44.2 mi / 11.6 mph / 976 ft. climbing
Home: Lake Paringa DOC Campsite
6.9 inches of rain fell over the last two days, which would be a pretty significant event in most places, but here there were no warnings or watches this time. Still, that brings the six-day total to more than 16 inches of rain, nearly half of what Seattle gets in an entire year.
But now some Antarctic air has cleared all that out, and we woke to another day of sunny skies, with the chilly 44 F temperature coming as part of the bargain. Good thing our accommodation had electric heaters!
Our primary reason for taking days off when it rains is because it sucks getting wet. But today (combined with the day when we did ride through rain last week) reminded us of another reason we often forget: the rain makes it difficult to see the awesome things we ride past! And since we’re riding here to see the country, not just to get from place to place, it almost seems stupid to cover distance on a day where we can’t see anything.
I don’t take many photos while it’s raining primarily because taking a camera out makes everything wet. But also, there just aren’t many good photos to be taken in the rain! Contrast that with today’s ride, where we made an abundance of photo stops, because there was an abundance of things to see. Jungly rain forest, multiple mountain peaks (although a few of them were obscured by clouds, we would have seen zero on a rainy day), monumentally tall trees looming over the rest of the forest, a million rivers and streams and creeks, each different from the next, and, the damn ocean once again!
About 30 miles, after pushing through a bit of headwind, we returned to the ocean for a mile or two at Bruce Bay. There was a food truck at the beach parking, and we bought drinks to go with our packed lunch, which we ate in the public toilet parking area (nicer than it sounds) because it was more-sheltered from the cold wind than the beach side.
More-importantly, that’s where we commemorated reaching 10,000 cycling miles in the ~2.3 years of our nomadacy! Given how much time we’ve been puttering around, it’s not that impressive of a distance, nor is it precisely-measured (do you count day-rides we did when we took five months off in Washington last year?), but my tracking spreadsheet said we crossed that big round number today, and big round numbers deserve to be recognized! The Long Distance Cycle Journeys Database requires “only” 6000 miles to qualify, we’re well beyond that.
We made it to the DOC campground a bit before the official 2pm check-in time. But with no rangers at these places, such things don’t actually matter at all, and our early arrival meant we had our pick of spots. I immediately went into sandfly-protection mode (putting on pants, and putting repellent on my wrists and hands, the only exposed bits) since they were pretty dense in our shaded, wind-protected campsite. But in the sunny open area in front of the lake they weren’t too bad, so we hung out there until we “cooked” our early dinner of backpacker meals. Even after, I sat outside next to the creek running right behind us, and although they’re flying around everywhere, I don’t think I got a single bite all afternoon and evening, until I got into the tent, let down my guard, and one got me on my little finger. The big advantage of the cool (high of 60F) temperatures is that protection from the cold doubles as protection from the sandflies.