Day 020, Friday, 17 April, 2009

Distance travelled – 48.7 km
Avg speed – 18.1 kph
Max speed – 42.9 kph

Grafton to Whiporie via the Summerland Way

There was some discussion about which route we would take today. Option 1 was take the road to Lawrence, catch the ferry to Woodford Island and then ride to Maclean, Yamba and take the ferry to Iluka. Taking this route would mean that the next day we would take the Iluka Road to the Pacific Highway and ride 36 km along the highway to Woodburn and then to Evans Head. The day after that our route would be along the Evans Head Broadwater Road to Broadwater and along the Pacific Highway to Ballina.

Option 2 was recommended by two of the cyclists we met on the previous couple of days – Steve and Dillon from Coffs and the Casson’s sales rep at Glenreagh. This recommended route was along the Summerland way to Casino – a distance of about 102 km.

We knew we wouldn’t be able to do that distance in one day. And at first glance we thought there was nowhere to stop halfway, so we were leaning towards Option 1 even though it meant dealing with the dreaded Pacific Highway. Then we discovered in Camps 4 that the General Store at Whiporie (half way between Grafton and Casino) allows you to camp on the block of land next door to the shop. So we ummed and ahhed and decided to take the advice of the locals and head for Casino.

It was well after 10am before we left Grafton – there were lots of people to talk to at the Gateway Village. But this was entirely acceptable seeing as we would only be covering 50 km for the day.

Leaving Grafton the road was pleasantly flat with grass growing right up to the sides of it – no sharp drop off at the edge of the bitumen like some of the roads we have been on. Again the route was undulating, the road surface good and the traffic light with the occasional truck.

As we rode along we started to notice some hairy caterpillars crossing the road and then we noticed many of them walking one in front of the other, tails and heads joined, in a long ‘train’ across the road. We saw this many times during the day. Unfortunately, we also saw the trains blow apart and the caterpillars roll along the road with the wind generated by passing traffic. Watch a video of the caterpillars.

Towards Whiporie as we rode between the Bunyabba and Gibberagee State Forests magnificent trees provided us with welcome shade. We arrived at Whiporie about 3pm and set up camp while watching approaching rain clouds. Luckily they passed by. As the sun set the mossies came out and began to savage us so we quickly had dinner and retreated to the tent by 7pm. I think we were asleep by 8pm!

Zoom into the map and use the 'Satellite' layer to see our new location.


Site 231 at The Gateway Village, Grafton

Frogs in the power box in the morning at The Gateway Village, Grafton, They were not there when we plugged in the previous evening.

Lunch on the way to Whiporie

An ant carries away a breadcrumb after we had lunch on the road to Whiporie.

Caterpillar train on the road to Whiporie. Watch a video of the caterpillars.

Caterpillar train on the road to Whiporie. Watch a video of the caterpillars.

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