Posts Tagged ‘NSW’


Up and down. Headwind. Coal mines. Busy roads with coal trucks. Flat tyre. But also a side road through the hills. A taste of the national park to come.

The side road starts to climb

The side road starts to climb


The main road started with a ‘good morning’ two steep climbs to Denman. I was hungry again after only cycling 16km. I decided to leave the main road with its traffic and noise, and took a side road through farmland and vineyards.

Vineyards

Vineyards


Farmland

Farmland


With the constant headwind, the going was slow.

Then the road moved into the hills and felt more wild – no farming but just nature.

Into the hills

Into the hills


Back to the main road, it was noisy, hilly, hot and ugly. Huge open cut coal mines were on both sides of the road and the coal trucks plied the road at great speed.

10km out of the town of Broke, I noticed my tyre was flat. Only a slow leak, so with regular pumping, I crawled into Broke.

Changing the tyre

Changing the tyre


Everything is set for a cycle through the Yengo National Park to Wisemans Ferry, where I will stay for two nights, waiting out the rain. From there, it’s just a day to Sydney. Almost home.


The Bylong Valley Road is stunning as it winds its way between rocky escarpments and peaks, following the Goulburn River. I cycled this road, bathed in glorious sunshine.

The Bylong Valley Way

The Bylong Valley Way


Well, actually, I spent 25km cycling along the perimeter of the Wilpinjong coal mine. The other side of the fence was another planet. An expanse of black, plied by huge lorries, bringing the black chunks to be transported on the endless coal trains.

Coal mine

Coal mine


Coal mine

Coal mine

Coal mine

Coal mine


The road followed the train line full of endless trains transporting the black coal.

Coal train

Coal train


But, after Bylong – a beautiful little village – the coal mines passed into a distant memory.

Bylong village

Bylong village


Bylong village

Bylong village


Bylong Valley Way

Bylong Valley Way


Bylong Valley Way

Bylong Valley Way

Bylong Valley Way

Bylong Valley Way

Bylong Valley Way

Bylong Valley Way


I left the main road and it got hillier. I still haven’t reached the Bylong Valley Way, but am feeling tired. I stopped early at the mining pub in Ulan. Some sleep was on the menu.

Could this be the highest point?

Could this be the highest point?


I continued to meet cyclists on the Central West Cycling Trail. First yesterday in Ballimore, this morning in Dunedoo and at lunch in Gulgong. It’s a 450km odd route through the area – sometimes self supported, sometimes run by a group. There are lots of cycle friendly shops en route. It seems to be taking off. I hope more of this cycle tourism becomes popular.

I took a little side road to Gulgong. It was very pleasant, but I soon realised why the kilometre tally is less in the hills. Steep up and down is slow going.

The road to Gulgong

The road to Gulgong


The road to Gulgong

The road to Gulgong

The road to Gulgong

The road to Gulgong


The pub at Ulan was pretty quiet. They opened at 4 and closed at 8 because of the lack of people. Just a few people popped in to get a beer for the road.


The warning was for potential extreme thunderstorms. I missed them, although I did have a race against pelting rain. I wheeled my bike into my Dunedoo hotel room 5 minutes before the heavens opened.

The black sky

The black sky


It’s nice to have roads with bends in them. Bends and crests. The farmland has started and the rolling countryside. The weather was cool, with the odd spot of rain – mostly when I was undercover. A handy tailwind made it all the more pleasant.

25km to Dunedoo

25km to Dunedoo


I stopped to replace my hopelessly scratched sunglasses in Dubbo, and for a bite to eat in Ballimore. Nice pub.

Some research has popped up the Bylong Way. I’ll be heading there tomorrow.


Wind can be frustrating and wind can be joyous. 60km without a bend in the road and a side/head wind is arduous. The same wind as a tailwind brings joy. All in the set of dark clouds and blue sky.
Side/head wind

Side/head wind

Nevertire is 60km from Nyngan. That’s 60km without a single bend in the road. That’s the longest stretch I have ever ridden without a bend in the road. My previous record was about 35km in Kazakhstan. Today’s 60km was with a very strong side/head wind that made me feel every kilometre. Nevertire was a perfect destination for this kind of morning cycle.

Nevertire

Nevertire


There was a hailstorm while I was in the pub at Nevertire. Post-storm, and after a slight bend in the road, I got a slight component of tailwind. As the day continued, this turned into a full-on 100% tailwind. My crawling at 12km/h turned into a cruising 30km/h. My frustration turned into joy.
The same place - the view in front

The same place – the view in front

The same place - the view behind

The same place – the view behind

Tailwinds gave me an early arrival in Narromine. Time for an afternoon nap.


Today I rode through showers of grasshoppers. Constant streams blew with the wind, and when I had a tailwind, I rode with the grasshoppers.

The grasshoppers

The grasshoppers


I have left the outback. Big trees were everywhere. I even passed my first wheatfield in a long while. After some initial undulations, the road became flat and dead straight – as far as the eye could see, and then some. Running parallel was the train line. I regularly went to check for trains.

Check for trains

Check for trains


Check for trains

Check for trains


Not sure where to next. My mad dash out of the outback is over. I’ll probably head to Dubbo tomorrow.


Today I felt tired. Tired until the final sprint. I turned around and there it was – the thunderstorm from hell. And the tailwind to go with it. 60km in 2 hours to Cobar.

Thunderstorm

Thunderstorm


The wind was meant to be a tailwind, but it didn’t know what it wanted. The road undulated, climbing slowly towards Cobar. I didn’t have the energy to fight the wind, so I crawled along. I slept for half an hour at each of the rest stops.

The road to Cobar

The road to Cobar


Afternoon nap

Afternoon nap


The last rest stop was 62km from Cobar. I wanted to get a bit closer, and headed off around 5 to do a few kilometres before setting up camp.


Before long I turned around. Behind me was black. The friendly sky in front was not reflected behind. A big storm was rolling in. Suddenly the wind picked up. The air smelt of storm. The wind was 100% in the direction of Cobar. So I took it.

Travelling at 40kmh, I realised that  Cobar was reachable this evening –  and looking at the storm – I really should reach it.

For 2 hours I rode the wind. The undulations made no difference. The wind blew me up anything. I arrived in Cobar at 7. With all hotels booked, it’s airbnb for me.


‘You look hot and thirsty. Would you like a cup of tea?’
The group of 4 from yesterday in Broken Hill passed me. A welcome break from the nose down and eat the kilometres.

Would you like a cup of tea?

Would you like a cup of tea?


The aim now is to get close enough to Sydney to have no worries getting there when my holiday is up.  For the next few days I’m going to eat the kilometres and try to camp near water. Today I had an ambitious goal of 200km to get to Wilcannia. I had a tailwind, it was flat and not too hot. Make hay while the sun shines.

The road to Wilcannia

The road to Wilcannia


The plastic bag on the ironing board, I cut the white powder with my pocket knife. I had bought too much of the stuff. Caring is sharing when it comes to milk powder.

Sharing the white powder

Sharing the white powder

I met the group of 4 at the Mundi Mundi lookout and spent the evening at dinner and then in our very kitsch hotel – the Palace Hotel of Priscilla Queen of the Desert fame. Only wanting 200g of milk powder, and only being able to buy a kilogram, I gave them the rest. It led to much amusement and a funny video.
Chris, Ben, Kamidy and Peter

Chris, Ben, Kamidy and Peter

The Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel

The road to Silverton and Mundi Mundi lookout signifies the end of the outward bound part of the trip. It’s as far west as I’m going. From here on I’m east bound.Mundi Mundi is a lookout on the top of a hill looking out over endless plains to the west. Normally these plains are barren red. This time they were green – endless pastureland.
Mundi Mundi

Mundi Mundi

A stop at the famous Silverton hotel for lunch before a 27km slog into the wind that had blown me there that morning.

‘Be off the dirt roads by Friday – the heavens are opening up!’ warned a lady yesterday who stopped to give me water.
‘What’s the road like to Menindie?’ I asked the barman in Pooncarie.
‘Rough as guts!’

The road to Menindie

The road to Menindie


It was 125km to Menindie, 100km of which was a dirt road. It was hot, there was a headwind and the road was bumpy and had soft sand and corrugations. And there were flies. I felt tired today and just wanted to get there.

The road to Menindie

The road to Menindie


The road passed close to the Darling River (Australia’s second largest river) several times. I had hoped for a swim, but it was hard to get to and not very inviting.

The Darling River

The Darling River


I’m having a day off tomorrow to watch the heavens open. 🙂