Underbool to Elizabeth

Day 15 -  Monday September 17 – Underbool to Tailem Bend – 231km
Heading west from Underbool there are no obvious camping stops that are just the right distance for touring, unless you stop in a tiny town which may not even have public toilets. The water supplies are doubtful. Pinnaroo is obviously too short a day. Lameroo, again, was a bit short, and Tailem Bend is a very long way. In the end I decided that I had the legs for Tailem Bend, and somewhere short of Lameroo, on top of a dune where I had some mobile reception, I booked a motel. It's an old motel, but I've stayed there before, and the beds are good. The nether regions were beginning to bruise,  so this was a not altogether comfortable ride, and needed a bed, not a bivvie, at the end of it.

15-lonegrave The lone grave is for an unidentified railway worker who died in 1913. Nonetheless, someone gives it attention. The green patch at the bottom left is an attempt to plant Gazinias and some ground cover.

Rolling into the car park of the motel, I found amongst all the four wheel drives, two large Harley Davidsons parked next to a "ladies" push bike.  I soon found out why that bike was outside— the room assigned to me really didn't have room for me and a push bike! But no way was I leaving mine outside.

The large map

Day 16  - Tuesday September 18 - Tailem Bend to Elizabeth – 144km
In the morning, John who mans the ferry to Jervois, I asked me if I was with "the other cyclist" who had just come through. He sees lots of cyclists, because the Jervois Road is the only sane way to ride into Murray Bridge from Tailem Bend.

John looked familiar, and was delighted that I remembered talking to him a couple of years ago on a previous ride— at 2a.m. in the morning— about his own ride up the river.

On the outskirts of Murray Bridge I caught up with Jude the cyclist, who was discovering, like many cyclists before her, that Google is not your friend when you're on the outskirts of Murray Bridge, and trying to get to Adelaide. The pushbike "function" on Google Maps, always dodgy, was insisting that she go to Adelaide along the freeway.  On a small screen it's not at all clear how you to get through the hills to Adelaide without the freeway. Yes, the Old Princes Highway is marked on the maps if you zoom right in, and if it feels like being helpful, but there is nothing intuitive about it. On top of this, how to get down from Stirling to Adelaide is a mystery if you don’t know about the bike path.

It was a day with really nasty headwinds, and promising some pretty cold rain as well. We decided to ride together, providing each other with windbreaks as we went across the open country out through Monarto.

Jude has an open wire basket on the front of her bike, which would be the scorn of many. However, I am mightily impressed: if she wanted anything, it was in that basket! She had ridden from Geelong, along the Great Ocean Road, and despite a fall on the Duke's Highway, was still going.

16-basket The Amazing Basket

Unfettered by what is "cool" or appropriate for use on a touring bike, Jude has simply chosen a completely useful and practical solution-- far better than what I was using.  There must be a lesson in that somewhere!  The basket even had a hi-viz rain cover, which says something about how fashion trumps common sense; somewhere in the world people think baskets are a good idea.

16-juderollingdown Nearly Home

It was a windy, cold, and sometimes very wet ride through the hills. We covered Nairne to Aldgate during the "mum bringing the kids home from school" and "all the tradies coming home from work" rush between the hills towns, which is never pleasant. Germantown Hill is always a steep climb, but it's a whole lot worse with heavy traffic at the end of a long day. Bridgewater to Stirling was a pleasant ride by comparison!

By walking a couple of hundred metres at one point, we were able to quickly get across into Crafers by using the Pioneer Women's Walk route rather than taking the steep ride up the back of Stirling. It was all downhill from there to the Tollgate, and I left Jude at the head of Grange Road, and headed home.

So, 144km for the day, and 2,294km for the 14 days of riding. I'm happy.


Photo by Jude; satorial elegance by me.

The large map  Hill's KML

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