The sky was bleak and grey and once again our plans required a readjustment. We sat around for a while until the boys headed off to the flying field. GD and I decided we may as well have a try at a short ride so wet weather gear at the ready she headed off from Oxley to Everton Station site where I was to meet her.
The weather was a crisp 4c as we started on the trail and we had lost all feeling in our nether regions as we headed downhill . No one had mentioned that Everton was at the edge of a 3km climb albeit gentle for our return journey. The trail itself is easily done on road bikes, a few sandy patches where rain had washed across the path and a few cattle gates to be opened and closed but the snowcapped mountains in the distance served as a perfect distraction as we worked our way up to the highest point on our planned journey at Taylor’s Gap. Despite not having ridden since January the climb was manageable and we passed a few hardy souls pedalling in the opposite direction. Eventually we turned into Gapstead Winery, which is in fact about 2km further on downhill from Gapstead itself. A long climb up the driveway on the comfortable bitumen we parked the purple dynamo and my trusty companion and sought the warmth of the cellar door. This section of the trip took us just under an hour for the 21km, not a fantastic average but an enjoyable ride.
I had a distinct feeling that the cellar door guy was not overly pleased to see us, but after we ordered lunch his attitude changed slightly. The food was ordinary, GD had the Chicken Pie which came with a snowy layer of sea salt, and I tried the warm salad. However the view was spectacular and the temperature a delight as we found parts of our body we had forgotten we owned.
Once more the bikes beckoned and we flew along on the downhill stretch and then climbed steadily back over the Gap. This is definitely the direction to ride if you are not a mountain goat. A plethora of bird life nestled in the trees above us and we were rewarded with a beautiful display of lorikeets of various hues ( for the twitchers, I think they may actually have been Eastern Rosellas). The day began to warm as we worked our way along at a blistering 30kmh, GD was kind enough to keep pace with me until we played sprint to the next bridge games. As per usual I was a big loser…
I hit the wall about 1km from Everton Station and was ever so thankful to see the Outback glistening in the distance. The boys were at the Cheese Factory spending our lunch voucher so that was where we headed to. Another coffee and a big donation to the Chocolate Shop it was back to Chez Guru to recover by the log fire in preparation for our evening sans music at King River Café.
As expected our meal at the King River was near to perfection…my pork belly melted in my mouth, the lemon tart as advertised…best in Aus!