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

1
Distance ridden
0h 0m 0s
Riding time
1
Elevation (climbed)
1
Average speed
1
Max speed
24ºC
Temperature
1
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
Tags: , , , ,

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