Day 11 - The trip with no name - Monday 18 Feb 2013

Today and Tuesday will be spent in Melbourne, hanging out with an old school friend, Carol, and her family. The started out as a drive out to Yarra Glen, a heritage property to the north east of Melbourne. However this whole are is so full of interesting places, that we never got there.

Our first stop was a lookout for the Dandenong Ranges National Park. From this view you can see a large part of the ranges as well as several Melbourne Water lakes and dams. Really worth a look.

As we drove along, Carol mentioned a place atop the range called "Skyhigh". This is a spectacular place, with views ranging from Port Phillp Bay, across to Mount Macedon and then further to the East. In some ways it is a version of Brisbane's Mount Cootha lookout. Skyhigh was first established as a survey point in 1861, but I'm not sure when it became available as a tourist destination. I don't remember it when Karen, Benjamin and I lived in Melbourne in the early 1990's and we sure travelled around Victoria back then.

Skyhigh has a very fragrant English Lavendar garden, amongst other veiws and is really worth the visit. The webiste for Skyhigh is:

After visiting Skyhigh, we started heading back and Carol noted that Miss Marple's Tea Rooms was open and appearred to not be filled up. Named after the Agatha Christie's famous amatuer sleuth, apparently Miss Marple's Tea Rooms is an institution and almost always filled up. Today, we were in luck and were able to park right outside and get a seat.

The interior decor matches the exterior. The rafters are lined with a collection of tea pots and the walls lined with framed pictures of the famous Miss Marples as played by various actresses from film and screen. The food is amazing. It was a huge challenge to finish of the chicken pie followed by a massive chocolate and pecan fudge cake with cream. Even the other guests eyes bulged when they saw the cake come out. Anyhow, I was up to the challenge - just. The website for Miss Marple's Tea Rooms is

Riding on a bike for hours on end gives you time to think. Especially so if you accidentaly stand on your earphones and keep forgetting to buy new ones. Anyhow, whilst riding down the Hume Highway on Friday, I was thinking about the friends and family who have and are supporting me on this ride. Like Dan, with whom I stayed with Canberra, Carol is a friend from high school, some 30 years ago. I was even best man at her wedding, way back then. We attended together Grace Lutheran College, in Redcliffe, Queensland. The school motto is "Grace Alone" as in "By grace alone you are saved"; which is a basic tenant of the Protestant movement and especially so within the Lutheran Church. Grace is often defined within Christian circles as "The undeserved favour of God". I feel God's grace on this trip, from being in a position to be able to take the time off, to be able to afford the time off, the unwavering support of Karen whilst I am away and the ongoing support of friends as I travel along. I've done nothing special to deserve any of this, but here I am and so here is my chance to gratefully acknowledge God's grace and also heartfully thank everyone for their unwavering support. I've also met many people for the first time who have provided moral support and good advice, especially about crossing the Nullabor.