Days 195 – 202, (1-8 October, 2010)

Days 195 – 202                   Melbourne – Bega                          1-8 October, 2010 (628km)

After having a really awesome week in Melbourne with some friends we had to head off. (We could have stayed there for ages! So much to do!). Thank you soo much to Helen and Ian for helping us have an awesome week and for doing so much to show us around!

We had to head off and leaving Melbourne wasn’t as difficult as arriving. So basically I followed the main roads across to meet Cohen (helps me with website maintenance) at his work. After a small break I had to keep going to get to Druin (where we were staying for the night). I had a bit of a headwind for the rest of the day but I arrived at the motel.

The next day we were heading to Traralgon which was only about 72km away so I didn’t leave until quite late. What I didn’t take into consideration was the wind and the roads. I had a very strong headwind and also the roads were not in the best condition. However after hours of riding I finally made it into Traralgon where I was greeted by Carmela and her family who were helping us out for the night by giving us meals and beds. Riley (son) told us about his extensive knowledge of the popular kids tv show Ben 10! He knew a lot about it and it was good to extend my knowledge about kids television shows. Later on in the night, after the kids were put to bed, us adults watched a movie which was good to relax and kick back.

The next morning Mark, who works at the mines near Traralgon, gave us a firsthand tour of how the mine operates and it was really quite fascinating and an awesome experience which both Glenn and I really enjoyed. Mark knew a lot about the mines (which are HUGE!) and so he told us how everything works. You know those big silos funnelling that ‘smoke’ out into the air? Those silos are actually cooling towers and all that is coming out of them is non toxic, super heated steam (from water)! He also took us down to a big dredger (which scoops all the coal from the ground). They are massive machines and can scoop up to 7,000 tonnes an hour! How crazy is that! That is 1.9t a second! After the tour we went back to the house as we did have to leave and get to a town called Sale that night! After having lunch back at Carmela and Marks, we packed up, said our goodbyes and headed towards Sale. By now it was almost 3pm (Daylight savings time). Oh yeah, daylight savings started that day so we lost an hour!

Heading into the small town of Sale wasn’t too hard. I mean I did have a steady cross/headwind but you just put your head down and go for it, and it was only about 55km. I eventually arrived there to where the Aspen Motor Inn had very generously donated a room for the night! Thanks to the people there that helped us out for the night.

The next morning saw us heading towards Lakes Entrance, which is a very nice little town on the coast of Victoria. The day started off a little bit hilly and then became slightly more hilly by the end of the day but it was pretty much nothing. It wasn’t a bad ride at all. I did end up arriving fairly late in the day but it was good. It was very hot during the day though! I think it must have reached up to the late 20’s and going into the 30 degree mark. I didn’t check what temperature it was during the day but it was hot riding. I had to stop in a McDonalds to get some cold water because Glenn was already at Lakes Entrance. This was alright though- the water came with some ice! Entering the town there was a nice long downhill which I reached speeds of 60km/h which was quite fun although it was quite windy which meant that I couldn’t go faster than that. That night Tanya from the Abel Tasman Motel had kindly given us two rooms (one each) for the night. It gets quite cold and windy at night so it was good to be inside.

The next day we would head to a very small area called Bellbird Creek. There is basically nothing there except a motel, and a pub. It is in the middle of no-where but it is a Very nice area to stay. We camped that night and it was a good night. I was very tired for some reason and fell asleep in the tent at 5pm when I arrived there. At about 6pm I woke up and Glenn had made dinner. He had experimented and he called it Fried Rice/ Risotto. It was a very nice dinner and we had so much left over. After dinner we washed up and packed most things back into the car and then watched a movie on my little laptop. After the movie we went to sleep. It is really awesome camping because you fall asleep much easier and much earlier which is GREAT!

After 11 hours of sleep I finally woke up and went outside to have breakfast. We woke up to the nice sounds of the birds in the trees and leaves rustling. Very relaxing! After quickly having breakfast I headed towards the mountains. Around that area it becomes really hilly. You could sort of feel it as the days went on, the hillier it became. You begin to think that you might eventually arrive at a point where you are faced with a complete vertical wall of road that you have to ride up. They just keep getting steeper the further north I travel. We were heading towards a town called Genoa which is the last town before the VIC/NSW border. This day was another killer. Not only in the fact that it was quite hilly (crossing over two mountain ranges) but it was scorching hot! We decided to stop at a town called Cann River for lunch. Glenn was already there and had prepared some ingredients to have lunch. I sat there for a while trying to cool off but it seemed as it was just getting hotter. Eventually after having lunch I decided that we had to press on and reach Genoa otherwise we would then be behind schedule, rather than ahead of schedule which we had been for most of the trip. So I continued up these mountains and rode down them as fast as I could. Glenn had filmed some of it and I was travelling really slowly on the up hills but crazy fast on the downhills. Eventually I arrived in Genoa where the Genoa Hotel had kindly given us a room for the night.

The next morning we were heading across the border into New South Wales! One of the only problems was that when I arrived at the border I didn’t know because there were no signs or anything to tell you that you have now arrived in NSW. So I turned around and I saw welcome to Victoria so I just assumed that I had crossed the border and I continued. This day we were heading towards the town which most of you know by the cheese, Bega! The roads leading into Bega from Eden are absolute killers! The mountains are now ginormous monoliths that are so high they lead into the clouds and almost into space. Not really but they are much bigger and longer. However I love them! Once I get into a rhythm it just feels really good. I raced a truck up one of these hills and I beat it, only just though. Because the hills are so steep the trucks takes ages to get up them. But by golly they were pretty exhausting! Rolling down the other side of one of these hills I reached a speed of 77.58km/h!! It was fast and one little slip up at that speed I was road kill. However I made it down in one piece and into Bega in one piece. It was very hot that day too so I jumped in the shower and cooled off a bit.

The next day we had planned on having a rest day. It started off in the morning typing this blog, and then at 9.30am I had an interview with the shire newspaper- Bega District News, and then straight after that an interview with Tim Holt from ABC South East radio. It was quite an administrative day with contacting the national television, radio and print as well as finding time to squeeze in completing this blog. After all this, (after 5pm our days work is pretty much over) we watched a movie and had some dinner and went to sleep- getting ready for the next four days of riding into Sydney.

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