The residual refrain: Day 3

Mt Samaria State Park – Alexandra: Dirty, dirty girl

Monday March 20, 2017, 65 miles (105 km) – Total so far: 168 miles (270 km)

There is a very high chance of getting wet today. In fact, things are already wet. It rained for several hours through the early AM. My leaky tent leaked, but the extra plastic sheet I brought along has diverted the wet to places on the tent body that means my gear and I stayed dry. That’s good – the plastic sheet idea was untested prior to the trip.

I can get a couple bars of phone signal, so I check the radar. Hmmmm…. yes, there is rain out there. Read more

The residual refrain: Day 4

Alexandra – Marysville: Wisps of mist

Tuesday March 21, 2017, 25 miles (40 km) – Total so far: 193 miles (311 km)

Two twists to last night’s stories unfold this morning. First, the severe weather forecast for today looks like it is going to give me a tiny headstart to make a run for Marysville. All that rain sinking down from the north is supposed to really fire up today. A severe weather warning for strong winds, storms and flooding is forecast for most of the state. Last night, Nigel sent me a text saying “Bad weather tomorrow. Find somewhere to hole up and stay safe.” Crap, he rarely sends me text messages on the road. I usually text him something like “Alexandra safe” at the end of a day and he texts back “OK”. Read more

The residual refrain: Day 8

Darlimura – Stratford: ‘This is how cyclists die’

Saturday March 25, 2017, 71 miles (114 km) – Total so far: 379 miles (610 km)

It sounds like a painter has finished up with the latex, rinsed out his brush and is now flicking out the water onto my tent with quick, hard flicks of his wrist. The rain is light and sporadic, as if individual clouds have just had enough and decided to drop whatever they hold so they can move more quickly to the east. Read more

The residual refrain: Day 9

Stratford – Mitchell River National Park: Dick’s Knob and other roads that go up

Sunday March 26, 2017, 48 miles (77 km) – Total so far: 427 miles (687 km)

It’s still dark when I wade through the extensive dew to the amenities block. My feet get as wet as if I’d splashed through a creek. The water rolls off the tent as I pack it up.

The only other people moving about are the couple a few sites down that had a strong and loud disagreement late into the night about their responsibilities to each other. They don’t seem to be much happier with each other this early morning. I can’t imagine saying the things they said to each other to anyone I love, let alone at loud volume in a caravan park. Nevermind, I’ve been fortunate never to know such acrid hatred with anyone I’ve ever loved.

Now, let’s go see some rocks! Read more

The residual refrain: Day 10

Mitchell River National Park – Bairnsdale: Lettuce live(s) at Lindenow

Monday March 27, 2017, 29 miles (47 km) – Total so far: 456 miles (734 km)

My plan is to get up before first light and on the road as quickly as possible. I want to beat the wind and heat forecast today. But those plans are interrupted before they even begin. The wind creeps in even earlier on gentle puffs and sighs. This grows to a consistent breeze and then a tent door-flapping gustiness by the time I start packing. The good thing is that I get to pack up a dry tent for the first time on the trip. Read more

The residual refrain: Day 11


Tuesday March 28, 2017

I have a set of beliefs which influences how I perceive the world. I believe in science, and when I look at the landscape, I see it through a lens of geomorphology. I see erosion and deposition. I see clues in the hills that tell the story of mountain building through faults and unconformities. I understand this as how the landscape came to be.

However, I know this is not the belief system of everyone. I find Indigenous Dreamtime stories fascinating. It’s a different way of seeing the landscape and understanding how it formed. I like to compare them and think about a particular mountain as an emu, or a river course as the flips and flops of a particularly giant fish. It is a different kind of depth and richness compared to the depth and richness of geomorphology. So when I discovered that there is a ‘keeping place’ here in Bairnsdale that told stories of the areas I’ve ridden through, and that the building also held a lot of cultural items, I wanted to visit. Read more

The residual refrain: Day 12

Bairnsdale – Timbarra Bridge: Climbing the mobile phone tower hill

Wednesday March 29, 2017, 69 miles (111 km) – Total so far: 525 miles (845 km)

Hellooooo, Autumn. Welcome. Once again. I love your crisp nights, warm and sunny days, your lack of flies, and your still and stable air masses that park overhead for days on end. You are my favourite season – in the northern and southern hemipsheres.

The cold front the day before yesterday ushered in autumn. Before that, the ride still felt like summer. Hot days, warm nights, occasional storms. Dry. Dusty.

But yesterday morning and this morning have been nippy. The crispness in the air mirrors the crispness of the apples now being harvested. Yes, autumn is so much more preferable to summer. The only drawback is the short daylight hours. Read more