Date writ­ten: 29 Novem­ber 2020

Date post­ed: 4 Decem­ber 2020

This post was writ­ten by hand in my diary on the road, and entered into the blog when I got home.

I got up nice and ear­ly this morn­ing — 0500 — to catch the Bal­larat V/Line train to Mel­bourne at 0615. I packed the bike last night, mak­ing sure every­thing was lashed and ready to go. Then lo and behold, the skies opened up and rain start­ed pour­ing! Not the most aus­pi­cious start to the trip…

I did­n’t care too much about the bike get­ting wet (I planned for such weath­er as rain is fore­cast for Tues­day) but I did want to be dry for the six-hour train trip to Swan Hill. So my part­ner Danielle and I scram­bled to unload the bike and throw my gear in the back of the ute, and she drove me down to the sta­tion. I reloaded the bike at the sta­tion and board­ed the train with plen­ty of time, and a good prac­tice in case I have to do it again lat­er in the day [luck­i­ly I didn’t!].

The trip to Footscray Sta­tion was pret­ty unevent­ful until I got there. Once on the plat­form at Footscray, I real­ly had to use the toi­let, and there as a dodgy-look­ing char­ac­ter piss­ing from the plat­form onto the tracks, off his tree and shout­ing at exis­tence. Not want­i­ng to leave the bike, I resigned myself for wait­ing for the 0807 train to Swan Hill. 0807 came and passed and no train. It turns out there was a major delay and stuff-up caused by some con­trac­tu­al prob­lem with the rail works at Spencer Street (South­ern Cross Sta­tion), and the train came late. I board­ed and laid my bike down in the lug­gage car, then sat for the approx. four hour journey.

At Swan Hill, a local Wool­worths employ­ee enjoy­ing ‘smoko’ offered to watch my bike and gear, and I got some cold drinks, filled up my can­teens with water and found some sal­ad for lunch, then set off as quick­ly as I could. I did­n’t stop long in Swan Hill for pho­tos or any­thing as the wind had picked up, it was hot and I knew I had a decent ride in front of me.

Dusty farm roads
With no shade nor shel­ter from the head­winds, rid­ing through this area was quite tough.

The 55km between turn­ing off the main high­way at Swan Hill, and reach­ing Murra­bit, was quite hard going. There was a strong 20 knot SE head­wind, and as I was head­ing south­east this meant almost con­stant head­wind the entire way. I tried to sit up in the sad­dle and just relax, not push to a par­tic­u­lar speed or time but just embrace what­ev­er the day brought, and this helped a lot for my mood and enjoy­ment, but with no shade from the sun, and my legs tir­ing after the first 30 kilo­me­tres or so, I was glad to reach Murrabit.

I was even hap­pi­er when I learned that Murra­bit has a pub, the Murra­bit Tav­ern, and though the bar was closed the store was open and I bought some cold beers, some frozen lamb for din­ner, worms for bait and plen­ty of water for camp. I filled my MSR Drom­e­dary blad­der, which holds 10 litres, slung it on my back and head­ed down Hugh­es Lane to the Mur­ray Riv­er to camp for the night not far from town.

I set up camp, and caught a lit­tle Mur­ray cod — who being both under-sized and out of sea­son was prompt­ly and safe­ly released — had a smoke of my pipe and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

The Journey

The stats

Distance ridden
0h 0m 0s
Riding time
Elevation (climbed)
Average speed
Max speed
Pedal strokes
Down­load file: murray-2020-d1-swanhill-murrabit.gpx

On my trav­els today, I passed through such beau­ti­ful coun­try and would like to acknowl­edge the tra­di­tion­al cus­to­di­ans of that land, and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present. I’d like to thank them for look­ing after the coun­try for more than 80,000 years.

Category: Camping, Cycling, Fishing
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