Looking out the window at dawn, revealed pretty much nothing. Well, nothing but fog...and this:
Which turned out to be an Alpaca, and just about the last thing I expected to see first thing in the morning. (A small fib. The last thing I expected to see, would have been Darth Vadar riding a unicycle playing the bagpipes...but an Alpaca would be a close second, I promise!) It was very cold and wet, and the day started with a suitably cautious descent down the other side of Lavers Hill, with bike lights all on. The road undulated but was mostly 'down', dropping all the way to see level again at a tiny village called Glenaire. On a bike, this is a little bit of a shame...only because the road then goes back inland and back up a similar sized hill again!
It was beautiful riding however. A mixture of thick rain forest, with just the odd outpost of farmland every now and then. Some of the gum trees were huge, and they then gave way to a massive beech forest at one point. The summit of this second big hill is less obvious, but about 12 km out of Apollo bay, its pretty much aaaall downhill to the town, and this time, for good. Apollo Bay was bustling considering its the off season, and it was no trouble finding a wifi enabled cafe to post the last couple of days worth of blog entries...and of course, drink some coffee!
From Apollo Bay, the Great Ocean Road stays more true to its name, hugging a steep rocky coastline, and as a result, with few flat sections. None of the hills are too big however, and in most places there was just enough shoulder on the side of the road to make it feel reasonably safe, considering the windy road. There was the occasional scary driver, and I twice saw speeding convertables, complete with passangers probably wearing all the clothes they own - they looked cold! Also I saw the only other cycle tourist I'd seen since Mt Gambier. This was a couple in their late 50s/early 60s, with fully laden bikes like mine. You dont have to sit at home in anarmchair all the time when you get old! Love it. My own legs felt great today too, and I kept a good pace going all day. However I do have pretty bad saddle sores though...and could only get limited relief from "the magic red stuff" (Lucas Paw Paw cream. Very handy stuff for riders! I can just see Carla and Vicki nodding sagely if they are reading this...)
Originally I'd planned to stay at Lorne, but it seemed a bit too far away from Melbourne for tomorrows final day of the ride, so I decided to push on a little bit more up to Aireys Inlet where there is a camp ground. My tent was heavy and soaked with dew from 2 days ago so it was nice to arrive with just enough daylight left to dry off the worst of it.
Down on the beach next to town looked like a good place to catch some waves, so I warmed down with a walk and loved watching the surfers on their final runs for the day. It looked like a pretty righteous way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
Last day tomorrow. All that's needed is a small stretch on the coast, then inland to Geelong and either down the M1 motorway (Cyclists are allowed as far as Weribee) or, a zig zag route inland which is quite a bit longer. In the meantime, it's time for me to tuck into the 'emergency' food...freeze dried Lamb Fettucine. Not sure what to expect here, but I'm sure it won't be as good as last nights pizza!
Stats for today
Distance: 112 km
Average Speed: 23.5 km/h
Beard Status: Not sure I will be let in the house tomorrow.