Monday, 20 July 2009

Day four: Wangaratta to Urana

Wednesday July 8, 2009, 128 km (79 miles) - Total so far: 462 km (287 miles)

I was up early for a pre-arranged interval training session with Justin and Matt Z around the local athletics track in sub-zero temperatures. The aim was to leave early, so by the time we got back, the others were up and porridge and coffee were being served: a perfect start to the day. Sharon and Justin just kept up the generosity, Justin arranging to post my useless tent and a pair of shoes (both left-footed, doh!) that I'd brought for Matt Z, back home for me and Sharon offering to lead us to the NSW border where there was apparently a tricky turn.

We left at 8:30 - a record for us, but Justin still thought we'd lagged around a bit:P Sharon paced us along perfectly, getting us to Corowa in excellent time. We had an early lunch break there that ended up stretching out for quite a while and I felt bad for making her wait so long, but she didn't seem to mind. After the turnoff to Urana, Sharon turned back with our sincerest thanks and we were on our own. The road was very flat, and it was quite a nice ride, but the sheer monotony of the wheat fields, which were all we could see in every direction, began to get to us, and we struggled to stay focused.

At one point, the lane markers vanished and seeing as we hadn't seen a car in hours, we decided to have some fun and ride six-abreast. Heehee.

Finally, after just under 6hrs, we made it to Urana, which was actually a bigger town than I was expecting. Google maps hadn't shown any real accommodation there, but it turned out to have a caravan park there. Score!

We set up camp, and then first went to the supermarket for expensive provisions and then for expensive beers at the only pub, which had a rather depressing interior and clientele. As we cooked dinner at the barbecue area of the 'aquatic centre' (consisting of a lake with no water), the slightly inebriated proprietoress of the caravan park, Marion ('Robin's girlfriend') approached with a CD player and a CD produced to commemorate Urana's recent 150th year anniversary. For a good 45 minutes we were regaled with stories about Urana's past and given an insight into the town Marion wanted Urana to become (a haven for disabled children who would come to see the somehow-replenished lake and vivid shearing/droving demonstrations). She charged us with the responsibility of spreading the word about Urana in all of our future university assignments ('Don't you dare forget Urana when you become academics!').

Before she left, she offered to set up the toilet block with a heater for us to sleep in. Only James was game enough to brave the (very well disguised but still present) toilet aroma despite the -2C night.

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