Corowa to Wangaratta – Express Route
Sunday November 8, 2015, 38 miles (61 km) – Total so far: 728 miles (1,172 km)
I have grand plans. I am going to ride the two ‘gaps’ in the Warby Range on Sunday and then return home via the Woolshed Valley on Monday. There will be some new roads among all of that and some nice scenery. I also have grand plans to get on the road at 6am, so that I’m relaxing in a bush campsite by mid-afternoon when it hits the mid-80sF.
But when my alarm goes off at 5.30am, all the grand plans get axed. I haven’t slept well for days. My hayfever is so bad this morning, I feel completely rotten. Pounding headache, a very sore throat and a completely stuffy nose.
I go back to sleep. I wake up at 7.30am. C’mon Em, we need to go for a ride. Nup. I feel like shit.
I sleep a bit more. I wake at 8.00am. I converse with myself. C’mon Em, we need to go for a ride. Ugh. There’s going to be a headwind. I feel like shit. But riding makes you feel better. Ugh.
I pry myself out of bed. Everything is already packed. I just need to take pills, put on clothes and slap on sunscreen.
I’m rolling out the door at 8.30am. I still feel like shit. I ride the familiar route over to Rutherglen, and then take the express route to Springhurst (express being the main paved road rather than doing gravel or going via Chiltern). There is very little traffic and the pavement on this road is good. It is a pretty flat ride. It is a beautiful day, except for the proliferation of pollen.
I still feel like shit. I am just not into the ride today. I bargain with myself all the way down the road. If I still feel crappy when I get to Wangaratta, we’ll just stay in a caravan park and forget about riding the Warby Range.
Once down to the Carra…mungee Road (it is a really long road name I can never get right), I turn off on the first gravel road. This is called Morrison or Morris’ Road. It is a dry-weather only road, but I want to give it a try instead of taking the pavement all the way over to the Byawatha Road then backtracking on the rail trail. This gravel road cuts off probably about 3 miles of riding. Is it worth it? Your call. The gravel is in decent condition most of the way, but it is rough enough it probably doesn’t save you any time. Because I’ve ridden the other route so many times, it is nice for a change.
I join the rail trail, and not long after Bowser, I get a puncture on the rear tire. Ugh. I feel like shit. The flies are atrocious. There is no shade. So I pump the tire back up, get another 3 kilometres out of it before I need to pump it up again. This second inflation gets me into town and to the park – where I can change the tube in the shade with a few less flies.
I lay there for awhile. I can’t breathe today. So we forget about doing the Warby Range. I just don’t have the motivation to do it today. Later in the afternoon, I go check in at the Wangaratta North Holiday Park. It is $25. That is steep, but not as steep as some. Unpowered tent sites have gotten quite expensive in the past five years.
This caravan park has more shade than Painters Island Caravan Park. You can walk into town along the levee in about 10 minutes. Since they put in the new bike path adjacent to Painters Island, there is no fence or anything to prevent someone from casually walking over to pilfer items from your tent. So I don’t want to stay there anymore. The Big 4 park further out of town appears to have plenty of shade, but it is right on the main road. So take your pick… none are perfect and all about the same price.
I have the whole tent area to myself. The camp kitchen has a fridge but no freezer. There is also a BBQ plate, a microwave, a toaster and a kettle. There is plenty of shade. The amenities block is large and clean but the shower is crap – if you turn on hot and cold, that is what you get. Searing, then freezing, slowly warming back to searing, then freezing. The low-flow is only a bit more than a dribble.
I do have one victory today. I had not brought any soap or shampoo with me, thinking I’d be dry-camping in the bush. In a very brief moment of brilliance, I realize I can use the cap off of my deodorant as a soap container. I fill it with the liquid hand soap at the sinks, and voila, I have soap and shampoo for the shower!
I laze around in the late afternoon, and chat with a few of the permanent residents. I still feel very rotten and have no regrets of not doing the bigger ride. My nose is completely stuffed up, yet there is also a thin stream of snot continually running from my right nostril. Oh, the joys of being allergic to everything green.
At least we got a few miles in today. I was very, very close to not going anywhere at all.