- Start: Lakes Entrance
- End: Bairnsdale
- Day distance: 53.38km
- Total distance: 813.12km
- Average speed: 13.9km/hr
- Pedalling time: 03:37
- Total time: 04:50
I spent all evening stretching out and massaging my fingers. After a bit of research and advice from friends, it’s likely Ulnar nerve compression / injury. Not something I want to continue or to make worse.
After a very cold night it wasn’t as cold to start as I thought it would be. I didn’t have too far to go today so I was being leisurely with all my actions. I stopped at Woolworths in Lakes Entrance on the way through. I just wanted a drink, but came out with chocolate and jelly snakes as well. Jelly snakes were on offer, AU$4.50 for 520g of snakey goodness. I paid more than that for half the weight in New Zealand, so that made me very happy! But there was a stupid girl at checkout. It was one of those express, 15 items or fewer checkouts, with a tiny space next to the cashier where I put down my basket with the 3 things in. She was as close as I was to the basket when she said “can you take the things out of the basket because we aren’t allowed to do that”. Aren’t allowed?! The world has gone mad. This is a prime example for my North American friends, of an appropriate time to use that great British expression…“are you taking the piss??”
I continued on my way and climbed a couple of hills up to a lookout. I wasn’t really sure what I was looking out at but a lovely older couple came and joined me on the platform and explained that there were a bunch of oil rigs out in the distance. Oil rigs?! I was hoping to see whales, not oil rigs!
The rest of day was pretty easy going, and the highway was relatively quiet. Lots of loose stones on this section though but I got away without incident. I stopped regularly, I was feeling tired and slow and more than ready for my day off the bike tomorrow. I was trying to make sure I wasn’t putting too much pressure on my hand, just resting it lightly on the handlebars. I needed to be careful that I did not of overcompensate and injure something else as I could feel my position change.
On the approach to Bairnsdale the highway started to get busy and fewer people were interested in moving over to give me space. I saw the turn off for the rail trail (an old railway line turned into a trail, the Germans told me it was mostly gravel). I stood for a while staring ahead of me wondering which path to take, I saw a couple of guys on bikes coming up the rail trail, so I called them over as they passed to enquire about the quality of the trail. I chatted to one of them for some time, telling him the story of what I was doing. He told me to get off the highway and take the rail trail and he also invited me to stay with him in Bairnsdale. If I hadn’t already something lined up I would have taken him up on that offer.
A lot of people ask me how I know if it’s safe, or how I know to accept someone’s offer or not. Well the short answers is I don’t, and every time I take a risk. But you generally get a feeling about people and you have to trust your gut instinct. This guy for example, he appeared to be with his boyfriend, he was riding a bike, he had moved from Sydney down to Bairnsdale, he was interested in what I was doing, he gave me loads of advice about the rail trail and the road ahead, he invited me to stay in his home. Generally people who do that are kind or have experienced the same kindness towards them, they aren’t weirdos.
So I took the rail trail. It was ok, a bit lumpy in places but it was great to get off the busy highway. I saw lots of cyclists on that trail so it seems quite well used. I cycled through town, and continued on a couple of kilometres to the west side of Bairnsdale, and I went to number 12. There appeared to be no one home, and Mick had given me instructions on where to find keys in that scenario, but he hadn’t warned me about the two scary dogs guarding the side gate. Something didn’t feel right so I had a look back through my emails and found I was in the wrong place. I should have been at number 4.
At the right house I found Mick and Jacinta and was made to feel so welcome. They are being super cool and letting me hang out for the day at their house tomorrow so I can have a rest. My claw hand seemed to be a lot better today, I could straighten out my hand, but then I took a shower and it hurt! It hurt to lift my arm above my head and it was difficult to put my hand flat against my head to wash my hair. The claw was back.
I continue to raise money for Just A Drop – they bring sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities around the world.
663 million people across the globe are living without access to clean, safe water. That’s 1 in 10 people. A child dies every 90 seconds from a water related disease. One third of the worlds population – 2.4 billion people – don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
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