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Day 585 | St Leonards: wow, the last few days has covered territory

117 km | zzOz total: 19,696 km

Almost the full circle.

A busy day, bookended by two rail trails, with two ferry trips and a somewhat manic ride to link the two.

The start was leisurely, on the Bass Coast Rail Trail, meandering through silent golden fields under a leaden sky, bursting out on minor cliffs over the Southern Ocean for a brief spell and then joining a continual procession of large, dark coloured 4WDs, and even 2WDs, massing onto Phillip Island. Boarding the first, small, ferry at Cowes after a two hour wait was the experience with a heavily laden bike, broken in three constituents, panniers, trailer, then bike, a low tide a two foot drop over a gap onto a mildly rollicking platform, crew looking on unhelpfully.

The Mornington Peninsular was gained, there was a mad scramble to the next ferry 50km away, an initial rollercoaster of some grinding steepness but at the point where the map hinted at a hill climb of more duration the road turned instead to a descent, all no-shoulder downhill, plenty of fellow travellers, motorised, hurtling on the twisting trajectory until I reached the wide, if discontinuous, cycle lane on the periphery of the Nepean Highway that leads around the huge Port Phillip Bay.

I had an invigorating ride in the congestion, overtaken by occasional weekend warriors on their carbon fibre bikes, impassive to my presence, guess it’s all about them, past an enormous string of beachside campers, separated by modest quantities of plastic canvas and six inches of air, more occasional weekend bike riders, this time without helmets riding zanily on the wrong side of the road against the traffic, the landscape totally dominated by strings of slow moving vehicles, our progress interrupted by frequent traffic lights.

I was attempting to make the 6 o’clock crossing to Queenscliff but in the end managed to easily get the 5.

Then there was still another 26 km rush before dark to get to my friends’ beach house, back where I spent my first night out at the start of this preposterous voyage.

There’s been changes in my time vacating civilisation, a new shopping complex down by the Queenscliff ferry terminal, a brand new IGA supermarket at a now considerably more swish St Leonards, and the predominant colour for cars has changed from the ubiquitous and practical white of four years ago to unambiguously darker tones, I imagined the car salesman saying black cars start look dirty as soon as you wash them, you need the aircon on continuously in Australia’s harsh sunlight, and because they are the same colour as asphalt, cause accidents, and the customer saying yes, but I’ll take the black one, it looks so claaaasy.

Vanity trumps common sense every time.

I’ve been away from massively strutting egos for so long, personality presentation, the spiked up hair and disdainful looks it’s going to be a major period of adjustment.

I’m just about back in the fold.