IP Day 38 – Bairnsdale to Ensay

Sunday 1st May, 2022

81.8 km +980m
Moving 4:17 Elapsed 7:34 (actually 6:10 – didn’t stop ride)
Max 68.2 kph Avg 19.1 kph

Not a huge day today, so we got going a bit later. We checked out of the motel just after 8, and rode down the main street to a cafe for a decent breakfast. While we were eating Marc remembered that he’d left something in the motel room. Bloody hell, neither of us can remember now what it was! (The keg again?) Maybe it will come back to us one day (in which case I’ll come back and edit!) Anyway, it meant we had to double back to the motel. Fortunately, no cleaning had started yet, so we were able to get into the room and retrieve it.

Leaving the motel Take 2, at 8.40am. Through downtown Bairnsdale, then the north-eastern outskirts. The Princes Highway branched off at one roundabout, and we continued north on the Great Alpine Way.

We had 28km to Bruthen, with a couple of ‘warm-up’ humps. The traffic was a bit feral. Really the Great Alpine Way as far as Bruthen, (and then the Bruthen -Nowa-Nowa Rd is really the pseudo-A1/Princes Hwy because it’s the shortest way to head east through Orbost, onto Cann River, Mallacoota, and then up the south coast of NSW. Many were impatient, clearly wanting us to evaporate – or ride at nearly 70 kph downhill on a rough, narrow shoulder.

We got into Bruthen just on 10am and grabbed some food (and coffee!) at the bakery. A snack for now, and something to take with us for lunch. We sat in a park across the road. I remember some guy there making the usual stupid comment about the one on the back not pedalling or something. Groan. I will forever lack a sense of humour with that ‘joke’, especially after 37 days of riding from Perth!

Loo, water top up, and we headed north (while most of the traffic headed east.)

Not far out of Bruthen, there were some people standing out on their driveway, looking our way. Dotwatchers pop up in the most unexpected of places! We pulled up and chatted with Jenny, Peter, and Jack.

As you can see, Jack likes bike riding. He told me about a bike camp he went to, which sounded pretty cool.

The riding was a lot more enjoyable now, albeit with that bigger climb.

We had a 5 min break almost at the top of that next big ‘hump’ for the day, (which is pretty obvious on that elevation map above!) and then stopped to eat our lunch at a little park at Tambo Crossing. 1pm and 60km.

(yes, clearly a Streetview screenshot!). You grab the rare opportunities for a decent rest spot like this.

There was a car parked in there, and a woman with a baby doing a nappy change! We asked her if she minded us taking advantage of the other end of the sawn-off log, and she didn’t. We enjoyed a chat about where she lived, and where she was headed on a bit of a road trip. I think we even talked about netball!

It was only just over an hour then till we arrived in Ensay. I have to steal a screenshot from Google Maps of this cute pub as, for some reason, we completely forgot to take our own photo!

It was beer and chips time. We sat in the bar talking to the young barman, before eventually checking into our room around the back.

We had yet ANOTHER rendezvous here, with long-time friend, Mic, who lives in Cooma. He decided to use up some of his long service leave (or vacation time?) to use us as a good reason for a road trip and a one-night getaway! He does get about, does Mic, but wow! We’re talking about 360km – each way. To see us?!

We had just finished our showers when he arrived and checked into his room. Naturally, it was then (more) beer time, followed by dinner, with much catching up to do. The last time we saw Mic was in 2018 when we rode through Cooma, and we had dinner with him there!

Marc’s selfies with flash have been a bit blurry, but they’re still better than any I would manage to take. (Btw, that’s my knee, I am a) not pregnant, nor have I b) eaten too many chips!)

Some discussion was had about our plans for getting over that second BIG climb – Cabramurra. This was in Mic’s home territory. Our estimated day for doing that was about one week from tomorrow, lining up with the good weather window. We had already sussed that it was pretty much impossible to get accommodation in Adaminaby because all the accommodation was booked out for months for the workers employed on Snowy Hydro 2.0. I did get a good tip from Mic about an Airbnb out the other side (and off-official route). We also knew that Cabramurra was a closed Snowy-Hydro town, and we didn’t want to put ourselves, or them, in the position of having to crash there.

Anyway, more about that later. First, we had to get over Falls this week.

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