6th December 2007
Ben needed a break from the dungeon, Freddy was up for a ride. We (Amy and Ben) needed olives, but not just any olives, Mount Zero Olives.
It was a simple plan. We had the map of where it was off the internet, we planed our route, we knew it would be a long hot day, we were prepared for that….. What we could not prepare for is what we did not know…….the map was wrong……… (just to be clear, we did not get the map from their web site….yeah, yeah)
Freddy really was touched by the funeral service in the box, we have never seen that done before, but it makes a lot of sense, you often wonder about the story behind the crosses you often see on the side of the road. “Wes” was in a car accident at this spot 35 years ago. He died only a few years back, so for all that time he was in hospital and a nursing home. It was a pretty moving story. I did not plan to stop here, it was just a shady spot in the middle of no where (Even for us Tatyoon North is not really anywhere).
(Thanks for arranging the Opto22 shirt Bryce, it means a lot to me and it was very comfortable in the heat.)
We both put ear plugs in at this point as it was really noisy in the wind. The intercom picks up all the wind noise and plays it though the system. If its not really windy, its not an issue at all, but we had a really blustery northly, so it was really annoying us.
The wind was really kicking up a lot of pollen as well, so I was suffering with a runny nose and in a full face helmet, it just is not a lot of fun.
From there to Moyston is a nice run, at one stage you come over a crest, and you just know its going to be a great view. It did not disappoint.
We rode along side the Grampians for about 1/2 hour, it was just fantastic. The road was lined with gray ghost gums and looking though them up to the rocky outcrops of the hills, and the beautiful blue/green of the gum trees growing up the slopes was just one of the best memories. (It was nice to be out of the wind a little as well).
Next stop was in Halls Gap. Nice little town, but we still had a ways to go, so we did not linger long……
On the way out of Halls gap is an amazing rock wall;
The road out through the Grampians is nice and winding. We managed to scrape the foot pegs a few times even though we were taking it nice and slow. The area is really looking great with all the new re-growth after the fires 2 years ago.
We were headding cross country for a little place called Nurrabiel. At one stage we went down a long country road, when we got to the other end there was a pole with about 8 signs on it showing all the different things down it, both Freddy and I blurted out at the same time ‘No way all that was down there!’ It was pretty funny.
From here, things got interesting. We went to where the olive grove was marked on the map, it was a very gravel road, it had signs on it “dry weather road only” (That sign was on the road out, not on the way we came in!)….. A passing farmer (‘very cute’ according to Freddy) told us that we were in fact no where near where we needed to be. He told us of more gravel roads to get closer, but by this time I had had enough, so we took the tar route a little out of our way. It turned out to be the best choice because when we got to the olive grove turn off, the road…..well….. the pictures don’t say it, they just don’t…..
I was more worried about it for Freddy. I have come off bikes in the dirt a few times, if you are going slow, its not too bad, but coming off and having a Gold Wing sitting on you is an experience I just did not want to give Freddy. She offered to get off and walk a lot of it, but I would not have it, so we made 4-5 totally unplanned lane changes and some how made it in. The problem is not shown in any of the photos, it was just down the road from the first one, about 800 meters of 3 to 8 inch deep soft sand. At one stage we even got a little bogged, had to do some rocking in first gear to get out!
The owner was really impressed when he saw that we had come in on a bike…… I don’t think he was impressed enough to spend some money and fix the road some how.
Ah, well, it was an adventure.
The ride home was very straight forward, we took the Western highway for some of it, and then back roads.
The backroads really are my favorite roads of all time. So much more interesting than the high ways. We had a really relaxing run home, the wind had eased up, and even though it was still up around 35°C, the shadows were longer and so it felt a little cooler.
7 and a half hours actual bike seat time. About 570kms. It was a great day.
And yes, the olives ARE worth it.