Day 58: Parkes

Day 58: Tuesday September 6

Today rates as "interesting". All was as normal in a routine ride to Peake Hill. But in the Peake Hill main street a sign said "No pedestrian or bicycle access ahead. Take detour." It was not a very large sign, and gave no hint of what was happening. Part way down the street a detour sign pointed to the right, but just seemed to point to empty paddocks. So I ignored it; if a car can go on the road, so can I! Another copy of the original sign was attached to the sign pointing up left St Joseph's Catholic school at the end of town, so I simply shrugged and kept on riding.

Seven kilometres out of town they are beginning major road works slated to last for 2 years, to widen and realign the road. There were lollipop men and women at one point, and I just waited my turn with everyone else, rode through, and thought that if that was what the town signage had been about, it was pretty opaque to someone who was not a local.

And then... a flat tire on the trailer. It was the first one since Tennant Creek; a piece of steel wire more than a centimetre long, which took a while to pull out. I was near the edge of the road, although much further off than for every photo I've taken on this trip, and someone reported this cyclist to the site boss. Just as I was leaving, a truck pulled up with orders to escort me to the end of the road works -- there were more about 5 kilometres ahead -- or give me a lift to the end.

So I set off with a pace truck, did about 5 kilometres at a cracking rate, and then the tire went flat again. To save agro for the young bloke in the truck, and for me, I let him take me five kilometres down the road to a truck stop. There I found the second hole I had expected to be in the tube, but had not been able to find. It was miniscule, so it may have opened up only after the other one was patched. I had a not too filthy wheelie bin lid for a workbench, so all was peachy.

Wattle, Eucalypt and Native Pine; the trees of my childhood. Just need a Sheoak.

After this repair I figured I may as well stay for lunch, which was fine until, about to take a mouthful, I caught an inch ant-- the full 2.54 centimetre variety -- taking a bite between the knuckles on the back of my left thumb. I reflexively shook my hand and my wedding ring, my engagement ring, and my knot ring, all flew off into the bush. Apparently, I'm not imagining losing weight.

I saw the wedding ring land nearby, and heard the others fly into the thistles to my left. After a long grid search I found them to my right! I think they hit something and bounced back.

And just out of Parkes, the b tire went flat again, so I bought a new tube and chucked the old one.

It was a pleasant sunny day, with unexpectedly light traffic -- Tuesday is usually the heavy truck day -- and what traffic there was, was relaxedly slow. But on the speed graph on my GPS, there is a 5 kilometre stretch that suggests I rode down the side of Annapurna!


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