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Edwins Bicycle Tour Downunder
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Monday 26 February. Loch Sport. Rest Day.

Weather today was bright and sunny all day with a strong SE wind off the sea keeping temperatures down to 25C.

Today was another recovery day. My hosts Hanna and Max took me round to meet Yvonne and Ken who run Manley's Caf? in Loch Sport and who are coming round to dinner later in the day.

I took a few pictures of the multi coloured parrots which make use of the Bird Feeder at Hanna's B&B.

Later Hanna and Max took me round to another friend who has a grand house with a high balcony view across Lake Victoria to the distant Alps.

In the afternoon I visited 90 mile beach again and took a mile walk along it. I decided not to go for the other 89. Later I cycled round looking for Kangaroos. I found plenty by returning to the Golf Course on the edge of town. In one area I counted 16. I wonder if they understand "Fore"

In the evening I was invited by Hanna and Max to a slap up meal to prepare me for tomorrows ride. We were joined by Yvonne and Ken.

One special moment was after sunset when I Looked out the window during dinner and 6 Kangaroos hopped by up the road no doubt looking for pastures in town. 2 of them stopped briefly sitting on their haunches and looked up at the window. Not something I can recall during any previous meal anywhere!!

11 miles for the day and 160ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 9:33 PM EADT
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Monday 26 February. Parrots at the Bird feeder



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:29 PM EADT
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Monday 26 February. Kangaroos nibble the golf greens



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:27 PM EADT
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Monday, 26 February 2007
Sunday 25 February. Loch Sport. Rest Day.
Weather today was fine with clear skies all day apart from some cloud for a few hours at the middle of the day. Temperatures reached 26C.

Loch Sport is known for its large population of Kangaroos and Wallabies inhabiting the woods around the town which can be seen grazing verges in the early morning and evening.

I rose at dawn for a Kangaroo spotting expedition. I looked at the street map and figured Wallaby Street was a good place to go. Near there on the edge of town in a clearing next to the forest I spotted about 5 Kangaroos and 2 Wallabies grazing. One of the Wallabies was quite inquisitive and came up close no doubt hoping to be fed. The Kangaroos were much more cautious with ears pricked up and hopped off whenever I got too close. 2 of them were enormous, possibly 5 feet when sitting upright, see picture below. 2 of got into a serious boxing match

I moved on into Wallaby street and sure enough some Wallabies were grazing on the verges.

My bike riding today was local and short by recent standards. I headed east to the end of the road and a gravelled road through the National Park. I went to the Reeve Lake Lookout tower for views over the area. The geography of the area is that there is the mainland, then the wide expanse of Lake Victoria, then the long spit of land at the end of which Loch Sport is built and then the narrow Lake Reeve and then another long narrow spit of land with dunes making up 90 mile beach. This is a straight 90 mile long sandy beach.

I next cycled back into Loch Sport and over the Causeway across the dried up in places Lake Reeve to 90 mile beach where I relaxed, sunbathed and had a picnic lunch.

In the early evening Max the husband of Hanna of Hanna's B&B where I was staying gave me a tour in his 4 by 4 of some of the area and tracks showing me views and more Roos out grazing in the evening.

Later in the evening Max fed the 2 Kangaroos which live next door to the B&B on a grassy tree shaded area!

For anybody wondering I showed Max the picture of the big lizard I saw 2 days ago and it is a Guano. Could bite but not poisonous and usually runs away at considerable speed.

14 miles for the day and 334ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 9:40 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007 9:17 AM EADT
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Sunday 25 February. Curious Wallaby



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:37 AM EADT
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Sunday 25 February. Very big Kangaroos



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:31 AM EADT
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Sunday 25 February. 90 mile beach



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:30 AM EADT
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Sunday, 25 February 2007
Saturday 24 February. Bairnsdale to Loch Sport.

As you may realise there is a mobile signal here in Loch Sport but fairly patchy so I may not be able to update on time.

I lost my luck with the weather today. The morning started dry until I loaded up the bike and left the motel when the first drops started and continued as fairly heavy rain for 3 hours. The afternoon and evening cleared up with temperatures reaching 25C.

Loch Sport is situated on a long spit of land with a large long lake inland of it and the famed 90 mile beach on its coastal side. This is the Gippsland Lakes National Park area of SE Victoria.

Bairnsdale is on the inland side of the lakes and as the crow (or parrot!) flies is about 12 miles from Loch Sport. However there are no ferries and the only way to get there is 83 miles by road.

I took a back road with very light traffic and plodded on into the rain until it stopped about 11.00. On the quiet tree lined road I was back in white Cockatoo territory with some of them making an almighty racket at being disturbed as I passed.

I continued to the large town of Sale where I stopped for a picnic lunch beside a lake. Then south on the Gippsland Highway before turning off after a few miles onto the quiet Loch Sport road. For one section this was into the wind but I was overtaken by 2 cyclists on lightweight bikes and sped up to hold their slipstream for 8 miles until they turned off at Golden Beach.

I arrived at Hanna's B&B in Loch Sport in good time. The room had everything one could possibly want for including welcoming goodies of fruit, chocolates, nuts and wine. I know some people who would have especially appreciated the latter! This will be my base for rest and recuperation before hitting the road in earnest again on Tuesday.

After a meal at a nearby Hotel Bistro overlooking the lake I took pictures of a glorious sunset.

83 miles for the day and 475ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 9:25 AM EADT
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Saturday 24 February. White Cockatoo



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:22 AM EADT
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Saturday 24 February. Sunset at Loch Sport.



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:17 AM EADT
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Friday, 23 February 2007
Friday 23 February. Omeo to Bairnsdale.

Weather today was sunny most of the time with a few thunderstorms in the mountains which I just missed. Temperatures rose as I cycled lower reaching 30C and quite humid.

Although I was coming down from the mountains the day was far from easy with many ups and downs and a good distance.

After a Motel breakfast in the room I was on the road by 8.00. After a lot of ups and downs near Omeo there was a good downhill with great early morning views across the mountain ranges.

I came down to the small mountain town of Swifts Creek and spotted a bakers for 9.30s. An apple and raspberry slice just out of the oven filled the spot. The owner told me of the great bush fires in the area further down the road which had raged for 69 days and been put out in late January a week after we arrived.

Further down I stopped for an elevenses break from my own supplies at a beautiful spot by a farm bridge. Rather ironically considering the difficulty Peter W had in getting lifts a farmer came along and offered me a lift to Bairnsdale as he was concerned it was going to be a very hot day. I reassured him I was used to the heat and the riding.

The road followed the valley of the River Tambo eventually into a gorge where the serious fire damage was evident for about 10 miles.

Dark thundery clouds had been building behind me with the occasional flash and rumble. I started worrying about another deluge but it passed to the east behind me with only a few spots.

Later there was a long 5 mile climb as the road left the valley. On the way down I spotted a really enormous lizard at the side of the road killed by a car. See the picture below with my foot below it for scale. I would not like to meet that when it was feeling better and I prodded it with long sticks to make sure it was really dead before getting near. Anybody know what it is? Add a comment at the end of this post.

As I continued down the road another thunderstorm developed just to the west. I was cycling along under clear blue skies and sunshine while a short distance away there were dark clouds and flashes. I continued south and left the storm behind.

I couldn't resist a stop at the small town of Bruthen which had a lovely caf? and garden called Le Caf? and an apple tart with ice cream went down well.

After more ups and downs I got into Bairnsdale and the thunderstorms made it there in the evening.

So far I have updated the Blog every evening (morning UK time) My next destination is a place called Loch Sport on the coast in the Lakes National Park where I stay 3 nights until Tuesday. There might not be a mobile signal there in which event I will next update on Tuesday.

74 miles for the day and 3103ft of climb and 5055ft of descending.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 10:03 PM EADT
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Friday 23 February. Early morning mountain views near Omeo



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:59 PM EADT
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Friday 23 January. Lizard on the road. Note my foot for scale



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:55 PM EADT
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Thursday, 22 February 2007
Thursday 22 February. Bright to Omeo

I spent most of the day in the mountains and temperatures were a little cooler than of late only getting to 25C.The morning and early afternoon were bright and sunny but clouded over later with afternoon thunderstorms leading to the first drenching of the trip.

Yesterday I did a 24 mile climb. Maybe I need more exercise, so today's big climb was 33 miles!

After breakfast in the room I left soon after 7.00 and rode up the valley. The first 15 miles was very gradual with 600 ft climbed to Harrietsville. Then the more severe climbing started with one hairpin bend called the Meg being well known locally and recording 19% grade on my bike computer.

Traffic on the climb was a little heavier than yesterday with a car every 10 minutes! The road wound its way up through the Eucalyptus Trees. I stopped for a snack from the supplies in my panniers and listened to the noises of the forest including Parrots and laughing Cuckaburrors.

The climb went on and on and I eventually reached St Bernard's Pass at 4650ft where I stopped for a picnic lunch. The climb wasn't over yet though with more ups and downs to a high point above Hotham Heights Ski resort of 5830 ft and 33 miles climbed. There were outstanding views near the top across the Alpine ranges with Mt Buffalo and the Horn which I scaled yesterday visible in the far distance. Hotham Heights was a ghost Town with nothing open during the summer.

The descent involved many frustrating ups and downs rather than going straight down a valley. Thunderstorms were building up over the mountains and the roads route took it seemingly just round the edge of the storms so I just got a few drops.

About 5 miles from Omeo as I crested a hill on dry roads I saw what looked like mist ahead. It was in fact a torrential downpour of rain. The sharp boundary line between soaking wet road and totally dry road was a few hundred yards ahead and stayed fixed for several minutes. Eventually it seemed to ease a little and I continued but the rain built to a torrential downpour with thunder rumbling around. There were a lot of coathangers in the motel which came in handy.

The hardest ride for me since Yosemite in June last year. 67 miles and 6791 ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 10:09 PM EADT
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Thursday 22 February. View early in the climb



remote Posted by Edwin at 10:05 PM EADT
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Thursday 22 February. View from near Hotham Heights. The Horn of Mt Buffalo is the peak on the top left.



remote Posted by Edwin at 10:01 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007 5:07 PM EADT
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Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Wednesday 21 February. Bright Rest Day. Ride up Mt Buffalo .

Weather today was warm and sunny in the morning but a little cooler in the afternoon with cloud moving in and a few spots of rain. Temperatures reached 29C.

Today was a rest day in that I was staying 2 nights in Bright so did not have to ride anywhere. However I decided to ride up the local high road, a 24 mile dead end climb though Mt Buffalo National Park to the Horn viewpoint at 1723 meters or 5652ft, starting from 1000ft at Bright.

This ride with over 20 miles of climbing would really have suited Peter T. Peter W would have done something else!!

Why take on such a massive climb some may ask. The usual reasons, the challenge, because it's there, the views and as a unique way to totally experience the views fauna and flora of a very special area.

I rode a few miles back the way I came yesterday and then turned off onto the Mt Buffalo road. I passed the entrance to the National Park which covers the Mountain and its foothills. Some of the cliffs rising 1000ft above reminded me of Yosemite.

Early in the climb I was very pleased to capture some Parrots on film. These are often seen while riding but usually fly off at speed before I get in photographing range.

Only a few miles further up and some rustling alerted me to a wombat at the side of the road. This was my first live wombat seen in the wild. Anybody in a car or bus might have briefly seen something which looked like a small Boulder or piece of wood. The Wombat was in the gully at the side of the road and although apparently uninjured and moving I was concerned it might have been injured by a car as Wombats are nocturnal and usually sleep in nests during the day. Many miles and hours later I asked at the Visitor Centre much higher up. They told me that some wombats locally suffer from a blight and have to graze during the day to get enough food.

The climb involved many hairpin bends lined with gum trees. Traffic was shall we say light, about a car every 30 minutes. Vistas opened up during the climb ovelooking the Alpine ranges. Nearer the top there was a high plateau littered with great rocks. Some of the landscape looked like a fantasy world out of Lord of the Rings with skeletal white gum trees damaged by fire.

The last 2 miles of the road was gravelled up to the Horn lookout. The motorists who were there and who had passed me earlier congratulated me on making it. There is a lookout with great views where I had a picnic lunch. Then there is a climb up a 1 mile track, which of course I did, to the very top of the mountain and a 360 degree lookout.

The descent was a lot faster than the climb and is the real fun bit. I kept a lookout and spotted another Wombat on the way down. This again seemed uninjured and was awake but probably too sleepy to run away from me so I got more pics.

52 miles for the day and 5429ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 9:26 PM EADT
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Wednesday 21 February. View from The Horn Lookout



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:09 PM EADT
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Wednesday 21 February. Parrots near the start of the climb



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:09 PM EADT
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Wednesday 21 February. Live Wombat spotted at the side of the road on the way down



remote Posted by Edwin at 9:05 PM EADT
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