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Day 68

Posted by on March 7, 2024

Start:  Woodburn

Finish:  West Ballina

Distance:  23

Total:  1076

Last nights stay in Woodburn was not a good experience. Then today I missed a turn and had to backtrack. Maybe I got whatever bad that’s left on this trip over with all at once. I hope so. 

Last night I stayed in the village of Woodburn, a small town of maybe 1000 people. As I walked into town yesterday I noticed the one and only gas station was permanently closed and had been for some time. Then the first store in their one block long business district, the grocery store, was also boarded up. There were a couple of coffee shops, a bakery, a cafe, and then there was the Rod-N-Reel Pub and Motel where I had a reservation to spend the night. When I first put eyes on the place I thought this might have been a mistake but Woodburn was my best choice of towns and the Rod-N-Reel was the only place to stay.  

So I went to the bar, which is what you do in one of these Pub/Motels, to check in. I got room #4; a single with an “en-suite” which means the room has its own bathroom, otherwise you share with other rooms down the hall. I went to my room and it was very, and I mean very, small. In the bathroom the mirror had fallen off the wall above the lavatory and was just sitting there resting behind the faucets leaning against the wall. Above the toilet was a widow that was designed to be permanently open. It’s hard to explain but there were glass pains with spaces between them and they were permanently attached to the window frame in a way that left 4 inch openings in the window all the time. This explained why there were flies in the room that I spent the next hour chasing down and swatting with my baseball cap. 

After chasing down the flies, I decided it was time for a shower. On the bed was a towel, wash cloth, and a small, prepackaged bar of soap. I looked around for shampoo. I couldn’t find any. So I walked back across the parking lot to the bar and asked the girl who checked me in for some shampoo. She said they only provide soap. Seriously. So I went back to my room to take a shower. When I unwrapped the soap, I couldn’t find the trash can to throw the wrapper in. I looked everywhere. No trash can. I honestly have never, ever heard of any business establishment, let alone a motel, that doesn’t have a trash can. This is a crime against civilized society. So after I took a shower I went back to the bar/bistro to eat and also talk to the manager about this room situation. When I asked for a manager, the guy behind the bar said there was no manager on duty. He acted like he was in charge, so I told him about my displeasure with the whole situation, and especially the lack of a trash can in the room. He said there is a dumpster in the parking lot if I want to use that. WHAT!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  They expect their guests to dispose of their trash in their motel room by walking outside to a dumpster every time they have something to throw away?  So for the rest of my stay I made a little pile of trash in the corner of my room on the floor. When I left this morning I looked at that pile of trash and could hardly control my mixed emotions. 

My walk today was a long one. It was planned to be 21 miles but I missed a turn and didn’t realize it until I’d gone a mile down the road. The only thing I could do was turn around and go back so that added two miles to my day. 

Tonight I’m in a normal motel with shampoo and two trash cans. I have eight more days to walk and all but one day is less than 20 miles. And no more freeway!  JB. 

My day ended with a ferry ride across the river into West Ballina.
This part of New South Wales is sugar cane country.
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Mandie Svatek
Mandie Svatek
1 month ago

There will always be shampoo for you at our home! Keep it up!

Jeff Johnson
Jeff Johnson
1 month ago

I guess all if those command decisions you made over the years prepared you well for the trash pile in the corner decision…LOL

Jessie
Jessie
1 month ago

I was laughing after we hung up from FaceTime and you showed me you were throwing trash on the floor 🙂

Mary Cluley
Mary Cluley
1 month ago

My goodness John. You handled that situation with grace! It is incredible what you do! The sugar cane photo is unbelievable. What beautiful country!! Be safe my friend!