June 3

Feeling like I was completely subject to the weather this morning, I took my time to see what it was doing. My oddball roommate managed to pull himself together and catch his bus at quarter to 8, miraculously, all the while swearing and muttering to himself. I think the last thing he said to me was "Vodka cruisers... never again." The hostel staff felt so bad about the whole thing and were thankful enough that I'd tried to hold him back a bit that they offered for me to stay another night for free. It would've been great - there was a ton of free food, a TV with a whopping 3 channels, and I probably would've had the entire bunk room to myself. I decided, however, that the weather was beginning to look manageable, so I turned them down and took off on a late start at about 10:30, packs full of leftover sandwiches and stir fry.

Riding was alright; cold again, misting, and wind in my face for the first few miles. The hills have been rough, as always, and in all of my rain gear trying to stay warm and dry in 45-degree weather, I'm like a sail on the bike. That being said, staying warm and dry was definitely a close second on difficulty of challenges today (next to biking, of course). There was constant zipping and unzipping and airing things out trying to stay warm but not sweat. It's a tougher science than it sounds, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

After 15 miles or so, I had this weird feeling like my setup was somehow unbalanced or that one of my legs was longer than the other. I stopped and readjusted the cleats in my shoes, which were not perfectly lined up, but I'm not sure that it did the trick. Maybe I just didn't stretch out enough in the morning?

I stopped outside of Barragga Bay at 2:30 for a late lunch and to watch the surf and its surfers. Although a bit cold, it was really great being on the beach. It made me want to camp on one and I'm sure it's something I'll try to pull off in the coming week or so.

The people I'd met in my hostel suggested that since people were mostly really friendly in the area, I could just knock on someone's door in hopes of putting up my sleeping bag in their garage before the rain hit. I decided to give it a try and found a nice looking house at 5PM. I knocked and was instantly let in by a woman named Penny. I am convinced that I've met the nicest and tallest family in Australia (all well over 6', I actually feel tiny here. Their cabinets are really high up). Penny and her husband Andrew lived in DC for a little while and are familiar with how strange Americans can be, I suppose. They were nothing but extremely welcoming, allowing me in on their steak dinner, providing me with a hot shower, mattress, laundry, and the use of the computer I'm typing this from right now! The dinner was probably the best I've had and will have while I'm in this country. I can't emphasize how much of a help this is/was to me, so Penny, Andrew, and Christian, if you're reading this, you've got my eternal gratitude! They're also really into the Transit of Venus, which is when, this Wednesday, Venus passes in front of the Sun for a few hours. It won't happen for another hundred-some years so you better check it out.

Oh, I saw my first kangaroos today! Well, live ones, at least... Two of 'em within about a half hour coming down these roads next to a national park. The first I just glimpsed hopping away from the highway up on a ridge while the other ran across the road a couple hundred meters ahead. Sounds like they'll probably be out grazing here in the hills.

I'm about to sleep very hard; this weather is really taking it outta me. I have no way of getting pictures up here right now (no cell phone signal), so I'll try to add them later. Notable things I took pictures of, though, are:
-A sign for the turnoff to "Mystery Bay"
-A sign signifying my parting from the Princes Highway (feels great)
-What I believe to be a yak
-General natural beauty

Let's hope the rain holds another day, but I'm not exactly going to count on it. Tomorrow night's supposed to be a big storm, so I'll be aiming for shelter.


Total dist: 40.63 mi
Total time: 3 hours 37 mins
Avg speed: 11.21 mph
Max speed: 46.73 mph (!)

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