Monday, July 26, 2010

The town with the name the sound of a sneeze

64 km to Ararat - Another small town, but has a cinema. Has an Aldi. It was raining while I was there so I spent a lot of time in its library being boring.

35 km to Stawell - pronounced 'Stall' as why use more consonants than you have to, this is a small town without a cinema, or an Aldi. $15 for a campsite at the Grampian Gate caravan park.The town has a lookout from which you can see the Grampians and the Pyranees Ranges. It also has a goldmine you can look at, but I did not, being all mined out from the rest of the Goldfields region.

Hall's Gap was my next stop. I had intended to camp in the national park, but it being a weekend with bad drivers everywhere and mountainous roads without shoulders, I decided I didn't want to die that day and stayed in Hall's Gap instead. It may have been bad planning on my part except that I didn't know what day of the week it even was, and hardly have any planning involved besides generally glancing at a map and choosing a direction, as you can probably tell by my zig zag trekking of Victoria.

Hall's Gap isn't a place I could stay in for long, with $25 charged for an unpowered site, and add $2 onto the price of everything in the local store - Kingstons $5. It is of course a tourist village, full of annoying tourists and the cheeky birds and Kangaroos that eat food intended for humans off them. One bird jumped on my head and I wasn't even eating at the time.

After grabbing lunch - wary of the wildlife and secretly plotting the demise of all the obese people who managed to work up appetites larger than mine while driving their SUVs up mountain ranges - I did the Pinnacle Walk which is like walking up 130 flights of stairs in one go, and my calf muscles are still complaining. But the views are great so its worth it.

After riding back the way I came - back to Stawell almost, I got back onto the Western Highway with its deliciously wide bitumen shoulders, and after 55 kilometres, made it to Dadswells Bridge around 2 pm. I may have been able to keep going, but frankly Sunday afternoon traffic with everyone in a rush to get back from wherever they rushed off to makes for lots of cars doing lots of stupid overtaking, and throw in caravans and trucks, I would prefer not to witness it all. Also, the fact I kept singing "A-Wimera A-Wimera A-Wimera" instead of the real words to the tune of 'The lion sleeps tonight' was only funny the first one thousand times.

Dadswells Bridge is home of the Giant Koala, my first 'lame big thing on the side of the road' for the trip. I did not pay the $3 entry to see some koalas as I can see them by looking in trees for free. I did not take a photo of the towering fibreglass gumleaf-eater out of principle.

Dadswells Bridge, halfway between Stawell and Horsham on the Western Highway, is not even a village. It is a bridge over a tiny polluted swampy creek with a motel/restaurant and koala zoo hanging off it. However, it is $10 for a powered site in the nearby caravan park, with views to the Grampians, and they let you can have your own campfire going... and it's walking distance to very tasty Indian cuisine. I had Saag Paneer. Yum.

After riding past Green Lake, which is a large dry circle of grass with separate swimming and boating areas, including two boat ramps, I am now at Horsham. This a an actual town. It has pictures of album covers from the 70s and 80s on the walls of it's public library including the 'cheeky' "Ripper" Original Smash Hits cover which you may need to google when the boss isn't looking.

I've been cataloging things seen on the side of the road in my head. So far they include, but are not limited to:
19 dead kangaroos
Numerous kangaroo skeletons
1 dead echidna
5 dead wombats
2 dead cats
4 dead magpies
3 dead geese
1 pirate hat
1 green and gold sombrero
2 green plastic watering cans
9 odd shoes
6 Victorian number plates

Also, other things to keep me amused on the road include:

3 magpie attacks - which only encourages me to think about eating their eggs, you stupid birds

2 kangaroos jumping out in front of me in separate incidents. Hello Skippy!

1 truckie at a rest stop yelling out "You're doing well. Better than me". Keep on truckin.

And finally, 1 SUV driver coming up beside me rather too close for comfort to say "you look like a local" and ask directions - how exactly do I look like I am a local anywhere with things hanging off in all directions - including a tent and a sleeping mat - I do not know. I suggest if you cannot tell I am travelling you would fail the eye test.

Photo Album: Heading to the Grampians

1 comment:

Lo said...

Hi Maree,
I am Lo, a cyclist met you in Dimboola. I will arrive to Adelaide tomorrow & be a visitor for 1 week. Wish you have a good trip & take care of yourself. Below is my photo link in Australia.
Good luck. Lo~