Caught in the rain. Worth it … for the ride and the image.
Caught in the rain. Worth it … for the ride and the image.
When you last heard from me, I was preparing to drive the Great Ocean Road. Driving that road is an incredible experience, but for those who are not used to driving on the “other” side of the road and on the “other” side of the car (notice that I didn’t say the “wrong” side), the Road creates an even greater challenge.
I’d hoped to rent a motorcycle and take the ride of a lifetime, but between the cost of rentals and the fact that I couldn’t find a bike to fit my 5′ tall body, I opted for a rental car. I have to confess to feeling a bit nervous about driving in Australia. I wasn’t so much worried about driving the Great Ocean Road, as I was about getting out of Melbourne! I even told the folks at the rental agency that I’d pay someone to drive me out of the city 🙂 Ultimately, it all turned out perfectly, and while the car was a blast, after driving that road, I sure wish I could have ridden those curves on my Harley.
The Great Ocean Road is included on the Australian National Heritage List and at 243 km (151 mi), stretches along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the cities of Torquay and Allansford. Construction on the road began in September of 1919 and was built by approximately 3000 returned servicemen as a war memorial for fellow servicemen who had been killed in World War I. In addition to being dedicated as a memorial, the road also connected isolated settlements on the coast, and become a vital transport link for the timber industry and tourism.
As a visitor to Australia, seeing these signs along my route were welcome, and within minutes of driving out of the city, I stopped at my first Visitor Information Centre.
The incredibly friendly and informative folks at the Centre loaded up a reusable bag full of maps and pamphlets, which suited this map loving woman just fine. GPS is great, of course, but I like to say that I use MAPS. The volunteers recommended that I stop in Geelong, and I’m so glad that they did. Located just southwest of Melbourne, Geelong boasts a 19th-century carousel, a curved art deco boardwalk , and a several colorful sculptures that chronicle the city’s history.
After a lovely stroll along that curved boardwalk, I took off for Torquay, the surf capital of Australia, and the start of the Great Ocean Road.
On this, my first day on the road, I only managed to drive 90 km (50 mi). I just couldn’t help myself: I had to keep stopping!
I mean, seriously! I think I pulled over at every possible place! Including the Cape Otway Lightstation, built in 1848.
What an incredible gift it was to have the time to explore. I had no plan other than to go, to see, to breathe.
The sound of those waves crashing on the shore were captivating, and in my next post, I’ll share some video.
The curves were fun to drive, and every so often, I was pleased to be the only car on the road. At times, it seemed I could have been driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, as the road wound through lush, forested areas. At other times, the road took me along the dramatic coastline. I could have taken weeks, not days, to visit the many natural and historic wonders of this road, and I could have taken thousands and thousands of photos.
At the end of an amazing day, I stopped at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse for fish and chips and a nice, cold beer. On this particular day, I’d worn one of my Harley t-shirts and as always happens when I travel, people come up and talk to me about motorcycles. Even in this day and time, a woman who rides her own bike is still a big deal. We also talked about the bracelets on our arms, representing loved ones gone too soon.
Next Post: Day Two on the Great Ocean Road
Pauline arranged for the most fun outing: a 5 person trike ride around Dunedin and Otago Harbour! This bike chick loved it, as did everyone else. What a blast!
We met our guide Andrew, owner of Experience Dunedin at The Octagon in the Central Business District of Dunedin, and soon we were off.
Andrew obligingly hit the gas and we found ourselves hooting out loud with excitment!
The roads were curvy and changed elevation frequently, and I was reminded of riding back home in southwest Virginia. Well, except for the “wrong side” of the road thing.
The views of the harbour were incredible and these photos do not do them justice.
Alys took some great photos with her selfie stick, so please visit her blog to see more!
Thank you, Pauline, for arranging for this fun, fun outing, and to Alys for treating us!
At the end of a low key day spent recovering from travel, we took the short drive to see the ocean from St Clair Beach.
Those who know me may remember that when I see any body of water, I soon have my feet in it. The water was chilly but I was thrilled to be feeling the water of the Pacific.
The images speak for themselves, don’t you think?
As the sun began to set, we found a coffee shop and warmed up over coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
It was a lovely way to end our first day in Dunedin.
Forgive me, WordPress Friends, but it has been 5 Weeks since my last confession … er, I mean, post!
In the almost 6 years that I have been blogging, that may just be a record. So! Where have I been?
In early January, we traveled to Richmond, Virginia’s Capital City, to see the Inauguration of our new Governor.
It was a cold, but beautiful winter day and we were all so excited to be there!
As you might guess, I took a ton of photos. Sadly, I just haven’t had time to work through them yet. This image, though, shows the impressive sight of all 1600 Virginia Military Institute Cadets march by in the Inaugural Parade. Our new Govenor, Ralph Northam, is a VMI Grad.
The Women’s March in Roanoke
One week later, I hit the streets of Roanoke for the Women’s March.
From the Women’s March to the Swearing-in of Delegate Hurst
We left the Women’s March a bit early and drove straight to the swearing-in of our new Delegate, Chris Hurst.
I loved catching this image of the Delegate in concentration,
and of course, enjoyed a quick visit in his office.
It was a long, exciting day and I’m so glad to have had this man to share it with.
Puzzle Time with Family
I enjoyed a quick run to Williamsburg to spend time with some of my family,
followed by a brief stop in Richmond on the way back home.
8 weekends in a row of travel, with work in between, and suddenly blog posts take a back seat. As much as I have loved all the road trips, some of which I didn’t include here, I was grateful to be home this past weekend. Why? So I might be able to plan the BIG TRIP:
New Zealand and Australia!!
I am the luckiest gal to be leaving in just 12 days for the Southern Hemisphere! Even better, I’ll be spending time with dear blogging friends: Pauline from The Contented Crafter, (and her awesome daughters), Alys from Gardening Nirvana, and Boomdee from Boodeeadda.
I anticipate lots of laughter and love, good food and drink, gorgeous scenery and many, many photo ops. I’ll be traveling on foot, and by car, plane, train and hopefully motorcycle, and I simply cannot wait to share it with all of you!
After the almost single minded focus on the November election with it’s exciting conclusion, it was time for a getaway.
First stop: Atlanta and a quick visit with Andrew and Jon.
And Tela and Wilson, too.
We attended the Virginia Tech / Georgia Tech football game (my team lost …) but we also enjoyed site seeing, a little shopping (a very little), and lots of good food and drink. Surprisingly, I didn’t take many photos, but I was pretty happy with the few shots that I did take.
After leaving Georgia, I hit the road for Maggie Valley. Set in the mountains of North Carolina, the town is situated near the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Cherokee Indian Reservation.
We enjoyed visiting the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum
and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
It was wonderful to have unplanned time to explore without a specific agenda,
and to enjoy the beauty of nature’s gifts.
** This is a scheduled post from a ride one week ago. As you read, I am in full Get Out The Vote mode! **
Another Sunday Ride. Another Old Bridge.
Something is definitely right in my world when I get to ride the bike two weekends in a row. The rides haven’t been long but during this busy time in my life, I’m thrilled just to be riding on our beautifully curvy Southwest Virginia roads.
We were also able to explore another old bridge. With this one no longer in use, we were able to take our time checking it out.
I thought of Joe as I photographed all of the rust, and as we looked at the many parts of the bridge, I couldn’t help but wish that I knew more about civil engineering.
I also loved the contrast between the man made structure and the natural world.
Soon enough we were back on the bikes and enjoying the wind in our faces.
As always, we ended the ride with a cold craft beer and this time, a brick oven pizza.
It was the perfect way way to spend a Sunday afternoon.