Unscripted – Week 2 – Echuca to Bendigo; Warrnambool to Hamilton

15-21 October 2022

Week 2: 397 kms (247 miles)

Total trip kms: 645 kms (401 miles)

The gentle, quietly-spoken checkout chick at the veg market asks me: ‘are you safe’?

I’m not quite sure of the question’s intent. Is this related to domestic violence? Is this related to the housing crisis? Or maybe it is because the town upriver is going under with record flooding and the relief centre is here in town?

She must see my quizzical look, because she adds, ‘Is your property safe? Do you have somewhere to stay?”

I say, “Oh yes, I’m fine. I’m just passing through.”

I had used Echuca as a place of safety, as a place to sit out nearly 100 mms of rain over a few days. But I am getting the heck out tomorrow because one of the rivers that runs through town is already very high, and given that it just flooded out 85 percent of the town upstream, I’m thinking it’s not going to be too good for this town either.

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Unscripted – Week 1 – Corowa to Echuca

Yorta Yorta Country

8 – 14 October 2022

248 kms (154 miles)

I had always envisioned this tour as a solo one. But it was evident before we even put one foot to a pedal that I was going to have company.  Murphy decided to come along for the ride.

I know my grandfather, if there is a place you go after death, would be having a good giggle. He subscribed to the theory of Murphy’s Law (if it can go wrong, it will) so much that he even had a poster about it on his garage workshop door.

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Unscripted – Not a shakedown ride

Wiradjuri country

22-24 September 2022

228 kms (142 miles)

It’s not a shakedown ride. It’s not the start of the tour. It’s just a ride. But it follows along with not having a script.

I took the mountain bike in for a service on Tuesday, but the bike shop suggested I replace the rear hub. They will order in the hub and rebuild the wheel and have it back to me by next Monday or Tuesday. And so that is being done.

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Unscripted – Introduction

There’s a script to life that tells you what to do, when to do it, what to say and how to interact with others. It is society’s script of social norms. 

The script is a bit like a milepost guide to interstate exits, only it details life stages instead of restaurants and accommodation. 

If you stick to the script and travel along the freeway of life, your road is well-defined and engineered by all those who have passed through before. 

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Beyond Bananas – Hitting the trails

3, 9, 12, 17 August

Like all parents, mine indoctrinated me. They planted the seeds. They fertilised the seeds.

They took my brother and me hiking on many Sundays in our youth. When our friends and family were in church pews in Bible Belt Indiana, our family was out hiking the trails of the state parks of Indiana.

My brother and I would race ahead, sweating and swatting bugs in the humidity of summer or kicking through thick leaves in fall. We were always instructed to wait at the signposts at the next trail junction. When our parents caught up, my Dad would unfold the map and show us where we were and where we could go.

This all helped to instill in me a love of maps and the great outdoors. (It didn’t really stick for my brother)!

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Beyond Bananas – Rides and Hikes Around Salida

July/August 2022

10-20 miles or so at a time on the bike – 3-14 miles or so at a time on foot

I sat around. I hung out with my parents. It was slow and sedentary for that first month in America. It was okay, I had used a whole lot of energy in May and June wrapping up work and that section of life. A bit of rest and relaxation was in order.

But then… that level of couch potato was just too much. I have energy again. I want to use it. And I want to build a little bit of fitness, so that jumping on the bike when I get back to Oz is not quite so painful in those first weeks. Plus, people come to places like this for ‘high altitude’ training. Let’s take advantage of that.

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Beyond Bananas – Colorado Trail – Avalanche Trailhead

18 July 2022

6 miles on foot – elevation gain >3000 ft – end elevation a bit under 12,000 ft

I’d like to say we dove straight in the deep end, but that would suggest that we went down. And we definitely didn’t go down. At least not at first.

The trail went up, not down. In fact, it was a whole lot of up. Like 3000 ft of climbing in 3 miles. And my dad and I had not done much hiking at elevation prior to the hike. It will end up being the hardest hike in elevation change we’ll do together in my time in Colorado – and it was our first hike!

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Explosive… or not

29 June 2022

13,000 kms or so

The climb out of town was steep at first before moderating. The dam wall, the sparkling waters of the dam, and the snow-capped peaks of the ranges around Mt Bogong far behind the dam were perfectly framed. You could make postcards out of scenes like that. And after the longest stretch of cold, grey and wet days to start winter that I’ve ever experienced in Oz, a sunny, cool day with gorgeous views was much appreciated.

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