June 4: Resistance

I had a relatively brutal day today with the weather conditions. I woke up from a fantastic night's sleep to a hearty breakfast. I was tested and tempted again with another offer for a night's stay in the lovely home but somehow got myself to turn it down even in spite of the weather reports - gotta keep going, I guess! From there, I was dry for only a little while this morning as I rode through the hills into the storms ahead, headwinds full-on (does this sound really dramatic? It was pretty dramatic, I promise). I noticed around 5 miles out that I had a flat... Hmmm. It's very possible that I'd been riding that way since I woke up; I'd stopped to fix something else and it's harder to tell when something goes flat when the whole bike is already so heavy. I refilled the tube with my little hand pump and hoped it'd hold out. It did for the day so we'll see what happens overnight - I do have a spare tube and patch kit but time is of the essence!

The rain started to pick up around noon. Needing some energy, I sought out a bench under a tree that looked dry enough for me to scarf a quick bag of cold pasta. It was at the end of someone's property and they saw me a couple minutes later when I heard someone yell from a porch 150m away, "would you like a cup of coffee?" They turned out to be a couple of really nice sisters, Kaye and Tania, with a bunch of dogs. I had a cup of tea and they even brought me some toast with peanut butter, an apple, and a pear! I explained myself and my adventure, they explained their current situation (sounded like a rough couple of months for the family - I hope conversation with an outsider helped somehow). It was a nice, dry 45 minutes spent conversing on their porch. They even sent me with some food on the way out! Many thanks to more nice locals!

From there, now around 2 pm, the rain had picked up even more but I figured I had to keep going anyway as it's all part of the journey. My hopeful destination was a town called Eden, but there were a few options before then. As I'd been warned, the distance between towns was/is definitely increasing. So, with freezing rain blowing into my face, I kept my head down and pressed on with the promise (from myself to myself) that I'd find a warm bed in a hostel somewhere tonight. Downhills really sting in this weather, by the way! It's really sucking a lot of the fun out of it.

At 2:30 I rolled into Merimbula, maybe 12 miles short of Eden. I was completely drenched, so, like a good American, I found a McDonalds in which to dry off after walking around town a bit. In my defense, McD's seems to be just about the only place here with free wifi. I checked my maps, hostels, and shivered for awhile. Now 3:30, I had to make the call quickly as to whether I'd press on in the cold rain for the extra mileage or stay put for the night. I decided to do the latter in favor of my health. Other points were: I didn't feel too safe with the other cars on the road considering the conditions, it certainly wasn't going to stop raining or get any brighter out, and Eden doesn't appear to have a decent youth hostel.

So I'm in Merimbula for the night with high hopes that a Woolworth's is close (it's becoming a ritual - I definitely should've gotten a rewards card). Not a lot of mileage today, but at least I got a really long hot shower and spent minimal time in the rain. Stay back, pneumonia! I can almost see Victoria from here and I think I might actually be at the halfway point! Gotta keep rolling on... Here's to hoping my clothes dry tonight and the weather is more kind tomorrow.


Today's stats:
Total dist: 26.60 mi
Total time: 2 hours 38 mins
Avg speed: 10.08 mph
Max speed: 41.26 mph

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