Written by Dave
Finally an easy day. Well, mostly easy. We had headwinds all day, we were heading due south and the wind was going due north. But the mileage was short and there were no massive mountains to ride over. I’m probably still in “bad husband jail” but at least my sentence will have been reduced.
We forgot to mention that another touring cyclist rolled in last night. And much to our surprise, he was also on a Co-Motion bicycle. He had the road version of ours. He was from Port Townsend, WA in the USA and had only been in Oz for 2 weeks. He has a 1 year visa and is looking to ride all over. We did not catch his name or get a photo yesterday and we left camp a little earlier than him today so we missed him again. Luckily, our brekkie in town (noted below) meant that our schedules lined up and we ran into him again 10k out of town at a rest stop. His name was Robert, he’s sold his house and is geared up for a big trip. We rode with him for a while longer until his turn off. It was good to see a kindred spirit and nice to also get his name – we’d been calling him “Mr Port Townsend”. If you see this Robert, good luck on your journey.
So, I mentioned brekkie in town. Yes, with a short day planned we decided to have a normal brekkie – one where you are not sitting on unmatched chairs in a camp kitchen, swatting flies while you eat. We had 5 cafes to choose from and had some delicious egg and bacon rolls, plus a nice strong coffee – served on a china plate and in a china cup – how civilized. Nancy found the paper and it was really hard to tear her away. We eventually made it to Woollies for dinner supplies for the next couple nights, but we didn’t leave town proper until 10AM – really late for us – but as noted this worked out as we got to ride with Robert.
We were on Thunderbolts Way all day today. We rode the northern part of Thunderbolts Way back when we rode from Sydney to Darwin. For those who don’t recall, Captain Thunderbolt was a famous Aussie bush ranger (outlaw). It is said that he was on the lamb longer than any other Aussie bush ranger – all of six years and six months. And apparently from the signage, he’s slept pretty much everywhere, and/or robbed pretty much everything – never hurts to have some notoriety when you’re trying to flog roadside snacks to tourist I guess. Our map has a description of him as well, but is clear to point out that he did not kill anyone – a gentleman robber, though he apparently often took racing horses as his getaway vehicle.
In spite of the wind, we made pretty good time. It was nice to have Robert’s company for 30k before our paths diverged and the last 10k to Stroud were pretty easy. We decided that we need a snack before figuring out the camping situation and found a cafe serving scones and cream. We were both pretty hunger so all you get is the photo below – woops.
I had called ahead and was told that staying in the Stroud fairgrounds is “ok”. We couldn’t really find anyone in town who could tell us how it works so we just headed out and asked a few of the folks staying here already. Seems pretty straightforward – a ranger shows up at night to clean the toilets and collect money – sometimes he doesn’t bother with the latter.
Stroud fairgrounds flooded really badly about 3 months ago – making national and some world news channels. It’s now pretty much back to normal. The facilities are very basic but one of the locals tipped us off to the ladies change room and the best shower we’ve had on the trip so far. I’m not sure we are supposed to be using it but a lot of the signage was damaged in the floods so we can plead ignorance.
I’ll stop there, I’ve got to get back to camp and get dinner going. We are having another curry tonight with some fresh veggies that we picked up at a farmers honour stand earlier today.
Tomorrow we are headed for Myall Lakes, where we stayed on our trip to Darwin a few years ago. We are not sure about the availability of campgrounds, as this is the peak season and that area is pretty touristy, so I might have to send Nancy in with a sad looking face to get some sympathy and a camp spot.