Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday 11th October

I left Fitzroy North at about 1pm after sleeping in, and then doing some last minute bike tinkering. I made it all the way to Frankston! A lovely afternoon ride along the beach that I've done a few times before (without all the gear). Stayed in a dodgy motel as there are no caravan parks here and free camping in Frankston?... Well, no.

Tuesday 12th October

Another lovely day by the coast, with a lunch stop at Dromana. This was my birthday so I stayed in a 4 star motel for the night at Sorento. It started pouring by 4 pm. Happy? I was estatic. Finally, the weather has realised I'm back on the road and decided to make up for the two days of sunshine. Rainmaker is back!

Had a little party by myself in the room, eating junk, drinking too much, and rigging up my MP4 player to the TV and watching Boston Legal and listening to some tunes. It was very difficult to wake up next morning, but I'm a professional -I only slept til 9.

Wednesday 13th October

Had lunch at the Cape Schanck lighthouse. The next bit of the ride was a fun little downhill hairpin followed by me having to get off and push the bike up several very steep, windy inclines with no shoulder to speak of. Stayed at Flinders caravan park for $15.

Thursday 14th October

Had lunch at Merricks beach, then rode to Hastings. As it was still pretty early, I decided to keep riding til Tooradin where I camped for $15.

Friday 15th October to Sunday 17th October

At Tooradin I came to the realisation that the incredible number of motorbikes on the road was because of the Phillip Island GP race and I was heading straight for booked out caravan parks and conversations involving a 'sport' of wasting finite resources going around in circles. I'll pass, thankyouverymuch. So I decided to go and hide at Pakenham for the weekend. It rained most of the time. On the Sunday I took the bus to Fountaingate (i.e. Hell) to watch Tomorrow When The War Began which I enjoyed. 

Monday 18th October

Headed straight down to Koo-wee-rup where I grabbed some morning tea, and then onto the Bass Highway to Grantville. I could probably have got away with a free camp, but stayed at French View caravan park for $20. Watched the sunset down at the pier.

Tuesday 19th October

Had lunch and did a lot of reading at the beach at Coronet Bay which was nice and quiet. Then headed on to San Remo (more damn hills), did some more beachside reading (it's tough, I tell you), and stayed at the foreshore caravan park for $20.

Wednesday 20th October

Bass Coast Rail Trail

Heading back to the big round-about at Anderson, just here is the bus interchange and the start of the Bass Coast rail trail. Rode along the rail trail to Wonthaggi.

View at Kilcunda
When it gets to Kilcunda, there is a great view to the Wonthaggi wind farm and a less great view to the desalination plant construction. As I approached the access roads to the plant, I came across the desal protestors. There were several cars and a caravan with a couple of blokes sitting on top. They told me to watch out for the road damage the trucks and machinery have done, saying they "wouldn't want you to have to sue someone".  I heard later on the radio that these protesters ended up blocking an access road and causing some inconvenience.

Somewhere I read in a copy of Coast magazine a story of a surfer who fell in love with Hamers Haven so much he moved there and his devastation at finding out it was to be destroyed for an unnecessary and power hungry desal plant. Even if they manage to produce clean energy to power the plant, those wind turbines should be powering homes instead. Think about that when you turn the tap to water your suburban cancer, I mean lawn.

There are orange pipes being laid along next to the rail trail for a way and then it crosses under the trail towards the plant at Hamers Haven - or what is left of this haven. They've dug up a section of the trail and filled it in with loosely packed sand which has no warning signs. I luckily saw it in time and got off and pushed the bike through this. I still almost fell over it was so soft.

The trail also goes beside the first coal mine, which was black coal back then. In the Wonthaggi library there is an old poster that says Wonthaggi black coal, "clean, cheap and cheerful". As if the propaganda about coal is any better or less false these days!

I stayed at the Diggers Rest caravan park where there were at least five desal workers staying. They were wondering why I didn't join them for a chat by the fire. No offence guys.

Thursday 21st October
Had a wonderful day visiting all the sights along the Bunurong Marine Park on the coastal road to Inverloch. It's like a mini great ocean road. Camped at the Inverloch foreshore for $26 unpowered. Ouch.

Friday 22nd October
Rode to Cape Liptrap / Walkerville via Lower Tarwin. There is a bit of a boardwalk along a part of the Tarwin River that's nice. There were a few too many punishing climbs, but the views at the top from Gippsland and over the Cape Liptrap coastal park across to Wilsons Prom are fucking amazing on a clear sunny day, such as I had.

Camped at Walkerville for $21. There is a stunning view across Warratah bay from the top of the Walkerville road hill and this campsite comes complete with stunning views of the prom, resident wombats (I saw one barrelling past during the middle of the night - a rock with legs travelling at 40kmph) and many echidnas, rosellas and blue wrens. Here I met Steve and Dot who have been coming to the same spot forever and I can understand why. Had a thunderstorm overnight which was an interesting light show from my tent, and a dump of rain to send me off to sleep.

Waratah Bay

Saturday 23rd October
Rode a short distance to Yanakie free camp at the town hall, set up camp and unloaded my gear before riding to Duck Point and a bit of a walk around the coastline.

Sunday 24th October

A short ride to Toora along the charming back roads, with great views to Toora wind farm along the way. Toora wind farm is 12 wind turbine generators of 1.75megawatts each constructed in 2001.

Toora wind farm

Had lunch down at the Jetty which has a bird hide. Stayed overnight at a free camp just out of Toora (Agnes River rest area) where I hid behind a clump of tea tree and put some logs and dead branches around to disguise my 'swag'. A combi drove past in the rest area and didn't see me so I think I get a stealth gold star. I could see a couple of the turbines from the tent which meant I could tell which direction the wind was heading in the early morning this morning and whether it was worth waking up!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Why I don't drive

Here's a little piece I wrote a few months ago about why I bicycle that I thought I'd share here

Instead of driving a car, I get to places, do my exercise, de-stress and enjoy my surroundings - all by bicycle.

Life is all about choices. Quality of life is about having the power to make your own decisions.

When you hop into a car, you are handing a lot of decision making power over to other people. These people can't always be trusted to make the best choices.

You're letting others decide what good or bad things happen in order to accommodate your choice of getting around.

Someone else decides, for example...
  • where oil is extracted - will it be a pristine environment and what dangers are involved if there is a mishap?
  • how that oil is processed - the resources that go into the process, how waste is handled, and were humans and wildlife endangered during?
  • what safety and environmental violations will be involved with extraction and processing of oil? - there seems to be always some violations
  • what toxic fumes are emitted from the fuel you burn in your car and how these effect you and others.
Of course, when you ride a bicycle, you often still have to hand some control over to others
  • how the materials that made your bike were extracted, manufactured in terms of environmental damage and treatment of workers
  • how the waste in the manufacture of your bike was handled
  • how the spare parts and bicycle maintenance products are manufactured
But none of these items go away when you drive a car. Instead, the resources involved in manufacture, maintenance and disposal of cars is a far greater burden on the environment - more resources required, more waste generated, and more space required. It is generally a lot easier to research what goes into  at least the waste stream and the treatment of workers when you purchase a bicycle. Bicycles are also a lot easier to keep going for years and years - many people still ride around bicycles that were made in the 1970s, just replacing spokes, chains, tubes, and tyres as required. 

When you ride a bicycle, you get control over how the vehicle is fueled and the impact that has. You can choose to eat food you grew yourself with minimal water and land requirements, and perhaps organically. You can choose how efficiently you ride the bicycle too as there is no need to ride at the speed limit.

Bicycles are freedom. They are the most inexpensive form of transport next to walking. It is the form of transport with the most options for when and how you get somewhere, which is freedom. It means you are almost entirely off the fossil fuel and gym membership bandwagons - freedom. Just riding a bicycle makes you feel free in a 'wind in your hair' way. You aren't trapped in a metal cage. Freedom.

Bicycles are democracy. You vote each time you get in a car, and you also vote each time you get on a bicycle. You are making a choice, and riding a bicycle is the best choice. Vote now and vote often.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Holier than thou

Yehuda Moon

My favourite photos of the last three months

A quiet country road early in the trip with a lovely wide shoulder of perfect bitumen - July 2010

Free camping on the edge of Pyranees State Forest - mid July 2010

Free camping at Lake Lascelles, Hopetoun on one of those rare days with glorious sunshine - early August 2010

An early morning shot of Lake Lascelles - early August 2010

The first 1000 kilometres, in the Mallee region here with a long straight stretch of road - August 2010

The Grampians looming up ahead - late July 2010

Late afternoon, my first glimpses of the Murray near Mildura - mid August 2010

Murray River golden sunset - mid August 2010

Woorlong Wetlands: This just looks like the end of the world to me - Mid August 2010

Free camping near Psyche Pumps with me trying to be stealth with fallen branches - Mid August 2010

Kings Billabong next to free-camp spot, just before a hail storm hit at sunset - Mid August 2010

Murray River flooding and fallen River Red Gum at Echuca (this tree was standing at what was the waters edge before the floods) - Early September 2010

River Red Gum carnage near the Goulburn River at Seymour - Late September 2010
Complete galleries available at