Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Forbes, Eugowra, Cudal, Orange, Lithgow, Sydney

It would have been better to have skipped Bogan Gate, but least Forbes was downhill. It was drizzling still, so I kept going. Eugowra, then back onto dirt to get to Cudal. Found another road that the GPS offers as a route, but isn't there. It was a pleasant 15km hill climbing detour to sort that out.

Stayed in Orange the one night, then set off to Bathurst early the next morning. Arrived in Bathurst early - sat around reading, eating, sleeping. It had gotten very windy so I wasn't keen on moving, but then at 3pm, the wind dropped a bit, and changed direction. Now it was a tail wind. Hah. Can't sit still for that.

Finished the day with 120km on my legs.  Wasn't an enjoyable road. Lots of traffic, minimal or no shoulder in places. The drivers that pass without much clearance.

I could have gone into Lithgow, but stopped at Lake Wallace, Wallerawang to check it out.

Big mistake.

I arrived late - just on dark, so rushed to set-up camp. There was a bit of a crowd - back packers, campervans, etc. Not a place I like to stay, but it was late. Wanted to check it out for friends that had asked about staying there. Only one night.

Terrible. Terrible. Not sure which group it was, but they drank, yelled, argued till the early hours of the morning. Young sounding, I suspected the backpackers, but it could have been locals partying. The grounds are close to Lithgow and housing areas.

Lithgow Tourist Information had told me in the past that camping is allowed there. What they didn't say is that the toilets are locked overnight.  I've dealt with this in the past - bottles and bags, carry it out. Not a problem.  Others dealt with it by using the ground.  In the morning there was used toilet paper blowing about, and fresh faeces scattered about. Icky! Icky! Seeing the gardens in the light - this was not a once off affair. The gardeners there must be saving on fertilizer costs. Feeling dirty angry, and disgusted, I packed and left.

I stopped to complain at the Tourist Information Centre. They said that it had nothing to do with them, wasn't their problem, and nothing they could do.  They still direct people to stay there.

Sunday. Trains.  Track work :(

I could change trains five times, and take almost six hours to get to my destination.  Wasn't going to do it. Change at stations without ramps or lifts - lots of carrying bike up and down stairs. Sunday, there would be no staff about. Finding the right platform and train to catch would be an added challenge. I decided to wait till Monday - two trains, three and a half hours.

Caught the 4:16 train out of Lithgow. Not many people on it at that time. But it filled to standing room only as it progressed down the mountain.

So now back in Sydney for a visit before heading north. Will be a here on and off for a few weeks. Friends with holidays wanting to go cycling and camping. So I'll be out of town a bit.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Condobolin, Bogan Gate

With lots of looking at the weather, the map and the weather again. I planed a route to Condobolin that would have taken two days. Some of it was to be on dirt roads, but when I arrived at the first one, it didn't look promising; standing water, sticky mud, and signs saying "Dry weather road".

I stayed on the tar and arrived by lunch time.

The old telephone poles. Easy height for horse back?
So, on to the next town. I had to be in Sydney by the weekend, so needed to pedal more. But..

Australia has a few fences. The Dog Fence, and the Rabbit Proof Fence. Where they cross roads, there is a gate. Australia has a slang term "Bogan".  So, when I saw the town Bogan Gate on the map. I had to go there. Sadly it was disappointing. No fence. No Gate. No sign. No Bogans. Nothing. I met other travellers later who were just as disappointed. There is a small town there, but no one about when I stopped. Thought there would be something to cash in on the tourist appeal of the name.  From the Wikipedia entry, the residents in places with the word "Bogan" in their name have lobbied to have a name change. They don't want to be associated with Bogans.

Was nothing to do, but ride on in the showers. 


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Tullibigeal

Claws on cement. I call out, thinking it's a dog. "Get away", "go on". The claws continue. Rolling over and looking in the half light, it's small. Possum I think. Then I wake fully, too low for that. It keeps coming towards me, reaching the tent.  I scramble for the torch. Arrrrrggh!!! Echidna! Now I'm rushing to open the zip, and stop out before it tries to push underneath. I stop it on my door mat. It "digs in" Phew.
Discarding my "no intervention" ideal, I move it, on the mat, around my tent, onto the grass, and go back to bed. Saved!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tullibigeal

An underappreciated pleasure: warm dry clothing. It's a cool day and I'd just washed myself and cloths, when the showers start. Not wanting to get another set wet, I squeeze as much water out as I can, then put them back on. They'll dry faster with a heater in them, even if the heater doesn't enjoy the sensation.
Quiet day after that, listening to the rain on the zinc roof under a picnic shelter.
It showers, drizzles or rains during the night. When I wake, it continues. I fail to leave.
I find out the locals have all been talking about the poor woman in her tent at the picnic shelter. When the fourth person comes over to offer somewhere out of the wind and rain, I give in. More to ease their worries than from concern about the wind and rain. I move to another larger shelter, out of sight. It's also more peaceful, people wise. Empty sheds nearby, roofing iron clangs in the wind makes a memorable night.

Narrandera, Barellan, Weethalie,Tullibigeal

Meet up with Tim the Tourist in Boree Creek before going to Narrandera We first met up Far North Queensland last year. Kept in touch on email. First time I've met another traveller in two states. Hung out, ate too much, drank too much, did some chores, and had an enjoyable time. Also avoided riding in the 42C days. Ended up staying longer than I'd planned as the temps stayed high. But eventually, it was time to go.
I was glad to get away from the caravan park. Had the idea the owners hate having people there. Bins not emptied, lights not working, taps leaking, coin BBQ swallowed coins, and failed to start, toilets without paper, toilet block locked. And the constant, 24x7 elevator music. Arrrgggh. Not one I'd stop at again, even though it was near the lake and town swimming pool.
Riding; start early in the day while it's cooler (25c), stop by lunch time when it really heats up (38c). Sweat lots in the heat and humidity. Batten down for the passing storms.
Pass through small dying towns each day. The buildings closed. Weathered and fading signs showing the business that once existed there.  The servo is going as well. No people needed. Replaced with a credit card browser.
Had a moment walking into a shop yesterday. Something has happened somewhere and the morning tv show was in full overblown emotion showing. The serious, shocked, outraged looks on the presenters. The shop staff clustered around the tv, not to miss anything. TV flashes to photos of men with beards and headwear.  That is when I walked in, still covered up, to order a burger.
Need to keep track of the days better. Tullibigeal. Nothing is open on the weekend. And today I just found out is Saturday..

Edit: Not true. I was to early for a weekend. The Tullicafe opens everyday. They make a great burger. 
There should be a lake behind that sign. Been a bit dry lately.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Urana, Boree Creek, Narrandera

It was quiet when I rode into Urana. Ok, it was early in the morning, but it didn't change as the day lengthened.  I stayed in the park, until after lunch, when a bus of young guys arrived. Well lubricated, they were having a good time, and wanted everyone to know it.
I headed out towards Boree Creek and found a camp. Very quiet; only saw one car pass by.  Needless to say, my NYE was very peaceful. The weather was dry, with no wind. I left the fly off the tent, and went to bed early. Woke a few times to watch the stars.

The ride into Boree Creek had me wondering if I was on a road, or just going through a farmers paddock.


There is a sculpture in Boree Creek of a swaggie. Very well done I thought. The same artist also created this at Morundah:


With a couple of 42C days forecast, I decided to spend a few days resting at Narrandera.