Price you pay for avoiding the highway… We knew we were in for a dirt road of dubious quality.. We knew we’d have to take it slow. Oh boy. Very VERY slow. Hard to believe, but the one on the back was told to NOT PUSH. (That actually kept me rather amused and in high humour for a few kilometres at least.)
All I can say is SHAME ON YOU HASTINGS COUNCIL. Within a few hundred metres the road was clearly worse!
As the road got worse, we kept stopping for a break more often.. It seemed we kept halving the distance we stopped at… and it was down to, like, 4k, then 2k, then 1k… At that rate (ie. halving the distance left) each time, we actually thought might never get there!)
But we did. Well, the end of that f***ing road at any rate.
I all but kissed it. (opted instead for a photo). The tar was just out of sight around that bend.
The few k’s on tar either side of the ferry were inconsequential after that.
We had lunch at Settlement Point – in a cafe just near a bike shop (incidentally the one where I bought my road bike.) The bike shop guy saw us and stopped to chat, to talk tandems (as he has one that he rides with his 8 yr old). Told him we owned a triple that we were interested in selling, so we left with his contact details.
And Marc bought himself a new pair of cycling shoes, as his old ones were being held together with duct tape!
So, apart from keeping the day short because of the unknown condition of Maria River Road, the other reason was that… wait for it…. Marc had decided that he should do a return trip to Coffs so he could play in his Touch Footy team’s Grand Final game.
Reactions by people when told of this plan ranged on a spectrum – from my father’s “That’s completely nuts, I give up, how is he going to do that, then ride again?! blah blah blah”, to Leanne (of Day 1’s chance meeting) saying “That’s fantastic! I love it!!!”
A teammate had managed to organise himself to be in Port for work that afternoon. 4pm pick up and thus he had a lift back to Coffs. Game at 7.30. (They won 😀 ). He took a bus (coach) service back to Port, arriving at 1.10am. (Wearing winner’s prize of a lightweight jacket.)
While I can’t say that I truly appreciated having to wake up at 1.20am to let him in, the rest wasn’t such a big deal. I filled in my time washing (and drying) … grabbing some stuff at the supermarket, and just getting takeaway Chinese. Sometimes eating takeaway on a motel bed while watching the telly is just the sort of daggy thing you need.
And, adding a touch footy grand final, with at least 5 hours extra travelling time? Why not, if you can pull it off?
Added bonus was that he took back about a kilo’s worth of stuff we’d already decided we could do without.