24 Jun 2012, Comments (1)

Trip Envy

Author: Helen

My brother and his lovely companion are travelling up North using a combination of hire cars and the Ghan, using this site to blog about their trip. Stuck at home on the Queen’s Birthday, when it was quite sunny and the current floods/earthquakes/hail/plagues of frogs hadn’t yet started, I was siezed by Trip Envy. If I couldn’t take the Ghan up to Alice, by golly, I could take the bike along the Federation Trail!

My aim was to start in Yarraville and ride halfway to Werribee. Yes, I know, ambitious. I started off at Williamstown Road where a new section of the trail is meant to link Yarraville to Altona.

Thanks to the Baillieu Government’s abrupt discontinuation of bicycle infrastructure funds, this discontinued abruptly. They didn’t even have the money to fix this front-wheel-devouring drain in the first section.

That meant I had to ride along Francis st, AKA the Docklands highway, to get to where the Fed Trail actually starts. It isn’t a road cyclists are keen to ride on, unless you enjoy a near death experience every time a monster truck or careless SUV driver goes past. Luckily, most of the truck drivers were at home toasting the Queen, and the driveways to the container yards were all shut.

North Altona, and now I was on my way – the scenic route through the Brooklyn-Laverton Industrial Complex. There are some cool things to look at there, like this Victorian aqueduct.

Victorian aqueduct on the Federation Bike trail near Laverton

There was an educational plaque a bit further along, of the type you always see on tracks and trails. This one proclaimed “MAIN SEWAGE OUTFALL”. Oh well, we have to be known for something.

This mountain is made up of millons of tiny multicoloured plastic scraps. I thought it was the back of the Brooklyn tip, but that attraction was further along. It appears to be a plastic recycling plant. It makes quite a good photo, I think. Uluru and the Olgas be damned!
A big pale grey pile of recycled plastic with a gum tree
Now this is possibly my most-loved thing on this trail. I call it the Satanic Mill. This phone photo can’t possibly do it justice – in the flesh it doesn’t just sit there, it LOOMS. It’s huge and very black except where it is rust coloured. It has lots of very steampunk pipes and shafts going here and there and there is a huge vent of steam which comes out with a very satisfying FOOSH!!!!! every few minutes.

The Satanic Mill - Metal Recycling plant on the Federation trail, big and black with steam fooshing out
The thing appears to be a metal recycling plant. On the other side there’s a huge fuck-off… CLAW which picks up car bodies from a handy pile and drops them into the Thing’s gaping maw. Really, someone should get in there with a better, non-phone camera and take some good pictures.

All this without the trouble and expense of a round-Australia or international trip!

Some day I’ll make it ALL THE WAY to Werribee and then there will be a even more gripping update.

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