2023 Indi-Pac Day 12 Report

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Out into the pre-dawn Kimba morning at 4:52am. Blustery Conditions. I then pedaled directly past the Big Galah apparently (according to Strava), but regrettably I completely missed it. That’d be two Big Misses of two Big Things (The Big Farmer and The Big Galah) in two days…..I really must try harder. 3rd time lucky perhaps, wherever that may be.

I was feeling a little lethargic but had high hopes for the day which would ideally involve a bit of TLC for my trusty steed at the Over the Edge Bike Shop in Melrose, 220k’s down the road. It had served me very well over the last 2,300 kilometres, t’was only fair.

Getting there by a reasonable time, ie a couple of hours before closing to get it looked over, serviced and the inevitable unforeseen issues taken care would come down to 1 thing……….the wind. Agin me it’d be a struggle, for me = happy days. I had texted with Matt Smith (aka “Kenny Behren”) after watching his dot disappear over the horizon to Port Augusta on Maprogress last night, extending his lead from around 50k’s to 170k’s, and he had mentioned tailwind assistance…….

Lucky Bastard!

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Speaking of my trusty steed…..a quick photo out the front of my Kimba Roadhouse Room.

Happy Days

It turns out that a stiff south westerly is quite the common meteorological phenomenon in this neck of the woods.

Giddy right up!!

T’was the tailwind of a life time which pretty much pushed me all the way to Port Augusta. 160k’s in under 6 hours, including a few stops to rearrange drinking bottles and to simply marvel at the broad majesty of the plains.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Eyre Highway about 20k’s east of Kimba.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Eyes on the prize…..

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Eyre Highway between Kimba and Port Augusta.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Let’s take a closer look at that sunrise……..pretty!

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Eyre Highway between Kimba and Port Augusta. Take 2.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Eyes on the prize. Take 2.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Eyre Highway between Kimba and Port Augusta. Take 3.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Not much doing on this section of the Eyre Peninsular.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Eyre Highway between Kimba and Port Augusta. Take 4.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Wind farm south west of Port Augusta.

Port Augusta

Should there be any locals reading this please do not be offended as I was very much looking at the situation through brown tinted glasses, but suffice to say I found Port Augusta (Pop. 13,515) to be a manic shit-hole that I could not wait to get out of.

I had run out of water so popped into the first servo I saw to rehydrate. I quickly moved on when an all in brawl almost erupted over a petrol bowser. I shit you not. There really was a distinct vibe of chaos in the air.

Then Hungry Jacks further down the road for my current HJ Burger du jour; a Double Carolina Angus with Bacon………..Get in my belly!

Those 2 stops took 41 minutes………….a day for the record books.

Despite my eagerness to get out of Dodge the wind that greatly assisted my entrance into town was now greatly hindering my exit. The route, after crossing the head of the Spencer Gulf by bridge had pivoted south on the Augusta Highway smack bang into my previous ally.

(Yep, after 1,660k’s the Eyre Highway had passed the baton)

The battle was short lived thank goodness and after an hour or so a left turn onto Horrocks Pass Road delivered me to the foot of the Horrock’s Pass climb.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Battling the almost block headwind out of Port Augusta. There is another wind farm off to my right.

Horrocks Pass

Horrocks Pass is part of the southern Flinders rangers, a 400 kilometre mountain range that has recently been nominated to World Heritage Site status for its geological and palaeontological significance. The area contain fossils that provide key evidence of the early evolution of most animal groups, apparently.

Although fascinated by this fact now, I had no idea at the time as I wheezed my way up the 14.1 kilometre climb.

Bloody hell, I did not expect this. I wonder what is on the other side?

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Approaching the base of the Horrocks Pass climb.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Further up the Horrocks Pass climb.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Further up the Horrocks Pass climb. Take 2.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Getting close to the top……surely.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: …..what goes up must come dooooowwwn.

Take me Home Country Roads

In an earlier post I mentioned that my family spent 6 years in the Barossa Valley, South Australia………wine country. I arrived when I was 3 and we headed back to the big smoke of Sydney when I was 9, just in time to watch  on grainy colour TV Alan Border and Jeff Thompson almost steal a miraculous victory over the Poms at The G……..but that’s another story.

Without crapping on too much let me just say that I look back at this time in awe. Such rich memories; harvest festivals, vineyards, the smell of crushed grapes, learning to ride a bike, playing Aussie Rules (yep kick n’ giggle came before ra ra), cricket, 1st day of school, mates, handball, british bulldogs, rolling paddy melons under cement trucks, bakeries, pasties, pies, sausage rolls, apple strudel, bratwurst, mettwurst, bike adventures, climbing trees, gum trees, eucalyptus, wide open spaces, exploring dry creek beds, yabbying, houseboating on the Murray, Seppeltsfield.

…..etc etc,

Long story short the place had quite an effect on me and still does. The fact that I hadn’t been back since we left in 1982 meant that this part of the ride was going to be a huge moment for me.

Even though I didn’t know exactly where I was after the descent down Horrock’s Pass the country felt very different from that on the other side of the mountain. It felt very familiar. The sights, sounds and smells. The way the fields were fenced, the neatness, the magnificent gum trees. The country towns – first Wilmington and then Melrose. The architecture – sandstone and corrugated iron roofs. Imperious pubs with wrap around veranda’s.

I must be getting close.

(PS I actually had a John Denver haircut back in the day too).

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Rolling down the main street of Wilmington.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Wilmington.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Getting close to Melrose……gum trees line the road.

Pit Stop

A very well needed pit stop for bike and it’s rider at the Over the Edge Bike Shop in Melrose, the first bona fide bike shop on route for 2,500 kilometres. A beautiful town at the foot of Mount Remarkable with a cracking bike shop and cafe that serves predominantly mountain bikers who come from far and wide for the world class terrain.

Shit memory, can’t remember the name of the lovely bloke who sorted me out. As expected there were the inevitable unforeseen issues, namely 2 broken spokes on the rear wheel that I hadn’t even noticed. Ignorance is bliss eh.

While my man laboured I re-caffeinated while watching some pretty gnarly (tis’ MTB territory, gotta use the lingo) downhill mountain biking footage from some local slopes. I then wondered down to the supermarket to resupply.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: The lovely bloke who sorted me out at Over the Edge Bike Shop, Melrose.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Re-caffeinating in Melrose.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Getting ready to rumble. The lady who took the photo actually knew Harrison Mol (aka “Harrison”) who was kicking arse at the pointy end of the ride.

Back into it at around 5pm after 90 minutes off the bike. There were plenty of accomodation options in Melrose but I still had a little left in the legs.

Only 20k’s down the road though I started to feel a tad dodgy, sort of dizzy. Hard to know what was going on but I took a break to mainline some crunchie bars and snakes alive. While I was doing so I noticed 3 trees, 1 way larger than the other’s at the top of a hill, all on their lonesome in the middle of a paddock.

Ah ha, a Kodak moment.

As I was taking the photo, all of a sudden a rainbow appeared, a full one at that!

Nature, you fucking rock!!

Wednesday March 29, 2023: You cannae get more South Australia than that.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: The 3 trees.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Wow!!

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Rolling down the main drag of Wirrabara. I just missed the rain.

At around 7:30pm I rolled into the town of Laura, more than ready to call it quits for the day. Nothing seemed to be open except for the Pub which was packed. I headed over, became quite the butt of a few jokes (in a friendly sort of way) over a couple of beers while I waited for the manager of the caravan park to finish his meal so he could open up a cabin for me.

Happy days.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Nice to be here.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: Rolling into Laura.

Wednesday March 29, 2023: The North Laura Hotel.

PS I have since learned that the famous Aussie bush poet C.J Dennis resided in Laura in the late 19th / early 20th Century. The great man, along with his peers Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson helped popularise Australian Slang.

Gotta love yourself some Aussie slang!

Here’s a great example from “The Sentimental Bloke”:

XIV. THE MOOCH O’ LIFE
This ev’nin’ I was sittin’ wiv Doreen,
Peaceful an’ ‘appy wiv the day’s work done,
Watchin’, be’ind the orchard’s bonzer green,
The flamin’ wonder of the settin’ sun.

Another day gone by; another night
Creepin’ along to douse Day’s golden light;
Another dawning when the night is gone,
To live an’ love — an’ so life mooches on.

Times I ‘ave thought, when things was goin’ crook,
When ‘Ope turned nark an’ Love forgot to smile,
Of somethin’ I once seen in some old book
Where an ole sorehead arsts, “Is life worf w’ile?”

But in that stillness, as the day grows dim,
An’ I am sittin’ there wiv ‘er an’ ‘im–
My wife, my son! an’ strength in me to strive,
I only know — it’s good to be alive!

Yeh live, yeh love, yeh learn; an’ when yeh come
To square the ledger in some thortful hour,
The everlastin’ answer to the sum
Must allus be, “Where’s sense in gittin’ sour?”

Fer when yeh’ve come to weigh the good an’ bad —
The gladness wiv the sadness you ‘ave ‘ad —
Then ‘im ‘oo’s faith in ‘uman goodness fails
Fergits to put ‘is liver in the scales.

Livin’ an’ loving learnin’ day be day;
Pausin’ a minute in the barmy strife
To find that ‘elpin’ others on the way
Is gold coined fer your profit — sich is life.

I’ve studied books wiv yearnings to improve,
To ‘eave meself out of me lowly groove,
An’ ‘ere is orl the change I ever got:
“‘Ark at yer ‘eart, an’ you kin learn the lot.”

I gives it in — that wisdom o’ the mind —
I wasn’t built to play no lofty part.
Orl such is welkim to the joys they find;
I only know the wisdom o’ the ‘eart.

An’ ever it ‘as taught me, day be day,
The one same lesson in the same ole way:
“Look fer yer profits in the ‘earts o’ friends,
Fer ‘atin’ never paid no dividends.”

Life’s wot yeh make it; an’ the bloke ‘oo tries
To grab the shinin’ stars frum out the skies
Goes crook on life, an’ calls the world a cheat,
An’ tramples on the daisies at ‘is feet.

But when the moon comes creepin’ o’er the hill,
An’ when the mopoke calls along the creek,
I takes me cup o’ joy an’ drinks me fill,
An’ arsts meself wot better could I seek.

An’ ev’ry song I ‘ear the thrushes sing
That everlastin’ message seems to bring;
An’ ev’ry wind that whispers in the trees
Gives me the tip there ain’t no joys like these:

Livin’ an’ loving wand’rin’ on yeh way;
Reapin’ the ‘arvest of a kind deed done;
An’ watching in the sundown of yer day,
Yerself again, grown nobler in yer son.

Knowin’ that ev’ry coin o’ kindness spent
Bears interest in yer ‘eart at cent per cent;
Measurin’ wisdom by the peace it brings
To simple minds that values simple things.

An’ when I take a look along the way
That I ‘ave trod, it seems the man knows best,
Who’s met wiv slabs of sorrer in ‘is day,
When ‘e is truly rich an’ truly blest.

An’ I am rich, becos me eyes ‘ave seen
The lovelight in the eyes of my Doreen;
An’ I am blest, becos me feet ‘ave trod
A land ‘oo’s fields reflect the smile o’ God.

Livin’ an’ lovin’; learnin’ to fergive
The deeds an’ words of some un’appy bloke
Who’s missed the bus — so ‘ave I come to live,
An’ take the ‘ole mad world as ‘arf a joke.

Sittin’ at ev’nin’ in this sunset-land,
Wiv ‘Er in all the World to ‘old me ‘and,
A son, to bear me name when I am gone….
Livin’ an’ lovin’ — so life mooches on.

The Day According to Strava:

 

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