Wednesday, July 09, 2008

DAY 257: Bush camp to Turkey Creek Roadhouse

103 km @ 13.8 km/hr
Mon 7th July 2008
Sunny, 32 deg C
Elevation of /destination 205 m
Distance to date 15266 km (9541 miles)

A cold morning but a perfectly peaceful bush night, as expected; not even any animal noises heard. I was away earlier than of late, at 0720, and within 25 minutes was rolling into the Doon Doon Roadhouse just 6km away. I settled for a very expensive iced coffee ($4.50) and whilst drinking it outside spotted some other cyclists and went over for a chat.
There were 4, 3 cyclists and 1 driver of a hybrid car (electric / diesel) - The Mypower Team - and the four, from Sydney, were aiming to promote environmental awareness around Australia by giving talks in schools, and generally getting the message across to whomever they meet. They had been given a lot of stuff by sponsors, including a loan of the car from Mitsibushi for a year. They are cycling around the opposite way to me and likely to encounter much more headwind, though I didn’t get chance to ask why. Check out their website at . They were very switched on as regards environmental issues and it’s encouraging to me that there are young ‘uns promoting these important issues. They generously gave me some energy bars and a large bag of (rather costly) electrolyte recovery drink, which I was very grateful for. Power to you and me guys!
The meeting delayed me more than I was expecting but it was very enjoyable and worthwhile, and I’m glad we got the short time together. The ride from here on was a bit of a nightmare though.
The road veers to south and even due east at one point, so I had a headwind most of the day, moreover it was pretty hilly. It felt as if it was all uphill but I only gained 80 or 90m on the day - testament to the inability to know in this undulating landscape, without any other references or hooks such as a level lake or building, whether one is going uphill or downhill; it’s necessary to judge this from my speed and wind speed and direction. Except I’m not very good at this so it felt as if I was putting lots of effort in for nothing. The kms seemed interminable and there was no respite. I didn’t even get a proper break since there was nowhere shady that I could easily get to - the sides of the road had sandy ditches for the most part, and shady trees were scarce in this thin mountain landscape.
Enough moaning; I was glad to get 100 km in again, and the scenery was breathtaking with weirdly-shaped orange mountains abounding, especially around the entrance to Argyll Diamond Mine which had an alien look - an amazing landscape. The road rarely straightens out, and undulates constantly, and but for the headwind this would have been a plus. A kind couple stopped and ran over to me with a water container, so I gratefully took a top-up from them.
The road was much busier today after the quiet weekend, plus the school holidays have just started so there are more folk going on holiday. For the first 40km there was a decent shoulder, but then it not only disappeared, the road narrowed considerably such that there were barely 2 lanes at times. A few creek crossings are single lane; this part of the highway is about to be upgraded though and initial work is underway and will last until December 2009.
I had planned to sleep in the bush again tonight, but the map told me this roadhouse was 15km further away than it actually is, so I came upon it sooner and decided to stay. At least I can catch up with battery charging and washing. I was certainly ready for dinner after eating little today due to the absence of a lunch stop!

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