Like all good plans, mine to blog at the end of each day were foiled by poor Internet connections and a touch of exhaustion, so I’ll catch up in days to come.
Day 2 was a shorter day, with a sleep in and departure time of 8am from Pt McDonnell and a final destination of a beachside back packers on the coastal town of Port Elliot for accommodation.
The weather was in favour for good riding with a forecast top of 34 so we headed into Mt Gambier for fuel before hitting the main drag which promised to be hundreds of kilometres of pretty flat straight roads.
It’s amazing how energised you can feel after a good rest and I gotta shout out to our host for the night just gone, Wally at The Victoria Hotel in Port McDonnell – you guys run a really nice place at a great rate, and we all really appreciated a good bed for the night (but your website doesn’t do you justice!). Although I grew up in SA I’d never actually visited Mt Gambier before, so it was a nice surprise to roll around the corner and be greater by this immense dam with the bluest watered ever seen.
I spotted an old stone stairway leading up to a turret and spotted my perfect shadow, iPad clutched in front of my chest. Kooky.
The view back down from the turret reminded me of an old vantage point like something out of Game of Thrones.
Once fuelled up we were off out onto the main road ploughing our way through kilometre after kilometre of paddocks and dry barren plains. It started to get hot too. I think it takes a day to adjust to spending a whole day in the saddle, you have to develop your attitude and stay totally alert for a whole day which is challenging when the roads are just slabs of long straight road with nothing but paddocks on either side. The stretch out from Port McDonnell to Pt Elliot is 500kms of this.
For as far as the eye can see (that corner ahead is an anomaly), off into a murky hase of a distance there is nothing for those 500kms. It’s kind of disturbing, especially if you have seen Wolf Creek and you can’t stop thinking about it when you’re out here. Your mind wanders, you gotta stay focussed and stop thinking about John Jarratt and head-on-a-stick. Today felt like an endurance test not for the feint of heart as the temp rose into high 30s and we just barrelled down long roads like this for what seemed an eternity. Finally though we made it to our lunch destination, The Wellington Pub just on the other side of the Murray River, taking in a little junta on river ferry to get there.
The heat was starting to get to Kath on her little Hornet, bless her cotton socks she’s a trooper and a half putting up 11 blokes for four days!
And so the day finished off with a trip down memory lane for me, taking in all the back roads I grew up on as a teenager riding my Suzuki ER-185 (which seemed enormous when I was 13) unlicensed and underaged to go between home and my parents restaurant in Langhorne Creek.
Funny how your perception of those places grow and change over time as you grow and change. Milang holds a lot of special memories for in particular as it is the final resting place of my dear ole parents.
We pulled into our destination for the night, a backpackers YHA right on top of the hill looking down at the beach. Perfect really but a little different to what we are used to, everything was forgiven by some of the most gracious hosts and a very well looked after clean establishment. It’s a pity no one tells the ‘old people’ that backpackers don’t get a bath towel included in the room price – who knows this stuff? We do now.
Problem was solved by a $2 deposit per towel and everything got their shower. I was confronted by a naked asian boy in the communal shower which freaked me out more than him apparently.
A visit from a couple of dear friends and a counter meal down the local pub topped off the day and left me pretty weary from the road and ready for a good sleep. Another 500kms under my belt, I packed it in for the evening looking out over this view which made every single one of my ‘issues’ seem rather insignificant.