Day 5 – Willawarrin to Hat Head

68 km
+ 717m
1 magpie swoop
1 horn-blowing dickhead

An ‘interesting’ night. The less said about my naivety (and anxiety about breaking ‘rules’) the better. Spent much too much time worrying about the security of the bike. I’ve learnt from it.

It was also yet another night of trying to find somewhere (in these covid distancing times) away from cigarette smoke, and this pub wasn’t set up for it.

A pretty ordinary pub meal, and a pretty ordinary sleep. But, and I reiterate this again, the staff and the locals were so nice!

In the morning we wasted at least an hour searching for my take-a-look mirror, which I had (responsibly, I thought) removed from the stem of my glasses and stashed in the boot bag when we got to the general store yesterday afternoon.

No luck, it was gone. No idea how or when it ‘jumped’ out of the boot bag. So, it was 30km to Kempsey on a main road with traffic without being able to scan behind me and call out the approaching vehicles – which is how we roll. It feels like driving a car without a rear vision mirror. But anyway, we adapted – me with ears peeled, and him having to do a lot more checking, confirmation, and calling out for my benefit.

We made a stop at a takeaway on the outskirts of Kempsey (at which point I must have bumped the recording button on the Garmin, only to realise 7 km later in South Kempsey that I hadn’t been recording.

We headed for the bike shop there, having decided to make do with purchasing a couple more ‘missing links’ as insurance for our chain issue. It hadn’t failed again on the climbs yesterday, and Marc already had a new chain at home. (And he wanted to make sure a new chain was ok with the old cassette.)

We had figured we’d see if we could buy any kind of mirror, assuming it would have to be handlebar type, but the shop had a few glasses and helmet options. None as good as the take-a-look that we are used to, but we settled on a helmet mirror which works ok. (I bump it every damn time I take off my helmet, so a lot more adjusting needed, but it’ll do till we get a replacement.)

On towards Hat Head then – with a stop at Gladstone. Back to close passing idiots (the cars had been generally pretty courteous between Willawarrin and Kempsey) – and the horn-blowing idiot who clearly wanted us to evaporate off the road. Then the bloody magpie appearing out of nowhere just before Gladstone. Out with the stick!

Steam & Cedar is a cute little cafe (‘coffee store’) in the courtyard of the ‘Gladstone Hub’.

The owner was also a bike rider, so was up for a chat. His hot tip was that it was flat riding between there and Hat Head, and he was right. The last several kilometres ran through the National Park and was very pleasant indeed.

Icecream time again at what turned out to be one of two stores – neither of which carried much in the way of groceries. A box of Just Right, a litre of milk, and then we headed for the Airbnb which was through the caravan park and across the creek.

After two nights in pub accommodation, a house was very welcome.

3 thoughts on “Day 5 – Willawarrin to Hat Head

    1. Hey Chris, thanks for the offer, but I think we’re going to just go ahead and buy three new ones. Marc needs a new one – his mirror is peeling, and if I’d consulted with him before ordering the two left-side ones I bought before our US trip in ’17 he would have got himself a new right-side one then! And we think we’ll also buy a spare to carry with us!!!


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