Adelaide to Dimboola
(Dead Cows turn for home) October 2001
It’s two weeks since we rode out of Adelaide now & the homing instinct has finally kicked in. We had a great time in the Riverland area, enjoying the hospitality of friends from the Desert race. It was nice to down bikes & spend some time paddling along some magic waterways for a change.
Leaving Berri, Linc Gore, (a friend from the Desert) suggested a route thru the Murray-Sunset NP. Nice riding thru Mallee bush with masses of wildlife, most reluctant to vacate the track for passing riders. Sand was a big feature & we struggled to stay on the bikes with BOBs behaving like recalcitrant pigs.
Little did we know what lay in store as we planned the next day’s ride into Wyperfeld NP. The Ranger had warned us of deep sand on the track leading into the park from Underbool. We found it okay going & became increasing confident as we cruised along some fantastic tracks with misty rain adding to the ambiance. Then we turned onto Freeway Track with about 20k to go to our destination. We were off & pushing thru heavy sand, it’s continuous & utterly relentless. We think “it’ll get better soon”. It doesn’t.
I console myself by working out that even dragging the BOB at 3.5kph, we will still reach the campsite by dark. After 12km of drudgery it improves enough to get bum back on seat & plod into camp.
We are shattered, legs quivering, back aching, feet sore from repeatedly kicking the BOB in frustration. It is wonderful to have a wash & stuff down some damper followed by numerous cups of coffee. We are now in Dimboola, only 9 days ride from home.
Dimboola to Melbourne – October 2001
The last couple of weeks were uneventful if a little wet and cold. It seemed like the middle of winter as we cruised through the Grampians with rain threatening, Stopped in Dunkeld and stumbled upon a bbq in the local park as the Lions club were doing a survey on how to improve the town. We filled in our questionaire dutifully and enjoyed a good chat with the locals as we scoffed down the free lunch of bangers and coffee.
Just passing by we dropped in to Mark Polley’s place in Cobden. We threatened not to leave until the temperature rose to over 20 degrees & it stopped raining, but Mark figured that could be months & managed to prise us away from the heater after a couple of days. We were within 3 riding days of home now & on familiar ground. A back route took us up Lavers Hill, shivering in spite of the climb. For a moment I thought it might snow up there, which would have really capped our trip off nicely. We didn’t pause for long & launched ourselves off the top of the hill in search of a more sheltered spot to hole up for the night.
Next day we rode to Lorne. Back on the Great Ocean Rd again we felt kind of numb. Is it all going to finish tomorrow? Surely not! We are destined to roam the earth forever, living in our little tent.
Our last day on the road and only 30k to go. We had arranged to meet up with some riding friends to ride the last leg. It was good to see those familiar faces in Lorne as the riders came out to meet us. We cycled the last 30k casually and stopped half way in Aireys Inlet for coffee; stretching out the last bit. Got home and our house was a welcome sight. It looked pretty good after being rented for a couple of years and I gave it a big hug.
We soon cracked the bubbly and in true Bourke & Wheels style finished the ride with a happy hour (or two). Thanks heaps to those who came out to meet us and share our last day :- Mongrel Mel and Betty, Pat, Alan and Joan, Joy and friend, Heather, Rob and Rita, Felicity & Russell. We had a great afternoon standing around with silly smiles plastered on our faces & wondering what the hell are we are going to do now.
Postscript: The shine might wear off our domestic bliss soon. But for now we are enjoying our home and life in sleepy Anglesea. The ride was an unforgettable experience though and we are already looking at our photos nostalgically.
Several weeks down the track it’s still a bit weird. Instead of pondering wind direction & phases of the moon, we wonder about paying the bills & whose turn it is to clean the loo. I shop without considering how much it all weighs & whether or not it will fit in the BOB bag. In a few brief weeks we have acquired an e-tag, an internet service provider, phone, electricity, water, insurance accounts, a car(!), keys to house/garage/car/PO Box & a job each.
A big thank you to all those who offered sanctuary & sustenance as we roamed around the country. You will never know how eagerly we anticipated these little interludes. To anyone pedalling past our door in the future, you are most welcome to stop by & do your best to empty our fridge, jam the washing machine & suchlike.
Ed & Gaye