Monday, July 19, 2010

Come and See Dereel Thing...

Distance in Australia: 1477.15km
Total Distance: 8859.05

By Yana:

We spent an extra day in Dereel with my parents, taking the time to chill and enjoy more excellent food.  On our second evening, Mum's friend Christiane came over for dinner, and we stuffed ourselves silly with various types of curry, at which point Sundance of course put us all to shame.  Yup, we still exercise hard.  We also took the car into Ballarat the following day, in the name of getting groceries for dinner that night (Sopa de Lima and Chicken Cordon Bleu), and also to get provisions for the next few days of our trip, as we weren't sure when we would next pass a town with decent shopping facilities - we were quite deliberately planning to circumnavigate Ballarat.

The morning of our departure, we got off to a bit of a slow start, and were only ready to go at midday.  Sundance had to re-measure the front wheel of his bike, as his speedo/odometer had obnoxiously decided to reset itself completely.  Good thing we had written the previous blog entry, so we could enter the important stats again.  The day was quite pleasant, which was a nice change from the previous day, which had been all rainy and icky.  As Mum had had to leave for town, we had already said our goodbyes to her.  Dad waved us off, equipped with his camera, and we headed down Rokewood Junction Road, deeper into the middle of nowhere.  The road was blissfully flat, and even the slight headwind we had wasn't so bad.  We passed through Rokewood Junction, as well as various other little localities which aren't marked on the maps.  We made the occasional snackstop whenever we got hungry, having decided to push all the way to Skipton, in order to have lunch there.  Sundance got a few groceries there and we had our sandwiches, bundled up against the increasing cold.  There was a family from out of town using the next picnic table - Skipton was a point of interest to them, as one of their ancestors used to be the schoolmaster there.

We headed onwards, figuring that we'd maybe get another 20km or so further before sunset.  Not quite far enough to get to the next town, Streatham, but we were going to go for a turf surf anyway.  Around the time the sun started to set, we started to keep an eye out for reasonable candidates, especially as we didn't want to ride in the dark, as Sundance's headlight had a flat battery.  We found that it was pretty empty, aside from the paddocks filled with empty tin sheds.  Farmland, obviously.  We did spot a pretty little brick house with a beautiful driveway planted with flowering natives, but it was apparently abandoned.  From the looks of it, the front yard was being used as an occasional sheep paddock by someone, as it was strewn with sheep dung.

We had almost resigned ourselves to heading to Streatham, as it was getting increasingly dark, but ended up spotting some lights a little way off the road.  We went up a long dirt driveway to investigate, and discovered a friendly-looking house.  We were greeted by the lady of the house, Sally, who didn't hear Sundance knocking on the door but fortuitously came out to look for the family dog, and her four little boys.  She was quite happy for us to put our tent, and ended up directing us to the cottage where one of their farm hands, Evan, lived.  We trundled down the driveway to the cottage in the headlights of the car which Sally had put on for our benefit, and knocked on Evan's door, explaining that Sally had given us permission to camp nearby.  He ended up inviting us to use the spare bedroom in the cottage, as the other fellow who lives in there is currently travelling.  Convenient.  We accepted, after making sure we wouldn't be cramping his style.

While making dinner, we also got to meet Sally's hubby, Alastair, who was helping Evan move in some sort of cabinet.  We had our dinner in the comfort of the house, with an episode of Mythbusters, followed by Man vs Wild, which is a bit of a luxury.  We turned in a bit later than planned, but still got a good night's sleep, and didn't get up too horribly late.

We got up to a bit of a damp morning, and got ourselves ready, only briefly catching sight of Evan, as he was already up and about, doing his work.  We went past the main house on our way out, and came across Sally, Alastair, and their kidlets.  As it started to rain just then, we stepped under the shelter and ended up chatting for a bit, telling them about our adventures thus far.  We told them that we would probably be aiming for Dunkeld today, which Alastair told us is a beautiful place, boasting one of the top two restaurants in Victoria.

When we got a break in the rain, we got moving, and back onto the road.  As the road was wet, we found ourselves occasionally sprayed by a passing truck, as they kicked up a fairly impressive amount of water as they went past, no matter how polite they were about giving us a wide berth.  We shot through Streatham, wanting to head on to Lake Bolac fairly promptly.  About half-way there, we found ourselves in another little town, Westmere, and made a quick stop at the little antique shop we found there.  I partook in a cup of mocha, and Sundance got himself some ginger beer as we admired the various nifty little antiques, which were varied indeed.  There were quite a few wooden inlays of various Disney critters, as well as all sorts of crockery, and old motor cycle, a small stove, and several ceramic hot water jugs.  Not bad.

It was raining again when we came out, but we just shrugged and headed onwards to Lake Bolac, where we decided to have lunch.  Conveniently, there is a tourist information centre here, with internet access, so I'm taking advantage of the chance to type up a blog post.  The town itself is quite pleasant, and obviously geared to cater to the travellers who pass through it, which is appreciated.  The weather has also become a bit more sunny, which is nice too.  Might turn out to be a nice ride to Dunkeld, after all.  But I think we must remember to come back here sometime, partly for the consumerist urge to buy one of the rusty metal emu and wallaby lawn ornaments which can be procured here.

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