... So I picked Kim up at the airport on Thursday morning and we drove up to Bright where we had booked into a lovely little B&B farmstay for the weekend ...
It was perfect and just as we were agreeing to this very fact ... the owners knocked on the door to say that they had actually put us into the wrong cottage ... and would we mind moving.
If you're not already onto it, the positive-negative juxtaposition will become a theme of this post ...
We settled into our new cottage (which was identical to the first) except it was better because it had a cool old dog that could materialise beside us the moment food appeared
|Call me k-9 master|
|Not quite ready for MKR ... toast was my specialty.|
Perhaps of more significance, after breakfast Kim went to unpack her bikes only to realise she had left one minor thing behind ... her front wheel.
|A wheel, a wheel ... my kingdom for a wheel.|
.... but nice farmstay behind her right?
Not to be defeated, $49 later (only $9 more than getting a quirt of stan's in a rear tyre - just saying) Kim had hired a bike for 24 hours and we were off up to Falls Creek to ride the single track up there ...
As this is the condensed version, I'll just say that after a great start ...
Things went back to not so great ...
Firstly, Kim who was on an unfamiliar hard-tail, started getting the jitters about having a crash on some of the more technical sections (which was fair enough given she was going to run her first 50km trail race next weekend and for an intermediate track it did throw a few surprises at us) and so she started to walk some of the more difficult bits ... (these are usually the bits where she sees me disappear or squawk loudly)
Kim loves it when I take photos of her walking her bike.
About two thirds the way around the route, we had an 'out' option where we could jump out onto an aquaduct trail and then down what looked to be a green trail back to our car, so we opted to do that ...
And it was a great decision until we came to this ...
I was enjoying the trail, albeit it seemed to be at the upper end of easy if you know what I mean and Kim (who isn't a big fan of tight descending switchbacks) was still taking it easy (but she was on the bike).
So to make Kim feel better, I thought I should demonstrate why Kim had a good reason to be nervous about these trails.
I had been waiting for Kim to come down a few steep switchbacks, and when I saw her coming, I pushed off (on what I thought was just a bit of straight, flowing track) and so I wasn't really concentrating on the trail, more on chatting to Kim behind me to see how she was going, then when I finally looked forwards I found myself with my front wheel already starting down a big boulder drop ... with no speed, and on a really bad line ... and well the rest went pretty much as expected ...
Fortunately, a tree (and the rock) broke my fall and so the damage was pretty superficial.
We were both happy to call it a day after just one lap and headed back to Bright where we set off on a spin around the National marathon XC course which was being raced on the next weekend ...
The course was kind of fun, but several sections were pretty technical (despite how easy the elite racers made it look when I saw it on TV later on) and Kim was keen to pull the plug about half way around and just enjoy an easier, less technical, route back ... whilst I persevered to the end and was rewarded with the knowledge that I am never, never ever, going to be an elite rider.
Or even a good one.
By unanimous agreement, we decided to return Kim's Bike that afternoon as it was obvious that planning a mountain biking weekend the week before a big 50km running race that Kim had been training for for months wasn't going to work very well - but again, luck was against us and the bike shop closed about 6 minutes before we got there and so we had to return it the next morning.
So that found us, at around 11am on Sunday morning, sitting in our hire car in the main street of Wangaratta, wondering what the heck we were going to do with two more days in Victoria ... we even went as far as checking out options for early flights home ... but it was cheaper to stay in Victoria than move our flights.
Without really having a plan, we decided just to find somewhere to crash for the night where we were, which was when Kim stumbled across another beautiful little farmstay B&B just out of town.
It was just the oasis we needed: The owners were lovely - no they were beyond lovely, and we had free roam of the place with the farm dogs, horses (the owners used to race them) and even some cool peacocks.
The owners went out to the annual Wangaratta horse races that night, so we found ourselves on the back deck, eating take away chinese and drinking cheap wine as we watched the pea hens and cockatoos come in to roost for the night.
It was a good day in the end, and a great night.
We went down for breakfast about 8.30 the next morning, and didn't leave until 11am as we enjoyed fresh farm eggs, home made bread and jams and just chatted to our hosts who were great travellers themselves and also a fount of knowledge on the nearby rail-trail that runs to Bright.
We finally got down to Melbourne sometime later that day and then went through the agonising torture of driving through Melbourne (avoiding the tollways) to get to IKEA in Richmond so Kim could buy some candles, brick-a-brack and a sheep skin blanket for the dogs (you should have seen her bike bag on the way home).
One final stop at the Essendon DFO netted Kim the last Garmin 110 charger in Australia (true story - Kim spent half of the trip up to Bright ringing around trying to get a replacement charger so she could use her watch on her run next week - with no success, and then we walk into the Good Guys and they had one left, covered in dust, sitting under a table). Kim also picked up some new clothes for the kids and then we were on a plane (after scowling a lot at the EuropCar people) and finally home.
It wasn't the adventure we had planned, not even close, but it was still an adventure and it was still a good one ... even if I had to condense a whole lot of the detail out of it.
Woo hoo - now I'm only a month behind in my posts.