Friday, December 14, 2007

DAY 70: Port Fairy to Warrnambol

Fri 14th December 2007
35 km @ 16.2 km/hr
Cloudy start / hot and hazy afternoon again
Distance to date 4635 km (2897 miles)

Didn’t wake up until 0810 so late start after 9. Thought about going to the PF hospital to see if they could do anything about my boily bum but decided to try something else first - adjusting the saddle angle so the nose points down another notch. This I duly did there and then and it feel a little more comfortable - time will tell though.
Quite a lot of traffic around on Highway 1 this morning but there’s a good shoulder of around a metre so no problem with getting in the way of traffic. The road is pretty flat again and no hills to speak of all the way to Warrnambool.
After 16km or so I came to the turn-off for the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve and decided to have a look despite a big descent that I would have to regain later. The drop is actually over the rim of an extinct volcano and down into the crater. This area was all cleared for agriculture years ago but in the 60’s a deci sion was made to restore the area to natural habitat again.
I flew down the 25% hill and after 2km or so of quiet forest came to the very nice visitor centre, which hjas info about the area and lots of aboriginal crafts for sale. I had a coffee and chatted to the custodian for a while. THere are several easy walks and I took the Lava Tongue boardwalk - very pleasant and I never saw a soul, I just left the bike and gear leaning against a tree. I was hoping top see my first wild Koala Bears as they are fairly common around here, but no go. By the way the loud guttaral animal noises I heard at Portland were probably from a Koala according to the custodian - the male koala has a very deep booming voice, despite the small size. I stopped at a bird hide but all I saw were 2 emu’s in the middle of the ‘lake’ - which actually was bone dry and full of grass. I also spotted a Superb Fairy Wren.
The ride out of the crater was as expected VERY steep and I puffed for a few minutes in lowest gear. As it was now after 1 it was easy to make the decision to stay tonight in Warrnambool, and in any case I was told that it was a nice place to see. I had a good tailwind and it seemed a shame not to take advantage of it but I resisted the temptation.

As usual the ladies at the TIC were very helpful and I was quickly briefed on where everything was that i needed. I ckecked into the ($20 :-<) Caravan Park then nipped into town for a few errands. I bought a new chain for the bike as this one is just about worn out after some 5000 km use, then uploaded at an internet cafe (no free internet at library). Had a quick look at the Botanic Gardens - not bad and some very old and massive trees in there, then back to camp to fit the new chain. Delay might cause more wear on the sprockets which will then need replacing also. Problem - couldn’t get the SRAM speed chain link back on with the new (Shimano) chain - it seemed that the new chain was wider. I was aware that the bike shop was open till 8 tonight so headed back up there to try and sort it out. The owner thought that Shimano chain was a tiny bit wider so I finished up buying a second, SRAM chain, groan. I couldn’t swop for the 1st chain I’d bought because I’d cut it to size of course, hmmmm. Sometimes a seemingly simple job can seem very complicated. During the early afternoon while I was exploring the sea front I had a nice surprise when I was called by a yopung guy who shouted -"hey, the Scottish flag!" So I went over to talk. This was Graham from Edinburgh originally, and the first thing he said to me was "would you like a sandwich?" - His partner or wife Tash was just making some - chicken and avacado - of course I affirmed! Delicious. We chatted for a while and it turns out they always stop when they see a cyclist on the road and offer them water and/or food - what a kind idea! I keep meeting people like this and it warms the heart. Moreover, when I said I was going to spend Christmas in Edinburgh, without hesitation they offered to put me up themselves! What great people....... ....And then on checking e-mail I had a reply from John and Marjorie who reponded to my e-mail of yesterday also offering to put me up from the 23rd i.e. for Christmas! Lucky old me. J and M live near St.Kilda, the nearest beach to the city and where Lyn and I cycled to last December.

1 comment:

G said...

Hi David, it was a pleasure to meet you - glad to see you are finished safe and sound.

Graham and tash