Well, here I am in the nation’s capital! After 2 ½ weeks and almost 1100km, I’ve arrived to stay with yet another ATA member – it blows me away the generosity of spirit of those I am staying with.
The journey: I rolled out of Gundagai at 8am in fine blue sky weather to immediately hit a hill to join back with the Hume! Oh well, nobody said it was going to be easy. More climbing and then rolling hills with some of them knee breakers. The air temperature is quite low but I soon find myself shedding layers.
First stop was a toilet break at Coolac about an hour out of Gundagai; back onto the highway and I made good time to Jugiong for morning chocolate at The Long Track Pantry – a fine establishment tucked off the highway. Back on the bike and another set of hills leads me to my lunch stop at Bookam where I desperately try to find “Danno” – Hawaii-5-0 fans will get this; the rest of you will just have to go without. 😉 A toastie & hot chocolate under the belt sees me back out on the road climbing my way to Yass (maximum pass height – that I noticed – was 650m) and, before long the turnoff looms. Of course, it goes up and OVER the highway (I guess that’s how it gets its name), down the other side and then UP again!
Fortunately, this is almost the last climbing I will do that day. At about 3:30pm I arrive in Yass and head immediately for a bakery for some carbos and yet another hot chocolate! My final climb is a doozy to my night’s billet but it is worth it. I’ve travelled 105km today – a lot of it up – at an average speed of 19.6km/h; a new PB maximum of 62.4km/h and a bike time of 5:33 hours.
Robyn and Dick (& of course Maddie) make me most welcome in that inimitable ATA way. They live in a house clad in ExinTex – a highly insulative wall cladding material and it shows in the thermal performance of their home. We go out for a lovely meal and have a lively conversation. I astonish even me with the amount I am able to tuck away – I don’t know where it’s going but it sure isn’t going onto my belly!
A great night’s sleep and a leisurely breakfast with my hosts sees me almost get away by 10am but, no, it seems I’ve picked up some shredded steel wire in my back tyre – I thought the ‘burbs were bad with the glass; they’ve got nothing on the highway and truck tyre casings with their mandatory steel belts. So, after extricating two shards of wire from my tyre I head off but get no further than the main street before my front tyre goes soft! Another wire shard – I should have known. I’ve now used all my good tubes so let’s hope I can get to Canberra without further incident. I restart my journey at about noon.
My first stop is in Murrumbateman for, you guessed it a hot chocolate, but they also have fresh blueberry muffins – yum. I press on towards Canberra and make it to Hall for lunch. Almost there now, so I continue down the Barton Highway towards Canberra until I reach a roundabout that has been blocked off by the police so I have to take an unexpected detour – thank goodness (and Vodafone) for my phone with its maps! (I later find out there has been a bridge collapse!) I eventually arrive safe and sound in Chifley to the south of the city centre at about 4:30pm, where Steve has been waiting patiently for a couple of hours. I unload the bike and settle into my abode for the weekend.