September 15, 2002 - Melbourne 2k/1m***

Pre-story opening comments: Thanks for the comments on the Murray River, the Coorang aborigines, and the magpie repellent. It’s nice to have the brain trust keeping things clear. In Melbourne the night of the 15th, I’m right on schedule, but only with Lisa help yesterday. Today is likely to be the worst weather day of the trip, but I’m gearing up to give it a shot as soon as I send this.

Back to the story. We had been listening to the wind blowing all night. Bob was concerned. Out the window of the apartment (read “hotel”) room the view was beatific.

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But, if you looked at the top of the waves, they were blowing off. Major wind. Unlikely to make appreciable mileage during the day.

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So, remembering my reading and the advice from the guy in Kingston, I thought to start the day inland – drive north to Ballarat, and head east from there. Ballarat, in central Victoria, was a regional center before they discovered gold circa 1850. It then became one of the hottest properties on the planet for a decade. They put together the best (unqualified) outdoor museum I’ve ever seen there to commemorate the period. Sovereign was realistic. Un-Disneyesque. Un-artifact-like like the outdoor museums in Europe. The mines, the candle-making, the bowling alley… everything the way it was 150 years ago. Spectacular. Worth the day.

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The thought was, catch some world-class sightseeing and get inland away from the wind. Success on the former only. I got on the bike and tried to ride into the crosswind and couldn’t keep my pedals in the clips and go at any reasonable speed. (Aerobars don’t work well in high crosswinds, and it’s hard to stay close to the white line) 🙁 So, we drove into Melbourne. 🙂 Another home run. It’s a great mix of old and new, sophisticated and casual. You feel at home here immediately. Here’s a view of the city from the river, and a street scene.

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We shaved maybe 160km of riding off the trip :-(, but got to see Ballarat (there’s much more to this great inland city than Sovereign) and walk around Melbourne for a couple of hours. Both are highly recommended. Really.

Then it was dinner at Walter’s Wine Bar, where Cameron Moore, our insightful waiter, served up great food, wine and information

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Now we have a problem. Today has been problematic for riding, tomorrow will be much worse (wet and cold in addition to the wind). Lisa doesn’t like tagging along. Happiness for her is Bob goes away, and reappears 8 or 10 hours later. So the plan tomorrow, depending on the updated forecast is for Bob to leave at 7A or so, riding or taking a train to the suburbs, and continuing the trip through the day in the “Wind driven rain showers early with a steady, soaking rain later in the day.”

Don’t expect a lot of pictures the next couple of days.
(0915, 7:53P Melbourne)

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