(October 12, 2020 – written by Nancy)
It was a very chilly night in the tent last night – the thermometers on the bike computers read 3C (37.5 for our Fahrenheit friends). And, in case you thought Dave was fibbing in the post yesterday about our neighbour, here is a photo of dog lady trying to walk her dogs this morning. Actually, we didn’t hear them barking much last night after it got dark and the walkabout this morning provided some entertainment viewing while we ate our breakfast.
We headed back the way we came yesterday and jumped on the bike path to get us out of town. We had decided to take back roads to Orange and the route, while hard, was very picturesque. The rains this year have made all of the hills green and lush, that is, the hills that aren’t covered in rocks as is often the case i these parts – tough place to grow a crop for sure.
The route took in Ophir Road, White Rock Road and then Icely Road and ran roughly parallel to, but a bit north of, the main highway. The whole route is surrounded by beautiful farmland and has very little traffic, which is good as it is a very narrow country road in places. As our Komoot profile showed, it is very lumpy, so lots of ups and downs but only a couple that were seriously steep. I will admit my lowest gear got a good workout though – Dave said his computer registered 13 percent on the steepest pitch!
There were lots of stops to take pictures, and at one point I was ahead of Dave and pulled over in the shade of a tree to wait for him. As I pulled to a stop a kangaroo popped his head up just on the other side of the fence – I am not sure who was more startled. He sat there long enough I thought I’d take a picture but of course by the time I got my phone out he bounced away. We saw him a few hundred meters ahead though and he posed nicely under a nearby tree for Dave to get a picture.
There were no towns or services along the way today, just small localities, so we finally stopped at the only junction of the day to eat a couple of PB&J sandwiches in the shade of a tree. Despite the very chilly morning it was now quite warm in the sun and we were seeking shade when we could find it. A few more ups and downs and after a fairly steep sustained climb (where Dave registered 13%) a ute pulled over and a fellow got out holding up a couple of bottles of water. Joe, an immigrant from Croatia who had a farm nearby, had been a cyclist himself and wanted to chat about the bikes and riding in general. The nice cold water hit the spot, and it was fun to have a break and chat with a local.
A few more hills to get over and we were soon in Orange proper. We had planned to head into the central area and grab some lunch but as we rode past Bill’s Beans we made a quick stop. This is a nice little corner cafe with some seriously good coffee and food. Dave went straight for the Reuben sandwich, as he generally does when it’s available, and I had a take on an egg and bacon roll – both were delicious. Plus there was a neighbourhood cat to entertain us while we waited for our food. Hard to beat.
We are staying at the Town Square Motel – it looks slightly rough from the outside (I think they are doing some remodelling) but our room is very nice inside. We were put in the ‘accessible’ room, which works well for us as it is on the ground floor and has tons of room for the bikes. We spent a bit of time looking at where we go from here and then doing the usual chores like washing (the only option for laundry is $20/load here, which seems a bit extortionate).
We’ve found a place for dinner tonight and tomorrow night. With all the Covid-safe requirements these days it is hard to just walk up to a restaurant even out here in the countryside, as table space is extremely limited. A few places we called were full already (even a pub!) so it took a bit of trying. We’ve already made a booking for tomorrow night to avoid missing out – whew, travelling is hard these days!
Rest day tomorrow – yeah! We’ll see what we can find to do around Orange (in addition to tasting a few of the local reds).