Friday, 20 February 2015

TOD Tour Day 9 - Riverside Bike Ride

The morning was occupied with procedural things - checking with the car repairer, organising a hire car to replace the Forester, checking weather forecasts and making some minor repairs to the flashing around the back window of the Avan.

Stuff … but stuff has to be done.

We went into town and tried a new café for lunch. The food was cheap but wholesome, the décor early fifties kitchen and the service friendly but incompetent. The conversation, by comparison, was compelling and lively: religion and philosophy mainly.

Sunshine braved the threatening rain, pushing it back for a while during the afternoon. A visit to the Tourist Information Centre, now down by the Nambucca River, proved useful in helping us find things to do for our extended stay here. Among other things, we discovered a shared walkway which runs along the river, all the way out to the end of the breakwall which runs along the northern bank as it empties onto the sea.

The bikes were unpacked and despite a quick shower at the start, we forged ahead. It’s a delightful ride but we soon discovered why the local council has deemed it a shared walkway. Armed with a warning from the lady at the tourist information centre, we soon picked up on an attitude from the older locals who like to walk the track. This is their pathway and the stick to the centre of it, with their dogs straying this way and that and they refuse to move to one side to allow others to come past. As a result, we detoured onto the grass verge several times to make passage and even to avoid collisions, only to be growled at by the locals, although their dogs seemed friendly enough.

The track stayed right beside the river, mostly constructed of cement but in several spots, elevated wooden boardwalks have been built out across the mud and mangrove roots. These were spots where we walked the bikes or took the footpath alternative. After about two and half kilometres, the track runs along the top of the breakwall. The riverside border of the path is made of large granite rocks which have been tumbled there to stop erosion and manage the path of the Nambucca as it ebbs and flows to and from the ocean. The have been decorated by visitors in all colours and nomenclature: a sort of condoned graffiti. I was reminded of the lover’s locks on Pont de Arts in Paris … but only vaguely and only because my imagination stretches in strange directions.

On the return journey, Sue had a close call, narrowly avoiding being hit by a vehicle backing from blind alley between two buildings whose front walls were right on the pathway. The shouted warning of a bloke coming the other way was instrumental in redeeming the situation.
On the way back to our digs, we stocked up on food, just in case the current rain event caused us to be caravan bound for a few days.

Fish for dinner and more rain showers.

Postscript (Friday mid morning): the trailing weather patterns being shaped by cyclone Maria in Queensland continue to impact on us. We are at the very bottom end of the overall system. We won’t be subjected to the extreme winds but significant rainfall is still expected. We have received about 25mm from 4:30am this morning, falling in a series of showers. The heaviest rain is expected to impact on us from late this afternoon and through the evening. The latest forecast is predicting as much as 150mm. Our caravan park isn’t in a flood prone area and we can’t be cut off from shops or services. Some intermittent minor leaking in connection with the back window of the van is proving a nuisance.

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