Great Ocean Road 1 March 2007

Travels with McDreamy

Thursday 1 March 2007

Up early and back over the Westgate bridge. Dan and I had breakfast at Williamtown and then headed for Geelong. My first chance to try out the GPX. Great bike. The large bikes from the late 1980's to the mid 1990's are absolutely fantastic pieces of machinery. Whilst the newer bikes have superior design and are easier to ride, particularly at speed, there is a real satisfying feel to these older bikes.

On to Apollo Bay, where we start the Great Ocean Road.

Now take a good look at these two jokers. I'm the overweight one. Dan on the other hand is still very healthy.

Just outside of Apollo Bay as a large wooden arch that denotes the "official" start of the Great Ocean Road. There is a car park and opportunity to take photos etc. At the car park a bunch of tourists start pointing at Dan. An English couple from the tourist coach come across and ask us to take their photo and when we ask them to take ours with our bikes they confide that some of the Japanese girls on the bus think that Dan is Patrick Dempsey who play "McDreamy" from the TV show "Greys Anatomy". Dan's wife Alison has a good laugh over this one when I tell her some months later.

On to the Great Ocean Road proper. The Shipwreck Coast. What a ride. This is an area rich with Indigenous and European history. The road itself was constructed as a Memorial to those killed in the First World War and was a construction marvel at the time it was built. The Great Ocean Road was built by returned servicemen. Surveying began in 1918 and construction took place between 1919 and 1932.

There have been over 300 shipwrecks along this coastline and countless lives have been lost along its rugged edges.

The remaining of the Twelve Apostles - there are only eight left now - stand tall against a pounding ocean.

In this picture you can see the remains of Apostle Number Nine.

And of course, Dan

At Loch Ard Gorge we stopped at the Visitors Centre, which explains the history of the Shipwreck Coast and of the most famous shipwreck, the Loch Ard. Only two of the fifty-one passengers and crew survived - Tom Pearce, a ship's apprentice and Eva Carmichael, an Irishwoman immigrating with her family. Tom was washed ashore, and rescued Eva after hearing her cries for help. He then climbed out of the gorge to raise the alarm to locals, an amazing feat.

Through the afternoon we covered mile after mile of incredible scenery and great roads. To some motorbike purists this road is now overused, but as we were travelling on a weekday and in no hurry it was everything you could expect.

We eventually finished a great day of riding at Warnabool.

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