Apologies for the delay, although you should all know that internet time is scarce; and eating, showering and sleeping take priority :p also, I will add the corresponding photos to this blog later.
I can't believe I'm already at the end of day five. So many great people, interesting towns, and sore body parts. Where to start?
I think I left you at Goulburn... My Goulburn to Yass leg was unbelievable! The sky was blue, there was no wind, the shoulder on the highway was wide and clean (devoid of the usual glass, road kill and mysterious bolts and metal truck parts), and most importantly, it was FLAT!!! Well... Flatter than anything so far. I was speeding along, and I had done 40km before I realised I had left Goulburn.
Speaking of leaving Goulburn. What's with the big ram? I never really understood the 'big things' movement, yet as I rode past, I reached for my camera and snapped a shot. I'm not sure if I did it subliminally to have evidence that I did in fact ride through Goulburn (and I'm not just lying on a beach in Fiji and pretending to cycle across Australia), or if size actually does matter? Either way, it wasn't nearly as interesting as it's neighbour... Goulburn Bakery! I only had a couple of sour dough rolls and already I can't wait to go back.
Ok so after my speedy start, I stopped for lunch at Gunning. Gunning's town slogan is something like (I will refer to a photo to confirm the wording)... "A bit of everything in the world, just in one spot" Umm... I don't think you're being completely honest with us Gunning. Let's see, the world has pubs, and YOU have a pub. The world had petrol stations, and YOU have a petrol station, and to be fair you even double up on the cafes. But if you continue to oversell yourself people will just be disappointed in the end. I came up with my own (more accurate) slogan for Gunning: "we're just like all the other one street towns, just a bit further off the highway, and a bit more into lamb"
In terms of riding, day 3 was thoroughly enjoyable, and relatively easy. I arrived in Yass with plenty of sun light, and quickly found myself being sponsored a nights accommodation at the Australian Hotel, courtesy of Benny. Ben is a super relaxed character who kindly moved someone (a booking, not the physical person) so that I could have a ground floor room. I had a joke with the locals in the pub, and wandered the pleasant streets and parks of Yass before smashing a steak sandwich and getting horizontal.
Just a quick side note. I'm sorry if this is getting so long, things start to build up.
Day 4 was Yass to Gundagai, where I was to meet up with Sunny and Mike (Sunny is mum and dad's friend from college). Hills, hills and more hills. Sometimes I would look up and just see a hill climbing into the distance, then I would reach 'the distance' and the hill would just bend and keep going. It was like a bad dream when you can't run fast enough to escape, or you're going to the toilet and you know you should be finished, but you just need to keep going. This was like that, I just wanted to wake up and ride up the normal hill, not conquer the never ending dream hill. Luckily, I saw evidence that preschool wasn't a waste of time, so in my head I just kept on repeating "what goes up, must come down".
Today's lunch town, Jujiong, gloated that it was "the food and wine hub of southern NSW". Well let me tell you Southern NSW, that if that's true, then you are in big trouble. Jujiong had ONE food and wine shop, that was CLOSED, on a Tuesday. I did however, make myself a delicious sandwich (or three), and sat to eat it in a really nice garden - even after they tried to shoo me away with the sprinklers!
After a brief, but necessary, stop at the Dog on the Tuckerbox, I was in Gundagai with Sunny and Mike. Mike took me out to their place, and then up to a look out, so I could see all of the rolling hills I had just ridden over. What great feeling of satisfaction you get, when instead of swearing at the hills, you're marveling over their beauty and smugly thinking "I conquered you!" Sunny and Mike absolutely spoiled me and I didn't complain one bit! I had a long soak in a spa bath, sat with my feet up having a drink, ate a great steak with potatoes and ceaser salad, and then slept like a baby in a queen bed. I slept so soundly, that I was compltely oblivious to the massive storm that apparently crashed and banged all around the house.
Breakfast was as good as dinner, and I got out of bed to bacon, eggs, baked beans, toast and a coffee. There was an offer that I could stay as long as I wanted, and I was very seriously considering moving in... at least for a while :p In the end the deicision to push on won out again, and after fixing a puncture on my bike, Mike dropped me back in to town, at the same spot he had picked me up the day before.
Big thank you's go out to Ben from the Australian Hotel in Yass, and to Sunny and Mike in Gundagai. If I give in to my urges to stay with people, this trip could take a year; or as Mike suggested, I could write a book titled "how I rode to Gundagai and never left"
To get you up to speed with the present moment, today was shocking! It was cold, and I had my first experience of headwinds which were actually slowing me down when I was pedaling down hill. I left Gundagai late, and stopped at McDonalds on the outskirts to try and use their WiFi. By the time I got going it was almost midday, and then I noticed my newly changed tire was flat! "What? But I just fixed you! You're fixed!" Apparently not. I had overlooked a small piece of metal. I had no option but to sit in the cold wind on the side of the road and repair my puncture.
(me cursing at having to stop and fiddle again)
I told myself that it was times like this that proved a sense of achievement and they are the reasons I am doing this trip. Then I asked myself how I could fall for such rubbish. Today was just tough. That is all. Just tough. I was racing the sun to get to Wagga, but I was struggling to reach 20km/hr going downhill. I just wasn't going to make it. My knee was screaming at me as well, which will have to be evaluated tomorrow. When I couldn't push on, I stopped to eat for 5 mins, then I tried again.
Eventually I made the decision to find a spot to camp before the sun went down. I saw a winery and decided I would go and talk to anyone I could find. What I found were a very nice couple, Basil and Anne McMullen, who started by agreeing that I could camp on their property, then went on to give me a room, a shower and cook for me! We had a very nice dinner accompanied by one of their cab sauvs. I even got spoiled with dessert! From this good fortune, I have made a pact that for the rest of my life, I have to go into every winery I pass :p Not a bad rule huh
(Basil and Anne McMullen outside their homestead)
Once again, apologies for the delay, and apologies for blabbing. I'll get photos up when possible. It was nice to talk to the family last night. I also checked my everyday hero page and there has been a surge of support. It means so much and makes all the difference. Thank you!!
Time to rest my body. Hope the sun is shining on you!