92k, but only +219m. No ‘free’ km though. First 50k was nuts. Supposedly a ‘local road’, but lots of traffic (we think avoiding lots of road works on the A1l). Too many close passes to count (Victoria doesn’t have the close pass laws, and as toothless as they are in NSW, we actually think after this experience that they are making a difference).
And then there were the @%#*ing birds. Aggro magpies, as well as these other smaller birds that have apparently decided swooping cyclists like the maggies do looks like a bit of a hoot. I ended up pulling out the selfie stick (which we haven’t used for its intended purpose yet 😁) sticking it in the outer pocket of the rear pannier, and unsheathing it and waving it around overhead like a mad thing with every swoop. Some of the ratbags came so close they touched Marc’s helmet.
And then there were the mozzies as big as flies at the first place we stopped for a break.
There weren’t any outside the school at Meerlieu (the school was closed up and quiet though). Nice flowering gum.
Thankfully most traffic turned off to Sale 10k out of Stratford. We found a tree stump at that intersection, breathed a sigh of relief and had an early lunch.
The next 10k onto Stratford weren’t so bad, albeit still with the odd magpie. (By then we were jumping at every bird shadow and flappy noise. The cockatoos that seemed to have flown shotgun for us a bit of the way – seemingly scaring off the swoopers – disappeared, so it was just us feeling like we were on some warped, sadistic spin-off of Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Seriously making us think about touring in Oz in the Spring again.
Anyway. Coffee at Stratford (which is on the Avon River, because of course it is.
Getting onto the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail there was a relief (although the maggies weren’t done with us yet.) The surface was more compacted than the Orbost end of the East Gippsland Rail Trail, so it was easier riding. As you might expect from the name, we were in open countryside now – mostly farmland. Lots of dairy cattle looking just like the labels on Gippsland Dairy products.
Always inspecting work related installations. In this case an irrigation flow meter:
Backtracking to Bairnsdale this morning. I’m not normally into churches but this one is pretty impressive. They certainly had a bit of money in the day.
Bit of a juxtaposition with the old cement water tower.
Back at Heyfield Pub (Top Pub to be exact) – more catching up, this time with Ben, who used to work with Marc in Coffs, but has now moved to Sale.