Today started well – up and out the door by 6:30 and into the motel breakfast room for a buffet breakfast, leaving by 7am. It was still dark out and I was thankful for having lights. I hadn’t been sure of my direction as all roads led in a bit of an arc, but I had decided last night that heading up the highway was probably too traffic-intensive; riding via Dungog appeared to be slightly less direct but quieter.
I headed out along Nelsons Plains, through some very heavy fog – later I saw on the news that Sydney was also blanketed but I presume that it wasn’t connected. It had burnt off by the time I reached Clarence Town, where there were massive roadworks in progress surrounding the town. I applied sunscreen at this point as it was obviously going to be a hot day. There was a sign at CT pointing to Bucketts Way and that might have been shorter than my final route but I didn’t know that at the time. However, there would not have been a lunch stop if I’d ridden that way
From CT I rode to Dungog. I found a decent cafe in the main street where I had a bacon and egg roll with pickled green chutney which was delicious. After I left Dungog, the GPS directed me along Monkerai Road but I second-guessed that probably correct route as I wasn’t sure how rideable the track though the nature reserve was. Instead I rode along Stroud Hill Road, which paralleled the railway more closely. It’s also a steep climb of a couple of kilometers at about 8%. I struggled up one side and flew down the other. As I neared The Bucketts Way, I second-guessed the GPS directions again and continued along the main road that looped south, instead of taking the shorter side road that climbed up to The Bucketts Way closer a bit further north. By this stage I’d ridden about 75km and still had 45km to Gloucester and was getting fairly tired.
I pushed on after a brief stop at Stroud Road, having more and more frequent rests. The one thing that kept me attentive on the scenery was looking for signs of anti-CSG protests; there wasn’t much – a couple of signs painted on the road and a mural on the side of a shed. It was about 2:30 when I arrived in Gloucester and I found a motel and paid for two nights so that I could have a rest day.
The motel ( The Bucketts Way Motel) also has a very good Thai restaurant – wonderful home-made spring rolls – with a bar. I had a shower and a nap, went upstairs for dinner and a couple of beers and then had a very good well-deserved sleep that night.
Total distance: 119.6km
Total time: 8:23:18
Avg speed: 14.26 km/h
My ride data is here