|Distance: 50.8km||Total Distance: 1437.5km|
Today we cycled from Newcastle, well Stockton really, to beautiful Nelson Bay. We set off just before 9am and cycled out of the greater Newcastle area on a surprisingly busy road for a Sunday morning. With a side tailwind and a wide verge we made good time though felt a little rusty after our time off in Newcastle. After clearing Newcastle we cycled through the first open rural countryside since before Shellharbour and arrived at Williamtown which Will was chuffed about. Williamtown is home to a RAAF base and headquarters to Australia’s Tactical Fighter group. We had seen and heard jets on previous days but not today as it’s a weekend.
Will says… “Passing the air force base I couldn’t help thinking of Gary, Tank Commander. Probably the only friends who will get that joke are Simon and Gill. Then after thinking of Gary, I started singing an annoying James Blunt song because he was a tank commander. I couldn’t get it out of my head even though I know tanks have nothing to do with the air force.”
After Williamtown the road continued to be good but was busy with day trippers. We made good time and arrived in Nelson Bay at lunchtime.
Just before Nelson Bay one of Will’s front panniers leapt off and jammed in the wheel. We are not sure what made it to detach as it’s never happened before and there didn’t seem any reason to happen now. Will then found that his front wheel was slightly buckled and by the time we reached the caravan park it was worse. So after putting up the tent we found a bike repair shop and the friendly owner replaced the spoke, tightened the spokes and balanced the wheel on a jig, all for only $15. He also tightened the crank as there is a clicking noise. That didn’t fix the clicking noise and we spent some time trying to work out where it is coming from with no success. We decided if it’s a problem, it will reveal itself sooner or later.
After getting the bike fixed, we showered and headed into town to look around. We found a great bar on the waterfront with a good musician playing. After a beer we did grocery shopping and headed back to the caravan park for a quiet night. It turned out to be a very entertaining night as we first met two friendly 50 something men, one of whom had just solo paddled the length of the Murray River. We then chatted to a Gray Nomad who went away and returned with his wife and some wine. Chatting to them we were then joined by a friendly couple with young kids camping near us. We all sat around chatting and it turned into a late night with great conversations. Tomorrow we are having a day off.
Highlight of the day: Nelson Bay is beautiful, the bike shop was great, and the conversations with friendly people were entertaining.