Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We are the Grampians, my friend!

Distance in Australia: 1631.8 km
Total Distance: 9012.6 km

By Sundance:

After our last blog update in Lake bolac, we hopped on our bikes and pressed wetwards through Glenthompson, where we got sprinkled by a sudden shower a few hundred metres short of a shelter, and then towards Dunkeld. We also caught our first glimpse of the majestic Grampians rising in the distance. About 6km out of Dunkeld a guy pulled up in his ute offering to give us a lift into town. He informed us that his wife had seen us one the road and was concerned that it was getting dark and we weren't very visible. We explained to the fellow (who's name turned out to be Robin) that while we appreciated the offer, it was a bit of a matter of pride to cover the whole distance on our own leg-power, and we really just were looking for a place to put up a tent for the night. Robin suggested that one of his sons had a farm a little way down the road where we could stay, then suggested that if we wanted more comfortable lodgings we could ride to Dunkeld and stay at his place. Since it was only another six kilometres we opted for the latter, memorised the instructions to get to his house, and set off in his wake. We arrived about twenty minutes later, and after a quick jaunt to the local cafe for some dinner, settled in to a very pleasant discussion of the upcoming election, and various envirtonmental and political matters. I also tried my hand at baking some parsnips, spuds, carrots and sweet potatoes in Robin's oven, as our appetites are gigantic and Robin offered us a few extra morsels to cook up and supplement the food we had bought from the cafe.

In the morning Robin had to take some lambs off to market, so he bid us farewell and let us make brekkie in his kitchen, shower, and lock up after ourselves. Yana made some very nice porridge, and we got ourselves well fed before hitting the road, though we did feel compelled to leave Robin some money for the food of his we'd consumed. It was a pretty foggy day, but once we got out of town we found that the sky started to clear, and we had quite a good view of The Grampians as we rode along. We stopped in Cavendish for lunch, where we were amused to see the local pub was called the Bunyip Hotel, and a group of adolescent magpies wandered around our lunch table looking cutely inquisitive. The terrain was rolling, a bit less flat than we would have considered ideal, but it was nice and green with lots of gum trees. We rode on to Balmoral, where we knocked on a door for a turf-surf and met a fellow called Joe, who let us put our tent up at the back of his land, which fronts onto the Glenelg river. While Yana set up the tent, and then got sat upon by Joe's insanely affectionate dog, Monster, I struggled with getting a fire stared (most of the wood was quite damp, at some of it I concluded was taken from fenceposts that had been treated with some sort of fire-retardant chemical, since I found that they stubbornly refused to burn) although it eventually turned into a merry blaze. We popped up to the house before bed to use the loo, and got chatting with Joe and his wife Betty, and ended up having quite a late night. betty did mention that ther were platypi (or platypusses) in the river, but alas we didn't spot any of them.

This morning Joe and Betty had gone to work, and we were having breakfast when Yana spotted that one of their hirses had gotten her foot caught in a roll of wire, so Yana had to be horse-whisperer and hold her steady while I uncoiled the wire from her foot. Fortunately she was a very chilled-out horse and nobody got hurt. We hopped on our bikes, abnd rode up into town wher we saw a very cool house built into an earth-mound We knocked on the door and found that the resident was an American woman who'd moved to Australia 38 years ago to be a teacher. So we chatted a bit about our bike trip, and the design of the house, and then headed off to grab second-breakfast at a cafe in town before riding out into the countryside once more. It wasn't long before we passed the 9000 km mark of our journey, the last thousand-kilometre mark of this trip, as we're only a few hundred km from Adelaide now. We then rolled on into the historic town of Harrow, where we're currently having lunch.

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