- Start: Foster
- End: Leongatha
- Day distance: 47.6km
- Total distance: 1058.11km
- Average speed: 14.4km/hr
- Pedalling time: 03:17
- Total time: 04:00
In my exhaustion yesterday I forgot to mention the bizarre banana incident. It was most odd. So I like bananas. But I don’t like it when they contaminate other things with their flavour and they were making my shortbread taste gross. So my solution was to strap the banana to the outside of my pack, and if it was more easy to access I would be more inclined to eat it. So I cycled along happily until I stopped at the petrol station to use the loo. When I got off the bike I didn’t notice if the banana was still there or not, but on my return from the loo the banana wasn’t where I had left it. So I assumed it had fallen off while I was cycling.
I had a snack and left the petrol station and about 100m down the road, lying in the middle of the shoulder was a whole banana! It couldn’t have been my banana, I hadn’t cycled on that bit of road. But it looked a lot like my banana! It was very strange. Really really strange. And it occupied a lot of my thought for long time afterwards. Now I’m not adverse at all to accepting food from strangers but I feel I have to draw a line at picking up random bananas from the side of the road. So I left it there.
Another thing I forgot to mention was dogs. Dogs do not like bicycles. Humans fine. Cars fine. Horses fine. Human on a bicycle triggers lots of angry barking. And one dog chased me down the road yesterday, at a point when I felt like my legs were going to fall off so I was getting ready to just sacrifice myself, but thankfully it got bored and stopped chasing me.
Today I woke up and felt like my body was a lead weight, stuck to the bed. Everything was sore and I wondered how on earth I would be able to pedal anywhere. With only a short day ahead (when did 50k become a short day?!) I stayed in bed as long as possible and left to hostel at 10am, after a nutritious breakfast of 3 cereal bars eaten in bed.
The first couple of rotations were a killer but my body soon said oh ok we are doing this again are we? and became numb. After about 500m on a back road I found the turn to the Great Southern Rail Trail, and it was GREAT! It is exactly what it sounds like it is, an old railway line converted into a trail for bikes, people and horses. It goes all the way to Leongatha, so I rode for the whole day without a single car anywhere near me which was a dream! People told me it was hilly on the way to Fish Creek, but as I rolled past Fish Creek I realised that hills are subjective and when you’ve climbed some of the hills I have recently, these ones don’t even register as an incline. Of course being an old railway line means any incline is very gentle because trains don’t go up and down hills.
The trail was compacted gravel and easy to ride on. The sky was clear and it was warm, I even took my coat off for the first time in days. I travelled through tunnels of trees and ferns, occasionally opening out to views across the farmland.
Friends of the family, Craig and Wendy, had invited me to stay with them and had given me some recommendations of places to stop along the way, so when I saw Millie and Romeo’s Cafe I decided to stop for a hot chocolate, because it felt like I was out for a casual ride. And I treated myself to a cauliflower and leek soup. 1:30pm and only 7k left for the day. Perfect!
The last 7k were probably the hardest of the day because the wind had picked up and was blowing straight towards me. I’d heard a lot about these infamous westerlies but this was my first real experience of them. I felt like I was going to be blown to a standstill at times! Craig and Wendy came to meet me and escorted me the last 2k to their house. The biggest hill of the day was leading to their house so I was pretty sweaty by the time I arrived and jumped in the shower straight away. I lounged about in a bathrobe (one of my favourite pastimes) and had some lunch and a cup of tea. I have drunk more tea in the last two weeks than I’ve ever drunk in my whole life!
Craig and Wendy had arranged to go to their friends house for dinner and they invited me to come with them. After a 5 course feast and a few glasses of wine I was feeling great. I’d like to say I remember everyone’s names, that would be a lie, but I had a wonderful evening with everyone with some great stories and Aussie humour!
I’m now full, warm, dry and happy as I lay here listening to the rain pour down outside, once again feeling ever so grateful for being inside in a comfy bed with a real pillow instead of being in my tent, and content in the warm glow of incredible Australian hospitality. Rain is predicted for tomorrow so maybe I’ll take a day off…
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.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please consider donating a few…pounds / dollars / euros / yen… and together we can change lives.