It didn’t take long to pack up in the morning. We hadn’t really unpacked, the dreary abode not exactly making us feel at home. We were on the street, once again looking for coffee, by six-thirty.
During the previous evening’s exploits, I had determined the nearby Fishtails Café opened at six every morning. We had enjoyed meals there on previous trips, so knew it to be something of a local institution, serving good food cheap, breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days. As we approached I felt rather silly to realize it was the same place we had avoided the previous morning because from a distance it appeared “a dubious looking mob lingered outside”. I considered that our horrible accommodation may have adversely coloured our attitude. This morning, the Fishtails Café was our saviour.
Our V/Line train back to Melbourne didn’t leave until just after noon. After a hearty breakfast we cycled off to take in as much of the Warrnambool to Port Fairy Rail Trail as we could in the time we had. Continue reading 06. Happy Trails
After nearly a century of railroading Victorians with the stuff, V/Line banned alcohol from its trains in 2008. This presented something of an ethical dilemma, as I consider a glass of wine (or twelve) on a train ride to be an unalienable right. Thus, I filled my bicycling “water bottle” with a pleasant Sauvignon Blanc. In the spirit of Thoreau, Gandhi and King, I nonviolently perpetrated civil disobedience all the way to Warrnambool, the elixir helping me ignore the leper whacking my seat back.
We arrived in Warrnambool at ten-thirty in the evening. It was cold, windy and damp, a thick mist verging on drizzle filling the air. Collecting our bicycles from the baggage car, we strapped on our bags. It did not seem a good idea to ride in the dark and wet the single kilometer to our AirBnB accommodation, especially given the amount of “water” I had drunk. We set off on foot, pushing our bikes alongside. Continue reading 04. Dumb Luck
The Warrnambool real estate office had some encouraging listings. It was 1999, and we were in the process of moving back to the US to deal with dead and dying parents. We had sold our Port Melbourne house, and now we were looking for a place to invest the proceeds so it would keep pace with the real estate market until our eventual return. A beach house would have been perfect, but that was out of our price range. Instead, a rental hovel, or even just a plot of land, was more in line with our means. The window display showed three or four such places around $100,000, which is what we had.
An agent, at once handsome and slimy in short-sleeves with slicked-back hair, black rim glasses and – could it be? – a clip-on tie, greeted us as we entered. “Good Morning” I responded, “We’re looking for an investment property to park some money for a few years. You’ve got some promising prospects listed there.”
He gave a grin and looked us over — two middle-aged men in shorts and polo shirts wearing running shoes and sunglasses. “Right, then — we should have a chat…” he suggested, motioning us into a small glass cubicle: a chair for him, stools for us, the Formica counter demarcating his space from ours, fluorescent lighting completing the picture. Continue reading 03. The End of the Line