Day 14: State Forest to Peter's Place

another long uphill for CANCToday was a bit ugly in terms of riding: a few hills; a head wind; lots of smallholdings so there's no easy camping. I left about 7am after getting up just after first light (6:20). Ev got up as I was packing the stove and clanking around with pots and stuff. So I'm carrying the stove and two pots as well as the remaining rice and sultanas. Probably 25kg of group stuff, plus the "group" solar rig at around 15kg I think. And the quad is probably sick, or at least I really don't want to break the remaining fragment of the 8mm bolt that connects the rear cluster to the rear axle. So I'm pushing it up most of the steep bits, and fretting about it.

Kiaora, koalasI ride the 15km to the intersection easily, there's lots of trucks but a bit of judicious use of the shoulder makes everyone happier. The road is curvy as well as hilly, so there's lots of "no passing" sections. Hard on the trucks if I'm only doing 30kph down a hill and they want to hit 110 to get up the other side. About 30km into the day I reach the sign pictured, "kia ora" being ="gudday" in Maori but apparently something different in a local language here. I like the combo with the koala sign "kia ora koalas".

After that there's a roadhouse where I buy chocolate milk and chips for lunch, and get chatted up by a Jehova's Witness who tries to convince me that they are the "true Christians" but seems heartened when I say that at least the Witnesses usually have the courage of their convictions, unlike the usual sort who when offered the hard choice, call it "death or dishonour", invariably discover the merits of dishonourable living. Hypochristians, so to speak.

That passed, I climb back on the quad to challenge yet more hills, and yet more traffic. This is a pretty busy road although at least the shoulder is wider the around Miriam Vale. Almost half a quad wide all the time. I stop for organic fruit and chat to a prius driver while his family buy fruit. He's very happy about his car, and dismissive of nuclear power but doesn't seem inclined to hassle his MP. Such is life.

After much wandering through lifestyle blocks and more hills, I start looking for campsites. As expected the side roads are more of a shared driveway and there are houses and gates everywhere. There are also no inhabitants except dogs, so after a while I give up and stop at a random intersection (Window Road). I check down the road a bit, same deal, so I sit in the shade of the quad and eat more organic mandarins that I bought back up the road a bit. After a while a guy stops to tied his dog on before the highway and I chat him up for camping. He agrees (yay!) so I text everyone else and sit back to wait.

By some bizarre coincidence I happen to have phone reception here, well the dodgy reception that only works if the phone is up against a big lump of metal and I'm not earthing it. So I get a bunch of text messages when that happens. Amongst other things Megan has decided not to rent her apartment to me, so I ring her and use speakerphone mode to keep the phone working. Well, she rings me back and her job has got even worse, they've finally decided to actually send her to London and the only reason she's on her way now is that they can't get plane tickets. So while I was out of cellphone range she gave the place to a real estate agent to manage. Which means she has a few days to get all her stuff out, clean the place up and vacate, and I have nowhere to live when I get back to Sydney. Which is a bit of a bummer. So I ring Phuong to tell her, and then ring Ev to find out what he's up to. They're a couple of hours behind, and not liking the headwind.

An hour or two later Robyn rocks up, then Evan, and so it goes until we're all here. Camped near Peter's place, using his water (thankfully not having had to carry water up all those hills. Except June, who seems to need to always carry a couple of litres). Dinner in the dark again, mildly annoying hammock site, but it's a lot better campsite than I feared we'd get.

Red dirt, green crops near Neerdie in Queenslandred dirt with green crops This was pretty striking as I rode past, I've been meaning to get a shot of the very red dirt they have up here and this looked good. Caution land mine signCaution land mine and your guess is as good as mine as to what exactly this means. I suspect it's a menacing version of "KEEP OUT".

Stats: 46km, 3:27, 13.3km/h average, 46km/h max. 361 total in 23:47. Yes, it was a slow day. Between pushing the beast, the slight headwind and a fair bit of faffing looking for water and a campsite, definitely felt slow (the rest of the group did about 40km today)


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