Day 5 - Tumut to Gundagai - 61.7km
One of the downsides of using the backroads is when you leave
town via the 'back door' and 20 km later you see a sign saying 'Tumut 1 km'.
Looking at the map we did an elongated 'U' out east and back before heading off
in a northerly direction for Gundagai. Having said that, the road up to morning
tea wasn't too bad. Alison and I even got a bit of a ride behind one of the other
tandems. I remember some of the country lanes we rode down being quite shady,
through tunnels of overhanging trees.
It was teams day, so we got a bit of entertainment from the groups
that managed to dress up.
These were three of the 'Dawnriders' - pictured here swapping
lollies with Caitlin and Zoe. The Dawnriders were a group of at least 10 biking
friends from Sydney. They included Big Rod, an American guy who has been on quite
a few Big Rides. "What have you got in
those panniers... jellies?" he would ask in his classic American
accent, which the girls giggled about, and parroted, for the rest of the ride.
Amongst their numbers was also an honorary member, Sir Charles, who'd flown out
from England specifically to do the Big Ride. And he really was a Sir.
For teams day the Dawn Riders added the orange 'comb', tried
to stay together more often, and departed morning tea and lunch as a group with
a very loud 'cock-a-doodle-doo'.
Marc, Cait and Zoe got a ride out of morning tea with the
Fairies... some keen souls who rode the whole day with fairy wings on. (Imagine
the wind resistance!) And we were amused by the three women who dressed up as
netballers.. (unfortunately to win a team prize you had to have a minimum of
5 in your team. Of course, we would have qualified, if we'd been motivated enough
to get some sort of team gig happening, but as you know, we thought we were doing
well just to have made it there.).
It was a bloody hot day though.. and so not long after lunch,
as we crossed the Tumut River, we stopped to watch a few people jumping in the
river and floating downstream, much like we did at Tumut.
We looked at each other and shrugged.. Why not? Marc and Caitlin
were the guinea pigs... and stripped their tops off.. discussed tactics, launched
themselves into the flow, round the bend and proved you could get back in to
Alison and I decided to do the deed fully clothed. Apart
from not having the appropriate type of bra or crop top, we reasoned that our
bike shirts would dry soon enough and meanwhile we'd appreciate the air conditioning!
We did it once, then someone offered to take photos, so we did
it again. What a hoot!
A bit of hot riding after that...(the shirts dried all too quickly).
Marc, Cait and Zoe got clear as usual, but Alison's competitive spirit came to
the fore this particular afternoon as we came alongside some of the other kids
on tandems or trailer bikes (can't remember which now.) Boys. And she was gonna
beat them into camp, by hook or by crook. We even made short work of this short,
sharp hill right in town around the corner from the campsite; I could feel the
power surge from behind! Pity I was unable to draw on that motivation on Day
Admittedly the last few kilometres into town were quite interesting
as we rode under these old (and now disused) wooden bridges across the floodplains
that Gundagai has always been famous for. (Again I wish I'd had more time to
dally and take photos...)
Anyway, Marc got the surprise of his life to turn around after
doing a loop of the campsite to see us right on their tail wondering why they
weren't acknowledging us! They didn't expect to see us there!
We found a spot to camp on the fringes and headed,
guess where... to the pool.
Zoe had been coughing a bit at night time the past couple of
nights... and even though she'd been right during the day, when the cough started
up again at the pool (where being wet in the shade was actually quite cool),
we decided we'd better do something about it.
The two of us slogged up town to find a chemist and got some
cough medicine before the shops shut. And a secret chocolate which Zoe confessed
to weeks later!
We got back to find that they'd had to move the tent as we'd
had an ant invasion. Good one!
My only other memory of Gundagai was the Junee tourist mob and
their caravan spruiking their tour packages for the next afternoon. We got sucked
in and bought one, thinking we'd avail ourselves of the bus to the Aquatic Centre
plus a few other places as well. Hmmmm.
>> Day 6