As there’s only one road into Yamba we had no choice but to go back the same way. Fortunately for us there is an alternative to the Pacific Coast Highway. So 19km from Yamba to Maclean, narrow road and not much shoulder, surrounded by cane, the local agricultural crop. As you approach Maclean you can’t help but notice the telegraph poles have tartan painted on them and there all different. Couldn’t resist having a photo with Kylie and the Wallace tartan 😉
Stopped for coffee and cake, for regular readers this will come as no surprise, great coffee and lovely white chocolate and raspberry muffin 😉 Leaving town, heading for Lawrence, turn right over a century old bridge and follow signs for Grafton. After about 10km you take the free ferry across the Clarence river. Follow the river through Lawrence and finally into Grafton. So far it’s been a good ride, little or no traffic, a pleasant river, cane pads, cattle, sheep and lots of birds. We of course stopped to take photos of just about everything, after all, we are tourists. In Grafton we headed for the first tavern offering cheap food, it’s lunch time and we’re hungry. We struck lucky this time though, fish, chips and salad for $7, it was good to 😉 as normal we got talking and before you know it we’ve accepted an invite to camp in someone’s garden. The ladies name is Maria, she and her and husband Richard run the Albion Hotel that we had lunch in. We turned up at there property about 7km out of Grafton in the direction we will be travelling in the morning. Good ride out there, stopped to talk to a few locals about Grafton and the river, negotiated the double decker bridge and passed some kangaroos, the second lot we’ve seen but the first we’ve been able to photograph. When we arrived at Maria and Richards home, first off we were going to put our tents up in the garden, then it progressed to putting mattresses in the garage and finally after dinner they offered the lounge. They really did look after us, hot showers, cold beers and a great BBQ dinner complete with two puddings !!
It turns out that Maria is on self dialysis, she like most people in her situation look at the positives and thank there lucky stars that it’s not something worse. She jokes about it with Richard who is a rock and obviously adores Maria. There kids, we only met two, Callum and Maddie are both great and very centred. Great to spend time with such a lovely family, Naomi even got a hands on lesson on feeding Richards hobby, passion and small business, exotic birds, namely cockatiels and similar birds. He has some beautiful birds in his aviaries and admitted to having more at a friends 😉
As I write this blog we are all now friends on Facebook and I’ve no doubt over the coming months we’ll become even closer friends. We’ll be there for Maria when she finally gets her transplant and hopefully she’ll have plenty of blogs to read while in hospital recovering 😉
So another extraordinary day, to be welcomed into a complete strangers home, given, food, beer, hot shower and great conversation is an act of random kindness and we will pass it on !! Thanks Maria and Richard 😉
You’ll be wanting to see some photos then…..
Lovely day, great people !!
We woke to find Maria preparing yet more food, lashings of bacon, sausage, tomato, eggs and toast, all washed down with juice and coffee….set us both up for the day and no mistake !!
The rest of the family had left by the time Naomi and myself said our goodbyes to Maria and Elsie and headed off in the direction of Coffs Harbour. From there house it’s about 75km on a quiet back road. Pleasant scenery for the most part although not dramatic or stunning…just nice. At the half way point in Glenreagh, we stopped for our customary coffee and shared a cake, both were ok, we’ve had better though. Time to move on, now for the second half of the day I struggled to find my cycling legs and was grateful to arrive in Coffs. We found a hotel offering $10 meals and were soon fed and watered and ready to go in search of the tourist information. We wanted some local knowledge about roads going South but off the highway. To be honest the bloke wasn’t a great deal of help but gave us a book of cycling routes, nothing that I hadn’t already found on google maps !!
And so to camp, it’s by the show ground, reasonable price and friendly, always a good start. We pottered about until about 5.30 then went off in search of places to watch the sunset. We found a lookout down by the harbour and as you’d expect it’s up a big hill, so we got a few nice photos. Dinner at another hotel offering two for the price of one, again good food and plenty of it. These hotels and taverns offering food deals is certainly good for us although we always keep the trusty rice and soups handy !!
And so to bed, feel tired, haven’t been sleeping well so hopefully tonight I’ll make up for it.
Best show you a few photos then…