Days 173 – 180, (9-15 September, 2010)
Days 173 – 180 Adelaide – Mount Gambier (9-15 September, 2010) 477km
After our fun filled days in Adelaide we had to finally leave. The Hunts made us really welcome and it was an absolute relief that we didn’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stay. We probably over-killed our stay but they were happy for us to stay there if we couldn’t find accommodation which was really nice of them. After saying our goodbyes and taking a few photos with the family we left. The morning looked like it could rain so I packed my raincoat in my trailer just in case. (I always have in my trailer just in case).
Well what a day it was! Alright for you who aren’t really familiar with Adelaide and especially their east freeway, it is a little bit hilly. Alright a slight understatement. Seeing as the freeway is a freeway, bicycles are not allowed to ride on it. The previous day I had help from Adam Kilpatrick (who is going to be cycling to Sweden later this year. Click here to see his website) planning out the route and where I could go. It was good to have some local knowledge, otherwise I would have probably ridden on the freeway. Adam explained to me that they have cameras all over and the police get notified and come out and escort you off the freeway! Awesome! As much as I wanted to try it I thought it might not be the most responsible thing to do. So I followed Adam’s instructions which take a longer, steeper route than the freeway which has an easy way through the mountains by means of a tunnel. So I started.
The first few kilometres were probably the hardest of the whole day. Just coming back after 8 days without riding it was sort of a ‘warm-up’ for my legs. The day was also quite foggy and so the visibility was 100%. However seeing as I was travelling quite slow (14km/h) the clouds rose up faster than I was rising, however at one point I caught up to it. There was this one section where I almost immediately rode into this cloud or fog. It didn’t last very long at all, probably a couple hundred metres or so. After this the road just kept going on uphill. The graph to the right shows the elevation plot taken from my GPS on my bike and just how steep it was the whole day. After about an hour or so I eventually made it to the top. I wasn’t quite sure if it was the top as the road would go down for a bit but then suddenly steeply rise again. Once I passed a town called Crafers I was pretty sure I had passed the summit of the hill. The next town on the list where I had asked Glenn to stop was this little German town called Hahndorf. Hahndorf was the first German town in Australia. Once I arrived there it was almost like I had ridden into another country. It was quite a surreal experience. After going to the bakery for a nice morning-tea treat, we decided to stay the night in the town and take it incredibly easy, sort-of ease back into the cycling after such a long break (not that I was tired or anything!).
The next day we headed for a town called Murray Bridge. It was another very short day and so naturally I arrived there quite early in the day. Glenn had arrived in Murray Bridge well before I did and asked around for accommodation. After a few motels came back and said no, one said come back after 2.30pm. So we had to burn some time. We waited at McDonalds for a newspaper reporter to come and interview me. After the interview I went for a bit of a ride down the main street and went into a clothes op shop. I went to the suit section and looked around and lots of the suits were ridiculously cheap. I called Glenn to come and have a look and I picked out one and I wasn’t sure if it was the right size and fit. He told me to ask the nice lady at the counter and she said it was too small and went off and grabbed two other suits and told me to try them on. Long story cut short, she found one that looked absolutely perfect. So I bought it but she said the pants needed to be a little bit bigger and longer. She very kindly offered to do it for me and we could pick it up the next day. This was really awesome. I know what some of you are thinking… “Op-shop? Everything there is dodgy, cheap, broken or smelly.” INCORRECT! Look at that photo. If I hadn’t told you that I bought it from an op shop you wouldn’t have picked it. Just wait until I get back and you can see it in person and how good it is. Anyway after this we left the op-shop and headed towards the Central Olympic Motel. They very generously let us stay for the night for free which was really awesome! So a BIG THANKS goes towards the Central Olympic Motel for letting us stay there for the night. When we walked into the room the first thing that we noticed was the absolutely Massive flat screen tv. It was so big, the biggest one that we have seen on the trip. After binging out on TV for the night we went to sleep.
The next day was still quite a short day. We only had to travel about 80km to a small township called Meningie. I had a bit of a cross-tailwind the whole way which was alright. So I arrived at the caravan park where the managers had very kindly donated us quite a nice cabin for the night.
The weather over the next couple of days varied dramatically. One day the wind was not going in the right direction. I had a headwind which slowed me down to an average of 10km/h which is quite disappointing. The next day was the complete opposite, and so I had a tailwind. This sped me up so I was averaging around about 25km/h. These days are really good. When I arrived in Kingston SE there was a huge lobster/ crayfish. It was big.
After a few days I was arriving in Mount Gambier – The last town before the border (SA/ VIC). We had decided to have a few rest days there because we were so far ahead of schedule. Arriving in the town, I had a thought, and when I rode down one of the main roads (hwy), Mount Gambier was quite different to what I thought it would be. However after travelling down another main Mount Gambier road it was what I thought it would be. Ok if that didn’t make any sense then don’t worry about it. Just ignore that last bit. The managers at the Avalon Motel had very kindly given us a room for one of the nights of our stay. Also big thanks go to the Comfort Inn who very generously donated two nights.