Lightning flickered over the Curdies River at Peterborough as young Dan, aged two, and I packed our bike and trailer for a Great Ocean Road father father-son bike ride and camping trip.
We plodded along at around 15km/h when the road was flat, crawling up low hills at walking pace, and tearing down hills much too fast for top gear, with Dan urging me to go faster.
We passed London Bridge.
Dan read books from his little bag and I started the long version of his favourite story, Tarzan.
Ready to depart Peterborough, aiming for Geelong via the Great Ocean Road.
Dan excitedly pointed out each helicopter that flew overhead.
"How does a helicopter work?", he wanted to know when we saw one land in a paddock.
He listened intently to a child's version of the Loch Ard shipwreck and ran around on the sand "where the man rescued the lady from the sea", trying to coax my tired legs into chasing him.
Dan overlooks Port Campbell, which is where the Biggs family lived when I was about Dan's age.
We discovered we were something of a tourist attraction ourselves with lots of people stopping to say hello.
A couple of Japanese girls asked me to take their photo with Dan, who went suddenly shy and wouldn't put his fingers out like they did.
Phil and Dan at Island Arch, which has since collapsed.
In the carpark, a yellow van caught our eye.
Dan went into raptures about the tiger on the dashboard, ignoring the lion on the roof.
"Tigger Movie", he cried at the top of his voice.
I'd been encouraging Dan to count to 12 for when we reached the 12 apostles. He'd rattle off one to 10 at the top of his voice and at my prompting, pipe up, "11, 12".
Dan licks a lollipop while looking at a lion at Loch Ard Gorge.
But when we got to the 12 Apostles, there was a new walking track.
"No bikes", said the sign, so we kept going.
We set up home for the night near the river at the Princetown campground.
Next morning, a downpour delayed our departure until 11.30am.
Stormy sky, looking towards Cape Otway from Gibsons Beach.
The day's journey took us to Lavers Hill, a distance of around 34 kilometres, about 24 of which were uphill.
As we checked into a small cabin at the roadhouse, winter descended with fog, drizzle and wind.
The morning descent to Glenaire was simply spectacular, a reward for yesterday's effort.
The bike sang along effortlessly.
Outside our cabin at Lavers Hill on a wintry morning.
The wet weather provided exciting sights and smells the forest might not have otherwise offered, mist- shrouded tall timber, the occasional sea view and rainbow, and fresh eucalyptus aroma.
From Glenaire the road took us through farmland.
"1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10", rattled off Dan whenever we went past the herd of cows, no matter how many there were.
Blue horizon and rainbow near Moonlight Head.
Occasionally we got "11, 12, 12 Apostles!" tacked onto the end.
He kept snug and warm and dry under his rain cover.
Hordern Vale turn off marked today's halfway point, and was at the foot of the steepest hill for the whole ride.
My aim was to pedal 100 metres before resting, we had at least 20 breaks before we reached the top.
Dan kept snug, warm and dry on the back of the bike.
The story of Tarzan, which had stretched from Glenaire, came to a standstill.
This was followed by the long downhill glide to Apollo Bay.
Dan fell asleep, which gave me a moment of peace to set up the tent.
Halfway point for today, at the foot of the steepest hill for the ride.
That evening we went to bed with a stack of books.
After a good while, I noticed only one end of the tent had got dark and found we were set up under a streetlight.
It took ages to get Dan to sleep and I didn't sleep very well at all.
Aire River from the Great Ocean Road near Hordern Vale.
The next morning I put my head out looking towards Cape Otway and was greeted with a winter scene of fog and drizzle sweeping down from the mountains.
But the sun was rising over Apollo Bay and to the east, it was looking good.
As we left Apollo a slow-moving cloud of drizzle set in.
Morning at Apollo Bay.
We were able to pedal out of it but as soon as we stopped it for our only minor bike repair, it caught up.
It chased us to Skenes Creek and by the time we reached Cape Patton lookout, it was well behind us.
At Wye River, a lone surfer tried to catch a few waves while we explored rock pools.
"Can I step in it?", Dan asked, and without waiting for an answer, blundered in knee-deep before I caught him.
Back on the road, the hills started to get me down.
No matter how small the hill, I just wasn't strong enough to tow the trailer at anything above walking pace.
It wasn't that it was hard work, it was just so slow.
I was going to have to pedal all afternoon to get to Lorne, and then again all the next day to get to Geelong.
The top of the anchor of the WB Godfrey wreck was barely visible above the waves and it was near here I lost my sense of adventure.
WB Godfrey shipwreck memorial.
At Kennett River, I rang Dan's nana and grandpa, who met us near Lorne.
Without the trailer, suddenly the bike could fly, but at the same time, it was lonely without my little back seat biker buddy, not having to repeat the Tarzan story over and again.
It's said of parenting, the days are long but the years are short.
It's 20 years almost the month since this ride, and it's gone in a heartbeat.
Photographer, Phillip Biggs
Dan gets a lift with his nana near Lorne.
Phillip Biggs is a photographer for The Examiner
Phillip Biggs is a photographer for The Examiner
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