Waking up in this tiny town, the bush seems so far away already, but I’m not complaining. I have a morning warm shower and pack up quietly. Unfortunately, my cheap tent refuses to dry and will have to be packed wet, it retains all the moisture that is trapped inside thanks to lack of ventilation. Nevermind, I have already started to look for an upgrade.
I stop at the local grocery shop to give a donation of $3 – it’s all I have in my wallet. The campsite is cheap and nice, but not my favourite. The owner of the shop mentions that another guy came a week ago and is also doing the trail. I have been in touch with that person, who is doing it on foot. I anticipate to be ahead of him in the coming weeks.
Once on the road I contemplate riding the 90 km to the next town, maybe I’ll get lucky again and have access to a hot shower. If I ride the 90kms today, it will be the longest ride I have done in a day.
The morning goes by painfully, but without too many challenges. The trail alternates between sealed roads and unsealed roads, its a bit boring but easy. In the meantime, my chronic foot and knee injuries are causing me some grief. I promise myself to make an appointment to see the physio today, until I realise that it’s Saturday. Well, I will do it eventually. Around midday, I get over the pain and the terrain is pretty much flat, allowing me to increase the pace. I’m singing, doing little dances and trying to communicate with the sheep by imitating them. I haven’t felt this relaxed in weeks.
There are plenty of towers on the way, some are communication towers so the mobile coverage is decent. Long gone are the times where I was out of network for four days. Having good access to the network allows me to update my blog and do some research about equipment that need to be replaced, as well as check my emails. It slows me down but it feels good to be back on top of things.
Once I start riding again, I take some time to review the TSR (Travelling Stock Routes) along the way looking for places I can camp in case I don’t make the 90km ride.
I stop for a late lunch and notice an old BNT sign engraved in a stone. It’s a hard one to spot and pretty useless, but it has historical value I’m sure. Soon i realise I only have 25 km left to go before the next town, this is actually easier than I thought.
This time for lunch I have a lot of fresh food: cucumber, snow peas, cheese and so forth. I’m done with processed cheese. For weeks I’ve been dreaming about the day where I can afford to carry heavier but fresh food. What a lunch, it makes my day. I’m indulging myself today, this morning I had chocolate spread, chocolate bars and cereal. It’s just like Christmas. I’m not going back to my old boring, tasteless lunches.
I find the sealed roads to be boring but at least they are flat. I use this quiet time to remember the things I’ve seen and done in Victoria. All that crazy hill climbing. I try to feel again what I felt there and what I feel comes out is a nightmare. This is day nightmaring as opposed to day dreaming. I always try to remember the four biggest climbs and rank them in terms of difficulty. They have to be experienced to believe, I think I’ll still be talking about them for decades. Those memories are going to replace those of when I was a 10yo Scout boy and we went camping at -7°C. Most of us were not prepared, I had the right under layer and didn’t freeze to death, but it was very unpleasant experience at the time. It wasn’t until a few nights ago when my tent fell apart and I had to take shelter in a hut that was also falling apart, that I felt that I had experienced something more unpleasant.
When I arrive in town I’m not sure what to expect, I’m not able to reach the campsite manager over the phone initially. The campsite seems more like an RV rest area at first.
A sign explains how to get the key for the amenities, and a phone call later, a nice fella shows up. He asks me for $9 and does his paperwork. He briefly mention that the key also opens the kitchen. Because I’m a little tired at the time, I don’t pay much attention, once I get in the kitchen, I’m blown away. It is brand new with a fridge, saucepans, a barbecue, a fireplace, a TV and so forth. I must be the first user or someone is doing a great job at keeping it clean, it is spotless. Cooking dinner is not even fun. I’m barely warming up dehydrated food in an amazing kitchen. I should be cooking something proper instead! I dream about fresh pasta sauce and get back to my boring meal. This kitchen is going to be my living room for the night as it’s cosy and warm. Good on me for doing those 94 kms.