(June 16, 2020 – written by Nancy)
We had a surprisingly good night at the Seal Rocks caravan park last night. They have a great kitchen area that can be closed off so despite it getting chilly outside we could hang out inside and stay warm. Another surprise – there was another touring cyclist there! Ian was from Queensland and was doing a two-month tour down through NSW and then back into Queensland. He had been planning this tour for the last 6 months and was not going to let all of the Covid-19 restrictions and even a bad bicycle accident a couple of months ago stop him. Funny though, he asked us how old we were as he wanted to know whether he was on his last tour as he was in his mid-50s! Of course, we assured him not, that there are many years of touring ahead….
When we finally headed off for bed last we found the moist marine air had saturated the tent already and figured we were in for a very wet night. We listened to a podcast, and as always happens when we do this in the tent I fell asleep part way through and had to ask Dave to summarise it for me when I woke up after it finished and he was turning off the phone! Then, surprise of all surprises, we awoke this morning to an almost dry tent. A breeze had come up during the night which was just enough to blow away the marine air. Even better, we were able to hang the rainfly and the footprint on the laundry line while we ate breakfast this morning.
We started the day with a steep climb out of Seal Rocks back to the main road, Lakes Way. It was a great ride along the many lakes that dot the area. The beautiful Smiths Lake was stunning in the morning sunshine, and there were several other lakes and waterways along the way.
We hit Forster after about 45k, perfect timing for a morning tea stop. We found a funny little hole-in-the-wall spot in the town centre just by chance called ‘All things Yum”, where we got some great coffee and savoury pastries for our snack, as well as a couple of fresh-baked muffins for a snack later in the day. We had initially intended to stop here for the day but the sunny skies and short distance convinced us to continue on to the next planned stop, Harrington.
From Forster made our way out to Pacific Highway, after Dave stopped to take a picture of some dolphins on the bridge between Forster and Tuncurry. We debated taking a side road to skip some highway miles that showed up on Komoot but after yesterday’s diversion courtesy of Komoot we weren’t sure we should chance it. As it turned out, the highway was fine to ride – smooth, fast, with a wide shoulder and tailwinds. We stopped to eat one of the muffins for our afternoon snack to make sure we could make it all the way to town. We made the turn-off to Harrington and rode the last 11k or so into town, stopping at the Stones Oysters shop for fresh local prawns to supplement tonight’s dinner.
There were a couple of choices for caravan parks in Harrington. We stopped and looked at Big4 caravan park about 4k from town but while it was nice, it felt like it was out in the middle of nowhere. We decided to roll on into town and found the lovely Oxley Anchors Caravan Park right on the waterfront.
We’ve now had a great pasta dinner and are sitting in the kitchen area with a hot cup of tea, amusing ourselves watching a group of grey nomads arranging dinner, playing cards and of course drinking lots of wine. Not judging, but yes, boxed wine. A great winter day of riding all up – A Blue Ribbon Day for sure.
Tomorrow we head into another port industrial city/town, Port Macquarie. We’ve never been there so it will be fun to check it out. We are taking another “Dave special long-cut” that involves 24k of unsealed road. We will double, perhaps triple check the maps to ensure that we make it to town before the forecasted late afternoon rains.