28/12/2014 – written by Dave
93k – Wellington to Mudgee (65k into a head wind)
Starting today with a photo I took last night after we posted. The Riverside Caravan Park is a great setting. The owners are selling up after 12 years. The camp is in need of a spruce up but new owners would do all that and the setting is great. Sunset on the river was a nice finish to the night. We did not inquire about how much the asking price was – Nice as Wellington is, it’s a little far from everywhere for us.
We were up early again this morning. I was a awake at 5:20, laid there for 10 minutes and gave up. When you go to bed at 9PM, 5:30 is not that early. Nancy grumbled something at me as I made my way to the amenities block (Chief Editor’s note – 5:30am on holiday. Really?). It was too late. I think she got the wake-up message when I started taking the rain-fly off the tent on my return.
The park was pretty empty, we had the camp kitchen to ourselves both last night and again this morning. After brekkie we were on the road by 7:30 again. I wanted an early start today because we had 90k to ride, with 65k heading due east – in the direction of forecasted winds. The trees at camp provided a nice wind break – once we cleared town, we indeed had wind on the nose. It was going to be a long day. We took extra water as we didn’t think there were any towns in route – this turned out to be a good call as indeed there were no places to get drinks of any kind all day.
With a hard day into the wind, no towns and really grey skies – forecasted rain did not materialize – we found other ways to distract us. There was a prison some 7k out of town. We didn’t stop for hitch-hikers. Just in front there was a new subdivision, 2.5 acre plots on “One Tree Hill”. Best we could tell, no blocks have sold – there were no new houses – perhaps the prison was built after someone came up with the idea of the subdivision.
There were some interesting cacti with massive tree like flowers growing out of them. I saw them yesterday and noted they were cacti. Nancy had not seen them and even today thought they were trees the first couple groves – headwinds really do get into your mind. Have a look at the two photos, you’ll see how she was confused.
We played with our bikes in some fun photos as well. Anything to give the headwinds a break. Eventually we made it to Goolma, where it looked like there could be a store or pub. Well, there was no store and the pub was closed. Best we could tell, one pub, two churches and no store. We sat on the tables in front of the pub and had morning tea – the wind continued.
Neither of us were feeling overly spritely after tea but we still had some 21k into the teeth of the wind. Nancy did her fair share today (I’m sure that everyone was worried about me yesterday – the day I did all the work – order is restored – Nancy did some work today) (Chief Editor’s note – what?). We finally arrived at the fork in the road and a choice of right and Mudgee, left and Gulgong. It was 17ks longer to Mudgee but the wind looked to have a slight northerly flow, so Mudgee won out. We paused at the fork for our last snack. We had some nice sounding potato bread that we’ve been carrying since Sydney – when we pulled it out it was mouldy. We were hungry so I scraped the mould off and Nancy spread some peanut butter on it. Peanut butter on mouldy potato bread with flies and dirt blowing all about. Yes Inge, I won the wife lottery!
The last 15k we were both really getting tired and were quite happy to see the town limit sign. We’ve been to Mudgee a few times and were happy to spot that the Cobb & Co Cafe was open for Sunday lunch. Food was ordered and cold drinks restored a little life to our tired bodies. Try as she might, Nancy could not talk me into the $320 per night boutique hotel rooms. (Chief Editor’s note – Bummer)
We ended up at the caravan park where they used to have a really nice grassy section for tents down on the river. Unfortunately the council has built a walking/bike path, taking over the nice area. As we are taking a day off tomorrow, we couldn’t face being shoved up against the new fence in a sunny dirt pitch. Nancy talked me into one of the ubiquitous Aussie caravan park two-person sleeping hut/cabin. Photos below. It looks nicer than it is but our gear will be safe when we play tourist tomorrow. And it’s not too bad to have the cricket on TV – India and Australia were locked in a ding-dong battle. Nancy read her book while I yelled at the TV – not sure which one of us is the more sane. (Chief Editor’s note – actually, I re-organised the panniers, collected all the dirty laundry and took it over to the laundry room, went back over and picked it up and hung it up in our porch area and then finally sat down, while Dave watched cricket…)
We are trying some new kit out on this trip – for the record, no one sponsors us – so reviews posted here are fair dinkum. My sister Pam gave us a camping light called a Luci. I think the proceeds go to some charity but that’s not why we have the light. It’s basically a small beach ball with two flat ends. One end has the blow up valve, the other has a solar panel and an on switch. It claims to put out 8 hours of light on a single charge. We don’t know as we can’t stay up that late at night and we charge it every day. Resting in the gear hammock in our tent, it does a nice job of lighting up the inside of the tent. See below for a photo taken early this AM and then one of the solar end of the light. I’m not sure about long term durability as it is made out of plastic but overall, we give it high marks. A nice, low-tech camp light for as long as it lasts.
For dinner we headed to the Mudgee Brewery for a local pint and pizza. Great beer but it might also be due to the fact that we were knackered. About three sips and both of us were giggling. The pizza was not bad either. We over-ordered and came home with leftover pizza for tomorrow (or perhaps a nice morning tea break the following day!). We had a quick wander of town and are now ready to settle in for a good night’s sleep. I’ve had to commit to not getting up at 5:30 tomorrow – maybe I should get another ale…