Back on the road, and this time the end means the end! Over the next 7-8 days I will travel ~ 255 km from Kingston SE (SA) to Heywood (VIC). Compared to the hilly terrain I’m used to in Tasmania, it should mean a fairly easy coast to the finish line, after approximately 75 days of walking.
But despite the flat ground, today has not been an easy day! Deciding the jump on the a belt of nice weather, I drove out to Kingston SE late Friday night to start walking on Saturday. However, the forecast was going to be hot and windy, the worst rating for catastrophic fire potential in two years. I knew that I would be taking some risk in starting today, but I also knew that I was well prepared and would always be in a good place (and with good communication) to be evacuated if need be. The following days of goof weather were too good to pass up.
So I woke up under the sky in the RV park with the rising sun, after having slept only 5 hours or so, but already the air was warm. I would be in for a scorcher. It took me a little bit of time to get going as I then needed to find a place to leave my car, set up my trolley and wait for the shops to open so I could buy a gas canister - something that I had overlooked/run out of time to do in Adelaide. I also managed to go for a quick swim in the refreshing waters of the South East.
Finally I was off and all the way through to lunch time at the 20 km mark there was no cover and the wind was terribly strong. I’m not sure if I preferred having the wind or not, as it certainly had somewhat of a cooling effect but it was also very unsettling to be consistently belted by strong gusts. I made it to lunch though, which I have just finished. I am lying in the shade of plantation pine about 40 m off the side of the road and it is significantly cooler than being on the bitumen in full sun. I’ll wait here until the day cools off before finishing the final 10 km for the day, perhaps having a snooze and reading a book in the meantime.
After my drool-worthy snooze in the cool shade of the pine trees I continued on and was stopped by Kay from Adelaide about 4 km further on. Kay was a keen cycle tourist and had just finished a trip with her friends. We chatted briefly and she handed me a donation and continue on her way.
Then an unexpected face appeared! If you remember, my mother’s friend Jane had accompanied me to Wollangarra earlier in the trip and now here she was, hopping out of a car in front of me! She was staying the night with her friends Pooh and Wrenny and saw that I was in the area from a Facebook post. What a great surprise! We decided to meet a few km down the road (so I could complete my 30 km for the day) and I managed to stay my trolley behind some bushes as she arrived. Perfect! She drove me to Wrenny and Pooh’s place and with her niece included we all had a delicious dinner together and shared stories. It was the perfect way to end the day and I can’t be more grateful, again, for the people I’ve met because of this journey. Thank you again and so much Jane, Pooh and Wrenny!