Cycling 1:44:00  40.2 km (2:35 / km)
The Hay Plains are reputed to be the flattest place in the world. As so often with such claims, this depends on how you define it, but it's definitely flat in all directions from town. I chose the Booligal road, mainly on the basis that as a north-south road it wouldn't have sunglare for myself or for drivers who I wanted to see me, and wouldn't have a lot of traffic (I was right there).
The plains may be hillless but they are not windless. For the first half this was not such a bad thing, with what seemed to be a southwest wind giving a certain amount of assistance, and I was rolling along nicely, averaging around 28 km/h which is at the fast end for me.
Turning around I realised instantly that I'd had more of a tailwind than I had previously suspected, and now I was going to have to work back into it for the second half. From the training point of view this was a good thing, but it was a hard slog. It might have paled into insignificance compared with what the Around the Bay people had to cope with two weeks ago, but I was still struggling to maintain 20 km/h into it (in the end it took 15 minutes longer for the inward than outward journey). Thought it might get a bit easier as I got closer to town, with a few more trees and buildings to break the wind up, but by then it had shifted to be a direct headwind so that didn't help much.
Also had my first magpie encounter of the spring, near the edge of the 80 zone on the fringes of town. It paid me only passing interest on the way out but rather more serious interest on the way home (perhaps because I was moving more slowly).
Had a bit of a look around town before heading south, mainly the war museum (Hay had a large POW/internee camp). One story of interest was the only successful escape from the camp, an Italian who made his way 150km down the Murrumbidgee to Balranald and then by train to Melbourne, where he found work before being recaptured a few months later. Many years later he came back out to try to re-enact his trek, but 1974 was not the best of years for such an exercise and he only made it a third of the way, defeated by the sort of floods and swamps that I've come to look at. Only sour note of the morning was the rudeness encountered at the local supermarket (from someone who couldn't cope with the idea of being given $5.35 to pay a bill for $3.35), but I was uplifted again by the two locals in the queue behind me who apologised on the way out on their town's behalf, suggesting that her grumpiness was well-known to the community. (I'd speculate that she keeps her job by virtue of being the owner's wife).
I didn't meander as much on the way south as I had going north, but still saw plenty of water in places it usually isn't in the vicinity of Deniliquin (which also features a ute on a pole) and the Barmah Forest. Also ended up going back through Kyabram which, I think, was the largest town in Victoria I hadn't previously been to.