Well, there is no laundry service. Actually there is, but the woman at Wingham Laundry said that she's so overloaded she couldn't get any more bags done before 5pm. I've been fuming for a while, wishing I'd known earlier so that I could have done some some hand-washing every day. Now I'll have to do 4 days' worth at once.
Gossipping over the laundry, as the old women we've turned out to be, I hear that Top Shots, the photographers from previous years, were given just 2 days notice. They were rung up and told that their services weren't needed, as BNSW were doing it themselves. If true, that's abysmal behaviour on the part of BNSW. It makes me feel like not buying the DVD or any photos from BNSW, if indeed they ever become available.
By 11:00 or so, I was back in town, looking for a coffee and the Herald. I found the former at Cafe Bent, again, but had to settle on a Telegraph. My god, it's such a rag - but at least it's news of the outside world. We get so isolated on the Ride, and it's the election on Saturday, so I should find out something about the campaign issues (not that any of the major parties would ever get my vote). I ordered the smoked ham (local) and swiss cheese baguette after reluctantly deciding not to get the ham and gruyere croissant. When I'd finished, I was still peckish, so I went back and ordered that. Both were wonderful. The coffee was nice and strong, too.
I decided that the Historical Society Museum looked interesting so I ducked in. There's some very nice stuff, including a collection of portraits of all the founding fathers on one wall. They also have the engine from the Viper on display in the park across the road.
I'm writing this at a park on the banks of the Manning River. It's a nice broad river and the air is a bit humid, but there's nice shade and a breeze, and it's nice to sit somewhere with a nice view and just appreciate it, as opposed to riding past it. It's maybe a bit strange that the speed at which we travel is a crawl compared to cars, and we complain about how much they miss of the sights of the country. Now, I find that we can also travel too fast at times.
Opposite me is Wingham Brush. I'd go and have a look, except that I have only my bike shoes with me, and I don't think that they're appropriate for a wander through the rainforest. I think that you also need to book for a guided tour.
Today we have to get the bikes loaded onto trucks between 4 and 6 so that they get transported up to Comboyne. I've been tempted to go and ride the route there myself, since it must be ridable in some fashion (given that is was listed as on the route initially). Last night, at the briefing, someone asked the obvious question about why the section has been pulled from the ride. Michael, imported as ride director from Bike SA, equivocated, saying that the decision was made before he was brought on board. He basically said "don't blame me", but then went on to say how friendly the natives were and how they had been dying to meet us, or some such guff. Apparently it's so nice up on the plateau that we'd kick ourselves for not seeing it.
The next reason he gave was that the route had deteriorated significantly in the last few days with rain etc. There were rock slides, the road is narrow, and winding and it's a long uphill climb with steep sections. Supposedly 95% of us wouldn't be able to make it. However, none of this rings true. The state of the road and how it changes after a day or so of rain is a known, and not likely to change from when they originally picked the stage. It can't be as bad as they say. Given that the option to take a bus was always a paid optional extra, it's more bad management. I wonder if those who paid to use the bus will get refunds?
When I went to put my bike on the truck, Debbie complained about the panniers. I thought that they would be seen as welcome padding between bike, but apparently not. It was suggested that I go and see Pegasus, who had a $15 service to take bikes up with more care, and to have the handlebars straightened and brakes checked at Comboyne before we get on them tomorrow. The inference was that I wouldn't need to take off the panniers for them. However, I went there, paid the money, and was told to take off the panniers. The guy said something about them not carrying our luggage for us. I stated that they were empty, but he wouldn't budge, so I have to carry them on the bus with me. The luggage will be put on the luggage truck to be picked up at Timbertown, meaning that there will be 34 kilometres that I don't ride with luggage.
There was supposed to be entertainment by a juggler/unicyclist, this afternoon and apparently we can get to try riding the bike. He turned up at the marquee, but we only got a couple of minutes with him before a vollie whisked him away. Disappointing...
Bridge across the Manning River