Today is a long stretch on a bitumen road. Bitumen is reassuring. There is no getting lost and it can never get too rough. I have 80km until Ravenswood, the next town, which seems like a reasonable and achievable target. I can technically do more but I’m trying to keep a sustainable pace to ride constantly everyday. I don’t want to overdo it and be forced to have a rest day.
This morning whilst riding my thoughts are about work and the money my ex owes me. Interestingly, as I’m approaching the end of the trip, my brain fast-forwards and projects me into the future. The past and the future is where we spend most of our time. Although none of them are real, they are just an interpretation, a mix of memories and thoughts, imagination. Why can’t we stay in the present moment and be content?
I will need to find a job and I’ve been considering going back to what I was doing before. It didn’t feel that bad when I thought about it previously, but today I remembered aspects of I disliked, like being stuck in my clients office. I want freedom, flexibility and creative work. I guess everybody wants a little bit of that. After this trip I think I’ll be happier in the middle ground, after having experienced both extremes: full time office job and living in the bush for months. Although my work offered some degree of freedom, I should not be scared to just set my intentions, and work exactly how I want to play it. It won’t happen by itself. I need to have clear intentions set and work toward them. What I have discovered is that I miss creative tasks and I changed my mind with regards to one thing: I don’t think I want to do any work related to farming and I doubt that I want to spend 100% of my time outdoors.
Anywho back to riding. As I progress, the road is littered with roadkill of all sorts. Possums, wallabies and kangaroos. The crows and eagles are feasting on the fresh meat and less fresh meat. As I’m cycling I can fully appreciate the horrible smell. It is not a pleasant experience, especially uphill. I’m breathing heavily and going slow, so for a few minutes it’s a battle between breathing and moving away or holding my breath and slowing down. At least I can see that the wildlife is everywhere.
A Ute drives past me and it looks like it’s carrying a lot of dead wallabies hanging from the legs, but it went fast so I’m not quite sure what I saw. After that car this morning, there weren’t any more going the same direction as me. Only a few going back.
Once in town I look for the showgrounds and attempt to get signal on my phone, it’s still not working, which is weird as it was indicated that this town would have network. I hope my phone is not damaged by its recent fall. Turns out I needed to try another provider by swapping sim cards. Glad I have a few with me.
The showgrounds are quite busy, filled with caravans. Amenities are good and it’s free for me once again. Being a traveller has its advantages, I haven’t paid for a caravan park for some time now.
After indulging myself with a drink, an ice cream and some tomatoes, I head to the pub for a cold drink. Having paid $30 for small grocery shopping, I imagine the pub will be same or cheaper than the grocery store.
At the pub a bunch of friends have gathered to celebrate their accomplishment. They have recently walked a hundred kilometres raising money for charity. They soon call me Frenchy and I’m one of them. I help the old manager of the pub unload his truck that is full of cartons of beer. In exchange I get a free beer. I enjoy having dinner with these friendly people but soon I can’t keep up. They have been drinking a few vodkas since mid arvo and I’m quite sober. After dinner I wish them farewell and head off to my tent. It’s been nice to have some company.
In the afternoon I get a few emails. A nice lady, manager of a cattle station, is offering shelter. I do a few calculations and find that I can be there in two days. That is great news. I’m on schedule so far and I have more than enough food to finish the section until the next supermarket.
I try to contact the Australian army to go safely through the area they use for training or equipment testing. I can’t reach them but will try again. I don’t think it matters a lot being on a push bike, it would be more concerning with horses.
In any case it looks like it will be a mix of bitumen and dirt road in the upcoming days. It’s rather boring at times, looks too dry for my liking but it’s part of the experience. Victoria was physically difficult. Here it’s mentally difficult. I bet some would pull the pin because they get bored. I do get bored of the trail and it’s challenging to keep going when there is not much stimulation, not even physical.