I wake early and watch the sun come up in the east. I slept so well under the picnic shelter. I didn’t need the bivy bag because the shelter protected me from the dew. The caravaners are all still locked away in their vans with the blinds drawn. They miss the amazing sunrise. I take it in as I eat my breakfast and pack my kit.
I set off with trepidation about the traffic on the Oxley Highway. It had been so busy during my ride to camp last night but this morning it is quite okay. There’s a good hard shoulder to ride along, which keeps me out of the way of the traffic. It’s absolutely beautiful out here.
I stop in Gunnedah for what feels like ages. It’s a larger town and quite friendly. Australian bush poetry is being played on the speakers in the public bathrooms. There’s a Vietnamese bakery where I buy an egg and lettuce sandwich, and a custard ring. I love Vietnamese bakeries. One of my friend’s parents owned a bakery when I was in high school and I fell in love with this style of bread and pastry making. I spoke with some local blokes who sought me out to ask about my ride. And I stopped at a local independent clothings store to buy a high visibility vest with reflective strips on it to make myself more visible on the road.
Back out on the road, I take pleasure in the colours and textures. The grass waves in the breeze. The blue sky contrasts against the yellow.
It’s predominately flat but there are little mountains and hills sticking out above the flat landscape. All around me I can see little peaks that stick out at all angles and shapes. Fortunately, I don’t have to climb over any of them; the road nicely goes around them.
Sheep graze around bores. Followers of my blog will know I love agricultural landscapes the best. And this is agricultural scenery at it’s finest. The thing of the poetry and stories I loved as a teenager when I read Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson and Ion Idries.
I reach Tambar Springs and have a choice: continue to Black Stump some 45km away or turn left to Premer just 15km off the main road. I’m fatigued and know that pushing another 45km is too much. I don’t want my ride to be just a matter of ticking over the miles. I need to be in Bathurst on Sunday but for today I am stopping at the 96km mark instead of the 125km mark. It’s a wonderful decision because I get to enjoy an afternoon relaxing in the Lions Park in Premer. There’s power points, clean showers and friendly fellow campers. They are all grey nomads of two different age groups. The older ones group together as a clan. Those in their early sixties greet me and then enjoy a quiet night at their own individual camps.
I take dinner at the pub because I’m desperately hungry and have hollow legs. My dehydrated food is good but the call of hot chips is too strong. The pub could be the scene of a movie; it was so ocker. Half a dozen local farmers stood around the bar watching the TV news and discussing the stories. They concluded that it was best to live way out bush if Donald Trump becomes the American President because they feared he would cause a nuclear war with “that crazy Kim guy from North Korea”. Interesting take on things. The news concluded and their conversation turned to weather and crops. The burger and chips was good honest home cooking.