Monday, January 07, 2008

DAY 93: Orbost to Cann River

74 km @ 14.6 km/hr
Sat 5th January 2008
Distance to date 5903 km (3689 miles)
Sunny and VERY hot (lower 30’s)

Peaceful night, decent sleep, awoke to the laughing Kookaburra’s making a tremendous din before 6 (kind of din I like!). Another very warm and sunny morning, promising a very hot day, although the forecast is for cooler weather later (hopefully not too much later!). A lady whom I had spoken to at Stratford came to chat - I never got her name - her Campervan broke down and she was towed here back to Orbost from the hills where she was headed.
I was away by 9 (why does getting going always take too long?) and set off on Highway 1 with the mercury touching 30 (I reckon). There are now plenty of hills, increasingly steep, and with little wind there was nothing to dissipate the heat - I was sweating buckets and drank 2 litres in little more than 1 hour. The road is fairly busy - not so much as west of Lakes Entrance - but enough to distract attention from the surrounding environment in favour of scanning the mirror constantly for traffic coming up. There’s a decent shoulder (left) for the first 10km or so but this disappears for 30km later. Not many lorries around though, but plenty of caravans and motorhomes who gave me a wide berth in the main. There is plenty of tree cover both sides of the road too.
I stopped at the Bellbird Hotel for a ham and salad sandwich and mug of tea, and watched the cricket for a while (Oz v India). The sandwich was nice but the lady serving was rather unfriendly unfortunately. True to name, Bellbirds were regularly heard along this stretch of road. After this there is a long uphill for about 6km, not terribly steep at 7% or so, but fully laden in this heat it was a plod. It was VERY hot indeed, and I stopped a couiple of times in the shade to take a rest, drink of water, and to cool off a bit. I understand that it’s pretty hilly for the next couple of days en route to Canberra from here, but it is due to cool down a bit for a couple of days as I said, which should offer some relief.
I saw a few dead snakes on the road today, indicative of a higher local population? Or just reflecting the highj temperatures? I saw quite a few Pied Currawongs as well, with their single insistent call and haunting yellow eyes.
After a bit of downhill I rolled into Cann River with the CP on the right just by the river. $21.50 - one of the highest charges so far, and no camp kitchen and not exactly 5 star toilets / showers - bit of a rip off thank you East Gippsland council. The caretaker sympathised with my complaints and said that many others had said the same - too dear. I’ve no choice though really apart from going camping in the bush outside the town - just the lack of security that puts me off. However later on after leaving the more populated part of Oz I will be wild camping more often. For one thing you can almost guarantee a bit of peace.
I have no pasta and expected to be able to buy some here but everywhere’s shut as it’s Sunday, however I managed to buy a tin of beans at the garage so that will do instead.
The CP is pretty quiet so should be a peaceful night. It’ll be quieter still when I spread the word about the charges. I got a booklet about Canberra and it does look like there’s a lot to see and do. Heading tomorrow to Bombala - 87km - it shouldn’t be as hard as today as the weather has clearly changed now (at 2000), so it won’t be as hot. There’s nothing at all between here and there though so I need to carry whatever I need for the whole day. I’ll be heading due north so remains to be seen what direction the wind will be in. This is therefore the point where I ‘turn left' again as far as Oz is concerned; I’ve gone as far east as I am going to as I want to avoid all the traffic that will build up as Sydney is approached - and I haven’t been to Canberra so that works out OK.

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