September 18, 2002 - Apollo Bay, 0k/0m*

After 9 days, 7 on the bike, I’ve ridden 685 miles (1,097km), covered another maybe 150 (240km) by car and another 60 (96km) by train. The problem with this is that I’m supposed to be riding across Australia, not taking cars or trains. It’s been fun being distracted (see Ballarat and Melbourne), but it was time to get back to the program. This meant returning to Apollo Bay to ride the skipped almost 2 day segment from there to Warragul – hoping for better conditions.

So we headed west by car to Melbourne, where Lisa dropped me off and headed to the airport. I then took the train to Geelong, and the coach (bus) to Apollo Bay. It took all day, but I’m back where I was 3 nights ago. Over the next two days, with a little luck I will ride back to Warragul, and then take a train and bus back to Cann River, and pick up the trip again. Sorry for the confusion.

On the way back we stopped at Rawson’s Bikes in Bairnsdale where we bought an air pump and new windbreaker and chatted a bit with Fred, the owner. He was Australia’s BMX champ, ranked fourth in the world, and has scads of trophies. No website though but for the records his email is rawsonsbikes@hotmail.com.au

Highlights for the day – on the drive back we stopped and visited a rain forest. At one time, millennia ago, Australia was 100% rain forest. Nature reduced that to 1%, and loggers chewed up much of that last 1%. Now all “public” rainforests are protected, and the state of Victoria did a very nice job with this one telling you why.

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It rained on and off and was very windy all day. We killed a couple hours in Melbourne waiting for the 4:55P train to Geelong. The bus left there at 6:20 with 4 passengers. A few more got on or off on the dozen or so stops heading southwest, but it never had more than 7 passengers. Bus music was current popular Australian radio, which consists of American music from the 60’s and earlier. I was able to recognize a Beatles, a Billy Joel and a John Denver (Rocky Mountain High) song… The radio gave out in Anglesea, and it was just the sound of wind, rain and engine the last hour or so to Apollo Bay, arriving just before 9PM. The last 3 passengers were a girl, her mom, and me. She thought the empty bus was fun.

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All this may be for some sort of naught. There continues to be gale force winds all around Victoria, centered at Melbourne, where I am. The TV news says they’re were over 1,000 reports of wind damage yesterday. They are mostly gusty crosswinds, though usually from behind. Normally this would be good, but they’re too strong and it’s hard to stay on my allotted edge of the road with traffic to the side and remain safe. Rather than head through downtown Melbourne tomorrow, I think I’ll take the ferry across the mouth of the Port Phillip (the bay south of Melbourne)..

Once again, no internet service. Things are starting to stack up!

(0918 11:31P Apollo Bay)

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