When I’m about to set off today, I notice I have a flat tire. Strange, this has never happened before. I fix it quickly and leave the property after confirming which direction to take. The guidebook said left where it was indeed right.
After 19km of easy dirt road, things start to get hairy. The recent flood from the cyclone this year has left water in places where there is usually none. I have to go around that and follow cattle tracks to cross some creeks. It’s all going ok until I reach Callide Creek. The river seems impossible to cross. Too deep, too wide. I venture upstream and it gets worse. I backtrack and this time head downstream. This was the right way to go, but I’ve already lost more than an hour going the wrong way.
After crossing the creek, I’m meant to go upstream and then leave the river bed to get to a sealed road. But because I’m not sure whether I crossed where I was supposed to, I’m not quite sure where to go – but I know where the road is. I try the shortest way to the road, which as often is not the easiest. The first gate is giving me troubles. The new gates must be owned by someone who wanted to make it very difficult to open them. I can’t open this first one, the chain is too tight. I find a spot where the wire is a little bit lower and decide to lift the bike above it. In the process I cut my pants between my legs. A real shame, they were holding up very well so far. I start to get very angry and frustrated at the gates. The hunger makes things worse as it’s now past lunch time. Once in the yard, I cross over for 200m. The road is right there but I’m stuck behind another bloody fence. This time I go under the wire, after altering its initial position to make it higher. I get a little revenge by damaging it, but then I have remorse and fix it up.
Finally on a sealed road, I happily make my way up the hills to get over the range. It’s a graded road that was built for coal trucks. So it’s not too steep and quite easy going.
After 15km on this road, I reach the Crete. Now I’m supposed to venture back in the bush to the next campsite, but I don’t feel like it. It’s already late and I haven’t made enough progress for my liking. This river crossing and the fences have slowed me down a lot.
I notice on the map that the highway is not far. The old route used to go along the highway for some time. I skip the next campsite. Horses would have had to stop there, being on a bike I have a few more options, it works out as I have to struggle on some terrains, while horses are doing fine.
It’s an easy ride on the highway, down the range and soon enough I make it to another campsite. Nothing special about it, but there is a creek running so cooking dinner and washing myself is easy.
For the first time tonight I feel rather warm. So warm that I open the doors of the tent vestibules and leave my sleeping bag unpacked. That is a first on this trip and it’s quite pleasant.