It was a nice afternoon yesterday. Grigo and I had good chats with the locals, and Reg behind the bar. The Bangers and Mash went down easily, whilst Grigo's "The Paddock" pizza slid in effortlessly.
One opf the local lads frequently commented on how good "the paddock" was, adding that just the other day he got one to take home but by the time he got to the front door of the Pub, it was all gone. "Love the paddock, mate", and chuckled glutonously. Today's journey will take, according to google maps, 121 km, along Cullula rd, Sandy Point rd, Oallen ford road accross Shoalhaven river, Nerriga & Braidwood roads to Nowra.
EXPECTATION: Country & National Park roads all the way to Nowra with no pit stops other than the Nerriga Pub. Have a good climb from Nerriga to Sassafras, followed by a long descent.
ILLUSION: The climb should be easy by this stage of the tour... should be a lot fitter by now.We arrived at the Oallen Ford bridge after 2 hours on the saddle. Cullula rd: Peaceful, amongst trees, quiet. Sandy Point Rd: Open country, quiet, lovely. Oallen Ford rd: Ups, Downs, through gravel to the Shoalhaven river. So far this morning, very relaxing. Recommended!
The lady at the Loaded Dog Hotel said that just last week Oallen Ford was closed due to flooding, but all good today. A local had warned us about an errant Emu and a stray Alpaca. The male Emu "bloody dominant mate, and once he gets his beak stuck to your face, there is no knowing when he'll let go. Watch it, or he'll scratch the @#$t out of you..." He laughed, and about the Alpaca: "Dirty bastard... he's spat on me twice....next time..." So as we rode we did look forward to an encounter with these errant creatures.
After a rest at Oallen Ford, the ascent began. It is logical. When one enjoys open country across the plateaus, and more so a downhill to the river bed, then it follows that one must rise out of the river bed on the other side. We were prepared, and it was not difficult. The bush became dense, went past a good stretch of gravel road (currently being sealed), and took a left at the intersection with Nerriga road.
We cruised into Nerriga by 11:00am, 54kms done. One is compelled to ask what the road ahead offers, well I do anyway. "Good road ahead, luv" said the woman with the red t-shirt and a middy of beer in her hand, whilst her three dogs waited in the ute. "But you gotta get over a steep hill" said the bloke at the bar, " and it'll be tough on a pushy." He served us Bacon and double egg rolls. After a good rest and a belly full of tucker, we took off.
A few km's later the steep climbing began. Steep and winding. Plenty of distractions to keep the mind occupied, such as the rock formations on the Bulee Gap, and magnificent views across the Budawangs. Once the top is reached glimpses of the ocean may be seen in the distance, but the weather had turned sour and all that could be seen was low clouds and dense bush. Went past Sassafras, and the downhill commenced. Fully loaded my bike clocked 56km/hr. Very nice. The scenery, although consisting of trees either side, did change frequently.
By Morton National Park, we stopped to see the Tianjara falls. Moving on, as we descended, the trees became taller. Shorter and stumpy at the top, longer and thinner further down. We then came by Albatross road and into Nowra. Up to this point, it was a beautiful day's ride. 7.5 hrs on the saddle enabled us to experience a great variety of conditions: Sunny open country, cloudy bush roads, drizzling bacon and egg rolls, sweaty uphill climb, raining descent, muggy arrival at the destination. Could ask for more.
Highly recommended route.