Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day 6 - Beechworth to Tallangatta: Love the unexpected

Friday November 25, 2011, 75 km


"The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house, all that cold, cold, wet day?\"
First of all, I am in no house. I am ready to go, with the sore knee. Must make it to Tallangatta.So, Thing One is me, and Thing Two is the bike, and we are going to play, we are going to ride on this cold, grey, wet day.
 As I sit now at the Java@Yackandandah cafe, I ponder on this morning's 31 kms. Left Beechworth heading for Stanley. Undulating with a few sharper ones. The knee strap was doing its job. It was all green, wet, and lush.
  Followed Mt Stanley road until the gravel strectch came to view. A sign posted "... no traffic on wet days..." Great, I had the road to myself.
  Hills cannot be avoided. These parts of northern Victoria are strewn with hills. Some sections had to be walked as wet gravel was something to contend with. The downhills had to be slow, very slow, with endless pressure on the brake levers. I could feel the back wheel skidding ever so slightly. No
stacks for me!


  The coluntry side was phenomenal, the rain adding to the joy of witnessing the landscape. A few Kangaroos hopped across the Mt Stanley road. Took a left turn into Hillsborough road, and few short, steep climbs, and then down past the pine forest. This takes one to other Back Creek road.

 






 From this point on it was all downhill. At one stage I began to think that I may have taken a wrong turn somewhere, as it seemed endless downhill riding. I shuddered at the thought that if I had indeed taken a wrong turn, I would have to climb this back to the top.  


This stretch was all red earth, sloppy, slushy, and by no means s a road one hoons down on. Breaking all the way, occassionally feeling the front and back wheels slide from side to side. 


Had ted earth on my legs, socks, sodden gortec lined shoes, and if it weren't for the mudguards, then I would have been a reddened CGOAB by the time I pulled into Yackandandah. 


On the ashfalt a few good climbs then down to the cafe.It turned out to be a tremendous morning.  "The sun will not shine but it is wet enough to play, so I will sit on the bike all this cold, cold wet day..." and make my way to Tallangatta.

 Rode along undulating country,through Staghorn flats, the Kiewa flats, past Kiewa (an Aboriginal word meaning Sweet Water) and stopped at Tangambalanga (White clawed lobster) for a rest.There is a big hill up ahead,so had a mars bar for fuel.  A curious incident happened along the Staghorn flats: motorist slows down and flags cycle tourist. Motorist asks cycle tourist for directions to Beechworth! 

Eventually I came to the Murray Valley highway and headed right towards Tallangatta. Pulled up by the hotel by 4:00pm, saturated,soaked through, and wrinkly handed.  Now, this town is something else.

 
On arrival I was greeted by Dan outside the Tallangatta hotel, wherevI was staying for the night in a single room (no desire to pitch tent on this cold cold wet night)Dan is young,, and works in the abbattoir. "Every one works in pubs or the abbattoir..." he confessed,confessing also how just this morning his girlfriend had packed her things and left their shared abode, which was Dan's anyway, and how her exhusband with whom she had two kids was trying to get Dan to pay alimony.

Dan confessed to Beth also, the same story and she said he was being ripped off and should go to legal aid, but Dan wasn't listening because he felt hurt and could not reason beyond his bewilderment at why she did what she did, moving in with one of Dan's friends and co-worker at the abbattoir.  Other lads soon arrived at the hotel, both young, middle aged and older, and being friday night in Tallangatta all greet each other with expletives as the preferred terms of endearment.
  I dined and was highly entertained by the goings on.Dan said: "I'd like to get my bike and come with you"

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