Riding into Hay, I passed a grasshopper plague (or they passed me), which lasted for over 100km! I had to be careful not to open my mouth when I looked up, or I could have very easily gained a few accidental protein points, not that there's anything wrong with bonus protein. It was easy to see who the locals were, as their cars had a couple of centimetres of solid grasshopper covering their grill, whereas the tourists just had a few hundred individual grasshoppers (and more often then not towed a campervan :p). I had a few satisfying thuds into my helmet as well, which I proudly attributed to my great speed. I also sometimes played a game in which I had to catch a grasshopper in my hand, but that proved more difficult than you may think, and moreover, even when the odds went in your favour, it wasn't a great reward to catch one!
So I have the grasshoppers to thank for preventing me relaxing completely during another very flat, but beautifully scenic day.
(above: more of the flat Hay planes)
(above: another common view of mine)
I arrived in Hay and made it to the Tourist Office at 4.59pm. To my surprise they were open, and I later learned that the girl was held up with a phone call and otherwise would have already shut - thank you mystery caller!
Maxine at Claughton House in Hay, kindly agreed to donate a bed to me for the night, and I was extremely happy to arrive at her family's youth dorm style accommodation by the Murrumbidgee River. Maxine and Tony have rescued this grand youth hostel over the past 5 months, and everyone I spoke to in Hay are very pleased (none more than me!) that it has re-opened after being closed for 12 months. They also included me in their family dinner which was very kind of them, and so I sat down to a delicious lasagne.
I decided to stay an extra day in Hay to rest the knees and walk the streets, and Maxine said it was no problem for me to stay with them - simple but much appreciated generosity.
It was the next day, my rest day, that I was in the library using the internet when Maxine came in and pointed to me and said "there he is". I sat with a blank face because as far as I was concerned nobody knew I was in Hay, let alone the library. But... word gets around. Maxine was with a lady who introduced herself as Judy. When my blank face didn't change, she added that she was Amber's mum. Still blank. Amber is Steph's best friend. Blank-ish. Your cousin Steph. "Whaaaaaat!?"
I had forgotten that the day before I had sent a text message home to say I arrived safely in Hay. That message got sent to my Nanna in Noosa, who had coffee with my cousin Steph, whose best friend Amber lives in Bendigo, but whose mum lives in Hay. So they all did their thing on the phones, and let Judy know that I was in town. Then Judy found my accommodation and Maxine, and Maxine knew I wanted to use the internet, and so here they both were standing in front of me in the library!
Anyway, Judy invited me over for dinner, I accepted, and we had a great meal and what felt like a 'catch up'. Big thank you to all involved in feeding me that night!!! Especially Judy. It was great, and took me some time to get over that I was tracked down in the corner of a library in a small town.