Saturday, March 15, 2008

A surprisingly eventful day.

March 2nd

Destination: Horsham
Road: M1 highway to Melbourne

I had a rough time getting started this morning. It was no doubt the fitful sleep from the high pitched go-carts, different from the road and rain sounds I have become used to. Expectations on an exciting or eventful day were pretty low. No towns of consequence, just a slogging day that gets you to a destination before your real destination.

I was wrong.

Kaniva was a smart town with wide streets and an evident pride of place with neat store fronts and carefully watered gardens and flower pots that could have only been watered using water that was either unfit for humans or collected in one of the many rain storage tanks that are rapidly becoming a regular fixture on all the houses in this drought-beleaguered land.

I am a total sucker for a country bakery and was appropriately delighted to find a small doughnut machine warming up as I walked into Kaniva's bakery. As bready sweets go, I would not claim to be a doughnut man. However, when warm and fresh, they are a force few can resist. I got six. They were 60 cents each, and by far the best deal in the house.

The proprietor apologized. This was a new machine, one week old from America, and he and his wife were just perfecting the dough. As a Yank, in his eyes at least, I was no doubt an expert on such doughy matters, and he was eager for my input. Fried dough rolled in cinnamon and brown sugar - what kind of expert do you need to be. I told him they were excellent, and he gave me one more, making my total 7. Lacking any real skill or constructive criticism to give to the creation process, I suggested he follow the lead of the Southern American doughnut designer - Krispy Kreme, and put out a sign when hot, fresh doughnuts were available. It is a scientific fact that doughnuts are 22.5 times better when eaten hot and fresh. In a town of this size I expect it would take three weeks to have the locals trained on the times hot doughnuts were available. He looked at me like it was the best idea he had ever heard and handed me two more for the road. I burped doughnut for the next 30 km. It was a good problem.

The day was starting to bake, necessitating a watermelon "refuelment" at the town of Nhill - a country town with a street going either direction! The refueling went down with the sticky and refreshing red taste of summer. This was, of course, followed by a relief stop. I spoke earlier of not traveling with music and the joy that I find when fate brings me two it. So it went with the Bach piped into the bathroom. I’m not the kind of guy that lingers in a restroom, but the melody certainly slowed my actions.

70 km to go, and the bake was well and truly on. I wished to be in Horsham before sundown and did not want to stop. This did not prevent me from fantasizing about murdering a milkshake. In the middle of this fantasy, a white van rolled up, and a nice looking woman thrust her hand towards me. It gripped a Solo (lemonade-type beverage).

She spoke franticly, "Would you like a Solo?"
My mind was slow from the heat.
"Yes?" I replied slowly, following quickly with a "god bless you guys" when I figured out what was happening.
"Have some South Australian almonds!"
Her husband spoke, "we got traffic coming."
The almonds were tossed at me, and they sped away.
I called out to the exhaust - "thank you!"

The can was cold and sweating - pulled right from the eski (ice cooler). It hissed commercial-quality refreshment as a I cracked it open. This was the spinach to my Popeye. I peddled on into Horsham.

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