Tuesday, October 16, 2007

DAY 11 - Shannon River to Walpole


67km @14.4 km/hr
slight headwind, hot and sunny (later on in ride / cool in early morning)

DAY 11
Got away at 0650 this morning, nice and early. Last night was the coldest yet, I had to get head and all into the sleeping bag to be warm enough. The Coorowangs were up nice and early and very interested in my porridge, or whatever else they thought they could get. Tough luck everyone.
I didn’t have very much food left and have gathered that there’s nothing between here and Walpole, 67 km away. I have a couple of muesli bars so with an extra large helping or porridge, that will have to do until 1 or so. I need to carry more spare provisions like this, that are easy to eat.
The road rolls up and down continuously again, not a straight or flat bit for the first 40 km or so - some of the hills are quite steep too, but again not too long. Plenty of smelly dead ‘roos again - poor blighters. The odd dead snake and lizard too. The guide on the train at Pemberton had told us that there a lot of Tiger snakes around at the moment, and warned us to look well out for them.
There are regular signs warning that fox poison has been laid in the forest - this by CALM who’s job it is to protect the forest environment (as I understand it) but I guess the foxes are threatening other, possibly rarer species.
Today is warm and sunny with not a cloud in the sky. Happily there is plenty of regular shade from the continuous line of trees that have stretched for over a hundred km now. As an expreiment I tied to charge the Garmin Edge bike computer / GPS up using one of my solar panels strapped to the back panniers, but it wasn’t having it. I’ve got a feeling there’s a fault with the Edge; it seemed as if last time I fully charged it it only lasted for asbout 1 hour before disharging completely again. The panels are ok though - I managed to charge 4 x AA batteries up yesterday in the afternoon sun.
About 10 km from Walpole there was a sting in the tail - a 2 km-long hill with some very steep sections which took the wind out of me a little. I’m SO glad I chose a really low gear ratio for the Rohloff hub - 36-16. I finally rolled into town and devoured a huge tuna / sald sandwich and blueberry tart, before spending an hour in the telecentre, where I seemed to spend as much time chatting as actually working. Everyone here is so friendly and interested (read aghast) about the trip.
After this I headed the 4 km out to the Coalminers beach campsite and after setting up went down onto the (deserted} beach and had a paddle. One of the site staff told me that the bay is mostly freshwater at the mo, due to recent heavy rain and the fact that the entrance to the bay here is very narrow. It’s lovely to feel the hot sun on my back (as I type this out down on the beach). Just reward for days effort.
The couple next to me at the campsite are the same couple i met on the Pemberton train - Geoff and Jen from Sydney - coincidence - and I’ve been asked over to their barbie tonight so some company for me. I have found it a bit lonely some nights on my own, but then again rising so early I get to sleep by about 9 anyhow. I do get lots of chats most days though one way or another.
Later: went next door to Geoff and Jen’s and cooked my risotto by the campfire. Geoff had caught some fish (Bream) which he cooked over the fire, and I downed one of these also. I’m nearly always hungry; unsurprising since I reckon to be burning between 1500 and 2500 calories each day whilst cycling, roughly equivalent to doubling of ‘normal’ energy use when not cycling. We had a good blather about this, that, and the other.
Fell asleep quickly despite a pair of drunken Geordies spitting and shouting all over the caravan park.


1 comment:

bugly said...

foxes, rabbits, cats and a large number of bird species are not welcome visitors to OZ. Nothing personal mind you but they devistate the local wild life - so dont waste any pity on 'em