4,000 for 40 – Jan Ride 1 – Day 1

Jindera – Granya State Park via Wymah

Saturday January 16, 2016, 42 miles (68 km) – Total so far: 42 miles (68 km)

It’s been relentless. It’s been a month of zombie days after so many sleep-deprived nights. Yes, Australian summer where I live is pretty damn miserable. This year, with the help of El Nino, has been the worst since 2009. I knew it was going to be bad when we were getting 30C days in November, the earliest heat outbreak on record for all eastern capital cities in October, and 40C degree days in December.

The heat has carried right on through to January with so many days above 35C (95F) I’ve lost count. We have had days as high as 112F. The real kicker is all of the nights where it has not dropped below 83F for an overnight low. I have been so low on sleep this month, I’m sure I could audition and get a role in a zombie movie. Any Australian who says they like summer in Oz must spend most of it in air-conditioning. Those of us without A/C, and who live in very poorly insulated buildings with big gaps around the doors (most dwellings in Oz), just suffer and endure.

The week leading up to this ride I got no more than four hours of sleep each night. It was just too freaking hot to sleep. Finally, a cold front came through on Thursday and I finally got sleep last night.

The original plan was to do this ride in the other direction, with the short day to/from Granya to be the final day. However, that would have meant a very early start on Saturday, and I just could not do it. I needed sleep so badly. So the ride goes east to start instead of back west. While I’m on the road, Nigel will be replacing some sort of coil in my car. The poor old gal has been coughing lately and making me a bit nervous.

So off we go, finally, around 11am, over to Table Top, up the terribly corrugated Burma Road (seriously, just pave that damn road already!), down the old highway to Bowna and then to the turn-off to Wymah. I’ve written up this section before, so have a look in my other journal for a description of this part of the ride. We see a few more cars today, but it is still a very pleasant, undulating ride to the ferry.

This hotel allows free camping out the back, does meals and has a limited selection of drinks. It’s nice to have a toilet stop along this stretch now.

The dam is now down to 36 percent so the ride across on the ferry is even shorter again today. The ride to the Granya pub is into the wind. Last time I came this way I had a push! I stop at the Granya Pub to get a cold Coke. The sign outside says they have ice cream, but when I ask about it, the guy looks surprised, then offers that he has a Splits bar. I say, “Okay, hook me up.” I don’t even know what one of those is – but if that is all that is on offer, so be it. The guy is gone for a long time. I wonder if he went and got it out of his own fridge!

I consume the Splits bar – vanilla ice cream encased in a lime icy pole is the best way to describe it. I sit on the front steps of the pub next to a sleeping dog who has not moved since I rolled up. Her companion decides I look interesting, though, and comes over for a scratch and cuddle. They look a little like Jack Russells but are so mellow it’s unbelievable. I wish they could mate this tiny little dog with every other tiny dog out there to breed out the yappiness of small breeds. I might like little dogs if they were all as quiet, docile and laid-back as these two!

Tiny locality of Granya noticeboard – you live here you get put on the “paper roster” and the “toilet roster” shown here. So someone gets to clean the public toilets for a month and someone gets to go into town and get papers for everyone each weekend.

We pedal up the dry creek valley toward Granya between tall, thickly forested hills. The little village of Granya is just a few houses along the main road, a community hall, old tennis courts and a museum. It is all lifeless today. If it weren’t for the motorcyclists coming through town I would not have seen a soul. You could camp by the community hall if you didn’t want to go down to the state park.

The dirt road down to the state park heads toward the forested slopes past a few hobby farm properties which hug the creek. The road drops to a drainage, climbs back out and then arrives at a Y-junction. I’m looking off and down the road not taken as I make the turn toward the park. Not a good idea! There are huge ruts, ditches and other erosional features consuming the road. By the time I realize this, it is too late, and we go slamming through all the rugged contours of the road. I pull my foot out for balance immediately. As we get to the bottom, I’m heading toward the edge of the road with enough speed that I think we might land in a crashed heap off the side somewhere in the reeds and bushes. When I hit a large patch of sand, I’m pretty certain that is going to seal the deal, but somehow we remain upright and nothing seems to have flown out of the unzipped handlebar bag. Amazing!

Looking back up the Murray River Valley and the upper reaches of Hume Dam from the road to Cottontree Campground.

The campground is on the very edge of the state park property, and you sorta feel like you are hanging out in the nearby farmer’s back paddock with his sheep. Still, it is much more attractive than when I was last here 10 years ago. They’ve planted a lot of trees and mid-story bushes along the property line.

I wave to a couple on a touring motorbike who are about to leave and then go find a spot in the shade to drink a Coke and relax. There is no one else around which is amazing since it is still school holidays and lots of other places remain very crowded.

It wasn’t stifling today, but it was still over 90F. So we carted a Coke up from the pub and enjoyed a cold drink at the end of the day.
Evening map meeting. I don’t have to attend these since I just pedal and Verne tells me what to do.
Only the finest on tour – here is our three-course dinner. Course 1 – Appetizer – Crudite – Celery (with option of peanutbutter topping) Course 2 – Main meal – Tortillas with Peanutbutter Course 3 – Dessert – Apple (with option of peanutbutter topping) Snacks – Raspberry gummies (with option of… nevermind)

After setting up the tent and eating dinner, we go for a walk up a fire trail for a bit since I’ve done the walking track to the waterfall here before (waterfall would be dry at this time of year anyway). Evening settles and the sun rays diminish, but the heat still sticks around. It’s really sad when you jump at the chance to go for a ride when it is a ‘cool’ 92F for a high temp!

We go for an evening walk up the hill and find a preview of our climb tomorrow. We will get to weave around that pine plantation and head over the low point in the hills.
The frog and turtle find a murky dam. They are in heaven. I’m not sure if Kermit is being nice or is about to push Verne in.
I love how you can see Verne’s big, goofy grin in this photo. It’s a different side to the Commander.

The sun sets as the sulphur-crested cockatoos screech and squawk and carry on at decibel levels greater than anything ever recommended for avoidance of hearing loss. The kookaburras laugh at one another across the valley, too. Then the local farmer goes out shooting at things and a few mozzies send me into the tent.

Shortly after, a campervan shows up and spends forever figuring out where they are going to camp. They drive around, stop, get out, slam doors, slide doors, talk loudly, get back in the van, drive around, repeat. Once they finally settle, there is the sound of more doors opening and closing, drawers slamming, pots moving… an incredible amount of noise just everywhere. Peaceful, it is not! Finally, around 11.30pm, everything but some discontented cows in a far pasture shut up. Still, I have trouble sleeping, even though I have a month’s worth to catch up on!

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