IP Day 22 – Melrose to Clare

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

134.5km, +770m
Moving 6:35 Elapsed 9:58
Avg 20kph, Max 53kph

We got going at 6:40 am. Only about 100k today – or so we thought. Before Indipac I had done up a comprehensive spreadsheet breaking down the distances between cities/towns etc. The whole route. It had served us well so far. We experimented with tallying up daily distances as we strategised and then confirmed overnight stops. I now can’t remember exactly when it was that we realised that the distance between Yacka and Clare was actually 40km and not the 14 entered in the spreadsheet. I think it slowly started dawning on us along the way when the distances on the signposts showing Clare just didn’t tally up. At first you think, oh, maybe it’s because we’re not necessarily taking the most direct route. Then finally it dawns on you that it just cannot possibly be that much discrepancy.

Sooooo…. Just another unplanned 36km on the already 100km day. *SOB* You can bet that I spent a lot of that 36km mentally beating myself about the head for that mistake, even if I couldn’t imagine how on earth I could have got it wrong, or how on earth the spreadsheet could have glitched itself through our joint accessing and editing it in the cloud.

Anyhow, back to the morning. Dry, cleared farmland, pretty much. Still in wheat country.

Wirrabara, at 27k, for breakfast at the bakery. The food was good, the staff were nice, but it took AGES to come out. We had nearly an hour there, then did a loo stop/water top-up around the corner, and then a quick stop to admire the silo art, and the flock of screechy cockatoos that had started up just as we were finishing up eating.

It was mesmerising watching the cockies flying around these imposing silos, seemingly trying to land on the painted branches. Too realistic. I kind of felt sorry for them.

We stopped for a breather in the main street of Laura (+18km ), but pushed through and detoured a couple of blocks into Gladstone for lunch 10km further along.

Things just felt tougher and tougher after Gladstone. It was all open farmland, with not much going on for shade. Nothing going on in the little township of Georgetown, as cute as it was. The last option for a stop was a park (with a loo and water) in Yacka. Then another 40 – not 14 – kilometres to Clare. It was hard yakka after Yacka.

Mostly uphill. Through a lot of roadworks with a rough aggregate surface, and always, somehow into a headwind. As we, finally, reached the outskirts of Clare – well, the ‘Clare Valley’, one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, so, vineyard country – the local traffic increased. (It took about 3 hours to cover that 40k, with a few breather stops included.)

Naturally, then, while we were pretty much at the end of our tether for the day, the motel was, of course, about 2km out the other side of the town! It was essentially afternoon peak hour, with impatient dickheads trying to overtake us through roundabouts, etc. Someone (on the front of the bike) *may* have got a little hot under the collar and, um… maybe expressed his displeasure. Somewhat.

And then, wouldn’t you know, the motel was at the top of a bleeping steep driveway. We at least got some kudos for actually riding up it from some roadworks/traffic control guys who were checked in and drinking beer outside their rooms. (Well they called out something along the lines of “Are you guys mad or what?” Let’s go with ‘kudos’. (Marc remembered seeing them leapfrogging us back along the road as they packed up signs and stuff for the day.)

Our room, then, was HALFWAY BACK DOWN the hill! Exasperation levels 100, only slightly alleviated by being able to purchase beers from a fridge in reception.

I walked back up again to reception to get coins for the washing machine. (And another beer for Marc I think. As I was writing this up I asked him if he remembers that, and he said “…well I’m pretty sure you probably did because there’s no way one beer was enough for me that night!” Get washing on in the laundry (then halfway back up the hill to get it), and by then there was no way you could have talked me into walking or riding anywhere to eat out. We ordered delivery from a pizza/pasta restaurant. Lasagna seemed like the ideal meal after the day we’d had, and you’d think that two takeout lasagnas would be pretty consistent. Nope. Somehow, while I scored a decent one, Marc’s was so sloppy it was more like a lasagna soup. He needed something to make up for it, so walked 500m to a servo for an ice cream, but I was spent. Turned out the servo had Indian meals much like the roadhouse at Kimba, so in hindsight, he, at least, would have had a much better dinner from there. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

Tanunda tomorrow, and *only* 100km. Trust me, I triple-checked those spreadsheet entries.

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