Saturday, January 19, 2008

DAY 104: Marulan to Mittagong

67 km @ 15.5 km/hr
Thurs 17th January 2008
Distance to date 6538 km (4086 miles)
Cool, cloudy, drop of rain

Awoke in a proper bed for a change; peaceful night in the Terminus Hotel, Marula. Breakfast was included but wasn’t very exciting - limited choice of cereal, no jam, and the dining room wasn’t very clean - in fact downright dirty. Still, only $40 lol. I was unable to drink the tea due to a foul taste, which I later learnt was the poor quality mains water - according the the supermarket lady no-one drinks it - so why did the hotel give it me to drink?
The tube I repaired and fitted last night was flat again this morning, so I had to fit another spare. I don’t seem to have much luck with punctures although I do the repair by the book. I wanted to know what caused yesterday’s puncture so last night I had gone over the tyre carefully with my head torch and found a tiny triangular thorn about 3mm long and 1mm wide at the widest end - a Jack Thorn as I understand it. I couldn’t even feel it poking through on the inside but perhaps under pressure it was just long enough to just enter the tube. I had to pick it out with a small screwdriver. I have read about these thorns; they can be a pain, and obviously the puncture-resistant element of the Schwalbe tyres wasn’t able to prevent it.
After leaving the hotel I spent half an hour on the internet and then headed up the Hume Highway for 2km before turning left on Highway 16. There are some pleasant little villages along this quiet road, quite scenic. I stopped and had nice coffee and toastie at Wingello, a lovely sleepy little place. The railway runs alongside this road for most of the way. The road undulates but there are few hard hills, although the first 10km or so is a steady drag upwards.
Bundanoon is a very nice town, and knows it. The first sight that hit me was a bike shop / cafe with a tasteful mural of racing cyclists on the outside wall, and I thought I’d get another spare tube, but they didn’t have one! In fact I didn’t see any spares at all, however the cafe was very nice, and they had some of the nicest fruit cake I’d tasted in a long time.
I briefly considered staying in the YHA hostel here, but it was early, actually cold, and apart from mountain biking not a great deal to interest me, so I carried on to Exeter, Moss Vale, Bowral (big busy town) and finally Mittagong (smaller town but has a big Woolworth’s supermarket and caravan park ($18). It was raining gently as I erected the tent but nothing really got wet.
I bought sausages and veg for the electric barbie in the well-equipped camp kitchen, and chatted to a family of 5 from Maine USA who were touring Oz for a month in a hybrid car (gas/electric) and tent. They actually said they planned to go all around Oz in a month! I said, what, all 18,000 km?!

It’s quite cool tonight but that’s better than a sultry night when it’s hard to sleep.

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