June 8: Back on the Road

Roads were finally open again this morning! Having been in the same place for a whole TWO NIGHTS, it took a little while longer than usual to get packed up and out. It also didn't help that with my phone off to conserve battery, I had no alarm clock. I only had the horrendous flocks of morning birds to wake me up. This is a big difference I've noticed from the US - here, the "early birds" are big, honking, screeching groups that move from tree to tree above my tent. Not the most pleasant welcome to morning by nature.

Anne and I said our goodbyes and I hit the open road about 9:30. Not too far along, I decided to set some more rigid goals in order to make up for natural disaster time lost at Genoa. I aimed for a "metric century" - 100km (62.1 miles) in one day. It was definitely obtainable - I figured 10 miles at a time with 10-minute breaks in between. I really should've left earlier in the morning, but so it goes.

The first couple of lengths were good. Had a little bit of sunshine in the morning, winds and hills subsided a little. It was pretty much entirely forested and I saw a lot of the carnage done by the storms. Trees were tipped over, sliced apart, and stacked up at various places along the road. Fresh red dirt showed on the edges of the roadside where mud and trees had been stripped from the terrain. Just about every entrance to a walking path was closed. It was scenic in its own way, different from my other rides through national parks and the like.

The weather clouded up pretty quickly and I stopped in Cann River for a steak and mushroom pie around mile 30 at 1 pm ish. I expected that it'd be the last town I'd see that day as the next was Orbost, another 60 miles away. I confirmed this with a gas station employee, who mentioned there was a single stop in between Cann River and Orbost - the Bellbird Hotel. I decided to keep my sights set on 62.1 miles, at which point I would drop my tent, eat a box of spaghetti and a can of tuna, and pass out.

The next couple of lengths were rough, being mostly uphill and cold as the clouds rolled in thicker. Around mile 40 I was reminded that it is certainly still winter and thus I should not be allowed to remain dry for an entire day. I got away with only a half hour of light rain.

While approaching mile 50, signs appeared for the Bellbird Hotel as it closed in on sundown. I figured it would probably be best to cut my losses on the "century" and see what was up at the hotel for a couple of reasons:
-It was already almost 4:30
-I'd been passed by trucks and cars with trailers all day
-With parks and walking paths being closed and no residential areas in sight, it would've been difficult to find a campsite where I would not be crushed by a tree

I rolled up to the Bellbird and talked to the various people hanging around, including the owner/only guy working the hotel, bar, and restaurant. He agreed to let me set up my tent in the back paddock (yard), awesome. I came back in, had a few beers, and made a bit of conversation. I offered my hands at cleaning, cooking, or whatever for a spot somewhere inside. They didn't need much help since it's the off-season - there's only a couple staying in one room and a family in a trailer in the back - so he politely declined but offered me a spot on the back porch. I'm not sure how my tent will set up or how comfortable I'll be on the wood floor, but at least it's more protected than the open paddock. The guy has been very nice, even giving me some extras when he cooked his dinner (a little steak, bacon, and an egg). His wife just got here and seems a bit more stern.

It's 8:30 now, I have zero reception here and don't expect to until Orbost so I'll post this then. At least there's an outlet here where I can finally charge my phone! I feel like I anticipate distances and times between towns/potential charging points pretty well, but I hadn't expected two days of power outages, hah. I'm watching one of the forms of rugby and have almost no idea what's going on, but it's a good excuse to grab a seat next to the fire until the bar closes. CRAZY FRIDAY NIGHT - just me 'n two hotel/restaurant/bar owners. The guy is pretty focused on the TV, his wife is the opposite and hasn't stopped talking about who knows what since she got here an hour ago. Oh well, I forgot it was Friday anyway. Days of the week are not so relevant anymore.

Only a few hundred more miles til Melbourne! I'm meeting my friend Will, who's being really patient with planning around all of these delays. I'm pedaling as fast as I can, Will! Can't wait to get there.


PS I apologize again for the lack of photos. Battery and signal have not been conducive to this type of technology. I'm thinking of doing a big recap post at the end including pictures from my camera and some videos.

Today's stats:
Total dist: 52.89 mi
Total time: 4 hours 31 mins
Avg speed: 11.70 mph
Max speed: 33.68 mph

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