IP Day 28 – Kingston to Beachport

Tuesday 19th April, 2022

98km, +128m
Moving 4:06 Elapsed 6:13
Max 35.8kph, Avg 23.9kph

I have no idea how he talked me into starting THIS early, but it was 5:10am when we left. For reference, this is a full one-and-a-half hours before sunrise! And that whole thing about how it actually gets colder around dawn. Yeah, that.

One hour along the road and now about 7 degrees,
It was 12 degrees when we started at 5:10 !!

We were now on the ‘Southern Ports Hwy’ (At Kingston the Princes Hwy kicks off to the east, before heading southwards pretty much parallel to the road we were now on. We would rejoin it again tomorrow.) So at least that diluted the Mount Gambier-bound traffic even more for a bit.

We didn’t stop again till Robe (at the 46km mark, about halfway for the day.) The town was 3km -each way- off course, but there was a cafe there (for breakfast) and there were no other towns or services again until Beachport. 7.30am. We were cold! So we spent over an hour there, and then a few more minutes down at the park going to the loo and topping up water, waiting for the sun to warm things up a bit.

I had always remembered Robe as the place where friends of ours, while tandem-touring Adelaide to Melbourne a few years back, had to bunker down for a couple of days when some really bad weather blew in. It was turning into a pretty nice day for us, albeit with a southerly/south-westerly off the ocean making for more or less of a headwind. It would have been nice to have spent a bit more time here, as we didn’t get to see much of it. (We might have been taking this Indipac thing a hell of a lot more slowly than any other riders ever do, but it was still at such a pace that we weren’t really getting to see nearly as much as I would have liked.)

Onwards, to Beachport.

Just a couple of quick rest stops, one just by the side of the road where Marc just had to get a photo of what, to us is an inexplicable speed limit sign for the type of road. 110?! What the heck?

Marc’s rant: “In NSW that’s reserved for dual divided carriageways with grade-separated interchanges or highways of high standards in western areas with low traffic and good sight lines. Here, no shoulder, driveways galore, blind crests and bends, no problem, 110.

On previous tours where we’ve had to ride along the shoulder on sections of dual carriageway/freeway, we can really tell the difference between the 100 and 110 zones. (100 zone is so much more chill!) You can imagine how we felt along these stretches with no shoulder at all!

View from a rest stop/parking bay. There are a series of lakes between Robe and Beachport, sandwiched between the highway and the coast. And just a couple of emus hanging out with the cows.

Several kilometres before we got to the turn-off to Beachport a cyclist passed us, heading north. I wasn’t sure if I heard him call out something to us. Whatever. He didn’t turn around, so probably just some random local cyclist being friendly hey. The road had really flattened out by then, and the trees were blocking the wind a bit, so we were starting to crank up the pace and get into a good rhythm. This was good tandem territory! I wasn’t sure if, every now and then, in my rear vision mirror, I was spotting a bike – but it never caught up to us. We found out the next day that it had actually been dot-watcher, Don, from a town 20k on from Beachport. He had made the classic mistake of giving a tandem too much of a headstart on a flat road! (And perhaps underestimating our typical (and thus potential) moving speed based on our total (chosen) daily distances!)

Beachport, like Robe, was 3km off the highway, but this was another strategic, ‘average of 100km a day’, booking. We were in the double whammy period of South Australian and Victorian school holidays, so we weren’t taking any risks. Once we had hit ‘civilisation’, generous offers of accommodation from Dotwatchers were filtering through, in comments, and some messages to TwoUp on Messenger. We missed many of them until after we had locked in accommodation, not helped by the fact that the Messenger Lite app on my phone wasn’t picking up any of the messages at all. (And because we had realised back around Ceduna and Wirrulla about the Easter accommodation issues.) Partly, too, I just really crave being able to collapse in our own space after riding all day. I know it makes me less sociable than others, including Marc.

Another pre-lunch finish for the day, but today, at any rate, we had started riding in the stupid o’clock zone. We parked ourselves in the glass-enclosed courtyard of a cafe that overlooked the jetty and bay. (Protection from the wind a necessity.) Brunch and lunch, again, pretty much. When I was in ordering, Marc chatted to an Indian couple who, it turned out, had done their ‘time’ when they first arrived in Australia, working at the roadhouse at Kimba.

We jagged another ‘early’ check-in at the motel at about 1.00, and then rested for the afternoon. So much for my whingeing earlier about not getting to see places along the route. We could have gone for a ride to check out the views and such around town, but we didn’t. We just felt like getting out of the wind and being off the bike.

The pub was next door to the motel, so that was dinner sorted without having to walk a couple of kilometres.

Psyching up. Another week should see us in Melbourne. Tomorrow, Mount Gambier.

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