Wow! 100 days on the road!!
After a great night’s sleep and a great start from Liz and Shane’s in Melbourne we started to make our way past skyscrapers and trams in the centre of Melbourne. It seemed relatively quiet for a Monday morning though and we were soon I suburbia. Weaving our way along bike paths we passed posties on ebikes which seems like a great idea!
The switch from city to country seemed sudden and we had fields of sheep and çows back again, interspersed with the occasional emu. The road was a rolling gradual climb so despite a tailwind progress was slow. The rolling countryside continued into the afternoon and the back roads were very quiet- we’re certainly not missing road trains! Plenty of sulfur crested cockatoos and the occasional kookaburra cheered us on.
The slow start heading cost us though and we were riding into dusk again with enough light to spot the bridge that was rickety enough to trap a tandem wheel. We got the lights on but were slightly unnerved when a kangaroo bounded across the road in front of us in erratic hops… we had to be on the lookout as in tandem vs roo, we knew who would win!
We’d precooked the motel in the afternoon to be safe and Stevie rustled up a microwave dinner tea.
A wonderful hotel stay: nice and warm, plenty of towels and a good drying are for clothes, not to mention the toaster and kettle for the morning! We skipped a dip in their pool though…
Stevie needed to adjust the front derailieur cable and clean everything up a bit to make changing smoother so we were yet again later leaving than we intended. It was a sunny day though and the wind was still behind us. We had joined the main road so the trucks and trains were back and it seemed very busy compared to the previous day. We did spot some camels though! The road wound it’s way through swamp land up to Tocumwal with eucalyptus trees poking through the water and koala warning signs.
“Stop the bike” Laura cried, and there he was!
Seeming completely precariously balanced on a branch and half asleep. The koala opened his eyes slightly as we approached and then nodded off again. We took a few photos and left hoping he was well wedged in his nap spot.
Lunch at a bakery is always a good way to save time and a couple fo cups of tea, rolls pies and cake later we were good to go. We’d established that we had an inconvenient gap in terms of facilities where we needed to stop so we’re preparing to wild camp. We stocked up on noodles and water in the last town and road off into the sunset with herds of emu running along the flat plans around. Reaching the rest area we’d spotted just as it got dark it was a speedy transition to get the tent up and dinner on the go. Soon we were tucking into pot noodles and ready to get cosy for a long nights sleep.
As well as being woken through the night by what seemed to be cows bellowing at the full moon… Stevie’s guts had been rumbling all night.
In an attempt not to sound like all we do is moan, we’ve skipped over the fact that he had had 2 bouts of a gastrointestinal bug picked up in India. He’s had 2 courses treatment, but this was 3rd time unlucky.
He managed some breakfast but wasn’t on top form- especially we were riding into a headwind. Next came what was possibly the hardest 40 miles of the trip into the wind and going nowhere with Stevie feeling rubbish on the front.
We made it to Narranderra early afternoon where they have a medical centre but even though they saw us really promptly the Doctor was convinced it was just a bit of reflux and an hour and a half later we left with a prescription for antacids. Feeling drained and shocked we called it quits after only 43 miles and got a motel for Stevie to get some recovery and consider our options. It’s about 85 miles to the next town in a headwind tomorrow and given Stevie’s weight loss and other symptoms we’re not convinced it’s all down to reflux so need to get a second opinion before we run out of time to get to Brisbane…
It’s been one if those “heads down and do it” days. With rain at the start it was just a case of keeping going and not seeing much until Ardlethan. Stevie was feeling OK, bloated but not weak as he has been but we are still working on getting so meds so tried the community medical centre there to no avail so went to the cafe instead to feed him up!
A lovely quirky place and we met a fellow Brit on a coach trip who was really interested in our ride.
Back on the road a shortcut out if the town resulted in a ford crossing that was too deep for us and a hasty retrace.
We pushed hard into the headwind to get to Wyalong before the medical centre there shut, but dodging the double rumble strip and roadtrains was tricky.
Making it just in time we were really grateful to be squeezed in at the end of evening consults and then when the doctor heard what we were doing he waived the consult fee!
We had almost won the day, until the pharmacy had no stock if the meds we needed so we settled for a motel and microwave tea before trying our luck down the road tomorrow.
Thankfully we awoke to sunshine and made a nice early start from last night’s motel. Stevie was kinda doing ok and we made steady progress towards Forbes. There had been a fair bit of rain here and the fields around were swamped with even the road flooded in some places.
After losing more time faffing about in pharmacies we opted for yet another McDonald’s to cheer us up and get the calories in fast!
The roads have not been great recently, busier than we’d like and with massive potholes and variable hard shoulder take a lot of concentration from both of us.
Next stop was Parkes to pick up some dinner from Woolworths (Laura is becoming quite an microwave dinner chef) and we rolled into sunset again to reach Peak Hill; which thankfully did not live up to its name! A steady day’s mileage to hopefully keep us on track for Brisbane
Yet another McDonald’s sign lured us towards Dubbo this morning…
We’d had an early start, determined to maximise daylight for a long day and knew it would be important to stay fuelled up on the road.
A horrible road to start with- busy, no shoulder in places and craterous potholes big enough to have to stop the bike. We were happy to get off the Newells highway for the rest of the day.
Leaving Dubbo only having visited the golden arches and a supermarket we turned East into a forested nature reserve. The road was rolling and it was noticeably an uphill trend bit thankfully the wind was slightly behind us. A brief stop in a small village to tuck into supplies from the lunchbag and we pushed for the remaining distance…unfortunately uphill again. Having come back into farmland cows and calves ran along with us and we saw several kangaroos skipping in the forest areas next to the road. Emus as we’re zig zagged before all settling on the same direction, the mound of feathers on their rumps jiggling as they made an undignified retreat.
Finally rewarded with a descent in the last 10 miles we reached Binnaway and called the number we had been given for accommodation. Waiting outside the hotel (which was full) the smells from the bistro were tempting but then a car pulled up and a lady gave us directions to the railways barracks. Almost a mile down the road pur hearts sank slightly-it would be a cold trek back or a choice of ditching bags and coming back on the bike. The barracks is volunteer run and we were really grateful for somewhere warm to sleep but the issue of dinner wasn’t resolved. With a full kitchen and breakfast supplies we decided to cobble together what we could to eat rather than lose time and get cold retracing to the rowdy hotel.
With the next town a short distance tomorrow a large brunch may be on the cards…
After surviving the night in the railway barracks… (full story to follow)
We set off in the sunshine to lovely quiet roads through the countryside. Rejoining the dreaded Newell Highway just before Coonabarabran
we piled into Subway for footlongs.
Stocked up we got back on the road to a long stint towards Narrabi.
Not the most stimulating riding but it got the miles done and we only had 30miles left. Replenishing the lunchbag at Woolworths we wolfed down a quick McDonald’s before riding into another glorious Australian sunset.
We reached the small town of Bellata and camped up at the golf club (officially allowed! ) and had a warm dinner and a couple of pints before bed at the club house.
Weekly distance: 727.75 miles
Total distance: 10,260 miles
Koalas: 1 🐨😍