Wednesday, January 16, 2008

DAY 103: Roadside camp E of Tarago to Marulan

73 km @ 14.9 km/hr
Weds 16th January 2008
Distance to date 6471 km (4044 miles)
Very warm, cloudy, NW breeze 15-20 km/hr

NB/ last 4 pics on yesterdays page refer to today!

Good peaceful night with little traffic passing. Got away by 8 and only 1km later entered Tarago, and as I arrived another touring cyclist was coming the other way having camped on the village oval (cricket / sports ground last night - only 5 minutes from me - shame! Peter, from Lithgow NSW and I chatted for a while and he told me of some nice places to visit further north. He is riding from home to Canberra and knows the area very well, pity we didn’t, meet last night. Peter was yet another person whom I discussed and with - he and many other people have never heard of the organisations, so I’m doing my bit for travelling and sociability!
I stopped at the general store for a bacon and egg roll and iced coffee, and had a look at the groceries, but just couldn’t bring myself to pay exactly double for food compared to IGA or the other supermarkets - I can’t see the justification for the big mark-up as this particular shop seemed to be doing a roaring trade anyhow without having to overcharge so much. Rant over.
It took me a while to find the toilets as someone had turned the sign around to point the wrong way, but when i did I topped up water bottles then headed out east on the Bungonia road - the sky was overcast and it was hot and humid with forecast of thunderstorms for today and the next few days. This is a very quiet road with only a few vehicles an hour. It winds and dips through mostly sheep and cattle country and is reasonably nice if a little boring after a while. I somehow took a wrong turn and finished up on the gravel road north to Bronte Hall, so i had 12 km of rough riding for my lack of concentration! The tarmac returned with the Windellama road (no services here) and then left onto the Bungonia road that I lost earlier. After a few km is Johnno’s Corner General Store, where I downed a litre of non-FUIC iced coffee (but quite nice anyhow), then 4km more of gravel road (currently being metalled) then tarmac all the way to the Hume Highway 4km from Marulan. Some 8km from this junction i has a puncture - the first since Albany - and of course it was the rear so I had to strip everything off the bike to get at it, only after I searched around for somewhere to stand the bike up, which wasn’t easy. Thunder was clapping all around me and I expected to be deluged any second, but it held off. I changed the tube without fuss and got on my way, and rolled into Marulan under a black sky with spits and spots plopping on and around me.
There was no caravan Park here, but an old guy told me to camp on the village green / playground, but check with the postmistress, which I did, and she said it wasn’t allowed. However I noted they had internet at the PO so I got online and uploaded yesterday’s notes and pics. I actually uploaded todays pics too but on yeterdays page doh! I’ll leave as is because it’s not simple to move pics on this Blogger website.
It was nearly 5 when I came out of the PO and it was very black-looking, and also the rear tyre was going down again, so I decided to stay at the local pub, the only accomodation in town. It was OK for $40 (£16) and I would get a bar meal too which was a bonus. I had a pleasant dinner with seafood and chips / salad and Rock road cake for afters, washed down with a bottle of Lindemans Cab Sav on sale at only $7.50. Afterwards I phoned my solicitor about the purchase of some land in Caithness on which to build a house on my eventual return.
I seem to be well placed to get to Brisbane by the middle of February, so I can afford to take a few side trips - one idea is to cycle around the Blue Mountains W of Sydney for a few days, but I’ll reassess the situation over the next week.

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