Last night I ended my post over a plate of hot dinner in the take-away shop, generously donated by a Port Fairy local. But the night did not end there, oh no! Only a few minutes later, in walked Ian who had seen me walking out on the Princes Highway. Ian the Carpenter offered me his place to stay for the night. It was still pouring rain outside and I was not looking forward to setting up my tent in those conditions. After making sure he wasn't going too much out of his way, I enthusiastically agreed. At this point, to me he was sounding a lot like another famous carpenter who performed miracles!
We drove about 10 km out of town in his little Citroen, with his dog Stevie sitting on my lap after having taken apart the trolley to get it inside. Long story short, I had a sound sleep in a double-bed after a second-dinner, some great conversation and attending to some walk admin, as I heard the rain lash against the window above my head. Miraculous.
In the morning he drove me back to the exact spot where he picked me up, I set up my trolley, thanked him as graciously and honestly as possible and set off (after briefly stopping back at The Hub, where Craig had promised to shout me another hot drink!).
I had decided the previous day to take the 37 km Port Fairy - Warrnambool Rail Trail, which also passes through the old Irish town of Koroit. My original plan was to take the Princes Highway all the way to the 12 Apostles Visitors centre, but the Rail Trail was suggested to me by Colleen, who you'll remember as the vivacious lady who was so generous with me in Meningie. Rather than hard bitumen, the Rail Trail was mostly compacted lime/sand/rubble, which would be softer on my shin. Boy am I glad I took her advice, despite the 12 km it added to the road. What a lovely way to spend a day! It was much more peaceful than the side of the road, with the beautiful sights of dairy country accompanying the entire journey.
Not too far into the Trail I begun to worry. With all this exercise, was I becoming addicted to releasing so many endorphins? I never realised it was possible to feel so GOOD all the time. What would I do when I returned to 'normal' life? Of course there's more to it than that; I knew I wouldn't feel half as good if I burnt as much energy in a gym. Must be something to do with the environment I'm into... The Outdoors!
I stopped for lunch in Koroit and then continued for the rest of the day, crossing the A1 again a few times and finally coming to camp on the side of the Trail just 5 km out of Warrnambool. Just a few km before camp I was stopped by young fellas in a ute, Chris and Jack, who were going to get a pub meal in town and donated to the cause. Thanks guys!
Thirty-two kilometres for the day and the only time I felt my shin was getting out of bed! I attribute it to both walking on the dirt and this fancy arnica-based cream I've been using the last few days.
More to come tomorrow!