Cold and wet. They are the only words to describe the ride from Waikerie to Overland Corner. The rain pelted down as I rode into the headwind, leaving me looking and feeling like a drowned rat. Normally I would prefer to sit it out but I need to be in Melbourne by 6 September to fly home for my birthday so I took a tablespoon of cement and hardened myself up.
The scenery was pretty enough and I only had 40km to ride to get to the Historic Overland Corner Hotel, which I had heard so much about. As I rode I found myself daydreaming of a warm log fire, hot food and some country hospitality. It passed the miles away quite nicely as I rode through the mallee country. I barely even took my usual 10-15km rest stops because the call of warmth was so strong. I still enjoyed the ride but, like most people, I do prefer blue skies and sunshine.
And then, like manna from heaven, it materialised. It started with a sign stating that the pub was just 3km up the road. And then an arrow pointing off the road towards said pub. And then, as I rolled down a long gentle slope, there it was … The Historic Overland Corner Hotel. I could smell the deliciously warm smell of chimney smoke before I saw it and made a beeline straight for the building. It was all I could do not to just dump my bike on its side and bust into the warmth of the public bar but I contained myself and propped it gently against a post in the beer garden before walking inside soaking wet. Oh it was so warm and cozy and friendly in the pub. I knew instantly that this would be one of the highlights of my trip.
I ordered a drink and Phil (the publican) offered to let me pitch my tent outside under a marquee so that I would be dry and comfortable for the night. And so began a delightful afternoon and evening of food, drink and conversation (only soft drink for me though because I am mostly a tee totaller). I can report that the open BLT with chips is delicous and the hamburger is one of the best you’ll taste anywhere. Throughout the afternoon locals and a few travelers came through the doors into the small bar to warm themselves, have a drink, share a yarn and move on. There is a wonderful Dutch word “gezelig” that I personally think is one of the highest compliments anyone can give to a host and “gezelig” is exactly what the Historic Overland Corner Hotel is. I don’t often recommend places, but if you are in the area or want an excuse to go up to the Riverlands, check it out because it’s definitely a winner.