The Mighty Breva meets the Mighty Murray in North East Victoria

The Mighty Breva meets the Mighty Murray in North East Victoria

I had approached the Upper Murray from the long way around

Starting from Yarram in South Gippsland

20200621_170333-collage

A small town famous for its street murals.

Its winter and the high roads over Mt Hotham and Falls Creek are closed so it was the low road

Bruthen to eskdale

A pearler of a ride from Bruthen north to the little Village of Eskdale 223 km of curves and into the Upper Murray Region.

Has to be the greatest unrecognised rides in the world.

It was damp cold and at a pass through the Alpine National Park it was 1c and my mind turned to thoughts of black ice on the road.

A cabin waited for me at the Eskdale Caravan Park

oi000495

Welcome refuge after a long wet ride

A good night sleep and onto my next destination

The Great River Road starts at the bridge that connects Victoria and NSW at Hume Weir and follows the winding course of the Murray upstream to Khancoban at the base of the Kosciusko National Park.

The Road is around 180km of scenic windy road along the Murray River.

The views of the Murray are special especially if you take a bit of time and pull off into some of the river side reserves and camp grounds.

oi000509

The weather was cold but clear and not too bad for riding if you have the right gear.

But the joy of winter camping is campfires

20200626_143937-collage

As the Great River Road is developed as a tourist road the is are well layed out scenic  stops with interpretation on the river and pieces of sculpture

20200702_225004-collage

The camp facilities along the road are great quality. Especially at  Walwa where you can camp with great facilities and a campfire right on the banks of the river.

The road finishes at Lake Khancoban in NSW

oi000559-effects

The scars of the recent bushfires are there, both on the landscape and in the stories of the locals

But the land and the people are resilient and signs of renewal abound

oi000510

And of course there is something  very special about a winter sunset inland

oi000534

A bit of greenery and a lucky turn in the hinterland

A bit of greenery and a lucky turn in the hinterland

oi000411

It was a sunny clear still winters day

The air was crispy cold as I headed out of the city and into the rural hinterland of Melbourne

As I passed over the Murchison Gap  the rich green farming land was rolling out in front of me – a sight to see

The little back roads winding through the hills and farmland beckoning

But it was a holiday weekend and the roads were slowly filling, even the back roads were starting to bulge with caravans being towed by big SUVs.  Post the Covid 19 lockdown I think all Melbournites were keen to get out of the city.

After the lovely tourist town of Marysville I was heading for the Black Spur only to hit a long line of traffic

A sign to Warburton   a quick to the left and I was on a little road through the forest

oi000412

The road soon became a gravel track

oi000414

And I was in the tall trees and giant tree ferns of the  Yarra Ranges National Park

oi000417oi000416oi000415oi000413

The surface was a little damp and slippery in places

But no traffic just the smell of the bush and a through this beautiful piece of old growth forest

Such a lucky turn, a piece of serendipity on a little days ride.

Maldon in the Central Goldfields of Victoria, Australia

Maldon in the Central Goldfields of Victoria, Australia

oi000387

In many ways Maldon is the little town that stood still

Built in the 1860’s during the height of the Victorian Gold Rush

It remains largely unchanged

 

There is a lovely 2 hour ride to Maldon through the Central Highlands of Victoria

Past the farming and old logging towns of Greendale and Trentham

To the Spa centres of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

The Hepburn – Newstead road is a little ripper

From Newstead perched on the Loddon River its a gentle curves and sweepers through scrubby bush to Maldon

And its Gold mining history of diggings and old gold processing building ruins

 

And like all good old country towns there is the little quirk

The little Triumph motorcycle shop.

Looking as old as the town and the Triumph Motorcycle itself

Not surprising as Maldon host the a major highlight of the annual All British Motorcycle rally

The ride from the Newstead Racecourse camp ground to Maldon

All-British-Rally-2014-11

One of my most memorable visits to Maldon was to see a round of the 2013 World Motorcycle Trials World Championships

Held on a specially designed course on the side of Mount Tarrengower

Which provides a beautiful view over Maldon

What a beautiful ride on a crisp winters day!

Apollo Bay to Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road

Apollo Bay to Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road

oi000360
Apollo Bay Fishing Harbour

To get to Apollo Bay there is the route along the eastern part of the Great Ocean Road or

The Road over the Otway Ranges from Forest

After travelling via Anglesea and Lorne last week this time it was over the Otways.

oi000358oi000355

Tucked between the Otway Ranges and the sea Apollo Bay remains one of my favourite places to visit and to stay.

From Apollo Bay heading west along the Great Ocean Road in the midst of the Otway National Park is the turn off to Cape Otway and its impressive light house proud upon the steep cliffs of the Cape.

oi000367

A beacon for shipping on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast

Past Cape Otway the landscape and the road changes.

East of Cape Otway the road is narrower often clinging to the cliff face and the corners tighter, with patches of dense rainforest.

The sandy surf beaches nestled between rocky headlands like Lorne, Wye River and Apollo Bay

West of the Cape the road evens out more sweeping curves than tight corners, the land an open plateau across the top or the windblown cliffs with offshore the rocky monuments carved by the prevailing wind and sea.

From Port Campbell the view back along the sandstone cliffs toward Cape Otway in the late afternoon light is a sight one never tires of.

oi000371

The Great Ocean Road continues onto Warrnambool from Port Campbell, but my route took me north through the coastal hills and farming land to historic Camperdown

dsc_0008

And its famous clock tower.

Then road back to Melbourne.

It is so wonderful to be able to do this ride again free of traffic like it used to be 40 years ago, when sections of the road through the forest was still gravel and tourist coaches had not been invented.

The lockdown provisions in Victoria still preclude staying away overnight.  All the hotels and camping grounds are still closed.  It was nearly a 10 hour trip by the time I got home in the cold and the dark but what a ride and how good to be free!

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 8 – Home in Australia

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 8 – Home in Australia

oi000284
Egret hunting in Koroit Creek

Free as a bird

After 14 days locked in the Gilded Cage of enforced quarantine

It was such a relief to be out in the fresh air and sunshine

On my bicycle

On my favourite loop around the bay

20200514_202620-collage
Pelicans fishing and looking across Hobsons Bay

And then time to get the Mighty Breva on the Road

oi000309

On the Great Ocean Road

With a mate

oi000307-collage

Over the last 10 or so years I have avoided the Great Ocean Road as a ride

The road has become blocked with tourists coaches heading for the main attractions along the road

oi000325dsc_0011_2

So I had missed the grand vistas looking along the cliffs and across the ocean

oi000317

The bike in the rhythm of the winding road as it winds along the cliff face, and through the forests

oi000347

But this day the roads were empty, the sun shone upon me and the joy of riding this magnificent piece of road was one again enjoyed unhindered.

 

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 7 – Quarantine in Australia

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 7 – Quarantine in Australia

Back in Australia and in mandatory quarantine

14 days seems easy but not for a wanderer

Caught in a gilded cage

oi000206
Moonrise over Melbourne

A room with a view

Five star

But maybe its just Welcome to Hotel Coronafornia

‘We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave’

Its all part of the war on Covid 19

The WAR

I have a song by War playing in my head.

‘Four Cornered Room’

The refrain

‘As I sit in my four corned room’

And though this cage is nicely gilded

For me

Luxury is no substitute for liberty

My home on my travels for the last half dozen years

In Australia and Europe

Has been my little tent

And the amazing places we have visited

Which have included:

dsc_0548-collage
Route Napoleon, France
Garvov, Romania
St Leon sur Vezere, France
Picos de Europa, Spain
Hirtshals, Denmark
Snowy Mountains, Australia

The Coorong, Australia

Daintree Rainforest, Australia

So as I sit in my four cornered room

In a gilded cage of 5 star luxury

I know nothing can compensate for the loss of freedom of movement

Though confinement is hard I have passed 7 days of the 14 in quarantine

The light is bright at the end of the confinement tunnel

And life will slowly return to normal

As I write this cannot help but reflect on how cruelly Australia is treating refugees it holds in indefinite detention

In terrible and dangerous conditions.

Their only crime escaping tyranny in search of liberty 

Australia has certainly become a world leader in confining people

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

I arrived in Jerez de la Frontera the day the Moroccan Govt closed the border with Spain

That was the end of the Morocco trip

I had booked into the alburgue in Jerez. I extended my booking a couple of days so I could think of the next move

In Jerez some sherry tasting a must

No tasting for this adventurer

I guess it was a sign of what was to come.

So I had to console myself with some garlic prawns and red wine

The was hardly any activity in the Square. Some locals and a few tourists, from the USA and UK by the accent

The cafe owners strangely subdued. Maybe they new something was about to happen

Maybe the lost income from the covid19 pandemic was weighing heavily on them

That Saturday night the lockdown was proclaimed for 15 days

Everything to shut except food stores, pharmacies and petrol station.

Stay indoors

The streets of Jerez totally deserted on Sunday mid day

Initally I had thought Id sit out the lockdown in Jerez.

Sunday all seemed OK. A long term rate could be negotiated. Fix it up Monday morning

It was warm in Jerez, the alburgue was modern big grounds to exercise in and a pool. Perfect place to sit out the lockdown

Monday morning all had changed. Tuesday I had to be out.

Thinks change quickly during a pandemic!

Sunday France had declared a lockdown so travelling back through France was off the cards

Frantic work on the phone.

Booked a ferry spot from Santander to Portsmouth the next Saturday.

All the hotels were shut. Where to stay.

Thank you to the good hearted souls who have given me shelter via airbnb

It was a cold ride from Jerez to Valladolid where Im currently staying locked down

It had snowed the night before on the skifields south of Salamanca. But the sun was out

I pulled into a parking bay. Pulled out my little burner and made a coffee and had a snack of cheese, olives and manderine

And though Spain is beautiful even in the time of a lockdown

At 10pm at night in Jerez, in Valladolid and across Spain. People clap and cheer in appreciation of the health workers.

Cause they are on the front line of the pandemic

The Spanish are beautiful people

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus

Lone tourist with mask on Lambath Bridge

London was surprisingly quiet as I wended my way to the Tate

Few tourists about

A lone fellow with a face mask taking pics of Parliament House

Even Borough Market had lost its hustle and bustle

It was an easy saunter past Lambath Palace

Past the war museum

Past typical London Street Art

And the Houses of Parliament to the Tate

And an Aubrey Beardsley exhibition

But that was a couple of days ago

And as the WHO declares a Coronavirus pandemic

I’m on the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilboa

Australia’s Summer of Discontent

Australia’s Summer of Discontent

When I arrived back home in Australia in October 2019 the bushfires had already started.

The amazing temperate rainforests of Northern NSW and Qld were already on fire

Rainforests don’t burn we thought but things have change

Beautiful ancient forests dating back to Gondwanaland were on fire

It was heart braking

The long summer of bushfires cast a pall over the country

Dead wildlife, rare forests burning, towns and cities choking on the the thick smoke

My long Bike trip in Europe had left me sore, depleted and nursing some nasty Shoulder Tendinitis

So my mood was low and the acrid smoke that clung to the skies of Eastern Australia only darkened my feelings

Dark like the smokey sky and the burning bush

Dark and disturbing

On a ride to Omeo in Victoria just after Christmas , I was spooked by closeness of the fires the smoke so thick

The town cut off from electricity

An eerie smokey foreboding of the horror fires that were to be unleashed on New Years eve in the east Gippsland forests.

Spooked a bit by the smoke ad proximity of the fires I left

Leaving I had a fall off the bike on some leaf litter while pulling off the road

Dislocated thumb ouch, nothing todo but pull it back in and ride the 400+ km home.

So the New Year was seen in with a cast on my hand and Australia Burning

Indeed a summer of discontent

This summer say the sale of Futura

I did the last slip, scrub and paint

And as I write, she with her new owner is approaching her new home in Whyalla South Australia

As the final blow there is now Coronavirus

Emerging and spreading

Quiet leaving Melbourne Airport

Planes only half full

A friend has told me that I’m stubborn and wont change my plans for anyone or anything

Maybe right

As here I sit in London

I’ve collected the Mighty Breva

And on Wednesday I head to Portsmouth to start the journey south to Morocco on the ferry to Bilboa

The summer of discontent, though, is a weight on my enthusiasm

And as I have been reminded though I’m 35 between the ears im actually in a 62 year old body.

But in the world of the traveller a summer of discontent doesn’t lead to winter.

Its spring here

The daffodils are in bloom in Perivale Park

And life’s adventure must go on

Fireworks, fruit, snowy passes, history and motorbikes in Northern Italy

Fireworks, fruit, snowy passes, history and motorbikes in Northern Italy

The Moto Guzzi open days on Lake Como go off with a bang

As the marques faithful followers flock to Mandello de Lario.

From Trieste it was a winding road over passes both broad and narrow.

Lakes dotting the path

To Como the Lake of Dreams

Its early September on inthe villages the fruit on the trees ready to pick

As by the weekend end the first snow had started to fall

Dusting the Alps with white and adding a chill to the air in the passes.

Then there is the history of the area such as Bergamo it’s old and new city, home of Pope John xxiii and comrades of Garibaldi.

And the little village of Glorenza that time almost has passed by.

And is on the door steps of the Swiss Alps.