Thursday 7th April, 2022
92.55km (88.55km + 4km at the start) +288m
Moving 4:35:01 Elapsed 5:48*
avg 19.3km/h max 31.3km/h
* forgot to stop ride when we got into Wirrulla, so not 8:53 elapsed as per rwgps recording.
First 60k easier than the last 30. Got into Wirrulla ([pronounced] squirrel-a) around 10, but glad not to be pushing into that wind any further. Shoulder all the way.
We didn’t realise it at the time, but about 20km out of Ceduna we clicked over the 2,000km mark.
So, an early start – 4.20am. This probably explains why I forgot to hit ‘start’ on the Garmin until we were 4km along the road. It wasn’t too bad in the dark. I don’t recall there being much traffic. We would have lost a significant amount of road train traffic who had their depot in Ceduna.
Marc’s reply to concerned comments on Strava about riding in the dark: Riding in the dark sounds dangerous but actually there’s fewer vehicles and you get plenty of notice of their presence via their lights. Vehicles in both directions dip their lights when they see us and sometimes they still take 3 or 4 minutes to get to us so they can see us easily. We also use the UHF to call them and tell them what we are and where we’ll be (and what we’d like them to do i.e. give us as much space as they can) – which most do.
Rest stop around 8am:
When in South Australia a stobie pole lean must be included! 12k to go.
The only thing better than a ‘5km’ sign is a 1 or 2km sign. 5k would do. (What on earth is this ‘Secret’?)
As evidenced by the attire, it hadn’t really warmed up that much by 10am.
So it was a pretty early arrival, but that’s what you get when you start riding in the middle of the night. As we pulled up outside the General Store we immediately had a couple come over to chat to us. They were from Queensland, and like many other people we had come across so far, they were doing a ‘caravan-across-Australia’ gig. The guy was in a cycling club back home, so it was instant chat time when you encounter someone else on a bike (never mind a tandem.)
We chatted with them for a while, then had morning tea, then lunch (or was it early lunch and then second lunch?) We occasionally talked to other people coming and going out of the store, patted the neighbourhood dogs, and started making accommodation bookings through to Adelaide.
It was here that we realised that our Ceduna to Adelaide strategy had us arriving in Adelaide around Easter. Along with half of South Australia, it seemed. While Adelaide would seem the logical point in the ride to have a celebratory rest day, this was not going to be possible unless we were prepared to pay around $700 a night! We tweaked our schedule to arrive – a week from today – on (Easter) Thursday. With airfares also at exorbitant rates, this was the point at which Tracey’s Grand Plan to pull up stumps in Adelaide came undone, and Marc was able to con me through Adelaide and out the other side. (Quite convenient for him, really!) “Oh bugger, we can’t stay in Adelaide, so we’ll just have to keep going.” He could get one night (not two) on Easter Friday in Tailem Bend. Then the next night (couldn’t get two) at Policeman’s Point (along The Coorong). It wasn’t until the next likely town – Kingston – that we could get two nights’ accommodation. That would have to be the next rest day, and I was just going to have to keep riding until we got to bloody Melbourne.
We had started Indipac trying to follow the vibe of not booking in too far ahead; well, to be honest, the actual vibe seemed to be, basically, sleeping wherever you could when you couldn’t ride any further. We were always going to go the ‘accommodation’ option when we could, but winging it one day at a time was not going to work over the Easter holidays.
So, the plan was for the Thursday ride into Adelaide to be a short day. Marc got in touch with the closest bike shop to our motel because it was pretty important to get a service done on the bike after 2,800km. The guy at 99 Bikes that he spoke to, Daniel, was actually following us on Indipac and was all “Cool! Absolutely bring the tandem in!”
Back to hanging around Wirrulla. It did feel a bit ridiculous to be faffing around not making any ground, but, a plan’s a plan. (And as noted earlier, it would have been pretty horrible riding into that increasingly gusty south-easterly.) I eventually made contact with the pub owner, and she let us in early to check into our room and have a shower! We were the only people staying there. We really enjoyed our meal that night. It may have been (as we ascertained talking to someone the following day) pre-cooked/marinaded lamb shanks, but it was like a Grandma’s homecooked meal to us after all the roadhouse meals.
We forgot to ask anyone about Wirrulla’s ‘secret’.
Lighter winds were forecast for tomorrow, so that was a relief. More normal operating hours were in order.