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Climbing mountains-Expedition Dust day 123

I woke up in the creaky motel bed with a stiff neck. The downside to sleeping in a soft bed is that my body does not agree with it, after so many nights on a roll mat on the ground it’s a big adjustment. I had a lot of catching up to do on my blog as I haven’t had the mojo to write for the last seven days so I packed up my things and headed down to the local cafe. I ordered myself a vegetarian breakfast and some hot water for my morning coffee ritual. The lovely lady at the cafe was more than happy for me to drink my own coffee especially once I told her what I was doing and that it was a bit like a yoga practice for me. Now the coffee that I have been drinking isn’t your normal coffee. It’s called Before you speak coffee and it is more of a high-performance coffee, it contains MCT powder, ginseng, Green coffee bean extract, tumeric extract, cinnamon black pepper and Stevia.

I made myself quite comfortable and spent the next four hours writing about everything I had been up to over the last week or so. When I was done I asked the cafe to fill up my drink bottles and my Kathmandu water bladder. It was 12 o’clock by this point and it was so hot, not like the desert though I could feel the humidity, there was moisture in the air.

As I left town I went zooming down a hill. I knew that over the course of the day I was going to have to climb roughly 400m. 25 minutes into my day on the bike I reached  the crest of a hill, I could hear a dog barking and turned around to see it was coming straight for me. It ran out into the middle of the road in the path of a big truck. The driver slammed on his brakes narrowly missing the animal who was definitely not just coming to say hello. Luckily it got such a fright from the loud horn on the truck that it scampered off towards it’s owner who was yelling at the top of his lungs.

I think I’ve mentioned this before but some pet dogs scare me. They are not predictable like a wild dog and if they’ve been trained to protect a property...they will. First of all I would hate to be bitten by dog but secondly I would hate to hurt or kill someone’s pet/guard dog. Most of the properties along this stretch of road have guard dogs, so I’m on edge quite often. There were two German shepherds at one property that followed me for roughly 10 minutes along the entirety of the fence line barking and growling and making so much noise!

The hills are rolling, I slowly crawl up one side in my lowest gear and then without touching my breaks I fly down the other side. There was a section of roadworks at the bottom of a hill, the road turned into a one way and was controlled by a lollipop man he spotted me coming and he kept his stick green so I didn’t have to stop. As I flew past I waved out to him and yelled “thank you”.

At 2 o’clock I stopped next to a lemon tree, I jumped the fence to grab a few lemons and for the first time I became aware that the long grass that I landed in might be home to some snakes. I made as much noise as possible as i collected the lemons then sat down with a jar of peanut butter and a bag of dates, and ate them as my lunch. As I ate I looked ahead, I could see mountains and knew very well that I was going to have to go over them in the next few days.

Clouds had started to roll in by late afternoon and it felt as though the skies were going to dump rain and lightning and thunder right on top of me. My high point for the day was just above Lake Maroon. I stopped to give my legs a little rest as I looked down towards the lake, I realised it was the largest body of water I had seen in a very very long time.

I got progressively more tired, the sore neck I had woken up with had become tighter and now I could hardly look to my left. This is one of the main reasons I haven’t worn a helmet until this point, that extra weight on my head causes havoc in my neck, and in some ways actually makes riding more dangerous because if I can’t turn around and look I can’t see the vehicles coming. There’s not a chance I’ll be taking it off  because when I’m zooming down a hill at 60 Kilometres an hour it’s going to save my life if I fall off.

This road is a lot less busy than other ones I’ve been on but there was one vehicle that I remember very clearly. It was a white Toyota and its rear tray was full of carrots. I remember it so well because every 2-3km I found carrots on the side of the road and stopped for a little sweet orange snack. The afternoon wind made riding tough and drained my already tired body. When I arrived at my end destination it became apparent that camping was not permitted in the town. I counted a total of five signs saying no camping. I stood there googling accommodation in town as the sun was setting and the bats are waking. I couldn’t find any accommodation so I went into the pub to ask. Thankfully they had a cheap motel out the back, So that’s where I laid my head to rest for the night. Tomorrow I climb mountains...

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