Just kidding. The route hasn’t changed, but I’d thought I’d flesh it out for you. Route testers have been dispatched and have returned. James scoured the Sydney-Wollongong route by bike and Malcolm the Wollongong-Canberra leg by car. They will be available to brief us at the start.
I’ve been informed that 12 bikes will sink it but we should be OK (just). (“…If not for the courage of the fearless crew; The Curranulla would be lost, the Curranulla would be lost… “) We disembark in Bundeena and are thrust into the Royal National Park wilderness (after a coffee).
(And here I must confess I’ve always had a thing for Mary Ann).
The RNP is the oldest NP in the Whole Wide World (after Yellowstone) and it holds memories for many of us. Burning Palms: a magical place.
(Alas, we’re not going there.)
But the real highlight is further down the road: Wombarra rail station. It’s secret men’s business. Sure, I’m involved, and there is something about a ticket, but it’s so long ago. I’m banking on visually recall at the time.
And into the North Wollongong beaches where our accommodation provider (Scott) has organised a Retirement Village / over-50’s Resort / Religious community centre. I’m not entirely on top of it all, but sleeping on a mattress and sheets for 15 people for a single night booking so close to Sydney and Christmas – well done Scott for organising all the accommodation to Canberra.
The end of yesterday’s ride was an introduction to bike-path touring. The bulk of today is on bike paths and it remains to be seen how easily a convoluted route can be negotiated with our (at least 4) GPS bike computers we’ll be carrying.
I am putting in a strong yes for this, as it avoids a potentially bike-dangerous piece of Prince’s Hwy between the Kiama and Berry.
A swim at the beach and then on to our luxury accommodation at Berry Showgrounds, avoiding the Hwy into Berry. Apparently the cattle did not trample the central arena too badly this year and so we should be well rested for tomorrow’s travails.
This is where it gets interesting and time spent in “preparation” and training at altitude with Italian doctors pays off. The road is good, is recently sealed and carries little traffic, but it goes up:
There is altitude there for the taking.
There are no cafes or any other shops today. Today’s major decision is whether we camp at “Sassafras” or push on to a campsite further on. The access road to the Sassafras campsite:
The campsite is ~5 km down a fire trail, 500 m past a locked gate. On an old firing range (don’t dig).
And camp on a Crown Land campsite on the Endrick R.
“This campsite is a small patch of grass at the side of the road above a beautiful fresh water creek. Camping is completely free and dogs are allowed. The ground is grass covered, but mostly uneven and rock, and on an overall slope. The site itself is not particularly attractive. Being just off the side of Turpentine road also means that cars and trucks driving past are always heard and can be quite loud.” Sounds inspiring!
I think play it by ear on the day, see how the peloton is feeling.
The 2nd option is 89km (1010m): a long day. Either way we’re camping.
The night’s accommodation: The Load Dog. It’s got a reputation, let’s not disappoint. Tarago was founded in 1827. The pub came later in 1848. Here it is in 1927:
Our accommodation manager has booked us 5 rooms. (If only one of us knew Lawson’s “Loaded Dog” off by heart..) The area is famous for it bush rangers, (one buried under the hotel floorboards). There’s a great story of a heist in the area involving Ben Hall here.
The last day for many. Scott will ride to Goulburn, many others toward Canberra airport, as New Years Eve beckons, the day may be slightly rushed. We have a paid breakfast at the Dog, hope they serve early:
Push onto Bungendore for 2nd breakfast. It’s practically a Canberra suburb with boutique cafes. The road can have traffic, but we will be early.
Then a doodle along Hoskintowns Rd, Briar Sharrow Rd. (A swim in Jan’s rock pool?) and then Stony Creek and the Carwoola badlands.
Accommodation at Kinkanya, alpaca farm. And sparklers are being talked about!
Days ?? 2013
If this wasn’t epic enough, there are options for those wanting to kick on to Narooma via Araluan. To be discussed en route, in between the organisation of the Tibet ride.