RTA Big Ride 2004 diary

Day 4: Buladelah -> Raymond Terrace (89KM)
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At the briefing last night we were told that the route was still underwater in places tomorrow and that, for safety reasons, we would have to stay in Buladelah. Also, the Raymond Terrace campsite is waterlogged. This morning I got up at 7:30 and had a cup of tea with John and Frankie. John and I had done a load of washing yesterday, and this morning we set out our tents etc, so that they would get dry. There was a nice breeze but no rain - a good day for the ride if we were on it.

I went up to breakfast and the morning briefing, which told us little more than we knew last night. They still don't know how we'll continue on - bussing us directly to Newcastle tomorrow looks like the most likely option at the moment according to rumour.

I rode around town a bit this morning and saw the happy campers in the showground. Then I sat at the cemetery for a while and read a bit before going north past the sawmill along the Upper Myall road over a couple of quite swollen creeks.

Camped in the barn
Camped in the barn

Swollen creek
Swollen creek

Flooded paddock and weed
Flooded paddock and weed

I decided to then ride south and crossed over the highway to the river, saw a sign to the Myall Lakes and decided to investigate. The sign said that it was apparently about 11km so I thought it was a fairly easy trip and that I would get back in time to sit down and have a read and a quiet afternoon.

Unfortunately, the bitumen turned into gravel after a while, but it was nice riding along beside the drowned countryside. There were a few others ahead of me riding the same way, but I didn't really feel like catching them. About 12km in and in the middle of the national park, I started to wonder how far I had to go and if it was worth going on. There was a fork with one side pointing to Bombah point for an extra 4km and the other way pointing to some crossing with no distance marked. I decided to take the latter fork since I figured the lack of marked distance meant that it was close - not so.

About 1km on, I decided to turn back and maybe go back to town. When I arrived back to the fork, I met some more riders who asked me what was up the way I'd come from. When I said nothing, they decided to go to Bombah point and I tagged along. There were four bike and 5 people, Peter on a MTB, April on another, her son on on a third, and two unrelated kids on a tandem.

Drowned world
Drowned world

Myall Lakes National Park
Myall Lakes National Park

We got out to Bombah point, the only interesting part of the ride being a section of the road with about half a foot of water over it. We ate our packed lunches watching swans get pushed around by the current, which was so strong the punt was closed. Then we decided to go up to the eco-resource cafe and have a coffee. Sitting there we were the targets of this honey eater of some sort which was quite cheeky. We were standing up to go and, before we picked up the cups to take back to the counter, it had swooped in and swiped my un-used sugar sachet.

Myall Lake
Myall Lake

Peter and company at the punt
Peter and company at the punt

Swan
Swan

Cheeky bird
Cheeky bird

Eco-resort cafe
Eco-resort cafe

We rode back to Buladelah with a bit of a scare because there were a few drops of rain, but that passed very quickly. Almost all the way back the kids on the tandem were reciting bits of Monty Python and were quite good at it. I got back to Frankie's, packed the now-dry tent etc. and went down to have a beer to round out the afternoon. I had one at the only pub in town and then went down to the bowling club to see Frank and John. He was going to shout them a dinner in thanks for their hospitality - I have decided to find something nice for the baby. I decided to go up to dinner at the sawmill and see what the briefing would turn up, and said to them that I would meet them after dinner to let John know what was going on.

At the briefing we had a thank-you presentation for the community and a whip-around (raised about $1000) and a thank-you for the mill owners. Then we were told that they would be bussing us over to Raymond Terrace bright and early (6am start) where we would get our bikes and ride the day as per normal and on schedule. I turn up at the restaurant to find Rachel a bit pissed off at me because Frank had said that I would be eating with them, when I had expressly said the opposite. Once that was cleared up. everything was find and we all (and Frankie) made fun of Frankie for his alcoholic memory.

Buladelah moutain from Frank's place
Buladelah moutain from Frank's place

Frank's water view
Frank's water view

Ride Statistics

Today I rode more than yesterday!

DST  43.29 km 
TM  2:49:02 
Max. speed  44 km/h 
Avg. speed  15.3 km/h 

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