- Start: Allestree
- End: Mount Gambier
- Day distance: 105.62km
- Total distance: 1766.88km
- Average speed: 15.4km/hr
- Pedalling time: 06:45
- Total time: 07:30
It was difficult to get up this morning because it was so cold. Simon and Dominik were up super early at 6:30am. I am so rubbish at getting up in the morning, I probably wouldn’t have got up until about 8. But, we had a long way to go to get to Mount Gambier today so it was a good thing we left by 8:45am.
I didn’t have much expectation for today, we were off the Princes Highway and on the C192, hopefully a quieter road than yesterday. It was not a quieter road. It was awful. I think C refers to the condition of the road – crap – and 192 refers to how many times your life will be in danger.
It was called the ‘scenic route’. If you like endless pine forests then you will find it scenic. If the pine forests get tiresome after 5k you won’t find it scenic. And where you find large pine forests you find large logging trucks. So many logging trucks. Sometimes 4 in a row would go hurtling by. It was constant. The road had practically no shoulder, so when the stars aligned and one truck was passing another on the other side at the same time they were passing you, it was utterly terrifying. The only small grace was that the ones loaded with logs were on the other side of the road and the ones on our side of the road were empty. But that just meant they went faster!
After not seeing many dead things since Melbourne, that all changed today. So many dead things. At least 20 Kangaroos in various states of decomposition. A couple of them were particularly pungent. I was either smelling rotting flesh or the smell of freshly cut pine trees, nothing in-between.
The road was relentless today. Like the worlds slowest and most arduous roller coaster. Up and down, up and down, up and down. All. Day. The road was fairly straight so you could see all the undulations up ahead, which made me slump in to my bike. Which is probably why my body hurts so much now.
The wind. The wind was blowing all day. Into our faces of course. It was really hard work pedalling into it. It was made worse when the trucks passed and the rush of air forced you backwards, ok, it didn’t actually make you go backwards but it felt like it did.
So basically everything about today was a struggle.
The Germans were ahead of me but most of the time I could see them as a little red dot and a bit further on a little blue dot out in front. After about 70k we reached Nelson and stopped at a petrol station. I bought an out of date drink – by choice, it was cheap – and we sat on a bench in the sun for possibly the only sit down lunch break I’ve had on this trip! I ate some crackers and they dipped muesli bars into a jar of peanut butter. Hiker trash and biker trash are the same.
Only a couple of kilometres later we reached the Victoria / South Australia border. Woooo. Definitely the highlight of the day! We were taking some pictures and we got a couple of toots from some trucks as they went by. As well as crossing a border we crossed a time zone which was weird. Our clocks changed automatically and we are now half an hour behind, which makes working out time differences really confusing! I was loving that we had gained half an hour, because that meant we had more time to get to our destination, but as I thought about it I realised that all the minutes of extra daylight I had been gaining since the winter solstice I just lost and the sun is back to setting at 5pm.
It felt good to be in my third state of Australia already, only one more to go. And as I was trying to distract myself from the endless rolling hills I worked out that I am one third of the way to Darwin! This one is going so quickly.
We couldn’t hang around too long because we still had over 30km to go. It was a tough and long 30km. The last 10k were such a slog. My feet were hurting, my knees were hurting, my bum, back, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and fanjita were all hurting.
I was so glad when we arrived at the Old Mount Gambier Gaol, a converted 150 year old prison and our hostel for the night. It’s a pretty cool place, our room is an old cell and there are lots of original features that have been preserved, it’s quirky.
We went to the shop and had a group dinner which Simon and Dominik cooked. Dominik couldn’t look at the camera because the food was more important. We were all starving! It’s really nice to have some friends to travel with. We have a similar plan to get to Adelaide, so we will probably stick together until then I guess.
We had made a stupid plan to go 130km tomorrow, but after today’s performance we have reassessed that and will only be going 85ish. Only! Ha!
Priscilla is having a couple of issues. She has lost a bolt from her kick stand so that doesn’t work anymore. Easily fixed. I just have to find a bolt. And she has a horrible squeak, I think the derailleur, the thing that shifts the gears, needs adjusting. Shame I don’t know how to adjust it!
I continue to raise money for Just A Drop – they bring sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities around the world.
663 million people across the globe are living without access to clean, safe water. That’s 1 in 10 people. A child dies every 90 seconds from a water related disease. One third of the worlds population – 2.4 billion people – don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
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