Day 16 – Echuca to Wagga Wagga
After a not so great sleep we were back on the road, this time with only tea and toast in our tummies. The Steampacket Inn was a B&B, however there was one large table in the dining room containing a family with three children and granny. Rory just would not sit on his chair and turns out his favourite word is “no”. Ezra (oh yes – Ezra) didn’t need any help with his breakfast, given he was like ten years old, although his annoying mother kept asking whether he needed help. So we skipped the cooked breakfast and got outta there.
After a quick stop at the tourist information centre for a stubby holder, 30 seconds later we were in New South Wales. I guess we hadn’t looked at the map that well because we didn’t realise that we were so close to the border. Now the cache we found last night called “Almost New South Wales” makes perfect sense! More fuel in Moama before we were properly on the road heading to Deniquilin. Oh wow – I can’t explain how excited I was to be going to Deniliquin. Deni is home to the Ute Muster which has got to be about as bogan as you can get. On the ride in to town, we passed like three utes in a row and I could not believe it. So exciting! We randomly passed a scooter on our way in to town, but he turned off the other way to us otherwise we would have somehow managed a photo with him. We definitely got a few stares in town, and shared a parking spot with a local rider who was heading to golf. He said “nice day for a ride”, we said “yeah, were headed to Wagga”, he said “not that nice”. In recent years, the Ute Muster has been host to Cold Chisel and Ice House! There is no need to book accommodation, just stay onsite – bring your van or tent! These fun facts are courtesy of eavesdropping at the visitor information centre. My main question was why on earth does the Deni stubby holder not have a ute on it?!?! It has rabbits on it – I didn’t understand at all and was pretty cut, but I got it all the same. I guess you would have to actually attend the muster to find the ute stubby holder. Not going to happen.
But back to the riding – this part of the country is called the Long Paddock. Add to this, with one straight road going through it. I think there were two slight bends (not corners) between Moama and Deni. Maybe. It was amazing to be out there, but the riding was certainly different to the rest of our trip. I finally learnt today where the best place on the road to be is when the road trains are coming past you. Too far to the left and there is a chance you will be blown off the road, too far the right… well I never went too far to the right! Pretty much sitting in the middle of your lane and hoping for the best seemed to be the right way to go. Some trucks made absolutely no impact, but others had me wobbling around for a few seconds once they had past. But you couldn’t pick which one would do which. So it was kinda like a game, but not a very fun one.
Our next stop was Finley where we fuelled up and managed to grab a geocache. Today was the hottest day of our trip so while we were at the garage having a cold drink I checked the phone and couldn’t believe a. that we had coverage and b. that there was a geocache less than 200m away. Yay for that. We made a quick find and then got back on the straight road heading to Urana. This was probably the most mindblowing part of our ride – it felt like we were truly in the middle of nowhere. In the proper outback. We hardly saw any other cars or trucks so we were on our own most of the time. The land was completely flat all around, just dotted with the odd farm here and there. We arrived at Urana mid afternoon on a Saturday so weren’t sure what we would find in the way of food or fuel. Turns out there was no fuel but there was a ‘cafe’ open. We dined on crisps, drinks and iceblocks and had a bit of a chat to the shop lady. There were two tables of local teenagers just hanging out (well the girls were hanging out, the boys were eating hot chips, fish and spring rolls). I wanted to talk to them to see what it was like living in Urana and what they did. Morgan said we had seen what they did. Hang out. I wondered where they went to school and if they did anything else. When we were leaving town the girls had left the cafe and waved to us, regret – I should have talked to them.
My main goal today was to stay off the major highways and use some back roads. Once we were on one of these back roads heading towards Lockhart, I started to get worried that I would run out of fuel. Where on earth were we going to get fuel out here? The signs were saying 108km to Wagga and I was assuring Morgan over the headset that I would make it. But I was not 100% confident. I slowed down to ride between 80-90km/hr, trying to use as little fuel as possible (with the Malossi variators, the scoots definitely seem a little more thirsty). But I was worried. As we got closer to Lockhart I was relieved to see signs for a roadhouse, but still a little concerned that it might not be open. Turns out – it was open! Phew! Unfortunately the guy behind the counter (yes I spotted a Harley in the garage when I went to use the most disgusting bathroom in THE WORLD) was a complete tool. I always expect that people in these little towns will be friendly and interesting and I am then always disappointed when they turn out to be the exact opposite of this. Oh well, the fuel was good and we set out for the last leg of our journey today feeling more at ease and happy.
Wagga was just as I remembered. It was my task to get us to our accommodation and I was a complete fail with navigation. Because of this, Giorgio’s fan started working overtime trying to keep his engine cool. It really was such a hot day and we were so ready for a shower and some aircon. Finally we made it to our room and we tamed cold showers and cold aircon. Next step in the happy process was beers, pizza and geocaches, which were all found in quick succession. Turns out Wagga has lots of caches in close proximity which we found all too easily. We tipsy walked around town until it was back to our room for blogging and logging. This was our last night away on our trip and of course the weather forecast for the next day showed rain and storms for both Wagga and Canberra…
Click HERE to see today’s pics.