September 19, 2002 - Bairnsdale 104k/62m*

Walking out the door of the Royal Hotel in Mornington this morning, I noted that my rear tire was soft again. So I pumped it up, rode into town, made some inquiries, settled down for breakfast with the morning paper and waited for Mornington Cycles to open at 9. When they did I told them about my week of riding in the wind and rain, the slowly leaking tire, and a couple miscellaneous squeaks and asked them to fix me up.

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Jeff (the owner) and his staff person Steel did a great and quick job finding a tiny piece of steel (looked like the end of a staple) in the tire, making the necessary repairs and tweaking and oiling the chain, and I was off at 10:15. These guys were Trek dealers, just like Bernie Jones in Adelaide, Clarence Street Cycles in Sydney, and Bike Force in Perth, so even though Trek isn’t sponsoring me, they’re doing a good job taking care of me on the ride. Jeff even traded me air pumps (his fit my bike better). The whole thing cost only $A20. This led to a late start, but better late and no worries than heading east with problems into the forests where the next bike shop might be 200km away.

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The day’s ride was through Tyabb, Koo-Wee-Rup, Longwarry and Drouin – back to Warragul, where I was 3 days ago. I hit the Warragul town sign at exactly 100km and at exactly 3PM. There wasn’t much to see during the ride. It was all through, you guessed it, pastureland. No sheep, some beef cattle, and lots of milk cows.

It was quiet 2 lane country roads except for a 12km stretch on the South Gippsland Highway, and the 10km stretch from Drouin to Warragul. There wasn’t much photogenic. The town sign for Drouin promised a lot, maybe.

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You achieve and maintain a momentum on these bike trips. It hurls you forward even when you want to stop. I wanted to reach Bairnsdale, a stopping point (Paynesville) from a few days ago where I skipped what looked like a great bike rail-trail. So after I rode to Warragul, I took the 3:56P train to Traralgon, then paid $A170 (USD$83) to get to Bairnsdale. I’m still a day away from where I turned back. Tomorrow morning I will check to see if I can get to Cann River early (where I left off 3 days ago) and if not spend a few hours on the Bairnsdale-Nowa Nowa rail-trail that I went by on Wednesday.

By the end of tomorrow I should be in Genoa (they don’t pronounce it that way), having used my Canberra and Sydney sightseeing days to close the gap. Then it’s up the coast to Sydney. Rumors are it is quite beautiful.

(10:30P Sept20 Bairnsdale)

– Tonight I went to the recommended Stix Wine Bar for dinner. The wine list, the Stix Chix polo shirts worn by the waitresses, or the “Creative Tattoos” sign behind the bar, featuring the usual lips, belly buttons, chins, etc. plus the Rook, Septum, Targus (who knows what body parts these are), should have tipped me off. I think I have food poisoning

– It was a joy to ride my bike into town for dinner tonight without the 25lbs of stuff I carry with me tonight. Light and quick.

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