The next day we rode 40 kms to Bellbird, where we found a free camp to dry out,
before riding on towards Orbost, coming across a novel road sign mirage, conjuring the future.
At about this time (actually, it went to print on Survival Day) Patrick had his first commentary piece published in a major newspaper. Unsurprisingly, the well-shared SMH article was about bicycles and the lack of access they are given on roads and with public transport hook-ups in NSW.
But, alas, we were finding the same thing in Victoria, at least in regard to suitable shoulders to ride on. We got off the near-death A1 Princes Highway and quietly meandered down to Cape Conran, where for a rare moment or two we acknowledged the ‘dog on a lead’ directive, until the local hounds told us otherwise.
We rode the flat dairy floodplain lands of the Gunaikurnai people to Marlo, and riding on we were suddenly impressed with the peasant architecture along the lower reaches of the Snowy River.
After another wet night in Orbost we stopped in at the Nowa Nowa Caravan Park to rest with friends Yael and Matt, who strum more than an interesting tune or two.
We cooked communally and played with their kids Esse, Dante and the great stick gatherer Akira.
We made slingshots,
and went fishing,
learned to ride bikes,
and fall off them,
we played on sharp things,
and performed many more timely lessons not taught in school before we got onto another quiet C road to Bairnsdale, treated to a generous shoulder almost the whole way. What relief!
In Bairnsdale we once more dried out our wet gear,
and waited for the evening train to Melbourne as our Gippsland book event never materialised. We hopped on a train, were treated to a night’s stay with Matt’s kind mum Linda in the city, and caught another train to Woodend, from where we began our last 40 kms.
In Lyonville, where our book begins, Woody took his last roadside wee for a while.
We pedalled to Bullarto, just shy of our town Daylesford, and fell into the arms of Zeph and Mel, who were awaiting our return.
Woody’s and Zeph’s reunion was a pleasure to behold,
and Mel cooked us a beautiful dinner of her homemade gnocchi.
We all bunkered down for the night, AaF excitedly inhabiting Zeph’s room at Mel’s like a slumber party. Zeph’s first day of Year 8 saw to an early start the next day, and as we pedalled into Daylesford we were greeted by this handsome young guy, who’s full creaturely life was cut short by the imperatives of human-centric industry — AKA fast mobility.
After a quick call to our our special vegetarian mate Pete, he arrived to help us transport the largest roadkill animal we’ve ever processed, and he kindly offered his place to do the butchering.
Thankful of not becoming roadkill ourselves during our 90 day, 20 event book tour, we honoured this car-killed beast, spending our first day home preparing his interrupted life into little packages of energy that will be part of our homecoming fuel to fire back up our household economy.
A big meaty Thank You! to everyone we met and/or stayed with on the road during our book tour, to everyone who joins us on social media and to those of you who have contacted us to let you know you’ve read our book and of the actions of positive change you’ve implemented. Keep them coming.
Farewell for now. We look forward to your company on the webs next time.
Love, AaF xx