Sunday, December 30, 2007

DAY 85: Noojee (Loch Valley) to Moe

64km @ 16.0 km/hr
Sat 29th December 2007
Distance to date 5458 km (3411 miles)
Very hot and sunny (36 deg C), light N wind

It quietened down after 11 last night so I slept OK; woke and left early (0750) since it was sure to be hot later, according to the forecast. It wasn’t wrong either - by 9 it was well up into the 20’s and rising. It was back 8km down to Noojee (nice little village), and the cafe looked inviting), but had to get on. It’s gently undulating for the first 5km after Noojee, then a BIG uphill for about 4km at 7 to 9%. It felt like it would never end, but pretty soon I was screaming downhill for 2km or so to the right turn for Moe (pronounced as in Joey). The road was both smaller and even quieter than the road from Noojee - around 6 vehicles an hour - bliss! And the first 5km of this road is gentle downhill - 30 km/hr without pedalling; the scenery is lovely - huge old gum trees giving a green, cool tinge to the ever-winding road. If you fancied wild camping there are plenty of opportunities along this road where you would not be seen, however it might not be advisable on a windy day due to falling debris and branches - the road was littered with paper bark and branches as it was, the former making a satisfying crack as I road over it. The scenery continues for many km but there’s 2 or 3 km of 7% uphill - second gear for me mostly - and then after many km of undulations a very long downhiller for some 10km to beyond Hillend (ironically). I was looking out for Hillend in the hope of a cold drink and snack, but I must have missed the sign because next thing it was 8km behind me. However there’s a very basic general store in Willow Grove where I got my iced coffee (inferior brand lol but still tasted good).
The traffic was very sparse all the way to Moe in fact, and added to the enjoyment - somewhat offsetting the oppressive heat of the afternoon. I clearly don’t drink enough when actually riding, judging by how thirsty I was after the ride. I downed a full 2 litres of FUIC in an hour, plus another couple of litres of coke, gatorade and water!
I had no preconceptions about what Moe was like, but as it happens it’s a industrialised town, where i gather many residents work in the local power station - much of Victoria’s power is generated in the Latrobe Valley. It did have a subway though - hurray! - And I contemplated what to do whilst munching a seafood with Swiss cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and olives - yes to salt and pepper please. A girl confirmed there was indeed a Caravan Park so off I went - $21 - OK (I suppose) - and the lady owner was none too friendly when I made her mutt bark by leaning my bike in the only place it could be leaned which happened to be near Mr Bad-Tempered Yap. I managed to find a shady spot though, which was good. I was told to avoid pitching under the big trees as branches have been falling off lately. I don’t need telling twice. Despite the Tourist Information Boards up the road saying that they had internet here, it was untrue, in fact there was nowhere in town at all for this, neither will I find it tomorrow, Sunday. Victoria is much tougher than SA regarding finding internet, or maybe just my bad luck. It seems to be a go-ahead state in many ways too.
Late afternoon was just too HOT - I just sat for w hours and read the paper; no; energy for anything else. Maybe the dehydration is not helping - I need to sort this and drink more whilst riding. I’ve now put a sock over both my water bottles which when wet should help keep the contents a bit cooler.
Had a nice chat with Lyn 0800 UK time (1900 here), and it’s wet and windy in Caithness. Forecast here is a bit cooler tomorrow (30!) but hotter (42!!) on New Years Eve. I have no plans to do anything special that day / night - I don’t always bother staying up until midnight at home, however i’m glad i had a chance to celebrate Christmas with John and Marjorie and their nice family.

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