Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 4 - Swan Hill to Wodonga

A long day.

It is the only way to describe what Friday was. A trip of almost 400 kilometers, Friday was going to be the longest day for me so far, and the coldest.

We woke up in the Swan Hill Hotel to a breakfast delivery, microwaved poached eggs and toast, but could not remembering ordering the side of fog. Outside it was foggy and cold.

The dreaded temperature gauge pushed 8 degrees when we were still, but we were not brave enough to look on the move. It was not so bad on the back as I got to hide behind a large fairing, namely Dad.

People in Victoria take note, people who live in glass houses should pull their blinds before taking off their pants, and people who drive white cars should turn on their lights when in fog.

We stopped at Kerang a little up the road for fuel, and there I made a friend. From the shop came a bounding black Labrador. At my feet he dropped a stick and looked up at me with sad and hopeful eyes. My heart melted, or at least defrosted from the cold, and I threw the stick. Then again, and again, and again.

We left Kerang and got lost. The road to Echuca was closed and detours were not well marked. We found ourselves in Koondrook, after checking against Google maps on my phone, and we turned around and headed back. This ended up being a blessing in disguise as the road to Echuca from Koondrook stayed closer to the Murray and the scenery by the State Forrest was scenic. We stopped for lunch and there was much rejoicing.

Rather than going through Shepparton we took a left and headed toward Yarrawonga. Another detour, this time better signed, took us off down a narrow back street that only had enough asphalt for one car. Not to mention the four or five trucks that went pass us. The locals thought it great to drive on the dirt shoulder next to the road regardless of oncoming traffic or not. The dust reminded me of home.

Dad pulled up at Corowa for a rest and my arse was rejoicing. This time it was Dad’s turn to make a friend with a black Labrador. He threw the stick this time.

Wodonga welcomed us a little before 5pm, and it welcomed us as a loan shark welcomes extensions – our greeting turned out not that welcoming and the day once more turned to the dogs. Looking for a place to stay, we approached a few new round-a-bouts and people were darting in and out. As we came up, someone in a ute flew in the entry to the right, we had to give way, grabbed too much front brake for a trailer, the front wheel slipped away, and we dropped.

We fell to the right, I sling shotted into the back of Dad, and we scraped a long for about half a meter. We were not going that fast, and we were lucky enough not to be pushed into the round-a-bout. The cars behind us just indicated and went around. A man walking his dog, two ladies from a house nearby, and a young bloke helped pick us up and moved us off the road.

Checking the damage between us, Dad came off the worse. There was only a bit of skin missing here and there, and Dad picked up a few bruises. The bike only suffered cosmetic damage to the fairing, exhaust, and engine casing. And it lost a cable tie. Dad was very upset and took a long time to calm down.

We limped into a nearby hotel, The Black Stump Hotel, both of us not keen to stay in a tent, and grabbed a cabin. We piled in, turned the heater on and reported the incident back to base camp. Dinner took place at a pub near us, where I had a very nice marinated duck salad. Dad had schnitzel. We lost a meat raffle.

Showers took place, and we watched an episode of QI on the Internet. There was no rejoicing.

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