo below a copy of the rental van. The second photo something wrong with this photo – Chris, Linda, Michele, Me, Brett and Tony and only three of us riding.

It was 10:40 before the van arrived back to take us to Launceston. On the way you can see that the flood water is already receding. Below a picture of the rain map – note the colour on the index for Tasmania, and also a huge junk yard. I would like to have taken another picture as it was huge. However the best we could get was to slow down as we went past.

When we got into Launceston of course it was too early for the room to be ready. We headed off to find a bike shop to buy a pair of new riding glasses.

Also off to the car rental to see if we can pick up in town not out at the airport. Photo one interesting building, photo two infant school started in 1836. The third photo is what we almost rented. We had booked a car but the young lady behind the counter couldn’t find our booking. We did another but when we questioned the jump in price by $350 turns out she thought we said “Truck” pleased we cleared that up. We can pick the car up at 8 am tomorrow.

Next stop down to the wharf and up to Cataract Gorge. As it has been flooding the water levels are much higher than normal .

Below is a picture of the Kings bridge originally called the South Esk Bridge was opened in 1884. Renamed the Kings Bridge in 1904.

Usually this is a nice blue slow moving river. Where people picnic and swim at the basin where the chair lifts go across. Photo number two chair lift across the basin. Photo three Wallabies fighting and a Pea Hen.

Photo above the basin where people picnic and swim. Note the logs dragged out of the river. Photo two note the trees nearly submerged by the flood. Photo three the old power station.

We were not able to go any further as the swing bridge was locked due to the flooding. We decided not to go back across on the chair lift but instead go down something called the zig zag track which was actually pretty steep. I was very careful going down hill as some of the steps were quite slippery.

On our walk back to town we came across a show room with lots of old Holdens like the one in photo two. Photo three a VDub randomly sitting on the roof of a building.

We had dinner where we were staying. I had salmon which was ok 3/5, Brett had the lamb which he said was really nice. After dinner we walked to a restaurant called Cataract on Patterson where they are known for their amazing desserts. I had Kevin the Koala which was a strawberry cake with a hard icing. The leaves were also icing. Michelle had a chocolate dessert. Tony had apple crumble which is the dessert in the last photo.

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The real Sunday 16 October

Rest day in Devonport.

I realise I have got a day ahead of myself. The travel day to Tasmania was the 15 and Saturday not Sunday the 16. One of the joys of being on holiday of course is losing track of the time.
We had breakfast delivered to the to the room this morning which was a nice change. Brett got a full Breakfast which was much nicer looking than motel meals I remember from the past. I had eggs with sourdough toast. The third photo is the motel owners little dog who loves to be picked up and patted.

After breakfast we went for a walk along the coast stopping at the top of a hill where the Mersey Bluff lighthouse is. What a lovely day, warm and not too windy, would be a good day for bike riding.

Below is a statue and the view of the harbour into Devonport that we would have seen from the ferry. We stopped by the old Harbour Masters house and Brett explained to me the use of the flags shown in the photo below. With no phone or other communication the only way to communicate what ship you were; where you were from etc; with the port you were coming into was by flag. The flag mast has been moved here from where it was previously to be by the museum.

The motel has very poor internet access and you get disconnected frequently. So while Brett heads off to the Maritime Museum to look around I head back to the Cafe I was at yesterday to use their internet.

I was interested in the notice board below in the middle. Joshua Slocum the first person to sail around the world single handed. This took 3 years and he wrote a booked about this adventure. This is called sailing around the world alone. The other two photos are the types of boats that travelled here.

The main cargo on these boats was provisions for the mainland. This mainly consisted of potatoes, apples and lamb. There was also a bit of carrying passengers to and fro and Dolomite to the new BHP steel works in Newcastle. There was also some lobster fishing. The first photo refers to the Bass Strait being known as “the Eye of the Needle”. There are over 1300 Shipwrecks in this area. It was called the eye of the needle because of frequent bad weather, poor visibility, waves known for their height and steepness, fast running tide and currents, and the roaring forties blowing a gale behind from the west. Third photo a couple of houses of interesting houses.

I caught up with Brett in town and we walked back to the motel and had some lunch. We got a notice from TDA that the trucks and bikes are booked on the ferry but, they won’t be here until Thursday night. This means the earliest we will be back on our bikes is on Friday just in time to ride one day into Hobart for two rest days. None of this is any fault of TDA they are doing everything they can but, a biking holiday with no bike is still very frustrating.

So the current plan is every day they will take us in two groups to where the ride would have finished that day. They are not going to follow the route we would have taken it will be on the main roads and no stopping. Tomorrow the first group will leave at 7:30 and they will be back for the next group which I am in at 9:30-10 am. Pretty much half a day to get to the next place. We are going back to Launceston which is where we flew into. There is a very nice walk up Cataract gorge we are going to do.

After discussing the info from TDA re when the bikes would arrive I was finishing my book when our good friends Michele and Tony arrived to join the ride. Michele and Tony live in Tasmania so have driven here and have their bikes with them plus a bike for Linda. This makes them the only three riders over the next few days. They are riding on the understanding that there will not be any TDA support during the day. I am sure they will be fine as this is where they live so will have no issues sorting out anything that crops up. They have ridden in 3 previous rides with us. The 2015 South American they rode Lima to Cusco, 2016 Trans Oceania Auckland to Queenstown and the 2016 Pub Ride Ireland to Denmark. It so great to see them again. We had planned to do this ride with them in 2019 and then of course along came COVID.

We had a very enjoyable couple of hours catching up and then off to dinner at a restaurant called Mrs Jones. There was really nice food, a few of the riders had Wallaby which they said was nice. Brett and I had a seafood platter which came in a three tier stack. We shared a very nice Pinot Grigio from Pooley Vineyard which is Tasmanian. Pooley has won awards for best overall Vineyard in Australia. The first photo below we noticed on our walk made me smile.

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Sunday 16 October

Travel to Tasmania.

We had to be up at 3:30 am to get to the airport in time for our flight to Tasmania. We were going in different groups as the planes are heavily booked and not enough space to all go on one flight. This is a result of the ferry closures and being the end of the school holidays.

In our group was Me, Brett, Barb, Catherine, Hans and Katie. We had to squeeze into a shuttle van with the bags and then off to the airport. The taxi driver told us last night he was caught in one spot for over an hour due to the flooding. Luckily this didn’t happen to us on the way to the airport. The airport was really busy but we had plenty of time.

On the way to the boarding gate I went off to use the toilet. Outside near it was a huge queue and I thought, oh no! Thankfully it was a queue waiting for McDonalds. I couldn’t face eating anything this early in the morning let alone McDonalds.

The flight was on time and we arrived in Tasmania at 7:30 am. We then had to wait for 3 riders and Micah on the next flight. Katy headed off to get the rental van. The other riders arrived and Katy came back with the van and we were off to Devonport.

There was lots and lots of flooding on the way. There were numerous lakes that don’t normally exist and in some of them trees almost submerged in water.

It was about 90 minutes drive to Devonport. We arrived at the motel just after 9 and not surprisingly the rooms were not ready. Luckily there was one room we were able to leave our bags in. Micah dropped us off back in the town before heading back to the airport again. The next riders also needed to be picked up and brought to Devonport.

It was really cold so we headed off to find a cafe where we could lurk around for awhile. The speciality of Tasmania is a curried scallop pie, after awhile I decided to try one. It was pretty nice but not outstanding I will have to try at least one more.

We then went and had a look around the local shops. Given how cold it is here we went into Kathmandu. Brett got a top and I got another merino t shirt and a merino beanie. The beanie to replace the shower cap on wet riding days. After that into a book shop and of course lots of books I would like to buy. However I need to be mindful of weight of luggage so I got out with one and Brett with two.

We poked around a few more shops and then went to Prem’s Seafood Restaurant for lunch. I had Snapper which was outstanding. Brett had a fish called Trumpeter which was also nice but not outstanding.

We got the notification that the rooms were ready so we headed back to the Motel. We have a two room unit with a table, chairs and a couch which is nice after a few days with a bed and no chairs. I spent the afternoon and evening alternating between talking with Brett, reading the new book and sending emails. Brett did a supermarket run and picked up some cheese, crackers, olives etc and a bottle of Rose. We didn’t need anymore food so we stayed in for the night. So far no more news re TDA getting on the Ferry with the bikes.

Unfortunately, I have either left my brand new riding glasses at the restaurant or the hotel and neither place has them. Will need to be more careful. I know I had them last night at Rococo as I was wearing them in the photo below.

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Saturday 15 October: Rest day in St Kilda

It was nice not to have to be up at 6am and to be able to have a leisurely start to the day. However, this of course would not be as valued if it wasn’t in between days with early starts. There is still no word on the plan for getting to Tasmania.

We went to the nearby Acland Street as there are a number of shops open for lunch/ Brunch. I decided on the option of cherry tomatoes, feta, sour dough, quinoa and poached eggs, sounded very nice. It was actually very very average. The taste would have been improved a lot if the tomato was cooked or even warm. The coffee was nice.

Below are two views of Acland street one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There are trams coming and going on a regular basis so you have to keep an eye out when crossing the street.

There are numerous cake shops along this street, cake is clearly very popular here. There are three shops in a six shop block (ignore the random message at the top of the 3rd photo it must have come in as I was saving the photo and I didn’t realise until after I had posted it). After brunch we went back to the hotel where we ran into Jackie and Sandra.

The first photo is an example of the graffiti that is everywhere here.

The second photo is Sandra in the organelle dress and Jackie. We had a chat about the possible TDA options re Tasmania. Both Sandra and Jackie are from Vancouver. Jackie has done two TDA rides before. In 2019 the African ride from Cairo to Kenya (she left the day before we arrived). Also the second half of the Great American Road trip in 2021. Jackie used to have her own fashion shop and then retrained as a teacher and is now retired. Sandra has done part of a TDA ride called the Bamboo Road. Sandra trained as a lawyer but for the past few years has been a stay at home mum with her 3 children. Jackie and Sandra ride about the same pace as me so I frequently see them during the riding day.

The 3rd picture is Terry with his bike all boxed up heading off back home.

I am planning to head off next and get a massage and Brett is heading off to do the laundry. Just as I was about to leave Brett gets a message through What’sApp saying check your emails. The following email was received from TDA re the plans for getting to Tasmania.

Oh yay, no 12 hours on a ferry sitting around all day feeling sick. A flight instead of on the boat, how good is that 🕺💃🥂😀👍. A bit of a worry re when we can get our bikes over there. On a positive note even if we miss biking a couple of days we are still going to be seeing all the places. On the other hand a biking holiday without biking is not what we signed up for.

I headed off for a massage to hopefully get rid of some of kinks and knots from two weeks riding. I also had to print, sign and scan some documents. Hard to believe but the Hotel assures me that whilst they can print a document out for me they don’t have a scanner. They suggest I go to the post office where they are pretty sure they scan documents.

When I got to the Post Office there was a bit of a line but I thought it shouldn’t take that long. How wrong was I. One of the 3 tellers immediately headed off out the back as maybe time for her tea break. Then the two most frustrating customers ever took over twenty minutes to sort out their requirements.

The line of people also waiting I am sure felt like me and wanted to clap when after about 30 minutes they both finished. One of them was working through what appeared to be a very complicated issue. The other an elderly gentlemen wanted a box to send three books, he must have tried every box in the store with the tellers help before settling on one. Then he packed and re packed the books at the counter. Then the customs paper work had to be done and then address. Of course he had to shuffle through numerous pockets to find where he had put the address. Then there was the lengthy discussion on whether to pay to air or ship freight.

When I finally got to the front of the queue guess what? The Post Office doesn’t scan documents for people either! They were helpful in telling me where up the street I could get this done. As I was leaving the 3rd teller returned, if it was a tea break she had been on it was a long one! After scanning the document I headed off for a massage. It was painful at times but certainly worked on the knots and and I felt a lot better afterwards.

When I got back to the hotel I went up to the room and got Brett and we headed down stairs for the 3 pm riders meeting to discuss the plans for getting to Tasmania. We bumped into David Freeman who did the 2012 Trans Europa and Linda and Chris Willie. Linda and Chris were on the South American in 2015 and the 2016 Trans Oceania Auckland to Queenstown section. Unfortunately David is not doing the ride as has a bad back and was just here to drop off Linda and Chris. Also to say hello to riders he knew from previous rides.

In the afternoon we headed off for a walk to stretch our legs and see a bit more of St Kilda’s sights. In between heavy showers we saw an amazing wall built by the community to reflect their lives. I smiled at one bit where it said “bad spellers untie”, which I read as unite, I am sure was the intention and joke. A lot of work has gone into this wall. Lots of individual tiles and some of it is 3D.

We were walking along the top of Acland Street when it started to rain so we popped into a pub to wait it out. There was a model of a ship called the Lady St Kilda. The story was the governor of the time La Trobe in 1842 was sitting on board moored in the bay here. He looked over here and said that this part of Melbourne should be called St Kilda. Photo above of the Lady St Kilda and one of the rain. Luckily each time it rains it doesn’t last long so we were soon off again.

We walked along the beach front. I was very amused at one of the Marina’s to see smaller boats stacked in shelves. Apparently they have a special fork lift to put them in and get them out again. Looking out to sea you can see the rain clouds and another shower coming soon.

We walked around a bit longer and then decided to head back to Rococo for another one of those chilli margaritas. We had another serving of the Flatbread with sea salt and rosemary. Then we also some mushroom arancini balls and squid. After this we headed back to the hotel. In the second photo if you expand it you can see the boats stacked.

The first photo above is Brett, me, David Freeman and Linda and Chris Willie. The second is the dog man sculpture.

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13 October: Torquay to Melbourne

By truck to Geelong, then Train to Melbourne and then 8 k ride to St Kilda.

We had breakfast at 7 and then it was time for the bikes to go onto the truck and off to Geelong train station. While the bikes were being loaded we were outside talking with other riders. I noticed that the motel units all had a little hatches in the wall by the entrance (3 rd photo). Brett tells me it used to be common practice that when you ordered breakfast to your room it would be shunted into that hatch in the morning. At the agreed time in it would come onto the shelf at the other side of the door (Photo 2). I asked him if this was a remnant of being a convict colony. One of the other riders commented would be quite useful in a time like with COVID.

It was pouring with rain of course when the staff loaded the bikes. Photo one is Doug and Micah loading the bikes. Photo 2 is I have purchased my train ticket and am now waiting for the train. Photo three is the bikes on the train. Each train can carry 6 bikes but they only carry them in the 2nd carriage. As a result 5 of us got the 8:13 train and 3 of us had to wait to the 8:27. The ride into Melbourne took an hour which is much faster and dryer than we would have been on a bike. Once we got to Melbourne we regrouped and rode our bikes to St Kilda.

The photos above are from the ride from the station. The first photo is of a ship called the Polly Woodside. This ship sailed around the globe 17 times and was built in Belfast Ireland in 1885. The the Titanic was also built in Belfast but Polly Woodside certainly lasted considerably longer. The Polly Woodside was sold to the National Trust in 1968 for one cent, restored over many years, and is now used for events. The second photo is along the water front. The rider in the photo is Katy one of the TDA staff. The third photo is lovely houses along the way.

We rode to St Kilda’s on a range of bike tracks, the street, through a park and even on a Motorsport street circuit. This circuit is used annually for the Formula Australian Grand Prix. Luckily the rain held off until just before the hotel and we were only slightly damp. We arrived at 10:30 am just a minute before the riders and TDA staff who had not taken the train. Even though it was only 10:30 the rooms were ready. We were able to get unpacked and changed and head out to enjoy the unexpected gift of an additional rest day. Tomorrow is also a rest day and then we are going by ferry on Saturday to Tasmania. The ferry takes 12 hours and I am not looking forward to it. I get motion sickness in cars, boats and at theme parks. I have managed to get sea sick in a restaurant looking at a boat outside in rough weather. However, we have just heard that the ferry called the Spirit of Tasmania has cancelled all trips up to and including Saturday morning. So that throws a spinner into the works! Will leave that to the TDA team to sort out and await the updates. One of the things you can almost guarantee on a long trip is something will happen at some stage with transport and travel.

As we were leaving the hotel it started to pour so we went looking for somewhere close. We went into a little cafe called Sam’s where we had a delicious toasted sandwich. Mine was a triple cheese and caramelised onion. Brett enjoyed his so much that he had another one. As it is a wet afternoon it’s a good chance to head back to the hotel and catch up with blogging and life admin (bill paying etc).

We went for a walk around a couple of the streets later on. We stopped at an Italian restaurant called Rococo for dinner. I had a chilli Margarita which was really nice. We shared some flatbread with rosemary and salt with some yummy dips. I had an eggplant caponata slow cooked with capsicum, onion,garlic,tomato and rosemary topped with almonds and garlic yoghurt for a main. This was washed down nicely with Rouleur McLaren Vale Shiraz. Then back to the hotel and yay a sleep in tomorrow.
I have a cousin and family, plus a niece and family and two friends I am going to visit while in Melbourne. I am going to do this at the end of the ride rather than now as we come back here after Tasmania for a few days.
Below is a picture of the flooding in Melbourne.

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12 October: Apollo to Torquay

93.1 k 1253 metres up and 1244 down.
Another day with a reasonable amount of climbing in it. I have had a sore knee since the Portland to Port Campbell day. I think I may have been pushing too high a gear at times. I prefer not dropping to the small gears if I can. I am making sure yesterday and today on dropping down more frequently. I forgot to put sunscreen on okay before yesterday and got the back of my calves burnt so have been plastering it on since. Today once again a nice view of the sea with the sun not long risen as we are riding out. Today is mostly undulating and some downhills into gullies and back up. There is a small upwards climb at 50 k but only a couple of k and a bigger one at 73 to 80 k.

Photo of some of us on one of the climbs early in the day. Me followed by Sandra and then Jackie. Then just a couple of general photos looking back down the hill.

There were a few road works again today, one just before lunch, where we had to wait while they were felling a tree. Due to the amount of rain a number of trees are in danger of falling onto the road. So they are removing them first. Lunch was at 57 k by the beach. There was a lovely salad with feta, watermelon, spinach, tomato, and onion. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to fill up my water bottles at lunch and had drunk them both.
Not long after lunch we went through Aireys Inlet. There was a most unusual house which Brett says is referred to as the Mushroom House. I googled it and it is a short stay holiday rental. A jaw dropping view and amazing entrance. There is also a working lighthouse.

Not long before lunch there is an arch over the road which says Great Ocean Road so of course I had to get a photo riding through it.

I had to stop and get some water which unfortunately I didn’t realise before we were past Aireys Inlet. I stopped at a bar as it seemed to be the only place around and paid $7 for a bottle. I wish Brett had noticed the food on the side of my face from lunch before I went in. Of course around the next corner was a gas station where I could have got a bigger bottle cheaper. But as they say a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.

The climb was endless I was up and done on my seat constantly. I didn’t think I would be able to finish as my legs have had it ( paying for lack of training). I was digging deep and close to tears. I had to get off a couple of times not because it was steep but because I was stuffed.
At 78 k is a Chocolate factory, and I wanted to go in, but there is a weather warning of heavy rain. We have felt a few spits so decided not to risk it and kept going. Even though the gradient was showing as down there was not much downhill before there was another up. As soon as we got to Torquay it started to rain but luckily not heavily. One final climb up into town and we were at the motel. Not sure how I am going to manage tomorrow 113 k 430 climbing and the weather forecast is heavy rain. No point thinking about it now. After a shower and change we braved the rain and joined some of the other riders at Four Pines Craft Beer Bar. In the picture from the left is Sven, Terry , me, Brett, Catherine and Hans. Then another photo of me, Catherine and Hans.

As part of the ride tomorrow we have to catch a small ferry over the Yarra river. Hans tells us the ferry is cancelled because of the flooding. Not catching this ferry would add another 30 k to the ride. Also instead of an easy entrance from the Ferry to St Kilda’s along a bike path to where we are staying and we would have to come through the city. We talked about a number of options that TDA might take. These ranged from transporting us in groups part of the way to us riding an extra 30 k.

At the riders meeting Micah the Tour Leader advised up that due to the weather and flooding concerns tomorrow’s ride is off. TDA can transport 8 riders but they need at least 4 to volunteer to take the train. Brett, me, Catherine, Hans ,Barb and Sandra volunteer. The plan is they will take us to Geelong to catch a train into Melbourne with our bikes. Then we have to ride 8 k from the city to St Kilda. Then TDA will come back and pick up get the other riders and drive them direct into the hotel.

We went 300 metres down the road to an Indian Restaurant for dinner. We sat with Peter and Terry. Because the ride is off tomorrow it was Terry’s last riding day and he is a bit disappointed not to ride the full amount of k. On the other hand I am very happy as I was not looking forward to a long day in the pouring rain.
It’s interesting how the same curry dish is so different in different countries. I asked for Chicken Tika Marsala hot. It wasn’t hot it was very mild but had heaps of chicken. Rather than the three bits and gravy you get in a serving in NZ.

Then, because we now have a day off tomorrow, Brett, Peter, Catherine, Hans and I went back to the 4 Pines Brew house for another beverage. It was interesting talking to Catherine and Hans and how different your life can turn out from what you had planned. Catherine planned to be a concert pianist and Hans was thinking med school. Instead they met at University and ended up working in Catherine’s families timber business. Hans was in charge of the IT and Catherine held a number of roles including being the CFO and over all manager. The company was bought out about 12 years ago and they have been retired since. In 2020 they had sold their house and were heading off on a number of overseas adventures and then COVID hit and disrupted their travel plans. Admittedly numerous others also had their lives significantly impacted but at least most of us also didn’t suddenly find ourselves without a house. We didn’t stay long at the pub no doubt helped that it was shutting at 9 pm.

Just to note I haven’t suddenly worked out comas credit for this to Brett. In case he missed any knock yourself out with the spares ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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