What a day! Sitting here in a leather reclining chair, in the air conditioned home of the Captain’s parents, drinking cold drinks and watching TV, the efforts of today have been forgotten, but they were our biggest yet and our bums (and the rest of our bodies) are feeling it!
It only got to 39 degrees today, quite cool compared to the 43, 44, and 45 degrees we have been seeing lately. We even had a cloudy sky for about an hour this morning, which made things feel cooler. In fact, by leaving Mangangatang at 6am, we rode in relative comfort until we reached Hattah at 10am, 81kms later. The owner of Hattah General Store, whose wife made us toasted sandwiches and sold us homemade fruit cake, had a temperature gauge reading only 26 degrees! We were on a winner! We had drunk our 5 litres of water between us though, so we still needed to be cautious.
After yesterday’s 80kms, the Stoker was not feeling on top of her form, and the 80kms to Hattah was a bit of hard work. We saw kangaroos though, and brightly coloured birds along the way, which reminded us of why bicycle touring is such joy.
The shop at Hattah was great fun. The owner has a great sense of humour, and he was happy to chat and provide advice. The shop was full of humorous sayings and displays, which entertained us as we chowed down on the sandwiches.
Leaving Hattah for the final 70kms to Mildura at about 10.45am, we refilled our water bottles and set off with heavy legs. With an average speed of 22kms/hr, we were aiming to make Mildura by 1pmish, just in time for the worst heat to kick into gear.
As the kilometres rushed (or dragged) past, the Stoker entertained fantasies of being in an air conditioned car travelling at 100km/hr. As it was, we kept going at our average of 22km/hr, with a couple of brief stops, riding on the good, wide shoulder the Calder Highway provided.
By the time we got to Redcliffs, about 15km from Mildura, we were nearly done. Our feet were supremely hot from the heat off the road, we were thirsty, having nearly drunk another 5 litre of water between us, and we were worn out. A coke, pie, coffee and lamington later, we were revived enough to finish the journey.
We wouldn’t admit it, being the hard core cycling tourers we are, but a few days of living in a house, with a soft bed and good food seems rather appealing!