Monday, December 31, 2007

DAY 87: Rosedale to Stratford (On the River Avon)

43km @ 17.7 km/hr
Mon 31st December 2007
Distance to date 5572 km (3482 miles)
Very hot afternoon

Had a very peaceful night but woke with lower back pain - possibly from sleeping awkwardly - this happens to me every so often, and usually goes away soon. I didn’t intend to go very far today as another scorcher was forecast, however at present it was cloudy and quite pleasant.
Within the hour I was nearing Sale with the help of a tailwind, and the cloud had just about burnt away to bring a big rise in temperature.

I spent the next hour or so on the internet at the TIC ($10 worth!) but picked up another good tip about a nice CP at Stratford, less than 20km away, which was ideal for today’s circumstances / weather. I also learnt there was a nice pool, and the River Avon (lol) runs alongside. And although I had planned to stay in Sale, and it looked quite a nice (and apparently well-to-do) place; but it was more of a commercial / administration centre than tourist resort. The town has apparently blossomed due to oil extraction in the nearby Bass Straight, local government offices etc.
So back on Highway 1 the traffic is still heavy, but there’s plenty of good quality shoulder. As I rolled into Stratford “on the River Avon” I crossed the bridge over the river and saw the inviting Caravan Park down below - nice, and $15 wasn’t at all bad for high season. The large blue pool looked very exciting and was being well-used, but first things first, especially getting some washing done and out. I needn’t of rushed actually because it dries in about 2 hours in this hot weather. Had a lazy afternoon shopping, eating ice cream, using free internet at the library, and drinking cold licquids to try and prevent overheating. I went to the pool around 5 but unfortunately it was just closing, however I joined the kids splashing around in the river. It’s around a metre deep in the middle so just about swimmable, but the main objective was to keep cool. The water is a little polluted - probably from agriculture - as there is filamentous algal growth in places, but I had another shower immediately afterwards just in case.
I got talking to John Minty from the Mornington Peninsular and he wasted no time inviting me over for new years eve drinks at their caravan.
After dinner I went across and met John’s wife Tina, and another caravanning couple Dawn and Stan McGregor, an appropriate name given the occasion. We enjoyed the rest of the evening blathering about all things Australia and everything else, as we nibbled nibbles and knocked back a few beers. Once again the friendliness of the Australians has greatly enhanced the experience, and I do value this characteristic of their's.
I went to try to phone Lyn at midnight but had no luck with the payphone, which seemed faulty, however I will ring her in the morning after 1100 (midnight in UK).

Highway 1 west of Sale.

Thomson River, Sale. The brown colouration is due to stormwater way up in the mountain, and is very typical of rivers around here.