Day Five 236 km Route
This was a long day.  236 kilometres is not so far, but add in high temperatures— range from 12 – 46, cross winds, and heavy traffic and the ingredients are all there for a hard day. The Sturt Highway is not a good riding route; the road shoulders are too narrow for comfort and the traffic is very heavy. I commented on Facebook that

I've done the Sturt Highway at least 7 times- maybe 9- but today has been the worst traffic ever. Very heavy. Cross wind has made every semi on adventure. And the semis are better behaved than many of the cars! Full marks to Collins, and GTS Freight from Mildura. Toll needs to educate its drivers.

The semi trailers are only a small part of the problem. My cousin said

You be careful … I had a worrying moment when I heard a cyclist was hit by a truck the other day. Those big things are very unforgiving.

Me: They are. But a Hyundai Getz will kill you at highway speeds, and in my experience, Getz drivers are a bloody sight more worrying than the average semi driver. But you need to be on full alert all the time on that road.

Often it's not the semi that's the problem— it's the car following the semi as it over takes you.

I was able to leave the Sturt Highway at Berri and take the old road through to Barmera, but eventually there is only once choice, which is to tolerate the traffic. It requires constant vigilance, especially when there is on-coming traffic as a semi comes up from behind. Unlike the Calder Highway and the Duke's, which have very wide shoulders, the Sturt Highway has only enough shoulder to get you into trouble.

The ride to Barmera is interesting, if rough.

When I pulled up, this bloke was pulling a fresh cane down with one paw for a nice sweet chew.

Waikerie is not too far. But it's a hot crawl across to Accommodation Hill and into Truro.

Accommodation Hill is nothing near the steepest hill around, but it is long, comes after a long ride, and it always seems to be a hot day! Neil from Murray Bridge, who paced me on my first day out, grew up in Moorook and used to travel up this hill on his way to Adelaide's East End Fruit and Vegie markets. As a child, he used to jump out of the old truck as it chugged up the hill, and run up and down each side to check the tyres for his dad, who kept on driving!

There is a little climb out of Truro which is not very steep or long, but after a rest at the bakery one's legs are a bit CBF and the backside is still sore as the hill begins. But then there is a long down slope to the Nuriootpa turnoff, with lots of it being double lane. I think it's for the semis to work out who will go first.

From Nuri I took the bike path to Tanunda and the Jack Bobridge into Gawler. There are some sharpish climbs around Rowland Flat, but the surface is glass smooth, there is no traffic, and it is quiet. All that remained then was the short ride from Gawler on the back road and I was home to a rapturous welcome from Annie Rose.

Copyright ^Top