peteg's blog

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Rain overnight, clearing. The roof didn't leak which was fortunate as I hadn't bothered with the fly. Breakfast was the usual, and I climbed back into the hammock to wait out the continuing rain. Some people came and went to the beach, some with curious dogs, some to surf, but none commented. It's a beautiful spot. Eventually I packed up and got moving around 11:30am. Repacking the bike in the wet without a table nearby took some doing.

Again at Christina's suggestion I headed to The Beach House Providore in Valla for a coffee and lunch (a Thai salad with bacon and eggs). The waitresses there were very accommodating: they sorted me out with electricity and wifi at a large table. I met Allan Turner — ex Leeton-ish, land and water conservation, now at Sawtell. He used to ride motorcycles but gave that up, and now has a black trike and will go touring with his wife. He tells me Nambucca and Valla are not yet discovered by the peoples fleeing Sydney.

I set off to do my laundry at Bowraville along the Old Coast Road. The pub at Bowraville was open, as was the IGA. The locals were helpful: I got my tokens from the pub. There is a lengthy and nasty wooden-floored bridge on the way in on the northern side (on Rodeo Drive). The pub was open, as was the IGA; otherwise pretty much deserted. The locals sorted me out with some tokens for the machines, into which I put the clothes I was wearing too. A lady turned up with three kids in a huge Landcruiser; she told me she had a washer onboard but the water was too hard at the farm she’s staying at. I wonder how she does the drying. I popped over to the pub for a coffee (good; the bloke made it with cold milk for me) and caught a bit of the second half of the Wallabies v Italy game on their TV. There is strong Telstra 4G there.

Camping opposite the pub with no beer.

The plan was to camp at The Pub with no Beer (Taylors Arm). I headed there via Macksville, which Dave has said many dire things about; perhaps that it still has a Mitre 10 is observation enough. There's a wooden bridge on the southern side that leads to Taylors Arm Road. I felt I'd gotten lost (despite following the helpful signage) as one ends up on Boat Harbour Road, presumably because Taylors Arm Road goes to narrow twisty gravel. I was fortunate that the rain didn't start until I got to the pub, where I caught the tail end of Little Ripper Band's last set for the day: Wonderwall, Khe San, loudly. The lead bloke told a story about learning the latter's keyboard riff from Don Walker; apparently he played in a band that supported Cold Chisel in the early 1980s. I waited out the rain with the aggressively hospitable locals before setting up. Only Telstra 3G to be had.

Returning to the pub I got a Murrays Dark Knight Porter (the only dark-ish beer on tap apart from Tooheys Old) and got hit up by the locals once again. It's farmland everywhere; historically it was more diverse than the present beef cattle and two remaining dairies. The stories got more provincial. One bloke remarked that we need to live seasonally once again, faulting city people for expecting to eat whatever whenever. I got a tasty Supreme pizza for dinner — the only thing going on Sunday nights. Two girls who were van camping came over to the pub to find out the deal. They quickly returned to their vehicle.

After everyone left around 8pm, I got to chat with the present owner/lease holder. He has a sales background and a clear business plan: it's been 19 months so far of hard work. He told me it wasn't so difficult to deal with the locals if you’re not a local and you’re running the social hub. Nambucca is apparently full of drugs and crime. Avoid? Well... the middle of it at least. Macksville is a lot cleaner now, but he'd still prefer to be further away from the problems of town.

I was in bed by 8.30pm. The rain around 4am woke me up. The forecast for this region is totally wrong.