Monday, January 07, 2008

DAY 91: Bruthen to Orbost

71 km @ 14.0 km/hr
Fri 4th January 2008
Distance to date 5799 km (3624 miles)
Sunny and hot (upper 20’s)

Up early and breakfast with Tez and magpies, with 6 King Parrots watching a few metres away. Said goodbyes and got on the East Gippsland Rail Trail again heading east. Away by 8 and already very warm, and plenty of flies as ever. The trail is just a delight to ride on, smooth, quiet, and quite shady and cool earlier in the day too. A few wallabies hopped across my path, and Bell Birds becoming increasingly evident - they have a single shrill, metallic note that’s hard to describe - a bit like a bell, or a high note on a xylophone or piano. It seems to reverberate for a few seconds after delivery. Eastern Whip Birds are also increasing with their strange whip crack-like call.
Yesterday the cloudy sky made for a flat-looking landscape but today was bright sunshine, and dappled shadows were cast by the trees.
After some 25 km I stopped to look at the Old Trestle Bridge over Stony Creek - this was the longest such bridge in Victoria at around 270 metres - it carried the railway but was not used after 1988 when the line closed. I guess it hasn’t been maintained and would be dangerous to use as a cycle trail - shame. The trail therefore has to plunge down the side of the valley and back up the other side - the latter being VERY VERY steep i.e. It must be 33%. No way of riding up it, and it was all I could do to push the bike up it. I had to get my feet secure and then push it forward a foot at a time - it took ages and lots of effort. I therefore deserved an egg and bacon roll and pot of tea at Nowa Nowa 10 minutes later.
I met Brian and Bente coming back from Orbost later on, and they asked me about the Discovery trail and whether it was worth the effort. I’ll be interested to learn how they got on, because I found it hard enough unladen, and they had all their gear with them.
More pleasant riding in the afternoon; I was actually going slow to make it last I was enjoying it so much, but I rolled into the pretty town of Orbost at around 1530. The caravan park is very nice but a bit dearer than Bruthen, at $18.50. It has wireless internet though , so that’s some compensation. It stayed very hot into the evening, and the Bell Birds numbered in their hundreds around here, making lots of melodic noise. I may stay another night here and get up to Canberra by the 11th or 12th, where I hope to stay with some hosts.

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