Thursday December 1, 2011, 95 km
Last night was still, the stars were shining so today I will be riding, and a break from thinking to much. Good sleep. To prevent the sore hip in the middle of the night, and the constant tossing and turning from hip to hip, last night it was decided that the Vango thermarest (which deflates, particularly when the crucial sleeping moments occur) was to be folded. I only had to inflate it once, and it provided the opportunity to walk in darkness and marvel at the stars.
My camera only allows 15 second max exposure, so it was a futile pursuit to capture the starry night. Just observe. It is 5:30 am, and the flies are returning after the storm. Last night I met Jurek at the camp. He is Polish and is a tour organiser, specialising in solar eclipses tours. 14th November 2012 there is Solar eclipses to be seen in the Northern Territory. People follow eclipses around the globe, photographet's dream of these. Jurek said that his tours avoid cities. Only one city on first day, then it is camping at special locations on way to the solar eclipse. He plans to bring his group to Honeysuckle. Very special place he said, and the old space station is not far from here. This is good. Jurek was eating tuna from a can. I cooked my chick pea specialty and offered him some. He said..."hmm, is very good.......you like some wodka?" I got the little raspberry flavoured Absolut wodka nip bottle. My way out of Honeysuckle was being led by at least 30 kangaroos, hopping ahead peeling off either side of the road. I thanked them for their hospitality. The ordeal of climbing Apollo rd to get here, which seemed to take an inordinate amount of time, was over and done with in a flash. It took about 25 minutes, and only because I had to stop frequently to give the brakes a break and take pics of the landscape. It was a stunning morning. IThe descent provides a totally different perspective to the road that had been climbed. Can see and feel how steep it is. The grind of pushing uphill is very slow. The ease of rolling down can be ridiculously fast. I could not let go of the brakes. The hair pin bends were very sharp...I xould have flown off course and crashed. Made it to Tharwa, visited its general store, bought a small rubbery kangaroo which I strapped to my handle bar, and took a left on Tidbindilla road. Namadgi National park behind me and Tidbindilla Nature reserve ahead. The reserve offers a 17km round trip where various features of the flora and fauna of the region can be appreciated. It was a pleasant detour, and there more kangaroos than anything else.From the reserve I headed for the Tidbindilla space station (another 9km round trip detour) where I had a good burger for lunch. On my way back to the main road I spotted none other than Jurek, taking photos of the space station. Nice reencounter, we swapped facebook details to stay in touch, and parted ways. The rest of the journey back to Canberra was a reasonable workout and made it to cousin Peggy's for dinner. Now I have a couple of days in our nation's capital.