Bye bye Victoria and hallo New South Wales
Cann River proved to be an interesting place. I went out at night searching for a watering hole in the hope to sample some of the local wine, I discovered that the place was hardly a tourist destination, more like a trucker stop over. Despite that I got into the bar of the main hotel and sharing it with a few truckers and an off duty road maintenance crew managed to add a “keep it real” value to the evening. On the plus side the wine was both good and cheap which meant that I went for both a bis and a tris, note that Australian measures are not as big as you think.
I was by now on plan number fifteen and had gone, over the days through many different configurations of distances and destination to accommodate both the need for overnight warm shelter and the condition of the legs. The latest idea, and the one that I eventually carried through, was to get up early, have something to eat and then slowly put in 68 miles to get myself out of Victoria and into Eden in New South Wales where I would take a leg saving day off.
I woke up early and packed all up before crossing the rod for breakfast in the local bakery. After that I got the bike out of the room and, handed in the keys, I took a few pics of the town and left.
As I discovered the day before the scenery is not extraordinarily various but I was cheered up by the fact that, on the way out of town, I saw in the distance a kangaroo leaping in front of me. For Australian drivers they are a bit of a nuisance as, big beast as they are, make a hell of a dent in the car if you hit one. For me on the other hand they are still of enormous novelty value. Unfortunately that was the first and last one I saw in the day and I had to make do with vegetation and termite mounds.
The route I took unfortunately was all inland but the reality of this area is that there is no costal option, a little bit like some areas in New Zealand the costal road runs inland with shooting out side roads that lead to bays or inlets. This kind of morphology is particularly difficult for the cycle biker as any attempt to visit includes lengthy detours.
The net result was that I had to satisfy myself with the scenery offered by places like Genoa. As the sign says this is the last town in Victoria and I was initially convinced that the town itself was made up by one house and a community centre that were located 50 yards from the sign. Because of that limited dimension I was also tempted to knock on the door of the house and ask them if they had Ligure ancestry, but I did not. It was a good thing as around the following corner I discovered the rest of the place. The rest was another 4 houses a run down motel and a coffee shop closed and for sale. Altogether a bit depressing.
I had planned to stop for a bite, in the end I only had a cereal bar and some water while I took a couple of pictures. In the ten minutes I was there I saw nobody.
I was now in shooting distance of New South Wales, I only had another 10 miles to go to get to the rest areas on the A1 which in one of the possible routes configuration was going to be my place to sleep. In Australia, unlike in New Zealand, free camping is allowed and there are areas with toilets and barbecue pits that are managed by locals and where one can just stop and stay for naught. Ad it been warmer at night, knowing how stingy I can be, I would have made more use of these areas but I feel that it is a bit unseasonable for me to do so now.
I stopped nonetheless and had some food. While there I had a chat with a couple of French that are going around with a mini camper rented. We engaged in mutual appreciation and found common ground in observing that, while down under is great, they have no idea of what good cheese is.
With lunch out of the way there was only one thing to do, get over the border and cycle the last 25 miles to Eden. I did so in fairly good time only to discover that the backpacker I was aiming for was not operational anymore. It was actually run by the people at the Great southern Hotel and they said they were really sorry that the information on WikiCampus was wrong. They told me that they could give me a room for $60 and I thought it was fairly reasonable so I booked in for two night.
After a bit of relaxation and pampering it was time to go searching for the launderette as the clean cloths supply was now running dangerously low and I’m visiting people later in the week so I cannot present myself in an indecorous condition.
That accomplished I just retired to the room with a bottle of wine and some take away and enjoyed my own company while watching what appears to be the Australian sporting event of the year: the State of Origin Series.
Rested and refreshed I got up and started exploring conscious that a bit of walking would have done a lot of good to my legs by moving muscles that are not used in the cycling.
I first went to the Killer Whales museum which was actually quite fun. I learned some amazing facts including that the Orcas and the fisherman actually collaborated in the hunting of the bigger whales. Also, apparently, Eden was briefly considered as a possible location for the federal capital.
After the museum I took a walk to the port and just strolled around boats getting more and more convinced that a substantial part of what I’ve got left to live will be spent in one of them. I was however reminded that life on a boat is not just a bed of roses when a police boat came into the port dragging with it a yacht that had run into troubles out at sea. I guess if it’s not exploded tyres it’s something else.
After a bit of wandering around I settled in one of the local caffe/restaurants and, even if it was a bit early, I went for a light lunch.
This is the second time I have oysters in this trip and I have to admit the kiwi ones were marginally better, not in the taste mind you, just in the size. I am totally confused though as there is no R in May so this should be no oyster month, what I keep telling myself though is that this is the equivalent of the northern hemisphere October, and there is an R in that.
On the way back to town I had a welcome encounter, Ivo and Sabine, the two Swiss cycle tourists I met the other day were pausing for lunch in Eden. We had a brief chat but then they left as they had another 30 Km to go for the day. We exchanged details this time and hopefully this will mean we’ll meet up again at some point in the future.