Day Ten: Gilgandra

Bogan River Camp

The day began at 4.30am with stealthy rustling noises and me congratulating myself on my hermetically sealed tent. When such noises seem to closely follow the perimeter of said tent, one is finally forced to consider the hypothesis that they may be coming from inside. They were. One very small and unhappy mouse had gotten in as I made a toilet trip and now wanted out. Catching a mouse in a tent is not easy.  There is nothing to hit against. Eventually I had to lunge and pick the little sod up.  He had a story to tell when he got home.

At the chemist later that morning I stood in front of two assistants who were deep in conversation, and then both walked away from me. One came back, very apologetic, as she realised what she had done. I raised my arms and said I could hardly blame her. Without missing a second  she said, “Yes, but I could hardly miss you, could I?” I left town the proud owner of new pure white undergloves... although they  are now graying up a little.

Lunch was at the Nevertire café. It smells of mice. Never again.

I bought the makings of tea at Warren, and was flagged down just out of town by a farmer who had passed me.  He discovered bikes about seven years ago (in his sixties now) and was delighted to talk for as long as I had. He had the dry wit of my Uncle Malcolm who lived over here, and some of his mannerisms, so it was a bitter sweet conversation as we discussed bikes, touring, weeds and life in general.

Leaving this new friend I proceeded to  Collie, where I bought a stubbie in the Pub. One stubbie of beer equals toilet access, and means that when you ask if the tap out the front is good for drinking, you often get directed to the rainwater tank. Or in this case, the filtered water at the bar!

The clientele included an older guy who they all told me loved pushbikes and “is crazy.” (Like you, unspoken!) He was a 64 year old Englishman who has bought a house at Collie, and lives here four months of the year, then goes back to England. Sounds to me like me buying a house in Little Upper Chipping. Anyway, he rides all over the district, and the locals are somewhat in awe of him, I think.  He has a sister who lives in Adelaide, and has often wondered about doing that ride, but concluded it might be a bit much to manage. I was thoroughly interviewed about how I  had planned and executed the trip, and he went off looking thoughtful.

Speaking of living in two places, Richmond Air Base sends planes to Gilgandra three days a week. I discovered this about 15km out of town, when what sounded like an Orion passed very low overhead without lights. It is a  very freaky feeling to have this thing on top of you and not be able to see it.

On the trip from Nyngan I have begun to pass frequent large scale irrigated paddocks, some topping a thousand acres, I think. There has been cotton growing wild on the roadside, cattle with feed up to the belly, and creeks meandering swampily all over the landscape. This has been especially the case since Warren.

Roadside Cotton
Roadside Cotton

The early country out of Nyngan was still very dry, with patches of saltbush. In one area someone had clearly planted large areas of old man salt bush and were using it as a grazing strategy.

 

Heavily Grazed Saltbush
Heavily Grazed Old Man Saltbush

 

Fresh Old Man Saltbuse
Ungrazed Old Man Saltbush

 

I have toted up my food since Adelaide. Up until now I have had

 

  • 1 Heaven
  • 1 Subway Footlong; Cobar has a Subway!
  • 2 Coffees
  • 2 Pies
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 Shearers’ Icy Poles
  • 5 Steak Sandwiches with the Lot
  • 7 Stubbies
  • 1 Half Size pack of Vita Brits
  • 16 Small single serve Special K’s etc
  • 8 200 mil milks
  • 4 600 mil choc milks (Chocolate Milk is one of the best recovery drinks for cycling!)
  • 58 Muesli Bars
  • 12 mini Snickers
  • 2 kilograms of Scroggin
  • 1 kilogram of Gatorade powder
  • 80 -90 litres of water
  • 7 cans of baked beans
  • 2 pkts Monte Carlo biscuits
  • 6 apples
  • 6 plums
  • 6 serves Tinned Fruit
  • 2 tubs yoghurt
  • 1 Dutch  Fruit Loaf

 

I am not feeling over fed, and realised after a couple of days I was not eating enough.

Today’s ride from Nyngan to Gilgandra was approximately 160 km. Tomorrow I head for Coonabarabran to stay with Uncle Neville and Auntie Dorothy. I will take the Newall Highway about half way and then head off back to the west via Tooraweenah to come into Coonabarabran via the Warrumbungles Range. This has about 20km of metal road, but is much quieter than  the main road, and safer. (As well as scenic.) My Warren friend, a Tour de Bungles veteran, tells me the hills through the ‘bungles are actually no harder than the main road.  Oddly it’s only about 20km further than the direct root.

I will stay in Coona’ for a couple of days, and then decide whether to do the last 350km to Goondiwindi.

Finally, this photo from yesterday could explain a whole lot:

Bogan Catchment

 

 

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