This post has had an update because the town of Manangatang needed more of a mention than it got the other day when I was getting highly frustrated with the equipment I was using. It wasn’t even the reception that was the problem. Reception out here in the middle of nowhere is brilliant, better than when we were in Swan Hill!
We rode just over 80kms this morning, leaving Swan Hill at 6.30am in the relative cool, and arriving in Manangatang at 10.30am. The ride was very peaceful, with hardly any cars, and we spotted kangaroos, foxes and brightly coloured birds of all types as we rode through the scrub and farmland.
It was getting pretty hot by the time we arrived however, and we had drunk nearly all our 5 litres of water. The sight of the dry, dusty and bare looking town wasn’t very inspiring in this heat, but we had been told there was free camping here, with a shower and power. Besides, we were feeling a bit done in, and the next stop was another 80kms away.
Manangatang is a tiny town, with one general store, post office, pub/hotel, and a couple of rural supply places. It is also one of the friendliest towns you can ever go to! Everyone was happy to chat and offer information, people were smiling and chatting together in the street as they passed each other. The publican chatted with us for a good hour about the history of the place and his links with Mildura, where the Captain is from.
When we went to the pub in the evening, the farmers were friendly and mocked us good-humouredly about riding a bicycle in the heat all this way, but they gave us advice about roads and where there were towns with shops along the way (only in Hattah).
We bought hot chips at 11am when the fryer was turned on, and sat for a good while in the shaded rest area reading the newspaper. We rode around the tiny town for a look, then went for a swim in the town pool, which opened at 3pm. We drank beers at the pub and ate a hamburger from the shop for tea.
At 7.30pm we went to bed, planning of getting to sleep early so we could get up at 5am and leave by 6am.
This was a BAD idea because we lay in the tent sweating like anything. At 8pm, when our clothes and bedding were drenched with sweat, we squelched out of the tent and got some fresh air while we waited for the sun to go down. We were asleep by nine. If we had known this was going to happen we may have stayed at the pub!