Henty to Jindera via Walla Walla
Wednesday December 30, 2015, 40 miles (64 km) – Total so far: 1,242 miles (1,999 km)
It would be good to get on the road by 6am since it is supposed to be hot today and the NE winds will again have a southwesterly turn around mid-day.
But I’m sleeping so well, I ignore my alarm and sleep until 6am. I am on the road with key returned to the petrol station by 7.10 am, however. It is already quite warm – I never even pulled the sleeping bag over me last night, instead just sleeping on top with my sheet. You know it’s going to be hot when it is already over 20C when you wake, there is no dew on the grass and the smell of morning is one of dust instead of damp vegetation.
The initial ride out of Henty is predominantly downhill. I hammer it down. I want to get back to Jindera before 11 am when the heat will start to really build. We rode this same road a couple months ago, so you can see photos and a ride description a few entries up from this one.
The only things that have changed is that the wheat and canola have all been harvested, the grasses have all lost their green and gone summer brown, and the farm machinery that was for sale and “ready to go” is gone.
I fly along pushing hard. There is not much traffic – just a few tradies heading out to jobs somewhere on someone’s farm. I roll down to the low points of the ride before gently climbing back up to the Culcairn-Holbrook Road. I’m amazed how quickly the miles are going down when I’m concentrating on speed rather than scenery.
At the Holbrook Road I almost immediately turn off for 4 kilometres of dirt on the Knights Bridge road. I’ve never been this way before. There is absolutely beautiful woodland off to the right in the travelling stock reserve. This is what Australia would have looked like in these parts before all the land was cleared. I cross over Billabong Creek and it is much more scenic here than just downstream on the Morgans Lookout Road where I normally cross. There look to be really nice campspots here, too.
Then it’s onto the Cummings Road into Walla – another road I’ve never ridden. The pavement is better over here, and some has recently been resealed, than my normal approach on the Morgans Lookout Road. We also pass by dense stands of river redgum regrowth and box woodland edging the wetter bits of the Gum Swamp Reserve. It has a different look and feel to it from this side. The cicadas are deafening. Whenever I pass through an area thick with these insects, I feel like I’m entering a haunted house. Their pulsing screeching just sounds like a scary prop when you open a door at a Halloween fun park.
I stop for a little bit of fuel in Walla and then push into the northeasterly building wind for a few kilometres until I turn south and it pushes me back toward Jindera. After a bit of initial climbing, it is downhill most of the rest of the way to the finish. I absolutely push it hard and hammer it down, often turning the pedals at 20 mph. It feels so good to have the heart pumping and legs churning with a full load.
Then it’s back to the house at Jindera to conclude this ride and conclude the overnight rides of 2015. See ya next year!