Wednesday, October 10, 2007

DAY 5: Dunsborough to Margaret River

57 km @ 13.3 km / hr

heavy rain - dry - heavy rain - dry etc.

Hills like a roller coaster!

This 'shorter' day turned out to be quite tough for the above reasons. For most of the day I wore my yellow Sprayway Goretex jacket, and I must say it's a great garment. I bought in 8 years ago for 200 pounds on a whim and have hardly worn it - it's coming into it's own now. It also compresses down very small. I was soaked from the middle down though after 2 km and I had a cafe breakfast again, before hitting the hills.

The (Augusta) road was not too busy thankfully, but there was little verge. All drivers were on best behaviour though and I even got a few friendly toots. It wasn't a 'scenery' day really due to the dark skies, but was nevertheless pleasant, winding through SW Australia's wine region, with posh-looking vineyard after vineyard. The rural scenery is quite idyllic, unlike much of dry Oz here it is verdant, cows, sheep and deer grazing in tree-fringed meadows.

I quickly found the caravan park in MR and got set up by 1330. Off to the library to hpefully use the internet, but here it was a whopping $2.50 / 15 mins, and no photo uploading. Exit stage left to the internet caff, still $6 / hr and I'm still here after nearly 2 hours.

I'm cooking pasta, spicy tomato sauce, onion and zuchini for dinner by the tent, and early night agian.

DAY 4: Bunbury to Dunsburgh

82km @ 15.4 km/hr

I was away from Bunbury pretty early and onto the main road to Capel / Busselton. There was a decent verge (about a metre) but much traffic, including a lot of road trains. I stopped for an early lunch at Capel and used the library internet service (free to browse but $2.50 / half hour to e-mail / blog).

After another 10 km or so I was able to get off the main road to the right, and a 'Touris Drive' through the forest for about 16 km to Busselton. It was magical - sun streaming through the trees and Lorikeet flitting about in small groups. Nice flowers too - including the large white orchid-looking plant in the pic.

I think I took a wrong turn at Busselton as I veered away from the coast - I now beleive there was a cyle track all the way inti town (about another 5 km). Anyone doing this ride note to keep to the right / coast when entering the outskirts after the forest / wetlands. The route I actually took was across a new road built right through a wetland / estuary area - but the Black Swan were undeterred, swimming close to the works.

I had a quick snack - a Mrs. Mack's pie - at the cafe next to Busselton Pier (a very long pier indeed), then continued - I was delighted to find that the cycle track extended for a good distance south. For the first 10 km the track ran along the top of the beach and wound around verges abundant with wild flowers and shrubs - delightful. Very quiet too. After 10 km this track ended and I turned left onto another cycle track on the main road to Dunsborough; this runs for another 5 km or so but ends at a filling station, and from there it's back onto the main road unfortunately - and with very little verge.

It started raining just as I arrived at the Dunsborough Lakes caravan park ($12.50 - getting cheaper as I go south) and once I'd got the tent up the site shop had closed and I had to go into town in the dark to get dinner (I haven't yet got organised enough to get a range of foodstuffs in). Had a nice prawn / rice in creamy garlic sauce for about $8. This was the first time I'd used the SON hub dynamo front light, and I was fairly impressed with it. For good measure I had my Petzyl head torch on too, that also is an impressive and very useful piece of kit.

I was back in the tent by 8:30 and asleep by 9 after a very enjoyable day.
I also noticed this oil outside the rear hub gear assembly and was a bit concerned, but I contacted the supplier and have checks to make - I was told it was probably not serious.