(written by Dave)
Overnight the camp quieted down quite a bit – I have adjusted to sleeping in the tent without issue. Nancy is doing ok but a sore back from riding is keeping her a little restless. Her collar bone is doing great, so much so that I am even forgetting to ask her how it’s going. I think lots of other body parts are hurting more, as you would expect for 6 days of riding – after not much riding Jan-March.
Today marks the end of our first week of riding; we are taking a rest day tomorrow. For the week we covered 362 kms (221 miles) – again a pretty good result considering the collar bone and our lack of training.
Today’s ride took us along the finish of The Lakes Way through to Forster. The road became quite busy with a shoulder that went from over a meter to nothing, and back again several times. Quite amazing really, we’d think we had made it off the narrow bits then round the next corner the fog line disappeared and we were riding in the dirt again. See photo of two sections to see what I mean.
At Forster we thought long about calling it a day and staying at a backpackers. We were both looking forward to a day off and Forster had some appeal as it is right on the ocean. We stopped at the tourist information centre and discussed options with our new best friend, Nicole, in the centre. We eventually decided to push on after stopping at a bakery for coffees and cakes.
The first 25k from Forster was on roads much the same. The narrow bits we had to really concentrate to keep to the left (yes, that’s right – I mean correct). It was pretty stressful, riding on the white line, but our rearview mirrors helped as we knew when cars were coming. The scenery was quite nice, when we dared look. We found a nice side road at Rainbow Flat – though the 5k was mostly uphill and pretty steep at times. Neither of us complained as we rode side by side. We then had to ride the motorway (freeway) for 5k but fortunately it was pretty easy. The big trucks flying by at 110kph were pretty wild – giving us a nice tailwind and lots of shaking.
When we arrived in Taree, we stopped at Woolworths for supplies. Nancy went into shop while I guarded the bikes. There was quite a bit of excitement outside the shop. Two groups of mostly aboriginal women were kind of yelling at each other over some unknown issue. The mall security guards came out and told me that it had been going on for two days – you could really feel the tension with a boil over due at any minute. Eventually an unmarked police car with three plainclothes with big guns pulled up. They told the ladies to move along – I was allowed to stay, even though I was technically loitering as well. One of the guards took a call and all five guards/police ran to the shops on the other side of the road. When Nancy came out I’m not sure that she believed me as by then everyone was gone – all very weird. Guess we are heading into that part of the country…
We were worried that the camp ground we were heading for at Taree might not merit a rest day. It’s on the far end of town, 5ks from almost anything, other than a McDonalds. We needn’t have worried. We have a camp site right on the Dawson River. See the photos below; they barely do our site justice. We’ll be taking it easy tomorrow. We may ride back into town (or at least to McDonalds to use the free wi-fi) but generally we are resting and doing domestic chores – a good first week under our belts.