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Baptism by ice and lemon: from southern Djaara to saltwater Wadawurrung country

Well, the quill of the feather pointed due south.

As we came onto the street fully loaded, our neighbour Bob greeted us and said (quite concerned), “You’re heading north aren’t you?”

A kilometre later at the top roundabout, south meant taking the third exit (right), and as we did so another neighbour, Gordon, took out his phone.

The bikes were laden and our legs not yet in tune.

It was always going to be slow going at first. We stopped for a splash of mineral water at Sailors Falls,

and Irish strawberries (Arbutus unedo) recharged our energy fields,

and then we truly left home, and crossed this threshold into Wadawurrung mother country.

We rode on through the Spargo Creek Road forest, crossed the Western Freeway and dropped into Gordon with these beautiful wood blewits (Clitocybe nuda) blinking up at our foraging eyes in a small reserve.

We were keen to get out our instruments for our first play on the road, when Maureen, a local resident, came by and introduced herself.

Maureen invited us home for a cuppa, which quickly developed into a backyard blitz, where we helped weed out the bent grass, trim the poa tussocks,

and plant them in another patch of the garden.

In the gloaming hour, Maureen showed us Kirritt Bareett, the hill where Bunjil resided after he created the first people.

With an invitation to camp over, and the lend of a few more blankets, we spent our first night in the tent at Maureen and Vince’s. It got down to minus 2 degrees celsius.

Vince (DJ icon from PBS radio’s Soul Time) and Maureen really keep a spirited home,

and their neighbour Andrew kept dropping off food packages for us over the fence while we were there. Such generous souls! Our first 24 hours were magical.

Just down the hill, heading towards Mount Egerton on our second morning, we came across John Smith in his front yard. We pulled over for a quick yarn and a laugh and rode on,

finding some lovely saffron milk caps (Lactarius deliciosus) on the road to Lal Lal.

We thought Lal Lal might be a place to lay our heads, but with all the downhill of the morning and still energy to burn, we selected a few books to take from the free roadside library and thought we’d try our luck at reaching Meredith before dark.

The delicious three-cornered garlic (Allium triquetrum) greeted us on the edge of town.

We rode through rough forest tracks and C roads for a few hours until we realised we’d better start looking for a camp at Elaine. Being landlocked and running alongside the A300, Elaine didn’t offer much in terms of a public reserve to pitch a tent. It was looking like an undesirable roadside camp when friendly Dave walked across the road to see if we needed assistance. That came in the offer to pitch our tent beside his woodshed. Thanks Dave!

The mercury fell to minus two again, and the fields over the back of Dave’s fence felt the full exposed force of the frost.

Home is the combination of kindness and fire. Thanks Dave!

In Meredith we swapped over the Lal Lal books,

and had a play in the sun,

before pushing off for Lethbridge to dry out the tent,

and cook up the mushrooms with the sourdough leaven we are carrying and mixing up each day.

The combination of the cold and the riding is keeping us perpetually hungry. We stopped in Bannockburn, played some tunes, received our first coin for our efforts, and cooked up some grub.

On dusk we headed down to the footy ground and on the margins of the reserve set up camp. We crashed early and woke an hour or two later to the sound of spinning wheels and a car zooming past our tent just metres from our heads.

A few hours later we woke again, this time to the thump of lemons being used as grenades at our tent. Despite the burnouts and lemon hurlers we got our first decent sleep of the trip. It was a balmy zero degrees and we had everything we needed, including lemons.

On the way out of Bannockburn we discovered the lemon hurlers had had a busy night. We rode down the noisy A300 without breakfast and found the sleepy Batesford Tennis Club,

where we set up the camp kitchen.

Some late season roadside apples and a few overhanging mandarins filled us up some more,

and we collected wild fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare) as take-away spice.

Woody jumped off the bike and harvested some wood sorrel (Oxalis),

munching the golden flowers with gusto.

We’re not sure why we were drawn to easting into Geelong. The feather’s quill was only ever to be a starting point to enable the flow of the journey to set itself free. But it felt right and so we followed our intuition. And soon found ourselves beside a mussel and paella float, and struck up a yarn with another family about the indefatigable learnings when living in the realm of school of the road.

Blackwood quickly tried his luck with the local fish populations,

and we slept, cooked and sang our way across the afternoon.

With more musical pennies in our pocket, though no luck with the fish, we gathered up sea lettuce (Ulva australis) to join the evening’s meal.

Invited to stay in Tom, Clarrie and Lachie’s home garden farm in the burbs, we once more set up camp on dusk.

The next morning we feasted together on backyard rooster that Jenna had despatched the night before, and were treated to the soup of a pumpkin that had spent the summer growing where our pumpkin coloured tent now sat.

Just like our pumpkins back home are powered on humanure, same too here in Norlane,

as is the whole damn fine garden. These guys are living the RetroSuburban dream.

We all jumped on our bikes after a nourishing closed-loop brekky and headed downtown to join Wadawurrung mob celebrate their culture.

Blackwood added another hunting tool to the kit,

and we pedalled down the Bellarine Peninsula,

only to be hi-ho-ed off the highway by gardeners Ivan and Gretta to spend some time with them and the family’s herd.

Brother Zephyr called while back on our bikes, and so we pulled right off the road to hear his news and to share ours, finding lilly pilly (Syzygium smithii) delights alongside our conversation.

This was our biggest day in the saddle yet. Almost 50 kms with just a few big climbs. We were well spent by the time the pelicans witnessed our arrival.

Friends Jo and Tony offered us to stay in their beach shack at St Leonards and thus have given us a chance to get out of the cold and damp over the next few days when a load of rain is expected.

We’ll spend time gathering some saltwater nourishment thanks to Wadawurrung mother country,

resting, and carrying out some modifications and upgrades.

The generosity of people has been overwhelming over this past week, both at home, online and on the road. We are so grateful for your support in leaving home and during this first 180kms.

So the question is, Dear Reader, where to now? Any guesses? We look forward to sharing our next leg with you down the track. Signing off for now, with love, Artist as Family xx


  1. Alison says:

    So sad to hear of the unfriendly behavior in Bannockburn. Glad that you did receive some lemons, but sad that they were thrown at you. I have recently moved to Winchelsea, from Essendon. There is an abundance of free food in this area. Feel free to pop in and camp if you’re near winch. I have met you in 2019 when I did my PDC.

  2. Sonya says:

    What a wonderful beginning 😊

  3. Ben says:

    An awesome start! I look forward to living vicariously through the rest of the updates.

    1. Kathryn Pegiel says:

      I’m not surprised about bannockburn. I used live near there. If your coming east come stay with us in Wonthaggi.

  4. Wow, what a journey already! Glad to see so much kindness exchanged! 🙏🏻

  5. Bridgette Davies says:

    Wow you lovely humans such a joy to have followed you over the years. This journey sounds so amazing already. Of a sailor somehow picks you up and you land in Tasmania, always a space for you in our community x

    1. So tempting, Bridgette. Thank you.


    What a delight dear Artist Family!! I wonder if you’ll go westerly next? Blessings for the road and you beautiful three.

  7. Helen says:

    Brilliant start to your journey. Very much looking forward to the next installment! Enjoy!!

  8. petrus says:

    hi family of artists. this all sounds so much like my 8 year journey, now many moons ago. where like you the question ;\’where to now? would come up. which i took as the need for a short, or long, rest when an answer would always come up. i used to throw the i-ching, when n answer wouldn’t come up, which is just like throwing your feather. so, thanks for the memories. you are so enriching my and many others’ lives. on your bikes and into the distance, which today around daylesford is a thick foggy one. a fog so thick you could have it on your sandwich. roll on friends.

  9. Lorne says:

    GO you good things!

    Thanks so much for the update.. I was so excited when I saw the “new post” notification in my inbox.

    So beautiful to see the kindness of others in action (mostly).

    Stay warm!! xx

  10. trace balla says:

    sooo inspiring! you know your doing the right thing when the adventures flows so superbly. deep gratitude for your sharing – go well! ps if your reading ebooks at all I could send you my new graphic novella… has some subliminal bike messaging… and is only a quick read xtrace

  11. Tim Woods says:

    Great start to the trip, except for idiots in Bannockburn.
    Where to next?
    Why not Tassie?

  12. Margy says:

    Happy travels! If you’re passing through Inverleigh (Wadawurrung Country, West of Geelong), I promise we won’t throw lemons at you – we will offer you some though! 😊

    1. Thanks Margy, we so appreciate your warmth.

  13. Susan says:

    If life gives you lemons, make lemonade! It seems that you apply that to all areas of life ….. thanks for your ongoing inspiration ……… enjoy the melodies and harmonies of your adventure… thanks for sharing with us

  14. Sara says:

    What an adventure you are having! My partner & I had a lovely weekend staying in your garden a few years back, always welcome to stay in our garden if you’re heading towards Barongarook – the foothills of the Otways. Sx

    1. Thanks Sara, that’s so very kind. With the lockdown things are a little up in the air, but we’re planning to hug the coast west as far as we can.

  15. Nikki Marshall says:

    So lovely to find your post in my inbox today….and be able to follow your journey with words and photos. Full of delights, inspiration, pedal power, nourishment, generosity and warmth, in spite of frosty nights. Continue travelling well, my friends,…so many of us are with you in spirit. Looking forward to the next instalment, much love Nikki Xx

  16. jo says:

    So great that you’re chronicling your journey like this – where, who and what all included. Makes for fun reading and inspired thoughts.
    Thanks guys xxx

  17. Helen Thorley says:

    Loving the adventure so far – thank you for sharing!

  18. Dianne says:

    Dear Meg, Patrick, Woody and Xero, again, I’m in awe of your trust, your knowledge, your openness to what unfolds, the reciprocal generosity of so many, your sharing and receiving and for inviting us to witness your quite incredible journey.
    Sending big love,
    Dianne and José.

  19. Alison King says:

    It all looks and sounds so wonderful. I very much look forward to more news. Go well my lovely friends. xxx

  20. Lisa Jackson says:

    Thank you for the update…i have been wondering where you were….I await the next instalment with earnest xx

  21. Rebecca Lister says:

    Loved reading this and the pics. What a great thing you are all doing! Look forward to the next instalment. Safe travels on those deadly treadlies!

  22. "PermaGrannie" says:

    Those beautiful smiles!!! I wish you only good and loving friends along the way. Looking forward to more wonderful stories. Sending HUGS!

  23. How I wish you could cycle all the way to Scotland! Your stories always uplift and inspire me. xx

    1. Maybe, one day Lottie. Scotland is ancestral country for Blue Wren and Blackwood. So, one day!

  24. Maya Ward says:

    What a wonderful story! What a marvellous mapping of the density of alternatives. And now you’re on a peninsula, sea surrounding you – I quite expect tales of hitching a lift with a watercraft of strange provenance. I hope you are deposited upon the eastern shore and find your way into my mountains, towards sources. Love and hugs, dear adventurers!

    1. Thank you Maya! It’s looking much more likely we are deposited into your beautiful mountains on the return leg. Much love xxx

  25. Bernadette says:

    What a wonderful start to your journey…. so excited to live your journey via social media 🙏

  26. Fizzy 'Thornbill' says:

    Whoooop Yeah Legends !! Magpie, Blue Wren, Blackwood and Xero !! What a first few days! So great to hear of the kindness and generosity you have received! You are in our thoughts … wow! so inspired ! Wednesday is here and I am remembering all the learnings from our Forest and Free adventures !

    “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.”~ Roald Dahl

    1. Hello Thornbill, so glad you’ve flown in to say hello with your glittering eyes. xx

  27. Esther says:

    I’m so grateful for this new platform of yours and love following your adventures on the road. Thank you for your teachings.

    1. Thanks Esther, Lorne and Juanita have done such a great job putting the site together. Our collective, in process answer to the sickness that is Big Tech.

  28. Chloe says:

    I always find you so inspiring but this especially so! Best of luck on your journey, I can’t wait to see the next update.

    A quick question, I hope you don’t mind, how do you cook the sourdough on the road? I have a starter and would love to do similar on my own travels

    1. Hi Chloe, thanks for your question. We treat our sourdough starter akin to a thick pancake or crumpet mix and cook it off once or twice a day. We keep the mix in a small, light container while we ride and remix it as soon as it is emptied into the pan. The cooking process is really quick to do with a portable stove or on a park BBQ. We’re effectively making fermented flat breads. We get three large ones for each mix. Getting good bread in Australia is either impossible or a class privilege, so this is our response to that double-headed problem. Bread is a staple for us, so making sure it is affordable, nutritious, unpackaged, fermented and free of glyphosate is critical to our wellbeing and the wellbeing of mother country. We’re going to make a short video on the whole process shortly.

      1. Chloe says:

        Thank you! I started my sourdough journey – like so many – last year and love the long, meditative process of making a loaf but that one recipe is the extent of my knowledge so far. Will try this on my next trip away, thank you

  29. Jim says:

    You guys are truly an inspiration – good luck on the rest of your journey!

  30. Louise Doherty says:

    Such a joy to join you on your new adventure, after avidly following your previous journey with awe and inspiration. Would love to have cheered you on as you went up the hill through Leopold, on your way to St Leonards! Actually , I hope you found the Rail Trail from Geelong to at least Drysdale ( way more relaxing than that awful highway) before joining a road on to St. Leonards.

    1. Thanks Louise, yes we found the rail trail. There’s great cycling access around these parts, no doubt because of the community bike advocacy.

  31. deb says:

    Thank you for sharing. Brings me loads of peace, joy and a big sprinkle of itchy feet 🙂
    Also if not for your photo of the wood blewit I would have been very wary of a totally purple mushroom. Just found one of my own near the woodpile. Think I’m in love. The colour !! If your travels find you anywhere near Deans Marsh there’s camp spot here for you all. Much love.

    1. Thank you Deb, we really appreciate the invitation. At this stage we think we’re going to hug the coast for a bit. Please be mindful that wood blewits can be confused with the purple capped Emperor Cortinar (Cortinarius archeri) mushroom, which is poisonous. Blewits are found in lush parts of eucalyptus forests, gardens and woodlands, whereas Emperor Cortinar is found only in eucalyptus forests. Beside your woodpile probably means it’s a wood blewit, esp if you have animals who like to relieve themselves in that vicinity.

  32. Sian says:

    Love love this guys! Sian here from deans marsh! Come and stay with us! Have recently moved into our home we have been building so have plenty of space for you to kip inside xxx 0424023939, or drop into the store and ask where our place is xxx

  33. Thanks Sian, that’s so kind and generous! We’d love to though looks like we’ll hug the coastline as Blackwood is soooo keen to saltwater fish each day. We’ll let you know if things change. Much much love, AaF xx

  34. Thank you everyone for your support, care and well wishes. We’re riding out the lockdown in St Leonards courtesy of a friend’s beach shack. We hope you’re all doing well and finding inspiration in your day.

  35. Yvonne says:

    Meg and gorgeous family. Thanks once again for taking us on your journey . Stay safe and be well. Xx

  36. Megan Kelleher says:

    Hi Blue-Wren, Magpie, Blackwood and Zero!! I’m caught up on your posts now – (it took a writing retreat in Castlemaine for me to get the headspace) and am keenly subscribed.
    Oh what a beautiful journey. – From preparing to the venturing out. Seeing you realise this dream is so enriching.
    In the meantime, I’m listening to the blockchain video you sent to me Patrick – thank you for sharing it.
    O.O It’s an eyeopener 😵
    I’m going to share your blog with my network – it’s an unfurling gift that I want to share, but also on the “perchance” that you may be recognised and offered lodgings, love and replenishments.
    I’ve been thinking of you all and look forward to finding out how the “Lockdown Leg” pans out. I can’t wait to see how your collective joy and resilient spirits respond. I’m sure we’ll all learn from it. Xxx Love to you all Megs and Tyson, Eden Onyx and Diver

    1. Hello Megs, thanks for your warm comments. Hope you mob are doing well after the lockdown. And thanks also for the title for our recent post, The lockdown leg. Perfect!

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