Robe to Southend
I slowed my pace a bit this day to take in the delights of Robe, Beachport and finally Southend all sweet seaside towns enjoying the quiet of the off season and luckily for me a fairly dry and sunny day. The Southern Ports Highway had light traffic and this was one of the more casual days.
Southend to Nelson
After a short ride finishing up the Southern Ports Highway it was into Millicent a more industrial town than the delights of Robe et al. From Millicent the route returned to the Princes Highway and turned out as far as Mt Gambier to be the busiest dose of traffic I had to endure. No shoulder on the road combined with busy Friday afternoon traffic making its way home for the week.
I blasted through Mt Gambier and continued on as it got dark toward Nelson. The 30 or so km from Gambier I enjoyed a great deal. The traffic volume eased and I hit a great riding stride burning up the last of the daylight at what felt like a good speed. I pulled into Piccinninnie Ponds National Park in the dark to find there were other campers there!
A cluster of kids came by as I settled into my supper inviting me over to their fire later which I did to be plied by the dads with much whiskey and endless suggestions of where I should go next. It was great to meet some real Aussies and their banter.
Nelson to Portland
A really crappy day! The forecast was so so, I had heard that from the campers the night before and the haste with which they left in the morning told me all I needed to know about what was really coming. The sun managed to lure me out of my tent but almost as soon as I was packed the rain started and it was in to the maelstrom from there.
By the time I was in Nelson just a 10 km warm up away the rain was a deluge. There didn't seem to be much else for it though, it was either a long miserable day in the tent which was now packed anyway or in to the saddle and get to it, which I did.
So the enduring memories of this day will be varied: the endless stench of rotting kangaroo roadkill through the pine plantations (must have seen and smelt between 200 and 300 roos in one 50 km stretch! I kid you not), I dodged one of the nastiest showers of the day huddled in an outhouse at a 'rest stop', I saw the only other cyclist of my first 700 km and the wind racked up to a steady 60 km/h with gusts I'm guessing over 80 km/h by the time I reached Portland. At times it was more sailing than cycling. There were no cars or trucks on the road that day, I bet I saw 10 in total.
I stayed in a pub dorm that night and had two showers to warm up and scrub the grime of 6 days on the road off.