Friday, April 4, 2014

Day Twenty-two: Milang to Goolwa 44 kms

Collis woke in the early hours of the morning worrying about the car troubles and how we were going to get the riders to the airport on Sunday (as promised). Nothing he could do about it during the night so he eventually went back to sleep. Up early so he could ring roadside assist at 7 am. The guy was there by 8 am and we got some bad news. The advise was to have it towed immediately but we decided to try driving it to Goolwa and then towed next week. The riders headed off around 8.30 am for a leisurely 35 km ride into Goolwa for morning tea at the bakery.
We arrived there around 11 am and everyone had morning tea and a congratulatory group hug. We had been told that they could ride a short distance across Hindmarsh Island to the Mouth of the Murray. We led them across the bridge with lights flashing and cow bell ringing to find that it was actually 11 kms to the mouth. The group decided to forgo the extra 22 kms and head back into town for a look around. Collis and I headed out to the house booked for the night and unloaded all the luggage before heading back into town to join the group for a celebratory lunch.
After lunch everyone who needed to, spent most of the afternoon pulling their bikes apart and packing them into boxes for their flights home.
A bus was organised to pick them up the next morning to take them into Adelaide & the airport. This was actually our original plan so we knew we could get them to their destinations as planned. It was a lovely trip and a great group of people to share it with.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day Twenty-One: Mannum to Milang 120 kms

Pink sky in the morning is a shepherd's warning- beautiful sunrise but it is a bit ominous. The camp last night was reasonably quiet even though it was pretty busy with caravans. Robbo survived the night without being asked to move his tent- lucky boy. The camp kitchen is really good here so we had a comfortable breakfast today before our biggest day on the trip (especially if they have a headwind as forecast).
The group rode off around 8 am this morning. The plan is morning tea at 35 kms, lunch at another 35 kms and afternoon tea at another 25 kms. Mark left us this morning so he could ride to Adelaide to meet his wife who was coming to Adelaide for the weekend.
The wind was definitely a headwind before morning tea. The scenery changed totally with us leaving the Murray cliffs behind and entering into dairy country and some arid salt bush areas. Morning tea at Murray Bridge in the park (no magpies swooping this time round but one did pee on Robbo).
Lunch was at the courthouse in Wellington. I got to sit and watch the ferry go back and forth- it is amazing how many trucks and cars can be placed on the one ferry. We came across a group of cyclists who are cycling Adelaide to Melbourne in 7 days with one rest day. They were a young group who were raising money for a burns unit and today was their first day on the road.
Afternoon tea was on the side of the road. Bill stated he had a tailwind after lunch but no-one else actually noticed it. Collis and I went to a winery and bought 1 kg of horseradish and two different sauces. The girls were drafting on the way in but Jen took off after tea and nearly beat everyone into town. A light came on the dashboard of the car after tea- something called the catalytic converter and the book tells us to slow down and speak to a mechanic. I don't think we can slow down any further than Collis' slow pace.
All in at Milang by 4 pm and everyone was pretty exhausted but pleased with their efforts. We all went to the pub for dinner and then an early night.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day Twenty: Swan Reach to Mannum 60 kms

Very relaxed start to the morning. This is good as I had a terrible hour or maybe two overnight due to very itchy mozzie bites. Collis woke me early hours of the morning as he was climbing out of the truck and when he climbed back in he pointed out the snoring that was happening in camp. I thought the really loud snoring was Rob but Collis insists that it was one of the canoeists that were next to us. It was extremely loud and in the background was the gentle snoring of everyone else. So I laid there trying to ignore the snoring, when I focused in on my mozzie bites and started to scratch. I am surprised I have any skin left on my feet, I was viscous! Collis kindly climbed out of the truck again to find my stop itch cream which sort of helped ease the craving to scratch. Sticking my feet out in the cold made some difference as well. I eventually went back to sleep and we got up around 7 am.

Everyone was on the road by 8.45 am. The wind was not their friend again today but there was some relief with the bushes on the side of the road. The views were again spectacular and very difficult to get the full effect on film. Leisurely ride to Walker Flats for morning tea- 32 kms. Great coffee stop and we had some donated hot cross buns from Waikerrie Bakery. Lots of fruit from the shops but also from spoils along the road. Jacquei has managed to get pears and apples yesterday. We sat around at morning tea waiting for a paddle steamer to come up past us. Collis, Jim and I boarded a huge houseboat that moored while we were waiting. It was very impressive and worth checking out (how the other half live).
All into camp here at Mannum by 1.45 pm. Issue with Robbo wanting to camp away from the camping area that we have been allocated- he may be asked to move his tent if management catch up with him. The girls went for a walk across the road into town and had a nice time checking out the antique shops. The boys rode around checking the layout of everything.

Day Nineteen: Waikerie to Swan Reach (change of itinerary) 104 kms

The cool change came through in the early hours of the morning and the temperature has dropped dramatically- supposed to only get to 24 degrees today. A little bit of rain overnight but not enough to really talk about. Cloudy all day which kept the temperature right down. The wind was blowing in the wrong direction most of the day.
Difficult ride to Morgan for morning tea but worth the effort. Difficult because of the wind. Morgan is a lovely little town and the boys were able to get their morning fix of coffee as they waited for us to come across on the ferry. We had to wait for the ferry to fill up on petrol- this took 20 minutes.
We were going to have lunch at Blanchetown but we changed the plan as everyone seemed to be really struggling in the wind. We stopped at 80 km mark- on the cliffs again. Everyone seemed to appreciate it and no-one bothered to go into Blanchetown.
Another 24 kms then till finish for the day. Mark said it was the worst road he had ever travelled around Australia. Everyone came in pretty exhausted but they soon rejuvenated after the shower and a few nibbles.

Day Eighteen: Renmark to Waikerie 92 kms

It is April Fools Day and Jacquei is in full swing. Everyone watch out.
The day started with a high temperature. It eventually reached 36 degrees but apparently 42 degrees on the road. The briefing was held in the morning before they all rode off together.
Morning tea was at the Overland Corner Hotel. The Hotel was not quite open by the time the riders got there but they did open up just before we left. Opening time was 11 am. Collis gave more directions at morning tea but forgot to mention one important turn (although the turn WAS mentioned a number of times at the morning briefing). I walked past the car before we headed off and found someone had been busy creating a personality for the car. Bill went to ride off and found his bike taped to the "Cyclists" sign and Robbo found his water bottle had been taped to his carrier. Jacquei!!!!!

They head off eventually and Collis suddenly realises he has forgotten to mention a turn so we put the sign on the corner and then we go to head down the other road to make sure everyone has turned. The girls came up behind us and then turned. I rang Jim and find him 4 kms down the wrong road and he did not know where Bill was. I ring Bill but he has turned his phone off. We go 15 kms down the wrong road looking for him before a phone call comes through from Bill asking us where we had got to- he was waiting at the lunch spot. Back we go to the turnoff to pick up our sign and check Jim has made the correct turn. No sign. Robbo had picked it up (he thought we had forgotten it) and carried it on his bike for 10 kms down the road. Jim was OK and found the turn. Everyone was pretty hot and thirsty by lunchtime. Lunch was on the cliffs overlooking Waikerie.
After lunch it was a short downhill ride to the ferry, across the river and up into the town. Caravan park was nice with a well equipped camp kitchen and a refreshing swimming pool. Most riders went for a swim then out to dinner at the pub. Hot night with very little breeze.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day Seventeen: Renmark Rest Day 0 Kms

Had a lovely breakfast bought by Kathy, provided by Cycle Across Oz and cooked by Mark, Jim and Collis.  Everyone enjoyed the luxury of lazing around over breakfast before heading off to do their own thing for the day.
Collis and I went into town to do some more shopping, some snooping around the opp shops, a go on the pokies and then decided to go for a drive around the area. We went to the Almond Factory (bought lots), then along to Lyrup Forest (no trees) and then onto Berri. 
Nice day.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Day Sixteen: Werrimull to Renmark SA. 100 kms

A few grumpy faces this morning. Not sure why this is so but probably to do with the one early rise on the trip. It has been such a relaxed trip so far but there was talk and predictions of heat and head winds so everyone wanted to get on the road early. My weather guru had said little to no winds but this was ignored- as usual I was correct, I think I need to pass on the app I use. Most of us had a lovely evening last night and should have had a good sleep but not everyone.
Robbo was the first up as usual and I was greeted by him at the tea making table at 6.15 am on my way to the bathroom. He was then complaining of nowhere to sit and eat his breakfast because it was dark- Robbo it is dark every morning if you get up before sunrise and you have never complained before, why was this morning any different. I went around reminding everyone they had to finish off all their fruit and vegies this morning before we get to the border. Got snapped at rudely by Mark when I reminded him of his cantelope- I was taken back by the tone but didn't say anything (until later after stewing on it all day). We had a beautiful bag of roma tomatoes which we have to use up for morning tea and probably lunch. Jacquei had a lovely bag of organic carrots which she decided to donate to the pub. Carmen had a bag of fruit which I will cut up at morning tea as well.

The wind did not pick up and it was perfect riding conditions this morning. The group stopped at the pioneer village on the way to Renmark, $2 entry and well worth the effort- "very interesting"said Carmen. Morning tea and lunch were both on the side of the road and the flies were horrendous. Ants were numerous, march flies were biting and the little pesky flies were in their thousands. I ended up in the car as I couldn't tolerate them for long. I used a t-towel and put tissues in my ears but still got attacked. I made tomato sandwiches and tomato wedges with lots of salt for morning tea.
We were in at camp by 2.30 pm and all pretty hot by this time. The Stuart Hwy wasn't as bad for traffic today so the riders weren't shook up like they were the other day. The caravan park is very green and we have been put near the river down the back away from all the families- very peaceful.
Collis has realised he has made a mistake with his mileage in a couple of days so we will have to rejig the accommodation etc tomorrow. I snapped at Mark but we made up and I will have to learn to talk things out with him at the time rather than stewing on it all day.