Written by Dave
Camping in the showgrounds worked out great. No noise and free. The ranger never came by so we didn’t have any way of paying. Instead we decided to have brekkie in town and buy some supplies from the local baker. I think that’s the whole point of these small towns opening up resources – so that people stop and spend money. We certainly would not have stopped in Stroud had it not been for the showgrounds.
We had another egg and bacon roll at the town cafe. Today they got the yoke just right, runny, right on the edge of firm. I even needed a second napkin – always a good sign. We had a little look around town, cute little town. Like every other town, they had a soldiers memorial, but this one had the current military intervention against ISL listed as a conflict – so they did a nice job of keeping it neat and current.
From Stroud we had a further 8k on Thunderbolts Way. Traffic wasn’t too bad in the morning and we made good time to Booral where we turned off onto Booral Road. Booral road eventually became Bulahdelah Road, the town at the other end. We had a elevation profile of the road and were a bit worried. We shouldn’t have been. Nothing will compare to the climb up Barrington and this certainly didn’t. While we climbed 400 meters, it hardly felt like we were working. There was very little traffic and it would have to rate as one of the best roads we rode on this trip – very scenic with nice gum tree forests.
We made it to Bulahdelah by about 1130 and decided to have lunch overlooking the river. I managed to get us a couple piccolo lattes from the girls at the local milk bar. They were stymied at first but eventually one of them remembered how to make them. They went nicely with the meat and mushroom pie and veggie quiche that we picked up in Stroud, and the sliced cucumbers from our farm stall stop yesterday.
Form Bulahdelah, we only had about 15k to reach Bombah Point and a campground. Of this 15k, 10k were unsealed – the unsealed part turned out to be pretty smooth and really no issue. Our new Co-Motions with 1.5 inch tires really handle the gravel/rocks well, much better than our old bikes.
As were rolling onto the campground, I flagged down a park ranger to ask him whether there were any camp spots available. He said there was a parks service campground across the river that was empty, which I found odd but that is what I thought I heard (Senior Editor’s note – hmm, not quite sure he was paying attention…). We stopped at the first commercial campground, where we stayed on our way up to Darwin to test our luck. But, no luck – we were summarily dismissed with a ‘No, we’re full’. No information about other possible spots, or any help offered. We did fill all of our water bottles though, in anticipation of having to bush camp.
We took the ferry across the river ($2 each) and rode past the first campground, headed for the one that I though the ranger had said had space. It was about 4k, and when we got there was a ‘Campground full’ sign out front. Bummer. We rode through to see if we squeeze in anywhere, but no luck. We backtracked to the other campground and found a spot under the trees. The campground is pretty crowded, with the usual yobbos playing their radios. I don’t get that – go out into the bush and then play your radio loud, listening to rock music instead of the sounds of the forest that you are out there to experience.
Anyway, the tent is up, with the tarp to give us some shade and we’ll just hope that the radios turn off before it gets too late. We do have lots of big goannas traipsing through the camping area to keep us entertained.
Tomorrow is another short day, if we can find a place to camp down near Nelson’s Bay. If we can’t, it might be a long day all the way to Newcastle and a train back to Sydney.