Friday, 28 October 2011

On a couple of long days

On Thursday morning, I set off from Hall's Gap a little later than I would have but for a conversation with a friendly Aussie at breakfast. Following and sometimes ignoring instructions on a map given to me by a tourist information person, I pedalled along country roads with an assortment of birds as company. In addition to parrots there are herons and ibises. I even saw an emu in the distance.

I deviated from the instructions by taking the short cut offered by some unsealed (I.e. dirt) roads. This experience rather confirmed the wisdom of my route change as the original plan could have seen ride over a hundred klicks on a dirt road. I found the dirt road mentally demanding as I always had to concentrate on avoiding the soft bits.
I joined the Western Highway near Dadswell Bridge and it's giant koala statue. It was as tacky as it sounds!

I got to Horsham in time for lunch and some Internet activity. From there it was a tedious slog against the wind to Dimboola which was a relief as it is pronounced as it is spelt! I made a very judicious choice of accommodation, much more than I realized at the time. Australia has any number of hotels, however the meaning of the word hotel in Australia is often better translated as "pub". However many pub/hotels offer cheap rooms.
As the only other option in Dimboola was a roadside motel, I decided that the Victoria Hotel, located just off the main drag was a likely a better place than the other hotel was located on the main street. This was a great place as my room was very reasonable at $45, a minimal breakfast included. Of course the bathroom was across the hall, but the high ceilings, wood paneling and many other elegant architectural features made it a wonderful throwback. The one off-note was the restaurant's food which was greasy.

I had noticed that my back tire was slowly losing air. In Dimboola, I removed it to see if I could find and remove the cause. I found a bit of wire protruding on the inside of my Continental tire but not where it had entered the tire. I was unable to extract the bit of wire, so I covered it with a tire boot and put in a new inner tube.
As I was leaving Dimboola, I found out just how judicious I had been in my choice of accommodation the day before: the other hotel was closed owing to major fire a some point in the past. Also, my odometer went over 9999.9 km and reset back to zero.
There was generally a nice wide hard shoulder on the A8 in Victoria (or Western Highway) but once I crossed into South Australia (or Dukes Hwy) this ended leaving me to hover at the edge of traffic. I am kind of glad to be off it.

There are a lot of signs and facilities along the A8 that show the Australian road ministries are quite concerned about driver fatigue. Near Dimboola there was even a roadside place manned by volunteers that handed out free coffee or tea. This is a bit worrisome as it represents a response to a real problem.
A little after Kaniva, I changed into my Gore-Tex socks. This turned out to be a mistake as because I wasn't wearing rain pants, the rain ran down my leg into the socks where it accumulated. When took then off at border of South Australia, there was something like half a pint of water in each one!

I looked into getting a room at the Bordertown Hotel. After being warned it was DJ night and that my room would above the bar, I decided to look elsewhere. In the process of finding a motel, I found out that Bordertown is Bob Hawke's birthplace.
Bob Hawke is a former Australian Prime Minister who also held the Guinness world record for downing two and a half pints of beer in the least amount of time.
Oh, and the public toilet in Bordertown is in an old gaol.

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