Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Days 23, 24, and 25: The Great Ocean Road

That night in our 8-person hostel room we barely slept. We were already a day behind on our itinerary, I had a flight in just a few days that was several hundred miles drive away, and the storm outside sounded as bad as any typhoon or hurricane I’d been in. I’m guessing that mostly in reaction to complaints they’d received from travellers whose plans were ruined more than ours, the ferry did operate in the morning, but it probably should not have. I should have known we were in trouble when I tried to buy a coffee from the snack bar on board the ferry, and the lady refused to sell it to me on the grounds that I’d be puking it up in 10 minutes anyway. At first it was exciting, like a roller coaster, the way the ferry travelled up one side of each wave and then crashed down on the other. Then, in about 5 minutes, faces starting going pale. By the 10 minute mark, people were vomiting into little paper bags in every direction. After an hour, legs were not very steady as people stumbled off the ferry. Angela and I didn’t get sick, but I wouldn’t say we were very well either.

The weather finally cleared as we started our drive down the Great Ocean Road from Adelaide. Just before dark, we did stumble upon Larry the Lobster, an Australian icon, which was a treat.

As we began to set up camp in a rest area down a long, quiet road, it began sprinkling a bit. Since we didn’t think anyone would notice, we just moved our tents under the picnic enclosure, and climbed inside for 4 hours of gin rummy and wine. Some time during our games, the wind began to pick up, and it began to rain harder. We had another sleepless night as we lay there wondering if the car was going to blow away.

By the next morning it had cleared, and we continued down the road to Mount Gambier, a beautiful little town with some very blue crater lakes and the nicest public park I’ve ever seen in a small town, made even nicer by the fact that it was centred around a sinkhole that had been used as a trash pit and used car lot in the past. That evening, as it began sprinkling, we found another out of the way picnic area to camp in and began round two of the gin rummy championship.

The final day of our trip was as good as any day we’d had along the way, most of it spent driving along the rocky southern coast of Australia. In the morning we visited the site of an old shipwreck and the famous 12 Apostles rock formation.

In the afternoon, we spotted several whales who had come in close to the shore with their calves and stopped in at Bells Beach, home of the most famous surf competition in Australia.

Following the pattern we had begun to expect, the rain started in the early afternoon as raced to return the rental car several hours late. I made my flight just in time after leaving Angela and Dylan standing in the rain in Melbourne with no idea where they might sleep that night. But after almost a month together on the road, I knew they’d figure it out.


Mary said...

It sounds like a great trip. All the "hick ups" are what make any trip fun, you guys will laugh about this trip forever! I like Eric's moustache!

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