Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day 32: Richmond to St Arnaud

April 3rd 2014
Distance cycled: 84 km
Total distance to date: 1905 km

After waiting on the side of the road at 7:25 this morning for my sunglasses (which Sean delivered with wry commentary; "I tried them on but they didn't look good on me"), I went back to Lorene and Brent's house to pack up my stuff. I have a hard time leaving a place in the morning, especially if there is wifi, so of course I didn't leave until 9:30, by which time I'd had two coffees. Lorene and Brent had made me feel so welcome that I wanted to stay there forever. They might have eventually kicked me out but I'm  sure their dog Jasper wouldn't have minded:

Jasper loves anyone who gives her attention. I fit the bill just fine since I was the only one home. I left a note thanking them for everything and got on my way out of Richmond. 

I've done pretty well with the animal friends today. First Jasper, then this horse near a winery. 

I had a carrot and an apple but I was too lazy to dig either out of my bag. 

The trail itself is a wine trail called the Great Taste trail. It is flat and gravelled and generally very good. 

It passed through two small towns, Brightwater and Wakefield. I spotted one of Brent's properties for sale (he's a real estate agent):

Then I went down Eighty-Eight Valley Road, which was quiet and scenic and at one point had lots of LOTR-named side roads. 

I wonder if they were renamed after the movies were released?

There were two saddles to climb today. Here was the second and larger of the two. 

Nice views from the top! Although I was ready for the downhill, so I didn't dawdle too long. The bumblebees up there were terrorizing me! Flying straight into my face. Jerks. 

About 7km outside of St Arnaud is the historic TopHouse Hotel. They have NZ's smallest pub, so I thought I'd stop in for a beer. They were closed. Nice views though, and a treehouse!

After that detour, it was mostly downhill to St Arnaud. I was grateful for that, since I'd done a lot of uphill already and I was still quite sore from my 1.5-day hike. 

Once I got to town, I stopped at the Alpine Village Hotel and Pub. They do "rigger fills", which I assumed was the same as a growler. Of course I'm not carrying a growler around, so I figured I'd just have a pint for $9. However, as I stepped up to the bar, there was a man getting a 2-liter plastic bottle filled with beer. Apparently the laws here aren't so stringent about what vessel is required to fill with beer. I realized one of my water bottles was empty and could be used for this purpose. 

Ta-da! IPA from the tap, 1.5 liters for $12. Pretty sweet deal. I arrived at camp and sat and watched the sunset as I sipped my beer. 

A few ducks thought I had food for them. They hung out with me for a while. I poured some beer out for them but they weren't interested. 

This lake is incredible. I'll have to take some more pics tomorrow in the daylight.

I'd go swimming if it weren't so cold! It sure isn't summer anymore up here in the mountains. The campsite is nice for being a DOC campsite (state-run). I spoke with the camp hosts, a retired couple who were very sweet, and a young outgoing couple from London with whom I shared my chocolate. 


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