Friday, November 5, 2010

Three thousand

Well it's been a while since I used this internet thing. I have to try to remember what I've been up to... 

I had a bit of a stay-in-the-one-spot for a while because the "Melbourne long weekend" that is the Melbourne Cup time of the year, because I hate it when camping spots turn into mini-suburbs.  It wasn't just because THIS IS THE LAZIEST BICYCLE TOUR EVER.

Monday 25th October - Tuesday 26th October

Reeves Beach  -2 nights freecamping on Ninety Mile Beach. Lots of reading on the beach and in the hammock. 

Wednesday 27th October

Woodside Beach  - 1 night freecamping in the game reserve. I read on the sign at Woodside Beach that the history of the area is one Aborigine stuck a spear in one European and then the Europeans massacred up to 150 Aborigines. And now the area is a declared game reserve.  Bad taste? Anyway, it was off-season and the only people around was one farmer chick on her four-wheeler. The Woodside Beach barbeque area had a powerpoint so I charged my phone.

Thursday 28th October - Sunday 31st October

Paradise Beach - 4 nights freecamping about 10 kay from Seaspray. Lots and lots and lots of reading on this section of Ninety Mile Beach and in the hammock.

Monday 1st November

Rode to Golden Beach, then Longford (rotten egg smell from the gas plant), and then onto Sale. Stayed at the showgrounds for $5. The show had been to town that weekend and the carni's were still there with all the packed up rides and the generally-being-stereotypical show people. You know what I mean.

Tuesday 2nd November

Bairnsdale 1 night in the Mitchell Gardens caravan park $21
Clicked over 3000 km just as I arrived in Bairnsdale (well, my odometer wasn't working for a few days in October as I somehow lost the magnet, but nevermind) 

Wednesday 3rd November

On Leaving Bairnsdale, I headed out on the East Gipplsland rail trail (which I have ridden once before, in February 2010 when it was 43 degrees or something crazy). Shortly after passing over the Nicholson bridge I met Michael Oxer, who is the chairman of the management committee for this rail trail. We had a bit of a chat about the rail trail, cycling and public transport. He wanted to take my photo for rail trail advertising purposes, because I was a touring cyclist and they have plenty of pics of typical no-luggage trail users... but I'm not very photogenic. I think he said they had 1700 users counted on the trail last year and the number is climbing. This is excellent.
I had lunch at Bruthen where there are a few food shops.  Michael happened to mention that there is a micro-brewery opening at Bruthen sometime this year, and it's right next to the rail trail. I can see people getting off the train at Bairnsdale, riding the 30 km to Bruthen, having a reasonably well-earned drink or five, and then wobbling back on the trail to the train. Might have to try it myself when I get back around the Melbourne neck-of-the-woods in what will feel like several years from now.

The first 30 or so kilometres of the trail, for those who haven't yet ridden it (if not, why the hell not?) is a lovely jaunt through the rural countryside of Lucknow, Nicholson, Mossiface and Bruthen.

Another few kilometres and you're into the Colquhoun eucalypt forest. About 10 km from Bruthen, give or take, there is the turn off to the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail, which is the direction I took. (Otherwise you keep riding on the trail to Nowa Nowa, 60 kays from Bairnsdale, and if you're keen, another 40ish to Orbost.)

The Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail is 25 km to Lakes Entrance. It starts off with a few uphills which I didn't appreciate much, but then there are about 7 kilometres of amazingly fun downhill meandering track through the forest and cuttings until you get to Logs Crossing Picnic Ground. I got up to about 20 km/h down this bit and there was lots of grinning. Then there was six kay of pushing my load up slippery hills and generally cursing Newton for inventing gravity.

Now, I'm pretty good at getting lost and being easily disoriented... and after three and a bit months of not getting lost, this day I kind of made up for all the map-reading and checking with a compass I usually do. I ended up heading in completely the wrong direction, by making a lot of assumptions, and ended up heading north instead of south. So, instead of having 10 kays left to go for the day, I ended up riding 15 kay on unsealed road. Early into this blunder I came around a corner too quickly, hit some soft gravel and ended up eating gravel. I got some skin off my knee and some more off my elbow. A day of firsts for the trip. I finally stacked it. Anyway I picked my bloody self up and kept riding (in the wrong direction still) up to Nowa Nowa Road. So anyway, I figure out by now I'm an idiot and I ride onto Nowa Nowa. That was a 90 kilometre day and I got to the Nowa Nowa 'Mingling Waters' caravan park at 8pm. Mike the proprietor let me stayed there for $10.

Thursday 4th November

Met Jeff and Fiona, two of the teachers from Nagle College who were staying at the Nowa Nowa caravan park with some of their year 9 'Duke of Ed' students. They had all ridden 75 k on the rail trail yesterday. Jeff asked if I wanted to join them all on a 10 km canoe trip in the Lake Tyers water system. Which I did. I got a lovely pink kayak. I clearly suck at kayaking as I went about 2 km at most  before being horribly behind the group who were paired up in canoes, so ended up getting towed by the boat for a while :) After morning tea I ended up in the boat for the rest of the day. Had lunch on the bank just near the start of the Lake Tyer Aboriginal Trust starts and helped start the fire for cooking some damper. 

Mike was at the tiller of the boat and I'd suggest if you're going to do the rail trail, stay at Nowa Nowa one night and slip Mike some coin for a bit of a chat about the local area - its history and its wildlife. He's a very knowledgable man and a top bloke.

I've uploaded one set of photos so far: BunurongMarinePark

1 comment:

Mal said...

My mirror neurons started firing when I read about your gravelly fall off the bike. I felt for you.