It rained overnight and was misty as I exited the tent. Colin was rugged up making coffee in the camp kitchen. The other cyclist had already packed up and moved on.
The mood was “take it easy” as we brewed up, ate breakfast and chatted. Then a chap called Tony R came over. I recognised his name from my days in H0bart. He is an Historian and is currently researching the life (in Tasmania) of the English artist, John Glover. Tony R is currently taking on the standard idea that Glover didn’t meet Aborigines, knew little about them and just put them in his pictures for a little atmosphere. In particular, pictures of the Brighton Plains. Colin mentioned he used to have a property on the Plains and had a spring on the property. Tony R was very excited – a spring would give a reason for Aborigines to be in the area, Glover’s sons lived in the area, maybe Glover did meet Aborigines!
After our talks concluded we returned to the mundane tasks related to breaking camp and loading up the trikes. We cycled into Ross and found the top Bakery open. Coffee followed. As we took our coffee outside we watched small groups of Chinese tourists roam down the quiet street. It’s sad to see Ross so quiet and shops with For Sale signs up. Not sure if we can blame Covid-19 for this as last time I cycled here it was quiet – pre covid.
The next step was to retrace our wheel ruts up Ashby Road and up to the junction with the road to Campbell Town. It was hard to believe but the wind had held and was now blowing up from the south. Yes, it was cool. Yes, it was cloudy. YES, we had a tailwind!!
After we hit the gravel section we found a large Blue-Tongued Skink (Lizard) in the middle of the road. As we rode past it didn’t move off the road. I returned to try and get it to move. It wouldn’t. I tried to pick it up. It snapped it’s head around, jaws agape and I got my hand out the way just in time. Then it sat there sticking out it’s blue tongue.
I didn’t have any material handy to cover it so I went on. After a short distance I thought of the tea towel on the pack and turned back. As I did so a truck and trailer went past the site of the Blue-Tongue. I returned hoping it was OK but expecting to see a flattened lizard but no, it had obviously moved away from bothersome cyclists and headed into the adjoining paddock.
We regrouped at the junction glad the gravel was finished. The traffic through the gravel today was rather less caring than yesterday. As we talked, several vehicles dashed onto and off the gravel taking the junction at considerable speed. Would this be a crap day on the road?
We got going. The wind was very nice and this western side of the Macquarie is not as hilly as the eastern side. The ups and downs come in a rolling pattern and I was able to cruise along at Power Level Zero for long stretches of road. Colin was suffering from yesterday and gradually fell behind. Mostly as I used power to get up the hills.
I stopped at Isis. Colin came past and was happy to keep turning the pedals with the wind assistance. So he carried on looking to stop at Lake River.
Isis always makes me think. There is a plaque on a lump of concrete describing the town. In the early 1900s there was a Church. The Church was also the Primary School. A hall was built in 1935 much used by the CWA (Country Women’s Association) and for community activity. There was a Police Station and a Blacksmiths. Today there is just a Rural Fire Brigade shed and the plaque.
I think this is a good example of the movement of people out of country towns. With the advent of automation in farming and more efficient transportation, large numbers of people are no longer needed in the country.
I left Isis wondering if such places would ever support ordinary people again. It’s not a place for people wanting to leave the city life. It looks like the places where people lived and worked have been incorporated into the paddocks.
After Isis the clouds remained and the wind continued to blow us home. I expected it to change as the predominant winds are north-westerlies. But it didn’t, yippeee!!
A little way out of Isis I came across a cloud of dust blowing across the road. It was coming from a tractor and device churning up a paddock. What was in the cloud?
I was tailing the equipment and slowed down to keep out of the dust. It then ran through a spot producing less dust and turned so I upped the power and got through asap. Breathing through the nose. Who knows what crap could be in the soil being dusted – old chemical residues? Anyway with my allergies and weak chest I wasn’t taking any chances.
I passed a field with a brown crop in it. The field edges had grasses growing but the crop was a spiky leafed thing. No visible ears of seed. Another mystery.
At last the church at Lake River came into sight and no Colin was visible. I suspected he had gone through and stopped at the river itself. He had.
We had a break there and discussed feature of the day, the wind assistance. We also discussed how close we were getting to Cressy and the Rustic Bakery!
Cycling the next leg I once again took lead and pulled away from Colin. At the top of quite a hill there was a group of Utes surrounding a large and odd looking piece of equipment. My guess was that it was a piece of road maintenance equipment and they were travelling to wherever the next bit of road will be wrecked with coarse chip seal.
I soon reached the junction with the road from Poatina which meant that Cressy wasn’t far away. It also meant we picked up traffic from the Lakes – fishers returning home towing trailers; also log trucks. Coming the other way were another two or three large, road filling pieces of equipment like that seen at the top of the hill. Next time we travel the western side of the Macquarie there is likely to be a large extent of bouncy chip seal in place.
I got to the Rustic Bakery and there was a cattle truck plus trailer parked outside, engine running. Why is it that truck drivers can’t turn their bloody engines off when stopped. The cattle were also belting the sides out of the truck as they would have liked to be somewhere else. As I grumbled about trying to find a suitable spot to park the trike the driver emerged from the cafe and drove off.
I could see the young woman taking the signs in so got in before the door was shut and ordered our coffee. By the time Colin arrived, the door was firmly closed and coffee was to be delivered out the side window. We sat in the Bakery “Parklet” dining area on the roadside and discussed traffic. Then a woman from the house next door came to water the pots of herbs grown either side of the “Parklet”. We had a chat. Then a touring cyclist was spotted.
He came over, also for a chat. As we spoke I realised his bike was quite special. Probably titanium framed sporting a Rohloff hub, front and rear racks both with Ortlieb Panniers and rack bags. Quite a load. He told us he had cycled from Devonport and was on his way to Ross. Crikey that’s a long ride and into the wind that had blown Colin and I along! A strong rider. It sounded like it was his life – touring. He has ridden around Australia towing a trailer! This was just a stroll from Bateman’s Bay to Hobart.
We felt humble.
The last leg was along Cressy Road. The traffic was heavy with many cars and Utes plus trucks of various lengths all wanting to keep up the 100kph they are “entitled” to. By the turnoff to the Golf Course and Longford Tip I had had enough and turned up to ride down the gravel to the Tip. It was lovely to get away from the noise and hustle.
A good trip of some 145 kilometres. The next day was spent drying out the tent and a lot of other stuff that the thunderstorms had rained into. All good now – looking forward to our next trip.