McLaren Vale to Strathalbyn was a nice, very scenic 55ish kilometres through rolling hills and vineyards. We went via Macclesfield, which was slightly longer, because our friend told us how beautiful it was; he was right and it was well worth the effort. The traffic was fairly light, and cars that did go past were very courteous and moved right over to give us space. The Stoker had a couple of moments of terror…I mean adrenalin…as we descended quickly down and around some fast corners with lovely deep valleys on the side. Gusting winds made the descents a little tricky too, but we had fun and arrived in Strathalbyn ready for a coffee. Strathalbyn is a town full of old buildings and funky cafes. Apparently heaps of people have moved there and commute to Adelaide (only an hour by car! It took us two days of bike riding to get here!), so there is still no real industry there, only boutique shops and good coffee. The caravan park was small and well maintained. We cooked up a yummy lemon chicken dish with vegetables on the Trangia and went to bed quite early (compared to the last few nights in McLaren Vale!) but the possums kept waking us up with their fighting. Wildlife! The next day was Australia Day, and we thought we would go and have a look at the local celebrations. The Captain had never been to any Australia Day events, so we thought it would be fun to try one out. We got a pretty good breakfast for five dollars! After a hot coffee from a cafe in town, we headed off for Meningie, leaving sometime around 9.30am. We rode through beautiful, historic Langhorne Creek, about 15kms from Strathalbyn. It had a lot of wineries that were tempting, but no good to two touring cyclists needing to get through 90 plus kilometres! At Wellington, we stopped to have a coffee and vanilla slice at the old courthouse before we took the ferry across the Murray River to continue our journey. The fun started on the other side of the river. The narrow shoulder on the edge of the highway was made even narrower by the lip in the middle, so you had to choose which half you would try and ride in. There was plenty of highway traffic, and the wind was blowing crazily, and gusting all over the place! The Captain had to fight to keep the bike on one half of the very narrow ‘half’ shoulder without been blown off into the traffic or over the lip or into the gravel! This continued for hours! The strength of the wind meant we couldn’t go any faster than about 14kms/hr for the rest of the journey, about 45 kilometres. If you are a cyclist, you will know that this pace is tortuously slow, particularly when you have already done over 50 kilometres and wouldn’t mind reaching your destination some time soon! The vanilla slice was wearing off fast, and we started having breaks every five or so kilometres and being amazed that we had only travelled that short distance in what felt like forever! Encouraging one another with talk of strength training and how this will give us a better chance of keeping up with our fast friends who ride a tandem back in Hobart, we pushed on…slowly.
We had our first Bogan in 1800kms yell out boganisms from a ute window as he went past this afternoon. We thought 1800kms was a pretty good distance to get before encountering a Bogan!
We arrived in Meningie around 4pm after around six and a half hours of tiring travel, glad to have finally arrived!
After showers and putting up the tent, we walked the kilometre into town to buy vegetables for dinner (and crisps, beer and bread). As I write this, we have demolished a whole loaf of bread together and a beer each. Tonight’s meal of garlic potatoes and steamed veggies is still going to go down a treat!