Jeremy is a musician and Bridget is an artist. Jeremy likes motorbikes, Bridget doesn't really care much for them. Jeremy and Bridget got married, Bridget said "Let's go to Alice Springs on a motorbike for our honeymoon." Jeremy said "ALRIGHT!"

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wanted: A good home for 'Norman'

It's been a little while, but it's finally time to post a sad but necessary message. Norman has to go. He's been outfitted with a brand new Staintune exhaust and had a good shine, and he's now waiting for his new home. He's looking and sounding wonderful, and going even better now with the exhaust! So if there's anyone out there who fancies a really reliable, fabulous condition bike with bags of charm and history that's ready to take you (and a loved one) anywhere you could want to go, let us know here and i can arrange for you to come and have a look. He's currently in mum and dad's garage in Geelong but we can arrange to meet you halfway or something like that if you're too far away. I have him advertised for 5800.00, but I'm willing to move on that for the right person and a RWC can be arranged easily too. The link to bikesales is here:

Comes with all the luggage, and a bike cover too. Make sure to get the word around so we can re-home him soon! I'm sure he's bored in the garage with no one to talk to.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Long Way Home

Normally it takes an hour to drive from Geelong to our new home just outside of daylesford. This time it took us four weeks! But what we saw along the way!

I'm sitting here now surrounded by gum trees and the beautiful song of Australian Magpies and countless other unidentified birds. The breeze is shaking the leaves and it is neither too hot nor too cold. I've been worried about moving to the country, I've only ever lived in Melbourne city in Australia before. I'm scared of bush fire and crazy insects, of being lonely and isolated. But we've now met so many people living in much more harsh, remote, hot, insect infested, beautiful, difficult, dry places that it makes me feel I can live here happily.

It was such a joy driving along our forest lined driveway. I felt very impatient all day yesterday riding the 2 and a half hours from Shepparton. We stopped off in bendigo along the way, had lunch in the art gallery and a quick look around. Then back on Norman for the last 100 or so ks home.

It's good to finish a journey glad to be home rather than longing for more. I leave you with some of the sketches from the Hay races and keep an eye out for videos we will upload soon. Now we need to organise getting more of our belongings to our new place and setting up my new studio, stock up our cupboards, get jeremy some gigs. We need to start our married life!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Last Night

Well here we are, the last night of our trip. We left Hay yesterday morning feeling tired and woozy, although not as bad as some of our fellow race goers. The evening storm the night before had cleansed the air and although we were still covered in a thin layer of dust (we hadn't yet showered) we layered up our clothes, wrapped scarves round our necks and headed out of new south wales.

Our destination was Shepparton, where Jeremy's paternal grandparents live, 250km away. The road slowly changed from absolute flatness to mostly flat. Paddocks became smaller, no longer stretching out of view. Agriculture became more evident and the fruit orchards started again. All the way the roads were softened by what I think is called fly away grass. Detached tops of grass like plants about the size of an out spread hand floated in mass along the tarmac. The wind was quite strong and blew these yellow armies in formation along the highways. I liked them, Jeremy's sinuses did not. Poor Jeremy has suffered from hay fever throughout this trip but yesterday was the worst. He was constantly stopping to blow his nose or wipe the sniffles.

This is now our second night in the comfort of grandparent endulgence. Two big delicious dinners, a lovely big bed and a lake view, bliss. Yet I still look forward to arriving in daylesford tomorrow. Our new residence awaits. We've only spent about three nights in our new house so it'll be good to get settled in properly and feel grounded. Hopefully we'll be able to cope staying put after all of this.

We also need to find a new owner for good old Norman. It was always part of the deal, to sell the bike at the end. We can't afford not to. So, if you're in the daylesford/ Geelong/ Melbourne area and looking for an extremely reliable motorbike that can take you on a trip of a lifetime let us know. We can't recommend him enough!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jeremy: Hay Races!

It feels like a kind of peak to the whole trip to actually be here at the hay races after deciding we were going to try and make it here back when we were in alice springs. What a day! It's just after the last race, and I'm not going to lie, it's been a really hot day and beer has been easier to come by than water, if you catch my drift. So, I decided a blog post was due before it got too late for me to concentrate, although to be honest I may have left it too late!
I rode down to hay this morning in the heat, so that we could leave straight from here to shepparton in the morning. Not a great start, I was covered in sweat before we even got to the race course! It was nice to try the bike out at speed without bridget or any luggage on the back though.
We didn't do too badly with the betting, we finished 16 dollars up by my reckoning. We sweltered away in the heat, but have had a wonderful day. Lots if laughing and merryment, and I'm pretty sure bridget got a fair bit of drawing done which you might get to see tomorrow! In the meantime here's a few photos of us with our gracious hosts ed and rachael, and the field here at hay race course.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Toms Lake

What a place. This morning we went with Jeremy's friend Ed and his wife Rachel and helped clean out sheep troughs. We drove for miles along flat dusty tracks to each one. Ed's property stretching from horizon to horizon with hairy, not wooly, sheep called Daupers. Today's kangaroo sightings have more than made up for their lack on the rest of this trip and emus too.

This evening we went over to Ed's parents' homestead called Tom's Lake where there is a large creek full of water at the moment where everyone likes to waterski. In a few months the water will be gone but today beautiful trees dipped their boughs into its edges, birds of all sorts scattered in our wake and dirty carp yawned at the water's surface.

The water was warm, I even went for a dip and was talked into giving knee boarding a go. I knelt on a foam board, held onto the waterski rope and got pulled along the waterways by the noisy speed boat. It was good fun! Jeremy did proper waterskiing and did so very successfully.

From the main road all you can see is scrubland. These creeks and lakes are hidden gems, teeming with wildlife, reminding you that you really don't know what is beyond the tarmac of the much (or not so much) travelled road.

The Way to Hay

We are having such a lovely time the last few nights it's been difficult to fit in blog posts.

Last night we stayed in the most wonderful place. Wendy and peter extended their kindness and invited us to stay on farm between barham and denilequin. I think it was my favorite place on this whole trip. Peter is a farmer and Wendy is an artist and we spend the most wonderful evening with them and slept in a gorgeous studio cottage. Hopefully, in fact I'm sure, we will return one day soon because one evening was certainly not enough.

We eventually made ourselves pack up and get back on the road and rode the the 270km onwards through Hay to Jeremy's school friend, Ed's, farm 15kms north of Booligal.

Since we left late in the day we were on the road still near sun set which is a scary time due to kangaroos and emus being on the road. But it is a beautiful time to see it all. We swept along that road with huge clouds making shadows and spectacular light on the everlasting flat scenery. Emus ran from us, their floppy back feathers shaking with their lollopy strides. Lizards warming themselves on the last hours of sunlight scurried out of the way of our tires and hawks and buzzards played chicken with us, swooping out of our line at the last minute. Just one kangaroo revealed itself to us and bounded away from the road with its agile hind legs the sun shining red on its fur.

Tomorrow we become farmers on a sheep station the size of a northern Irish county and then we get dolled up on Saturday for the Hay races. I'm borrowing a dress from Ed's wife, Rachel. I've already borrowed a lovely pair of shoes from Wendy. What on earth will I do with my hair. Its hardly even seen shampoo for nearly a month! I hope I scrub up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The mighty murray

Well, we've landed on our feet tonight! After beating down the murray valley highway in the roasting afternoon sun, we've landed at wendy and peter's holiday cottage after they so kindly offered it to us for the night. My, what a beautiful place! We feel like the luckiest people on earth tonight, what with a bed and a shower and all. I think we're both really looking forward to meeting them tomorrow night! That's right, bridget met wendy over the internet and when wendy heard that we were on our way up here for our honeymoon she offered us their holiday cabin.  What an amazing privilege, and we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
We've just had a lovely dinner (we're finally able to really cook something special after weeks of camp kitchens) of a big roast veggie salad with fried haloumi cheese and flat bread which we ate on the veranda over-looking lake charm. With a bottle of wine of course.
It was roasting today, but the road from mildura to swan hill was gorgeous. Hundreds of acres of olive groves, orange orchards, vineyards and even a couple of rice fields were strewn all the way along the length of the road. It looks like from all the rain that there will be a great orange crop this year. The trees in the orchards looked like they  were straining under the weight of all the fruit. It seems like most of the orchards did some kind of roadside honesty box arrangement, and they were all full of bags and bags of fruit, for $2 a bag. This is one area where the motorbike couldn't quite cut it. No big heavy bags of oranges for us.
The other great news is the incredible mileage we're getting out of the bike now that we're not going into a head-wind at 110-120kmh. We got 227km today before I even needed the reserve tank (as opposed to 174 on the stuart highway between port augusta and alice springs). So if you're travelling at 100kmh and the wind isn't too high you could feasibly get 270-280 kilometers out of a tank. Clearly an extra gear, or a couple of extra teeth on the rear sproket would maybe be in order if you were going to use a shadow 750 for any serious touring that involved prolonged highway speeds. But as a general use bike it's fuel consumption is amazing!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Not really much to report today. We had a horrid doughy scone spread with thick margarine that stuck to the roof of your mouth for breakfast in a bakery in Renmark. Then rode 150 gentle kilometers into Mildura which is quite a large town in the north of Victoria.

An Internet friend and fellow artist who lives along the Murray river (hi Wendy!) suggested we visit a few of Milduras galleries and print workshop. Unfortunately one was closed and the other was closing so we weren't very successful there! Instead we got ice cream and went to investigate a camp ground.

It took us about two hours to decide whether we should put the tent on the bad grass but under a tree for shade, or on good soft grass but out in the open sun. In the end we had taken so long that the tree no longer offered suitable shade but we went for the bad ground anyway since we had managed to unpack the bike while looking for our books to read while we decided and we couldn't be bothered moving everything. Such is the workings of the brain when the weather is hot.

We ate dinner in mildura's brewery and sampled their range of beers. Now, once again we lie in a stifling buttery tent, neither of us having showered because we just can't be bothered, comparing mozzie bites. Dont you just wish you were here too?!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


After a lovely rest day of doing very little in Burra yesterday we slowly packed up our things this morning, said goodbye to the friendly people we'd met in the campsite and headed east.

We rode for a while with the wind which was quite strong and made us feel like we were floating because there was not so much wind resistance . It was a lovely feeling. The landscape was soft rolling hills with tall yellow grass meadows on either side. We saw three shingle backed lizards making their slow straight walk from one side of the road to the other. Their funny sausage shaped body with a stumpy tail and thick scales down their backs, ignoring us, just keeping their mind on their task. We also saw our first snake of the trip on this road. Unfortunately we killed it. Jeremy tried to dodge it but saw it too late and didn't manage to swerve enough. I looked back and it was writhing, poor thing. Sorry snake.

We had brunch in a place called Morgan which is a gateway town to the Murray riverlands. We rolled onto the ferry and so crossed the Murray for the second time in this trip. Immediately after we crossed the water the country changed again. The river is big and wandering and used for irrigating the many orchards and vineyards in the area. We were flanked by large fields of orange trees, carpeted by their dropped fruit. It was clear that a big storm had passed through the area in the last couple of days. As well as the lost fruit there were fallen branches all along the sides of the roads, whole trees uprooted and even a fruit farmers honesty shelter upended. Was this the same storm we outran a few days ago? If so it must have gained intensity !

Again today we ran the gauntlet with a grey mass of clouds and again with little consequence. Bridget and Jeremy 2, weather nil! Although I think tonight it's getting it's own back in a different form. It's hot! We've been for a dip twice today in the little swimming pool here in Peringa caravan park. But the relief has worn off and we're lying in our tent sweltering and listening to the crickets in the field beyond and trucks driving into the hot night on the road behind.

Tomorrow we head for Mildura, it's only about 150km. We're taking it all a bit slower now, today we only drove 200. I'm glad the big slogs are over, now we can just potter along. Riding on the back of a bike has become such a normal thing to do now, I can't even imagine being scared of it like I was before we set out on this adventure. The only thing I'd change is my helmet, I think I need a small instead of an extra small. My forehead is always numb and burning by the end of the days traveling. It's a shame because I still think its a very pretty helmet, even when covered in splattered insects.

Update. It's been 10 mins since I wrote this post. The tent is now cool and gusty. I hope all branches that were loose came off last week, the trees above us sound shook up. The crickets have gone to bed or have been blown away and the wind is louder than the trucks on the road. Ah Australia. You keep us on our toes!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jeremy: it's nice to take a break.

So, our tent ended smelling like incense all night, which sure beats the hell out of petrol and rancid butter. Other than 2 wee kids who were pelting around on their dirtbike this morning at 5 o'clock, we had a lovely nights sleep. The big meal of mei goreng we had at the lovely local indonesian restaurant and the couple of whiskeys we followed it up with might have helped... The campsite here has soft grass too, which none of the other campsites (bar uluru) have had in the last few weeks have had. Today the petrol smell seems to have disappeared, thank goodness.
We decided later last night that we were going to give burra another night. After our stint of covering close to 1600kms in the last three days we decided another rest day was due, and we're pretty lucky to have landed in burra for it! It's really a lovely town, still full of beautiful old stone buildings, lots of nice old antique shops to mosy around in and little coffee shops and restaurants in which to relax. It's been a very relaxing day of reading and laundry, with some poking around in the town museums this morning. In the town hall they have costume rooms up the back of the theatre for poeple to try out some period dress. Bridget got all dolled up in a ridiculous big stripy thing. She still looked quite fetching though!
We reckon we'll push on to renmark tomorrow, and see some of the national parks around so bridget can do some drawing.