The alarm goes off at 5am, earlier than usual. Days are getting shorter and shorter. I need to be ready to go as soon as the sun rises. It’s a rather cold morning and I’m slow at waking up, slow at preparing breakfast and slow at packing up. Im not sure how efficient I can be at this time of the day.
Breakfast is particularly good this morning with some superior flavoured porridge. Varying my food is my new trick to not getting sick and being able to eat more. I need a huge amount of energy available every day. Food intake is very important.
Although I don’t manage to start riding before 7am, it’s still early and very pleasant, I appreciate the wildlife activity.
Today I have a goal, I want to ride 75km, and 75km more tomorrow. The post office closes tomorrow, Friday, at 5pm and does not reopen until Monday. It would not be the end of the world to not make it, but I would certainly be disappointed. Setting goals and achieving them is important to keep up my morale and positive attitude. Having something to look forward to helps, although it’s balance between that and simply enjoying the present moment. The last one happens usually on a downhill or a flat terrain on a sunny day.
The 75km today is challenging because I having to climb up for some time in the morning. I have some difficulties finding the turn off to the trail but finally I find it and keep on going up. My motivation is high and at 10am I reach a road which, to my surprise, is sealed. That makes things so much easier.
The next challenge is the deer gate. Will it open as the farmer promised? I get to the gate and find it locked. I feel upset once again. Out of all the locked gates in the past 2 days, none have worked according to plan. I have either not called the property owner, or the code indicated in the book didn’t work, or the gate was not supposed to be locked but was indeed locked. So once again I surrender and unload the bike. The fence is 3m high but there is a narrow gap between the fence and the gate. Once the bike is fully unloaded I manage to lift it up and with great difficulty push it through the two in an upward position, struggling to get the handle bar to go through.
I then repack it all. I notice that I still have 45km to go and it’s already noon. I push on and as expected there is a lot of downhill. Some of it is challenging but I find it pleasant anyway. I have a quick stop at a hut where I try to fill up my water bottle from the tank but end up getting as many dead flies as water, and decide I will get water somewhere else.
In the afternoon I go through two farms in a valley. The scenery is breathtaking. I enjoy taking pictures of playful horses and hundreds of cows and sheep. At the second farm I meet the person who runs it, driving in his new white 4wd. A nice bloke who must be managing a multi million dollar company. The station is huge and must employ tons of people. I explain to the farmer that I’m in a rush to get to the post office. With great difficulties, probably due to my accent, he understands and reassures me that I will make it on time. I believe him if it keeps being as flat and smooth as it has been for the last hour. If I hadn’t been in a rush, I’m confident he would probably have invited me to stay here and maybe use the facilities.
I do miss out on things like that when I’m rushing, but there will be other opportunities and I want to cover some good ground while it’s easy to do so. There will be new challenges soon and I’m sure I will have to slow down at some point, but I keep in mind that I need to keep riding at 60km per day so that I can reach Cooktown in 3 months and take a break away in France.
Later in the day I get to rest area that is lovely. The guidebook tells me to take a safe detour away from the road in order to reach the designated campsite. I push my bike up this last hill and get very disappointed. The campsite might be by the river but it’s not appealing . I decide to clean myself up in the river and refill my water bladder. I then head back to the rest area. It’s by a road but it’s tidy, pretty and more importantly has toilets – a very welcome luxury.