Wednesday, April 2, 2014
We kicked it from the wine producing town of Robinvale from the Caravan Park on the Murray River, a spot that I am sure has endured many fish-tales of Murray cod as large as the journey we were about to embark. Joined briefly by ACT toughie Peter Heal, we started at 0500 and immediately crossed the bridge into New South Wales. Unmolested by any issues, we put time in the bank while enjoying a magnificent sunrise en-route to Balranald. We enjoyed baked goods from the bakery on the left and took care of nature at the toilets across the street. We pedaled to make hay before the sun really started shining. We skipped stopping at the town of Kyalite but the Pub appeared closed that early, Moulamein the next controle presented us with an IGA and close to the store was the Wattle Cafe. Bellies full and bottles filled we took on the Riverina, almost 90k of hot arid exposed riding that brought us to the Pretty Pine Pub AKA the Recovery Room. Here we cashed some of our time in the bank with a sit down meal and fluid and electrolyte replacement. The place is fully equipped with toilets etc, please give them my regards. With some trepidation we set out after a good while to pass Deniliquin which had available services and push on to the Conargo Pub preserving as much banked time as possible. Excellent services here too and toilets in the back, watch the doggies there though they may snatch your meal. Putting on my shoes to leave I noted something sharp in my shoes, we call those "Goats Head" in the Northwest (USA) but Tim referred to them as Bindi eye prickle. A few minutes later we were fixing his rear tire flat. I like it cool, I like night riding, I like to find the city glow of a town we approach from a distance. But nothing can describe the southern night sky, and no photo can capture its feeling. Rolling into Jerilderie with very fluid plans we used the toilets on the right as we entered he town, passed the Caravan Park and wound up at the Caltex Motel just as we were about to leave town.
Fried chicken from the gas station adjacent to the Motel under same management, fried late and probably not enough at that late hour , that would be a mistake for me. A few hours of sound sleep and it was time to ride again.
A klick down the road from Jerilderie Tim has a front flat, and ooh! a back flat too, no worries! but are we going to be short on tubes? We have more tubes at drop bags in Rochester, worlds away! Lucky no more flats the rest of the ride. We see Peter briefly again as we are fixing flats but not again till the end. We pass Urana at the wee hours of the morning, I see a sign for shopping center and Tim uses the towns Public toilets but not even the bush-fly are up at that hour. That's OK with me but I have packed and ate some of the suspect chicken. That is not good, nothing is going good for me now and there are significant headwinds to Corowa. We retire into Brocks Cafe in Corowa, antacids, ginger and lots of hot tea help a little, I am able to keep a little food, fluids and electrolytes down. The wind is changing now as we change direction, going west, we pass the town of Yarrawonga after crossing the Murray again, a local cyclist advises us to use the Pedestrian Path on the bridge. Just, after the bridge we use public toilets on the right side. There is no ill that a tailwind will not cure as we are blown from Yarrawonga to Katamatite. Here there is a convenience store on the left and I tolerate food and drink, well on the way to recovery. The road from Katamatite to Shepparton is a little busy, so we take a little more time. In Shepparton, Tim recommends the Noodle Box, I highly recommend it too. I got my mojo back. We called Matt at the Rochester Motel, real great guy, he kept our drop bags and Pizza waiting for us in room 2. Enjoying a spectacular sunset on the road to Kyabram, the travel is easy again, I spotted a fish and chips place at Kyabram on the right side but our mission was Rochester, Grand Ole Oppy! Pizza feast and bed.
Nothing like fresh shorts and top after good sleep and shower, it is Boort or bust, we know it's going to be a hot day too. Great Brekkie at the Boort Cafe, we make our next moves with unusual deliberation. Gingerly into the Mallee we will attempt full recovery at all the steps. Wycheproof at the Mt. Wycheproof cafe, Birchip at the Bakery, at Birchip the temps are approaching what I refer to as kryptonite, then the big move. Southwest to Warraknabeal I note clouds up front and sprint for the clouds, my feet get so hot I actually spill some precious water on my shoes. Getting closer to Warrack, my savior clouds are actually part of a wind storm from the South that blows us almost to a halt. I am so glad to see the inside of the Roadhouse in Warrack and yes we will ride through. So we load our bellies and our bags and head North with the wind at our back. The cloud cover has kept the heat in, it is muggy and I cannot see my beloved milky way. There are water faucets at Beulah and Hopetoun. Tim does his ditch nap at Hopetoun and Sea Lake, I am too wired. He urges me on and I pass a sleeping Manangatang and we both manage to finish early the hottest day of all; Tuesday.
I enjoyed this ride (I know what you're thinking) but I get the logic of the R/O.
Hope all the riders enjoy it too, with tail winds and great weather.