Sad to leave our campsite at Bargara (those views were to die for), we packed up our kits, filled up on brekky (ham and egg rolls) and started to slow and sad roll out of camp.
Of course that didn't last long as we discovered more of the beautiful coastline in the Bundaberg region. Down around the heads to Kelly's Beach, with its uninterrupted views across the ocean and then opting in for the long (but not really long) option to Elliott Heads. Absolute cracker of a choice as it was blue skies, blue ocean and golden sands. A quick break at the kiosk to refuel and we were back on our way to our first rest stop, but not before a rousing cheer from the students of the Elliott Heads State School, who stood outside to cheer the riders on.
Today's stops were courtesy of small local schools and they certainly turned on the country courtesy with an assortment of refreshments that would tempt the fussiest of eaters. Alloway State School boasted the best chocolate cake and cream that I've had on a ride yet, while Goodwood State School wins my "best school catering ever" award for having Pepsi Max for sale. Seriously you would think Coke had a monopoly on all catered stops so far. Here's hoping for more Pepsi on future rest stops!
Today's ride took us from the beautiful beachside into the cane farms of the area and past many other crop farms, including tomatoes, strawberries, macadamia nuts, zucchinis and most surprisingly, chillis. At the end of the ride we began to see some hillier country that would accommodate cattle, so interested to see what tomorrow brings.
Rocked into Childers with a bit of time to spare, so after a quick and refreshing shower (the heat is more noticeable here than at the beach), I joined Jenny and Gillian for a Mammino ice cream, a local favourite that is deliciously creamy and full of natural flavours. Today's flavour - Baileys Kiss - a blend of vanilla and Bailey's Irish Cream. Followed that up with a bit of exploration of the town, including the very haunting Palace Backpackers memorial, a monument to the tragic arson attack that destroyed the original building and took many young lives.
It was great to see so many fellow riders supporting these little local towns and businesses. One local even joked with me as I walked by. He looked at my lanyard (which identifies me as a cyclist on the tour) and said "it's a case of spot the person without a lanyard" with a cheeky grin. The pubs were certainly overflowing with our riders - and I counted at least three different pubs in town!
After suffering some back pains at lunch today, I was fortunate to find a massage therapist in town who has assuaged some of my worries by getting my back into alignment, so hopefully won't have any major worries about that for the short ride to Biggenden. Looking forward to a quick set up and then a tour of the Stony Creek Gorge in the afternoon.
But the best thing that happened today by far was my accidental "finding" of a friend I made via Twitter after the ride last year. I overheard a lady at the photographers stand mention she was staying at a B&B at the next stop. I couldn't resist asking if her name was Mary, and lo and behold, I finally get to meet my Twitter friend face to face. So great to finally meet you Mary and there is no way in hell I will ever see you out on the road because you get up far too bloody early!
Now as I sit here writing under the not as full moon, I'm so glad for the opportunity to meet the wonderful people I've met along these four tours I've done. Makes me want to branch out and try a few more - perhaps even an international tour in the not too distant future. New Zealand anyone?