Myrtleford revealed itself to be a good place to set up base for a couple nights. The Great Alpine Road serves as its main drag, with a number of secondary streets providing enough in the way of restaurants and other commercial enterprises to fill our needs. The flat we had rented was only a hundred meters off the rail trail, which was a good thing, considering our state on arrival. It was also near a supermarket, where we picked up what was needed for a home-cooked breakfast and a cycling survival kit.
Our objective was Bright at the very top of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. Bright sits only a hundred meters higher in the mountains than Myrtleford. Ignoring minor undulations, the ride climbs the equivalent of one story every kilometer for thirty kilometers, a 0.3% grade. That’s about as flat as things get in an area called “The Australian Alps”. Continue reading 09. Cycling Nemeses
The V/Line train to Wangaratta runs alongside the right of way that serves the Melbourne to Sydney route, a busy and historically significant line. I was pleased to see our old comfy rattler included an extra baggage car, ensuring plenty of room for our bicycles when boarding at Southern Cross Station. The train departed on time at 7:05 am. We settled in for the three-hour voyage, Frank fast asleep by 7:08 am.
I tried to get some sleep, but after the police excitement on the bike ride to the station, I was wired. Instead, I drank more bad coffee (which was excellent bad coffee, by the way) and nervously checked the weather radar every thirty seconds. A low pressure trough had decided to camp out over Victoria, meandering back and forth. The forecast called for “unsettled conditions”, which is meteorologist-speak for “your guess is as good as mine”. Continue reading 08. A Wet Dream
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