Date written: 31 August 2022
Date posted: 10 September 2022
This post was written by hand in my diary on the road, and entered into the blog when I got home.
I was awoken at various times during the night by the sound of cows mooing in the fields on the opposite bank of the Barham River. What normally might have been irritating was actually and perversely quite pleasant. I eventually rolled out of my sleeping bag just before 08:00, and immediately packed up my gear, tent and bike and got moving.
I stopped in Apollo Bay township for some breakfast at The Little Crumb Bakery. The food was good, but the friendliness and customer service left a lot to be desired. One would imagine a hospitality business being a little more hospitable to tourists in the off season. I ordered my meal at the counter, paid and sat out front so I could be near my bike. Then during my breakfast I asked for an orange juice and was rudely rebuffed:
No! If you want something go inside and order it, and make sure you pay in full. Yeah mate, I’m going to jump on my bike and ride off like a bandit, ripping you off $5 after I pay for and eat a $35 breakfast. Anyway, I finished my breakfast quickly, then walked down to Foodworks and bought an orange juice there.
I stopped for some photos on the way out of Apollo Bay, and immediately noticed a slight change in the mood of the still very light traffic. Nothing overt, just a bit more persistence and a little less patience when overtaking, etc. But the ride itself was lovely. Rolling along the gradual rises and declines along the coastal road was easy enough, and even the ascents were great because descending, with the full view of the crashing surf to my right, was worth every metre up. It was a case of rinse and repeat: climb a little, let a car pass, grab a photo whilst stopped, then roll effortlessly down and around the bends, revealing the next cove and windswept wild beach, until reaching the bottom where a bridge crossed a little creek or river washing into the surf, then climb a little, let a car pass…
I stopped for a coffee at Kennett River, as I’d only had the one little cup in Apollo Bay due to my hurry to leave. Kennett River was great. I relaxed out the front in the already warm sunshine, sipping my espresso and enjoying life. I stopped for lunch a few kilometres further along at Wye River, and shared my lunch table first with a hiking couple who’d walked about seven kilometres from Jamieson Creek, then some hopeful magpies and cockatoos. I cooked my Mexican brown rice packet, then continued on my way.
There were so many places to stop and take photos, especially on a bicycle, that some of the stops sort of blended together in my consciousness and my memory, even just a few hours old. Cape Patton was quite built up, and seemed to be a major stop. I ran into a Korean tour bus on their way to the Twelve Apostles. I saw a seal frolicking in the sea down below the lookout as I chatted with the tour bus driver, telling them there were whales on the coast along Warrnambool to Port Campbell but they didn’t have time to go that far.
I was leaving Cape Patton lookout and descending down the hill when I noticed my rear brakes weren’t working very well. I wish I had more bicycle mechanical knowledge, and have been both trying to teach myself as well as signing up for various bike courses that haven’t gone ahead — long story there — but in the absence of more knowledge, I was limited to merely tightening and checking my brake cables, and when that didn’t work I had to settle for going nice and easy and abusing my front brakes a little on the descents until I can find the next bike shop.
I was hoping Lorne would fulfil my needs but there wasn’t any bike shops, so I’ll need to wait until tomorrow where I’m told I’ll find one at Anglesea. I am staying tonight at the Mantra resort in Lorne, having stayed here a few weeks ago and really liking both the place and the customer service, as a bit of a comfort stop on my last night. As it turned out, I even got the same room as last time! I did a load of washing and hung my wet clothes up to dry in the room on some 1.75mm Dyneema, and then walked along the beach smoking my pipe, and stopping at a little burger van called Pit Stop Lorne. The van boasted an Americana theme and music, but they had about four tracks on repeat so it got old really quickly.
I went back to the hotel, put my stuff away then headed to the Lorne Hotel for dinner and beers. I had grilled wild fish with soy and ginger sauce, broccolini and rice, and it was fucking amazing! But alas, the service itself was shit again! I had to order meals myself at the table using a QR code, and then the cheeky bastards wanted a tip! For what? They didn’t even take my order!!
On the way back to the resort I smoked a bowl of Alexander’s Mountain Camp and listened to the surf before taking a nice long soak in the huge bath in my room, and settling in for a good night’s sleep.
On my travels today, I passed through such beautiful country and would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of that land, the Gadubanud people, and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.