Friday 6th May, 2022
90 km +986m
Moving 4:29 Elapsed 6:39
Max 54.5 kph, Avg 20.1 kph
Another breakfast-in-cafe morning (or in this case, bakery), before hitting the road at 7.55. We had rolls made up to take for lunch. (Or was it sandwiches? – that’s a detail we can’t remember 10 months later!)
The elevation profile was pretty easy riding for the day – except for that one 7km/300m climb cutting across from the Murray Valley Highway to Murray River Rd. It was a nice road though, up through the edges of Mt Granya State Park, and an enjoyable run downhill.
Before that turnoff we had seen the High Country Rail Trail running alongside the Murray Valley Hwy. (We’d noticed it yesterday as well.) It runs for 80km – from Wodonga, through Tallangatta, and then up to Shelley. As that link shows, it’s sustained some damage from the fires and is also slated to continue through, hopefully, all the way to Corryong. I know I’ve been going off on a bit of a tangent with all these references to rail trails, but Victoria has by far the most (and more of the longest) rail trails in Australia. It’s no wonder our route has come across a few of them. In my head I pencil them in for future cycle touring possibilities.
We came across a picnic shelter by the side of the road, overlooking the Murray River (upper reaches of the dam, really), and decided to take the opportunity for a break, 35k into the day. Morning tea.
It was our ‘How’s the serenity?’ moment of the whole trip.
The road was surprisingly quiet, and the scenery was great, so we quite enjoyed the rest of the day.
We stopped not long after 12.00 for lunch at a camping reserve on the river bank. 67k. It started spitting rain a bit, but it didn’t last. It was a bit cool all day – we’d started out in 3-4 degrees, and it only got to 7 degrees by the time we’d got over the hill and to the Serenity picnic shelter. (So imagine how cold it would have been up in the mountains!) But it wasn’t windy, and it was peaceful.
Only half an hour from there we got to a lookout, so stopped in to check out the view. And the wedge-tailed eagle sculpture.
And then it was only another 13k and we were at the turnoff to Jingellic – our sneaky little side-trip into NSW. (For non-Australians, much of the border between NSW and Victoria is along the Murray River – basically from its source (about 100km southeast of here), all the way to the border with South Australia. The border itself is on the (mostly) southern, or left bank, ie. the Victorian side, so basically the river itself is in NSW. (You never know, that might come up in a trivia quiz some day!)
The other thing that Marc noted at the time was that we had in fact crossed the Murray to the ‘southern’ side – at Murray Bridge, in South Australia – way back on Day 25. Tailem Bend was actually further downstream and right on the river pretty close to where the river flows into Lake Alexandrina, which then feeds the Coorong (which we later rode along), as well as emptying into the ocean via the Murray Mouth. It was a bit mind-blowing to think that the water flowing under this bridge would end up in the ocean in South Australia (water ‘management’ with dams and irrigation along the way notwithstanding, but that’s a whole can of worms not to open here!)
We would cross it ‘officially’ on the route, southside to northside, tomorrow.
We had a drink and snack at the General Store (there wasn’t that much in there to be honest!) and sat in there in the warmth for about half an hour before rolling around to the pub.
So, Jingellic. We had camped here on the first night of the NSW Big Ride in 2006 – our first-ever tandem touring adventure with our three girls. It seemed sort of fitting to stay here again. Family history and memories and all that.
Our cabin accommodation at the hotel wasn’t that great, but oh well. We spent a bit of time in the pub. A guy who was cycle touring and camping out the back at the reserve had clocked us as ‘fellow cycle tourists’, and joined us as we had a beer and chips. He was MTB touring. He bent Marc’s ear for a while about where he’d been and where he was headed. I think I just didn’t have anything left in me to focus on the details.
The bar in the pub had money pinned to the ceiling, and so, over dinner, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked about it. Fundraiser for the local hospital (although which one that is, I don’t know.)
A shorter day tomorrow – only 67km to Khancoban. But that’s ok. Apart from timing it with the weather window factor, there was also no point thrashing ourselves before tackling the hardest climb of the whole damn ride.