September 21, 2002 - Burmagui 185k/115m**

In these small town bars, you can’t always tell who’s a patron, an employee, an owner. Regardless of position, the locals all provide support and direction to one another. The guy who tried unsuccessfully to fix the heater in my room in Genoa last night (they moved me to another room) also told me that there were more hills until the NSW (New South Wales) border. I thought he meant that there were more hills until the NSW border, then things would level out. He might not have known what was past the NSW border. If he did, he should have said that there were more hills until the NSW border, then you’re really screwed.

I wanted big mileage today, so I got up at 5:52A and left maybe 6:15P in the fog.

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It was a mystical ride in the early morning. In the first 2 hours maybe 3 cars passed me on the Princes Highway. The place was full of what I have come to know as “toot” birds and other tropical sounding animals. (I’ve never seen a ‘toot’ bird, but lots of them toot to each other.). Sometime into the ride, the first rays of sun pierced the fog.

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Then, maybe 15km into the day, I came to the NSW border.

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My third Australian state! There was no chance for breakfast with the early departure. It was 60km+ to the first town, Eden. I ate my last M&M’s, my last PowerBar, my last gummi bear doppelgangers, and drank all my regular and supplemented water. This is fuel. Without it your legs do not go around. 10:30ish I came to Eden. It’s a nice little resort town on a wooded peninsula/hill sticking out into a bay with a Killer Whale Museum. I rode around lucklessly for a bit looking for a good photo op, hit the IGA for some bananas, nuts and M&M’s (with peanuts) and then had a 10:30 breakfast at Martha’s.

It had been hills nonstop since Lake’s Entrance, maybe 400km ago (I am not checking), but crossing into NSW and coming into Eden, I should have noticed that they had become much longer and steeper. Here’s the mileage sign outside of Eden, FYI.

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Gotta get one of those in each day, right? Coming out of Eden, things started getting irritating. You can’t really ride these hills, you just climb (spin, crank and grind) and coast. No in the aerobars, crank out the mileage stuff. I learned a bunch today:

TIPS TO RIDERS ALONG THE SOUTHERN NSW COAST
(assuming you’re riding north toward Sydney)

1) The hills around Eden, before and after, either direction, are quite irritating.
2) There are better places to ride. Try someplace else.
3) When you get to Pembula and you are presented with the choice of the 17km side trip to Merimbula, take it. It’s 6km longer but you avoid some really irritating hills.
4) Leaving Bega, take any road but the Princes Highway north. Trust me.
5) If you must take the Princes Highway north from Bega, you’ll endure a bunch of really irritating hills for a while. Then you get to THE hill. You’ll recognize it. Try this:
– Don’t go up that 2km straight ugly thing, there is an alternative.
– You just passed the old Princes Highway road that was used for decades if not a couple centuries before they built this new thing in 1989, go back to it, take it, it’s on the map. It winds gently up to the same place, maybe 50% more distance, but even when you get to the top you’ve got another 8km of climb, so take it.

I could go on here. If anyone ever wants to ride this section of road, contact me for further input. Me, I’ve made the mistakes. South of Bega, at the top of a hill, I saw another biker.

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David of Yorkshire, England was doing Australia backwards. Sydney to Perth, in 4 months. Going that way, against the winds it would take that long. We discussed hills and each pressed on. At his pace (60km/day) there’s a good chance I’ll see him again in October.

I really would like to show you more interesting pictures, but even in a picturesque town like Eden, they’re hard to come by. Trees block vistas, things are flat, the small towns look the same. Each small town has a war memorial thought, and Bega has the best I’ve seen to date.

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Leaving Bega 121km into the day, you have ugly hills, mentioned above. Here’s a vista. See the road. Off to the right there’s a ‘grass’ motocross race going on. The grass on the course is gone.. (You might need higher resolution to see all this.)

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In any case, about 166km into the day I showed up at Cobargo. Questioning the lady at the BP she gave me two choices. Continue on my way to Tilba Tilba (I’m not making these up) 21km with three big irritating hills, or take a 21km detour to Burmagui (think Burma Shave + Graphical User Interface (gui) – Shave) with only one big irritating hill. At this point, I took a right and headed to Burmagui, where I am now, at the “Hotel of the Year”. I missed the fine print where it says 1999, but no matter.

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Last note: I had dinner tonight across the street at the Salt Water Café. Kindness back to Steve and Heather, at the next table, who provided great information (wet socks around the water bottles in the AM when crossing the Nullarbor, for instance). Hope they find the website and contact me.

(0922 9:58P Burmagui)

– I haven’t mentioned the weather much lately. After 3 days of cold variable winds, and 3 days of windy winds, with about 5 days in a row of rain mixed in, things have settled down. The past couple days have been mild winds and sunny skys. (See the photos)

– Want to make a lot of money? Take some Robins and Sparrows, maybe even some Pigeons, and box them up and send them down here and sell them as pets. That’s what they (the Australians) do to us with their common birds. Parrots of all magnificent colors are all over down here. They are free as birds down under.

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