Holbrook – Jindera via Morven
Monday June 13, 2016, 50 miles (80 km) – Total so far: 1,692 miles (2,723 km)
Last night, the breaking news was of a mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub. My heart sunk. One of my friends from Americorps days had just flown to Orlando two days previous with her wife and their family. I saw the pics of them on the plane on facebook. Surely, they wouldn’t have been at that club. It was a family vacation. But, of course, their girls are teenagers, so they would have no issues looking after themselves if my friend and her wife wanted a night out. They are very active in the LGBTIQ community in their hometown and like to support it elsewhere, too. But, surely, there’s no way they would just happen to be at that nightclub on vacation.
But, still, the very remote possibility is in the back of my mind all day today. I’m heartbroken for all of my LGBTIQ and Muslim friends who will feel more vulnerable going forward. Such sadness. (I will get home later to find out that my friend was not at the club and is safe but shocked.)
I’m dropping the room key in the box at 8.15am. There was a hard frost last night and it is still quite cold out. My bare legs are rather chilly!
There is little movement in town. Even the freeway is very, very quiet. It’s a public holiday and everyone appears to still be tucked up in bed to stay warm.
We head out of town past the airport and go out of our way a bit to pick up a new road for our ‘roads ridden’ list. Ralvona Lane will take us west and back to the main road between Culcairn and Holbrook.
Well, Ralvona Road has a crap surface. I have been able to maintain a better speed on many dirt roads. My wrists hurt after only 11 kms of banging through all the cracks, holes and large-diameter chip. Plus, I see 4 cars in that 11 kms – there were less people on the freeway!
Back on the main road, I’m pedalling a section I’ve not ridden before. It winds along the Billabong Creek flats and up onto the edges of the hills when the creek meanders up next to the hills on this side of the valley. It is pleasant and there aren’t too many cars out yet. The best thing is that an easterly has been pushing me along since we left Holbrook.
We turn off onto the old Coach Road at Morven. We’ve been through here a couple times, but I’ve never taken a pic of the old pub before. Today I remedy that. Then we head over the creek and southwest to pick up our second new road for the day.
Our second new road, Taylors Road, heads west through pasture and crops on hard-packed clay. That wind, which has now started to pick up and swing southeast, is pushing me along on that hard dirt at about 16mph. I come across two vehicles on this stretch. Neither of them slow down for me at all. What disrespect! It’s not as dusty as summer, but it is still common courtesy to slow down and not fill my eyes and mouth with dirt! In the mountains, most people slow down for me once they spot me on dirt roads up there… but out here on the flats in agricultural country… it’s very rare that anyone slows down for me on any road, paved or unpaved, straight or winding, wide or narrow.
After a short snack break, I cross the main highway and head down the road to Walla for about 4 kilometres before turning onto our third new road – the Weeamera Road. I had thought about riding up to Morgan’s Lookout to get some pics from up top on this clear day, but then I remember that today is Walla’s annual swap meet and car show. So I decide we’ll avoid town and take some new, back gravel roads to the east of town instead.
The Weeamera Road is a bit rougher and chopped up than Taylors Road, but we still make good time. There’s no one on this one. We cut across flat to gently rolling hills as we head toward the higher outcroppings of granite further ahead. A little ways down the road, I am surprised to see one of the gentle rises has been intensively quarried. Wow – I never knew there was a big quarry out here!
The road is all gravel on my map, but the road has been paved from the quarry southward. I pick up more speed, even though I’m now pedalling into a moderate quartering headwind. That easterly has definitely swung southeasterly. It did just the same thing the day we rode home from Lockhart last month.
I turn right onto new road number 4 (didn’t see a road sign so don’t know its name) and head west. The area around here has gentle undulations with low, boggy bits in between. I also note that the mine, which we saw the front of from the last road, is really quite extensive. They’ve been moving alot of earth around over there!
We then turn onto our fifth new road and start climbing up through the gentle hills that are the outlying bits of the main ridge further ahead. This dirt road is in pretty good condition, and we get some great views over to the Yambla Range. Another ute passes me and doesn’t bother to slow down. I wonder what goes through the minds of drivers when they see a person on a bicycle on a gravel road. Maybe they just don’t think anything at all!
This road spits us out on our normal route back to Jindera. There’s a lot more traffic than normal today because of that swap meet, but it’s not too bad, and everyone gives me sufficient space. I push on into the wind down a road I’ve ridden a thousand times. The weather is good today, but the wind is cold and strong enough to flap my jacket (which I end up never taking off today). So yesterday was perfect – today is just really nice.
Our mileage is low – you could do 95 miles in a day if you wanted and could get enough sunlight – and we are losing our hill climbing fitness. Maybe next weekend, if the weather cooperates, we should ride some hills again!