(July 1, 2020 – written by Dave)
That’s it, we’re done. We made it to Casino and are heading back to Sydney on the train tomorrow. We still have to ride 1 km from our Casino Hotel back to the train station in the morning but I already counted that distance in our mileage totals. We’ll do a summary post in a few days but for now, know that overall we’ve had a really nice Covid break tour up through the east coast of NSW.
We had a bit of a lie in this morning as we only managed to map out a 40k ride for the day. We toyed with going all the way to Nimbin but in the end, we decided to give it a miss. For those not familiar Nimbin, NSW, well, Google it. You’ll soon see why we ultimately decided to skip the extra 40k it would have added to our day.
By the time we rolled out of town, the local croquet club had cranked up a match on the green across the street from our hotel. It’s quite fun to watch, especially the grey haired dudes and dudettes. It would be fun to play but I’m certain that everyone on the green would kick our butts. They may be the older set but they clearly have a high skill level.
The route that we mapped took us west out of Lismore and on a few back roads, but also on the more busy Lismore to Kyogle road. The back roads were nice, the main road much busier. We had a couple trucks buzz us, giving us the chance to once again discuss things we’d say to these drivers if we ever caught up with one of them. These conversations generally follow any rude vehicle pass but rarely lead to anything further. It makes us feel better at least.
We left the busy road for good at Naughtons Gap Road. No surprise, this road passed over a climb, up through Naughtons Gap. None of the trucks went this way and the rest of the ride was nice and quiet. The climb to the gap looked hard on paper. It was however, easy out on the road. Once again, no point in getting worried. We saw some roos on this part of the ride, a nice way to finish the tour’s animal experience – sadly however, no koala.
We arrived in Casino before noon and settled into a bakery to celebrate finishing. I had a pie, as you do for a big celebration. Nancy had carrot cake. We then took a test ride out to the train station and checked out the bicycle box situation. It is a small station, they have lots of boxes but very few trains pass through. We had to knock on several doors to find a person to confirm all the details we needed for tomorrow morning.
After finding our hotel (River Park Motor Inn) and getting cleaned up, we took a stroll around town. Casino is about 1/3 the size of Lismore so it didn’t take long to hit all the big sites – several old buildings in a nice 2×3 block CBD area. We learned that Casino is not named after a gaming venue but rather it is named after Cassino, Italy. It was named by Henry Clay and George Stapleton after they cut a cattle road from the central tablelands town of Glen Innes. It is widely believed that the town’s name with a single “s” was a result of a spelling mistake on official documents. You see, having a senior editor helping with this blog is a good thing.
Casino bills itself as the Beef Capital, and farming and agriculture forms a big part of the life here. It holds an annual Beef Week as well as Primex Field Days, which is “widely regarded as Australia’s most innovative primary industry exhibition and field days.” I suspect neither of these is happening this year, yet another big hit to these small towns.
The town has two distinct building styles; that is older red brick Victorian and 1940s art deco. Our hotel fits firmly in the later group. In fact, I don’t think that they’ve change much since the building was originally built. Oh well, it’s just for one night. And, we have to be up very early to get to the train station and box the bikes before the train leaves at 8:20. Sydney is about a 12 hour train ride, so I think we’ll have time to get a nap (or two) in on the train if the night is less than stellar.
Thanks for following along with us as we took this short break from Covid. We hope it kept you at least a little bit entertained – we sure had fun doing it. We were supposed to be heading to Japan in 5 days to ride it top to bottom, but that is obviously not going to happen this year. We feel lucky having been able to do this small tour and I expect we will start planning another one somewhere as soon as we get back to Sydney.
We hope you all stay safe and healthy and manage to get out on your bikes or on your feet or even in your mind and explore someplace yourself!