IP Day 29 – Beachport to Mount Gambier

Wednesday 20th April, 2022

85km +305m
6:47 elapsed (but actually 4:43 arriving in Mount G) 3:29 moving
Max 48.8 kph, Avg 24.5 kph

6:30 departure. Don from Rendelsham (aka the cycling dotwatcher who gave us too much of a headstart yesterday!) picked us up somewhere along the stretch to Rendelsham. We stopped briefly in Rendelsham itself for a chat – and while I ate some apple. (I had well and truly given up on trying to eat anything before setting out unless we’d had a sleep-in).

It was only another 15km to Millicent, and we announced that we needed to stop for breakfast here! Poor Dotwatchers – they come out for a ride and we stop to eat! There were no other food options in the next 50km to Mount Gambier, so this was it.

While we were eating at the tables outside the cafe, another Dotwatcher, Brad, said g’day on his way to work. Amazing.

Don rode another 15km with us to Tantanoola (a tiny little town that was on a bit of a bypass of the highway).

5km further on from there we rejoined the Princes Hwy – the coastal Southern Ports Hwy had ended in Millicent.

It’s a pity the route took no other detours or backroads as the last 30km into Mount Gambier was really ordinary, with quite a few logging jinkers who were clearly not cyclist friendly.
(I now get this section, and the next day nearing Portland, mixed up, as the road, terrain, trucks and close passes were similar).

My Strava note for that day: Take my advice and don’t ever ride that last 25k or so section of the Princes Hwy into Mount Gambier. 😱

One of the incidents with a close pass is seared into Marc’s brain. Marc was wishing we hadn’t sent the UHF radio home in Adelaide, but with the bends and crests (vs the long straights of the Nullarbor and Eyre Highway), I simply would not have had the time to clock them in the mirror and make the call. Their attitude was such that they would have been the type to ignore me anyway.

Looking on the map now, there ARE sealed backroads into Mount Gambier (very similar to tomorrow’s backroads into Portland), and if we had our time over again, I sure as hell would have taken them.

We got into Mount Gambier at 11.30, found a loo in a park, and then had lunch, and killed time, at a cafe, before heading up to the Federal Hotel. We managed to get early check-in thanks to super friendly staff, and then thankfully were able to wrangle the tandem up some outside stairs before getting it safely inside our room.

There was a laundrette/cafe on the same block, so we walked down there, threw the washing on, and had a cup of tea while we waited. Clean riding kit for another couple of days.

Dinner downstairs in the pub.

That was a shorter day, but we would make up for it tomorrow. Just over 120km to Portland.

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