- Warren (A) to Cobar (B)
I left Warren at about 7.30 am on a crisp, cool morning with absolutely clear skies that showed no trace of yesterday’s rain. The road continued level for the first ninety odd kilometres, extending to almost one hundred and eighty kilometres the distance between hills of even the gentlest persuasion. Just twenty kilometres from Warren we passed through the town of Nevertire, boasting a population of 103. Here we turned to the east as we picked up the Mitchell Highway to Nyngan, also finding ourselves travelling adjacent to the railway line for the first time. After Nyngan I turned onto the Barrier Highway and headed for Hermidale, a tiny spot consisting of just a few houses.
A little way past Hermidale I had what turned out to be the closest call of the entire trip in terms of safety. I was almost run over by an emu. The wild bird came scurrying from the bush to my left at high speed and passed just a metre ahead of me as it headed purposefully for the other side of the road. If an oncoming car hadn’t hooted to alert me, it could have been a disaster as I was entirely unaware of the bird’s presence until that moment. More than one-and-a-half metres tall and weighing in at over forty kilograms, a full grown emu is not to be trifled with. I was probably doing about thirty or thirty-five kph at this time, little match for the emu whose top speed can approach fifty kph. Imagine being thumped by a forty-five kilogram feathered projectile moving at fifty kph. Exit one cyclist.
I was ninety kilometres into the day’s ride before the road finally presented a few ups and downs, but still no serious hills. The vegetation had changed significantly over the last few days, with the plains being far more open, with less trees than earlier. We were now passing through a centre of the merino sheep industry, and of course the numerous sheep look really splendid.
There are plenty of sheep; decidedly fewer people. The area is sparsely populated, with the Shire of Bogan, for example, which occupies 14610 square kilometres, supporting a population of just 3600.
A sedate ride into Cobar and the day’s ride was over.
At sundown we sat in the caravan park, with a cold Fosters in hand, and watched literally hundreds and hundreds of parrots passing overhead on their way to roost. What a wonderful sight. What a wonderful country. The sun went down and the first week of cycling dimmed quietly to a close.