Days One to Five

Day One: Monday July 11
A foul day with horrible head winds. I managed just 12kph for the day.

The Rattler TrailThis is the Rattler Trail at 5pm. Wind 30-40km, temperature 10 degrees centigrade, rain soon to be heavy. Yea for the Trengoves!

Today was Adelaide to Clare via Main North Road, Rattler and Riesling trails.


Day Two: Tuesday July 12

Quote of the day from Jan: “Our friend  Andrew... a lovable complete nutter. We've just given him the ok to leave the warmth and safety of our home, to continue his journey to Alice Springs and beyond.” Forecast of gale force winds again, with threats of snow.

Me at Clare, at Trengoves

Great night and morning with the wonderful Trengoves, who tried to gang up and stop Don Quixote riding off in the storm! Left Clare at 10.30, 6 degrees, and 30 kph west wind. Then weathered a nasty squall before even reaching the edge of town. I went up the Spalding Road to stay in the shadow of the ranges which worked tolerably well until reaching Euromina where the road was detoured over the eastern range to Andrews. Cue second squall for the day, 4 degrees, blown all over the road. OK again until reaching the Burra Road which swung me around into the wind for a slow crawl from Trengove's old farm into Spalding, where it was a balmy nine degrees. But the pies were hot at the Spalding store.

Spalding to Gulnare was surreal. For the first time ever I had to walk the bike because it was too windy to be safe. Pushed it up an 8 per cent slope into horizontal rice grain size hail for about 10 minutes, GPS showing 3 degrees. I reckon the wind was in excess of 60kph. Felt like going down to Uncle Des's on the back of the ute at 50 mph!

Once in the range the wind stopped! Bundaleer Reservoir is full... what a surprise. The ride to Gladstone from Gulnare was almost routine, although I got the skirts of another storm heading east. Gladstone Caravan Park tonight, where Bill LePoidevin with whom I started in Grade One, is doing a temp as caretaker! Hopefully Port Augusta tomorrow, but... the weather... we'll see.

Bundaleer Resevoir Bundaleer Resevoir

Spalding - Gulnare Road Spalding – Gulnare Road

Day Three: Friday July 13

A beautiful ride up through the country where I grew up. Lunch at Melrose. Two shots from Horrocks Pass and one from the roughest bitumen in Australia. Like the cyclist before me I spent some time riding alongside instead of on the bitumen! That's the old road from Horrocks Pass to Stirling North. Also got to talk with an old hockey mate, Stefan Wild, in Wilmington.

Horrocks Pass

Horrocks Pass

The old road to Stirling North

The old road to Stirling North


Day Four: Thursday July 14

I left Port Augusta about 9, and met my brother in law Dave on the road just outside town. I have now ridden about 100 kilometres north and am happily ensconced in a tent for the night and about to turn out the lights. I have the highway about 500 metres away with semis thundering past, and no doubt there will be a goods train or two during the night about 30 metres the other way. Still, in all a good day despite being fairly cold although sunny.

Mel's Walking StickMel would be pleased with the use I have made of his walking stick.  I've had numbers of blokes in their 70s, and beyond have quiet chats, about being out on the road. Some of the blokes who have everything in a big caravan actually yearn for something simpler and "closer to the ground."




It was a very frosty night

It was so cold last night that the rails next to my tent snapped at one of the welds. It looked just like a biscuit that had been snapped. The ganger it said it was the second one he had fixed that morning. Another team was due along later to weld in about 15 metres of new rail. It doesn't feel like it will be any less cold tonight. There is a lot less traffic so at least it is quiet!



 Day 5: Friday July 15

Yesterday was a good traveling day, although I had a bikie try and pull out my trailer aerial on the way past! Fortunately he missed.  I was also passed very close by a couple of crazy road trains. But most traffic was pretty good.

I slept well last night.  It's now 6 o'clock here. I got up to go to the toilet, and was shaking like a leaf by the time I got back to the tent . There is more frost on the tent than there was on things last night. It is really really cold. The frost is crusty on the tent and I heard it crack when I pressed against the back of it as I got up. So still too cold have breakfast, I think, even sitting up in the tent!

Dave reckons he will catch up with me about 1.30 this afternoon, so he should have the extra blanket to go over the bottom of the sleeping bag which will help a lot. It still seems to be that I can't get up any earlier than this, or go any later than I have been, to make up mileage, because it's just too cold. I went a little bit later last night before camping, and it was a pretty close call for getting into bed. I was eating in the dark and it was quite cold. It seems like the only gains I can make on packing up a little bit quicker this morning, and at present, it's too bloody cold to do anything

Evening of 15th:

Now north of Pimba.  I'm about 80km south of Glendambo. Met Dave 15km south of Glendambo this afternoon. A good ride, although with some shin pain after the big push through the storms of Monday and Tuesday. I took a dose of ibuprofen at 9:30 a.m., and have two more sitting with tomorrow's breakfast.

I'm now in the expensive country where you pay $23 for a coffee and 11 litres of water. (Glendambo.)

Dave delivered my khaki blanket and some shock cord,  and some Emmaline’s Biscuits from Wendy.

The black battery that is charged by the big solar panel was flat this morning, and is only two bars charged tonight, so it's not been a very sunny day at all! My other little solar panel is basically useless, and I will get rid of it to save the weight.

I booked a motel in Coober Pedy before riding out of the Woomera phone zone. So I have 2 days to do 240 kilometres, as the room was $160.00 prepaid, for a night. I was passed again by 5 or 6 Army convoys, but overall there was much less traffic than the last couple of days. The army drivers are brilliant, and stand as an example to other motorists.

I have trailer all packed tonight, and will drop tent and blanket on top in the morning to try to speed up the start. Tea  was tomato and beef with spuds, veggies and grains. All my drying prep is now paying off.

Island Lagoon Island Lagoon

Day One out from Glendambo to Coober Pedy


Lake Hart Lake Hart

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