All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
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A couple of weeks back, a friend and I decided that we needed to do a little testing in tour trim to set a baseline for a bit of an epic we have planned for October. So he had just put together a new touring bike and needed to test it, and I hadn't toured on my Fargo yet and we found a weekend and planned a overnight trip to the Grampians.
The plan for the day was to run out along the Skipton Rail Trail to Skipton and then wander though the farmland to cross over the range into the Grampians and up to the Halls Gap Caravan Park. The goal to spend as little time on asphalt as possible and to hunt out the gravel back roads.
Leaving Ballarat on the Skipton Rail Trail
The rising sun over the rail trail. Though it remained freezing well late into the morning.
At Nimmons Bridge. You can ride across it, but what would be the fun in that when there is a plummet into the valley to challenge you.
At Linton. This is a mock railway station that has been constructed over the rail trail. Very clean facilities and a great rest spot.
Along the Skipton Rail Trail approaching Skipton.
There is a lovely cafe and a IGA at Skipton for supplies and a re-charge. We also found out there is a map of the trail, which may have been good for POI information.
After a couple of hours of back country roads out of Skipton, this is was pretty much how the rest of the afternoon played out on gravel farm roads.
We strayed a little off course because the Garmin decided it had a better plan but it was only 10km or so. But sunset caught us before we reached the mountains and it was time to say good night to the sun, and stop to put the warm gear back on.
The rest of the night was done in darkness as we took the back gravel road over the range to meet the main Halls Gap - Dunkeld Rd which we took to Halls Gap to set camp for the night.
Second day was back to Ballarat with a planned stop in Ararat for Lunch. We didn't really have a planned route for today and just followed the Garmin though some rough reference points to make sure it didn't take a route that was too scenic.
Breakfast from the Halls Gap bakery.
Saying good-bye to the Grampian Range.
The Garmin found some interesting tracks along the way.
Some of the tracks just got better the further we went.
For the middle of winter we where truly blessed by the weather.
We ended up on this road that proved to be about 30km trying to ride though sand. My 29er on 2.2inch rubber managed to handle it just, but the 26inch 47mm just was plain hard work with them regularly digging into the surface and ploughing through the road until the rider was ejected. Made the afternoon a long one.
Another sunset on the road, as it all took more time than we planned. But doesn't mean the trip wasn't very enjoyable.
But ultimately the roll back into Ballarat was in darkness.
For route detail, here are the Strava activities:
Day 1: http://app.strava.com/activities/63525599
Day 2: http://app.strava.com/activities/63525577
An excellent little Micro Adventure.
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