Rest day Khancoban

Sunday 8th May, 2022

Well, there’s not a lot to Khancoban. The town was one of those constructed to house workers during the building of the Snowy Hydro Scheme – back in the 1950s and 60s – and it’s mainly Snowy Hydro-related workers who live here. The town does still have that vibe (like we observed with Mount Beauty), but it’s peaceful and quiet – which is kind of our thing.

If you continued on Alpine Way past Khancoban – south – you’d be taking the scenic route to the west of Mount Kosciuszko, then skirting around the south of it, and up past the ski resort of Thredbo. Our route, however, would be taking us northwards. On a quieter road, but into the high country nonetheless. (Higher country, actually. Via Thredbo wouldn’t have been as high, or for nearly as long at over 1000m.)

We had a rest day sleep-in and then found our way through the park up to the Pickled Parrot for a late breakfast.

Then we walked back another way. The deciduous trees planted in the park make it attractive in autumn. (It would make it bleaker in winter though!) Marc continued his mission to photograph empty or unusable pools. I have no details on the whys and wherefores of the ‘thong tree’.

We faffed around ‘resting’. The motel room wasn’t anything to write home about. I felt tired, but I didn’t want to have a nap because I was worried I wouldn’t fall asleep easily tonight – just another of my ‘things’. Marc is the king of power napping and probably did have a snooze. Or two!

We were also locking in our plans for tomorrow, and the next couple of days, and, in fact, for the first time, sketching out all the days to the finish. Whoa! What was doable? We could actually make Sydney by next Sunday if we didn’t have a rest day in Canberra. Marc remembers posing this because I guess our original plans had been to have a rest day in each capital city. (Which of course didn’t even pan out in the first one – Adelaide!) I don’t even remember having the conversation, but he remembers being quite relieved that I was ok with it. I apparently said something like ‘yeah, well, I don’t think you end up feeling that rested after a rest day anyway’. (It’s more like a ‘restless day’.) I suspect my thought processes were, well, we’re having one today, and now let’s just get this thing finished now!’ And, yes, a Sunday finish would be a good day for my sister and her husband to come in to meet us at the Opera House and bring our van, rather than on a work day.

Anyway, back to these next two days. I think I already mentioned the issues with accommodation at Adaminaby. Even if we pulled a humungous day tomorrow, there was absolutely nothing available for accommodation in town because it was booked out solid with Snowy 2.0 workers. (Also feeding into our decision to stay at and take off from Khancoban – on a good weather day – was that we knew that the few National Parks huts that might have served as emergency accommodation had been burnt down in the fires.)

When Marc and Mic were talking back at Ensay, Marc decided that our best option was to camp at Three Mile Dam, a National Parks camping area about 6km before the junction with the Snowy Mountains Hwy and 43km from Adaminaby. This being both his home and work -territory, Mic insisted that he would come up from Cooma (92km away), camp with us, and bring dinner and breakfast. Well, it was impossible to knock back that offer. It would save us from having to carry food with us from Khancoban.

When we were back in Beechworth, another long-time friend, Derek, had rung Marc for a catch-up. (He’s not on Facebook, so wasn’t up with our latest … news.) “What’s the latest?” “Ah well, as it happens, we’re towards the end of a huge ride across Australia on this Indipac event.” When he, no doubt, got over rolling his eyes, it came up that we would be riding through Cabramurra and Kiandra, and in fact camping the night at Three Mile Dam, about 96 km from Tumut, where he lives. He insisted that he would come out to see us there. He and Mic knew each other from ‘the old days’, and so we left them to coordinate food (and beer) logistics.

So that was tomorrow night sorted. Three Mile Dam. I wasn’t looking forward to camping at the end of a hard day – and at about 1500m – but it was the best option for us. Climbing on a tandem, even with our lower gearing, is harder going than on a single bike.

A few days back I followed up on Mic’s lead about an Airbnb beyond Adaminaby. It was off-route on Bobeyan Rd, BUT, it was actually on the detour route to Canberra that we intended to take to avoid the Monaro Hwy – following Rowan’s lead from last year.

We got lucky. Soooo lucky. I had messaged the Airbnb host to see if they might waive the two-night minimum for a pair of nutcases riding across Australia. She actually had a booking pending for her official cabin anyway but offered us a little apartment on their property that they usually only use for family. What a gem. She wouldn’t be there, but her grandmother lived on-site and would see us there.

We used the day to book accommodation in Canberra, and beyond.

Because of our late breakfast, we didn’t get back up to the Pickled Parrot for lunch until 2.00, and alas, the kitchen was closed and we missed out on having the fabulous chips. We made do with pre-made toasted focaccias or something like that from the cabinet.

We walked over to the roadhouse to check what time they opened in the morning. The cafe opened at 6.00, so we decided we’d have breakfast there. We asked if they would have freshly made sandwiches – for lunch – at that time in the morning, and the answer was no, not by then, so we bought some then.

Another pub dinner, and bed. Big day tomorrow.

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