I love getting up to the sound of pelting rain on the windows except this morning was the first day of our ride. A cool 12c with dark clouds kept me in bed for a while until my roommate Patrick was all packed and ready to roll. The gang met at 8am and fortunately, the rain slowed down. We walked in the drizzle to Augusta Bakery and enjoyed a million dollar view with a great hearty breakie.
Though the clouds were still overcast, we loaded up our steeds and began our ride feeling extremely exhilarated. It was a bit cold and wet but our hearts were burning with anticipation and excitement. It was nice to know that in this part of the world, the cars gave us a wide berth and were courteous.
We turned off the busy Bussell Highway and took the scenic Caves Road where it was nice and quiet. Jewel Cave came up all too soon and it was a good reason for a short break. At A$20 for the entrance fee, inflation has really caught up here. My last visit was over 10 years ago and I don't remember paying so much. But it is beautiful and worth a view inside the caves.
Despite being warned that Caves Road can be a bit hairy, we found it not to be so. Shady, quiet traffic and amazing scenery. Its like cycling through the woods and its as good as it gets. Add in some gentle rolling hills, it made for a most pleasant ride. We passed paddocks of sheep and cows, vineyards, saw some horses and the air was just so fresh.
Being Spring time and pollen filled, I suffered a bit with Hay Fever but I was not going to let that spoil my fun. We also took the opportunity to do some bike swapping and learned to appreciate the strength and weaknesses of each bike.
We took morning tea at a most delightful Boranup Gallery Cafe. At a cool 20c, sitting outside under the shade was most pleasant. Add in great coffees, pastries and cake, I reckon this is how a cycling trip should be.
Of course we had to visit some wineries and the first one we went to was the Leeuwin Estate. This is a most beautiful place but unfortunately because of its fame, tourists filled its grounds, service standards were compromised and we moved on to its neighbour, Voyager Wineries. This proved a great blessing as it had the most inviting Tea Room I have ever seen.
Christoph had a glass of Chadonnay while Kenneth tucked into a beautiful carrot cake. My hot chocolate was huge, almost like a soup bowl.
We made sure we rang the bell 4 times before leaving the estate to celebrate our ride and friendship. Patrick didn't join us as he scooted to confirm our room at YHA Margaret River and that was very magnanimous of him to do so.
Our accommodations were not as good as Augusta even though we paid a bit more but got squeezed into one room of 2 double decker beds. Nevertheless, it had a spacious kitchen, a pool and some young adults who drank too much. Dinner was ridiculously expensive at Margaret River, it being a tourist hub and a bowl of Singapore Laksa that goes for S$3 or A$9 in Perth, was going for A$28 here! We settled for Subway sandwiches. They were satisfying.
It was another early night for us but sleep was fleeting with the beer induced racket but fortunately, it didn't go on for too late. The considerateness of people in YHAs has so far impressed me. The 70km ride made us mildly tired and ensured we all slept soundly like babies.