Thursday, December 04, 2014

Great Vic. A bike ride... Part V

Plans, Mice and Men!

To Melbourne on the plane:

No Problemo! One bag of carry on luggage. One bike stuffed into a cardboard box. My sister even came and picked me up from the airport, and gave me a bed for the night and even cooked me a delicious omelet in the morning. It was great to see her and my two nephews again.

Mulwala - 24km south of Moyhu (Sunday 30th Nov. - Wednesday 3rd Dec.)

Before I left Darwin I attended a talk by the author Arnold Zable who mentioned the two archetype story tellers (and so I presume 2 basic stories), one is the role of the great law/lore keepers which we have depended on throughout time to keep our aural history and record happenings in our society, maintain relations, family connections, interesting events, the law and what we call lore etc... the other which we are most familiar with these days is The Hero's Journey. Zabel told the story well, I'm not going to try and recount it for you but it was great to listen to... Fundamentally though my reason for mentioning this is that my posts lately have been around a journey... The Great Victorian Bike Ride 2014. Since the story is about my journey you won't find much in the way of heroics, but out of the two story modes I don't have many options.

A good story usually has a bit of drama. It's probably the drama which makes the difference between an ordinary travel log and an adventure story. Now I believe the great and Internationally infamous traveler Kris Larsen loathes to be called and adventurer, since that implies he is reckless and does not take precautions. I am not he, or like to him much at all, and if I had to live through his 'travels' my hair would have dropped out from fear, struggle or suffering (or before it even came to that fear of the struggle and suffering)! So I will take caution in the use of the word adventure, especially since this was a very well organized trip, but I must say.... as I began, like most road trips this one did not go exactly to plan.

The Journey

Change of plan: Instead of catching the train to Shepparton my parents decided to take a road trip with me to Yarrawongah / Mulwala which saved me 1 day of riding and gave us some time together.

Ride Day 1. 

Mulwala - Albury 99km

Route day one: I intended to ride through Victoria and to see Rutherglen but decided there wouldn't be time
Club Mulwala... It's huge.

Had breakfast at Club Mulwala (the most enormous RSL club I've ever, ever seen!) with Mum and Dad, then headed off on the NSW side of the border, following a cycle path along the lake through Kyffins Reserve where there was free camps right at the waters edge. (I'm still struggling with the idea that you can walk right into the rivers and lakes here with not a thought of crocodiles)

Me before the big ride. The bike is all painted up with anti fracking stuff... and #Freethechildren !

The reserve soon ended and I was cycling along Spring Drive which after Corowa became the Riverina Highway. There's a lot of wheat and sheep in this country. It's fairly dry but close to the rive so they have water for irrigation.

Basically after Corowa I had head winds most of the rest of the way to Howlong. Yes by the time I'd reached Howlong I was asking myself the same question!
It was about 1:30pm, I was dehydrated and tired, sculled a 750ml bottle of some fancy energy drink from the shop and pushed off into the wind and now hills to try and make Albury by 3pm.

Tough ride! Met up with Mum and Dad again at Wonga wetlands and they gave me a ride to the Base Camp for the GVBR2014.

Staggered into camp at around 3:30 and the sight nearly floored me! I can't remember having seen so many people in one place before and they were all there for the bike ride, the magnitude stunned me. What have I gotten myself into?

This is only a fraction of the tents on site in Albury. The camp went a lot further back than you can see here.


Chandra said...

Great touring ride, David.
This post was worth reading just because of the "Free the Children" sticker or decal on your cycle. Awesome motto! I love stickers/decals like that. I have one that reads, "Plant seeds and Sing Songs".

Nice report!
Peace :)

David J said...

Hey I like that slogan "Plant seeds and Sing Songs". Free the Children is a campaign to stop the Australian Government from imprisoning refugee children or sending them to remote inhospitable islands in the Pacific. These problems seemed a million miles away while I was on the road but during the time I was away our Government actually held these children to ransom in order to pass laws that would deny them and their families the right to claim asylum in the future! Serious and sad times in my country at the moment.