Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Port McQuarie to Bowraville

Bought a propelling pencil yesterday and promptly lost it - that's three so far. Left Port McQuarie behind and a most generous host. Chris had a guest book, in which I read that he had picked people up from a Greyhound bus stop at 4.30 am. What a guy. A cute chain ferry took me and my bike across the mouth of a river for free and then we turned onto a monotonous dirt track through the bush. Went into a trance, from which I was only wakened when tractor tracks had me vibrating like a jelly. After this, tarmac roads twisted pleasingly beside rivers and through rich, dairy pastures, where cattle and horses feasted on thick, wild weeds. Following Smithtown had to re-engage wit the enemy (highway traffic) although apart from b-doubles (trucks with two containers) sending ripples through the shoulder, it wasn't too bad. At Macksville I took a left-hand turn and headed for Bowraville, up a lush, green valley. It looked a bit like England in summertime - apart from the occasional palm tree - and the men who cheerily waved to me from the seats of their tractor lawn mowers. Taking a country road from Bowraville, in which I knew the Warm Showers couple were, I discovered that houses/farms were widely spaced, and as the street number I was searching for had three figures, I phoned to enquire what distance remained. In the country, apparently house numbers refer to the distance along the road; ie 242 will be roughly 2.42 km from the start of that road.

I say a couple, although in fact, sadly, Eileen's partner had died since I made contact two months previously. Eileen's house was an open-plan wooden construction, with tree-trunk beams, overlooking fruit trees and distant mountains. Here she lived with her farm dog, Wobble Arse (so named because he wasn't much cop at rounding up livestock). We discussed our cycle trips over a restorative beef curry and plum cake with ice cream, lubricated with homebrew made by her departed husband. Not only does Eileen lead a busy life gardening and picking fruit - as well as going to heaps of keep fit classes - but she also has six children and umpteen grandchildren, scattered the length and breadth of the state, who she visits regularly.

We sat down to watch a series about a depressed country town, where they are renting out abandoned farms for $1 to encourage an influx of new people and thereby kick-start the local economy. A few minutes into the programme there was a power cut and by the time it came back on, it was the closing credits.

Nature report : no nature to report.

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