Terra Australis - Steve Halligan Pt 2
I really enjoyed the next section , lots of river crossings through tree lined hills on gravel roads .
Soon I was moving into New South Wales, this felt great to go into the next state after the huge adventure that was Queensland.
Some fast sealed road sections brought me to the brilliantly named Woodenbong, this is where I met the most aggressive magpie of my journey , This guy did not like outsiders like me on a bicycle!!
I dived into a really cool Cafe that had being converted from a Service station, with old petrol pumps still there for decor and , filled my belly and stocked up to go.
After getting off the highway and onto the quiet gravel roads there is a very long climb. My idea to get to Nimbin that night went out the window, I did however get over the top and ended up sleeping on the floor of a Long drop toilet block building at a lookout point. Lights twinkled in the distance, must be Nimbin, about 30 kms away I guessed !!
A long fast and chilly early morning descent brought me to Nimbin. Multiple Flat Whites and breakfast were so welcome and delicious and required. I had been to Nimbin with my wife Mary Jo 13 or 14 years previous. It really looks like it has not changed that much!!!
At Cape York I was clean and clean livin...
I was feeling excited to get to Byron Bay. This section was pretty lumpy overall, mostly sealed back roads that were busier with traffic than I would have expected. Of course I was now coming into a more populated area. Entering into Byron Bay was another level of traffic and Humans, this took a bit of adjusting too after all my time, by myself on the dusty quiet roads and Trails of Queensland.
It was early afternoon, normally way to early for me to stop riding, but I decided to rest, get a massage, a bed, shower and great food that Byron has to offer. About 100kms today, my shortest day of Terra Australis .
A beautiful day riding out of Byron Bay, refreshed and rejuvenated, my first stop would be The Bicycle Emporium in Ballina. My Salsa Fargo required a new rear Tyre and a full service.
About 35kms got me to Ballina, straight to the Bike shop. Overall probably took longer than I would have expected. The friendly owner/mechanic was also dealing with customers as well as working on my bike. Extra coffee and food was consumed. Before leaving the Bicycle Emporium I treated myself to a shiny new pair of socks, these felt so good..
Bike felt great, I was off on the flat roads towards Iluka. Unfortunately I was too late to catch the last ferry of the day for the short trip across to Yamba. A little bit annoying as I was keen to keep riding, especially after my good rest up in Byron Bay, 149km for the day. Ah well, more rest, early night.
Caught the 8.45am ferry, and sped off from Yamba towards The Yuraygir National Park. A few hours in after some sandy sections, then a couple of nice climbs, my day was about to change. I was speeding down one of the rough gravel road descents, I came into the dip and about to ride up the other side. Putting force down on my pedals, an audible crunch sound came from the rear. Not good! its a sound I had heard before in the 2017 Tour Divide on Day One.
Looking down, my Rear derailleur was smashed, sucked up into the cassette and wheel, this was not good, looked more of a mess than last time. Time to BREATH !!
I remained Calm and Focused and and took my time to remove the rear derailleur and put it away . Now it was time to make this a single speed to ride out of here. A scorpion passed very close as I sat on the ground tinkering with the chain . A few unsuccessful attempts, with the chain becoming super tense after a few pedal strokes , I continued to look for the correct chain length and gear .
A couple of Four wheel drivers passed, one stopping and offering me a lift after seeing my predicament. I refused , thinking it was better to get to the sealed road and re assess from there . After maybe 2 hours I had a gear that was working , it was not a gear to climb the hills , but I could pedal the flats and cruise the downhills . On getting to the sealed road , I decided to leave my GPS purple lin