Ulladulla is a town built on so many
hills, I expected all its inhabitants to have calves of granite.
Nope! Most people are fat, like all towns in the western world.
That's an easy criticism to make for someone who looks like they
haven't eaten in three days. I hopped on the scales in Sydney and I
am the same weight as always. The bones in my legs must be getting
denser cause the muscles aren't bulging there and my upper body looks
like I've spent years training to be a zombie.
I had a rest day in Ulladulla hoping
that some gastronomic expansion might rub off on me. All I did for
the entire day was lounge around and eat. And while that made a great
start on my camp chair ass groove, it did little for filling out the
gaunt places. I even snuck in two Wild Turkey stubbies, just to see
if any basic bogan nutrition would help, but no. For the duration of
this ride, I am more concerned with function than asthetics and as
long as I can get to the top of the next hill I am happy. Probably
should stay away from the Turkeys then I guess.
It was a beautiful camp spot I had in
Ulladulla. A lone peacock wandered around, endearing for the first
five minutes, annoying for the rest of the time. It's an amazingly
beautiful animal but it's continual cries meant it wasn't coping too
well with being alone. I am loving the solitude, but I probably don't
have to go all the way to India just to find a mate though. There was
enough native wildlife getting around to make you forget you were in
a populated area any way.
The fifty kilometre stretch to Batemans
Bay was hilly enough to be annoying, but not overly taxing. My 'go at
it like a thrashing machine' technique works well on big hills, but
smaller inclines merely require putting your head down, turning the
pedals over and thinking of better holiday choices in future. Even
though it was all Pacific Highway, it wound through State and
National parks, and was therefore scenic and serene.
I had an elongated lunch break in
Batemans Bay with a Matsos customer who was in the area visiting
family. He had driven from Broome and our respective endeavours made
us both awed by the scale of this fine country we live in. Looking at
my state map, I travel about 5cms a day. That is why I love the local
Cartoscope maps. Other than being full of surprises with their
constant inaccuracy, the scale is small enough to do half a page in a
A 5km flat ride beside the ocean made
me remember I was doing this all for fun before things got hilly
again. Batemans Bay didn't seem like long enough of a ride when I was
there but each successive hill reminded me that I am always an idiot
for continuing on. I stopped in at one flash looking caravan park to
find they were full. Judging by the décor in the office, I was
thankful I didn't get as far as finding out how badly they would want
to 'Iluka' me.
Not only did Tomakin have space for me,
the lady halved the price when she saw the 'there's no fucking way
I'm riding any further today' look on my face. It could have been
misinterpreted as a look of impending robbery, but I got what I
wanted without having to show this lady my piece. She was actually
rather cute but my howitzer, yeah alright, pellet gun, has spent most
of the trip numb and would have been better left at home if I was
able to do so.
The next morning, organic coffee was
being offered at the shop just down the beautifully named, and
appropriate at the time, Sunny Patch Road. Sipping down my dine in
coffee in a take away cup, I had barely registered why my order had
appeared thus. It must have worried the barista enough to come out to
apologise after realising my bike wasn't built with cup holders. Just
give me coffee and milk that doesn't taste like bitumen and I'm happy
any way it comes.
Being so sensitive to caffeine, any
intake leads to brief feelings of euphoria that no hill can erode. A
delightful 10km meander alongside Moruya river was the setting for
today's coffee ecstasy. The sort of stretch that requires photos with
phone and camera, and some movie footage as well. Being so blissfully
unaware of the fact I wasn't floating on a cloud nearly got me run
into the river. Three quarters of the movie clip is me hanging on to
the handle bars for dear life as I wobbled my way back to my rightful
spot on the roads shoulder.
Rapture found reality rather quickly
when another bolt fell off the trailer. Things clink on the road all
the time and mostly mean I have just flicked something up as I ran
over it. As one trailer arm came free from the bike, dragging me in
front of a swerving bus, I realised I had actually lost something
valuable. Scraping to a stop a few metres on, I saw that the bolt,
spring and arm that attaches to the bike had all disappeared. I
wandered back along the road and miraculously found the arm like
finding an electron in a pile of planets.
Like Jesus at bingo, another miracle
befell me when the only thing I had to fix it were the bolts I had
brought to replace the dodgy ones holding the trailers mudguard on.
Clip ties were my only other option and using them would have
required updating my will first. Now the trailer bolts on, rather
than clipping on adding a further five minutes to every rides start
and finish. At least I didn't end up embedded in a buses bumper bar.
By the time I got to Narooma, I was
ready to call it quits for the day. 60kms was not an epic day by any
stretch, but the complete absence of flat spots made it feel a bit
that way. The only place to have space wanted a whopping $72 for an
unpowered site! Holy fucking Iluka. The Information Centre lady told
me this jaw dropping fact and possibly left out the part about the
free joy flight to the moon that must have been part of the price. I
rode past the park as it was 6kms south of Narooma and could barely
believe my eyes when a large flag advertised 'affordable
accommodation'. I was obviously riding too fast to read the fine
print referring it to oil tycoons and Heads of State.
A far better place awaited me anyway
and the beauty of Mystery Bay was not to be its highlight. That's not
to say it isn't pretty. It is in so many ways, least of all the fact
I could have stayed there for 6 nights for the same price as
Australia's only 9 star caravan park. The park ranger who checked me
in was the sort of character Country and Western movies were built
Speaking with the slowly measured
cadence of someone who over estimates the value of every single word,
Craig stretched a brief exchange out into a long catch-up. His
monotone never wavered and nothing I said brought about a change in
his 'seen all there is to see' expression. His green beach hat
dreamed of being 10 gallons bigger and the only part of his look that
was missing was the toothpick being chewed with the same attention to
detail as his vocabulary.
He gave me a detailed analysis of the
road ahead and I await the day when someone uses the word 'easy' in
any way. He seemed knowledgeable on everything but shared it in a way
that accepted no disagreement. He described Mystery Bay as being
'very relaxed' so many times I started to question the extension of
his life experience. Was the guy born, raised and planning on dying
in the dilapidated caravan that was the camp grounds office? Relaxed
is a place like Broome where everything is done at a leisurely pace
by people who have come from all over the place. Backward is a more
apt description of someone who has done the same thing in the same
place for so long there no longer is any need to race to the next
opportunity to do exactly the same thing again.
Waves were breaking within earshot and
conversing any longer would have forced me to film the guy like he
had the best moves at the orgy. He sat with his boots up on the table
like the town sherriff watching me as I put my tent up still
bemoaning the fact I have to re-splint the pole every night. The pole
still hasn't arrived in Sydney and I wish for a solution as simple as
the broken stand shoe. Sure the bike falls over all the time, but its
aesthetics were balanced out by simply losing the other shoe
somewhere along the way.
I made the short trip down to the
waters edge for a long overdue ocean cleanse. I basked in every days
other phase of euphoria, induced by arriving somewhere, getting off
the bike and allowing sensation to return to my ass. The waters were
rough thanks to a strong easterly that was having a similar effect on
the waves as it had on my riding. The waters were surprisingly warm,
particularly compared to the cold shower that followed. A chill
couldn't halt my happiness, especially after the trailer nearly
brought on eternal peace.