June 7: Half-Weight Day Trip to Mallacoota

Since the roads were still closed at Genoa this morning and were said to stay that way until tomorrow, I left my tent up with some of my non-essentials inside and headed out towards the coast. The ride was nice and I was LOVING the reduced weight as I sped through winding, forested hilly, roads with a big straightaway on the end. Mallacoota had no power, but a grocery store and a few restaurants were running on generator power. I went to the grocery store to get stuff for lunch and sat out on an overlook aimed at the ocean for a couple of hours. Really cool thing - their canned tuna comes in different flavors! If we have this in the US already, someone please tell me who I can blame for not showing me earlier. Anyway, my two tomato-basil tuna sandwiches tasted great overlooking the ocean while the sun was out.

Once it clouded up again, I found a caravan park rumored to have hot showers with great success! I was then headed back to the center of town to see about a public meeting concerning the power and road outages - I'd heard from a roadblock worker that morning. I then ran into Anne, a Dutch girl I'd met briefly that morning at the campsite in Genoa. She offered me a lift there so I went with it. We went to the meeting and were assured that the roads would be open by 6 AM on Friday - finally! Anne then gave me a lift back to Genoa as well and we exchanged stories.

I should mention that this is the first time I've accepted a ride but certainly not the first time one has been offered. The feeling at the end of the trip would be much different knowing I'd snatched a ride for a couple hundred kilometers! Today was different because it was just a side trip; I wasn't actually making any progress towards Melbourne.

Anyway, Anne is really cool and is the first person around my age I've met in awhile. She's 20 and is here on a gap year before starting uni back in Holland. Very brave, I might add! I'm a little envious of her journey - she's been here 9 months, has traveled her way up and down the coast working odd jobs enough to make it from place to place, including collecting scrap metal with an older guy and hitchhiking with a guy who turned out to be a total dumbass. She even made enough to buy a car and is now headed to Tasmania with that. Very awesome. Anne and I pooled some of our food and cooking supplies together (although my camp stove and compact cookware was no match for her portable electric burner and ACTUAL saucepan and fry pan) for a good ol'-fashioned homeless people's banquet of spaghetti, canned sauce with added veggies, soup, rolls, cheese, wine, and even some tim-tams (my favorite Australian cookie). All took place in front of her car's headlights in some overhang reminiscent of a baseball dugout. Anne gave me an awesome beanie, which had been at the top of my to-buy list with these cold nights. It's purple with some other colors stitched in and has a big pom pom on the top. It kept me warm enough to enjoy the dinner and conversation into the night! My only problem is that I bought a tent barely tall enough for me to sit up in, but hadn't made this calculation with the big pom pom on top, so it keeps hitting the ceiling. A small price to pay for a warm head (my prior system had been a bandana fully spread out under my "Michigan Day in the Parks" baseball hat, a bit unsightly but kept the ears warm). A huge thanks to Anne for the gift and best of luck on the rest of the journey! Hopefully we'll meet up again somewhere down the coast.

After the hobo's feast and conversation, we both turned in to our respective tents for the night, but not before noticing that the road block had been cleared! The Emergency workers' tent is still on the roadside, but there are no cones or signs in sight. Hopefully the eager trucks get through tonight and my venture isn't too trafficked as I take off as soon as my stuff is all packed. Since this is the first time my tent has been up for two nights in the same place, I actually got a bit comfortable and so my stuff is spread out. Tomorrow morning will certainly require rearranging and significant repacking.


PS still very poor reception and low battery, so I don't think pictures would post very easily from here. Sorry! Hope I haven't bored you with too much text!

Today's stats (Genoa to Mallacoota with only rear panniers):
Total dist: 14.27 mi
Total time: 56 mins
Avg speed:15.35 mph
Max speed: 32.40 mph

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