A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 25: Kings Canyon – Coober Pedy. Sunday 23rd May 2010

Today was the longest stint of the whole trip, and I was feeling a little daunted at the prospect of so many kms ahead of me. I decided to listen to classical music on my iPod, which was nice for a while but I found that I couldn’t sing along when I got bored.
We rode for 2 hours and 20 minutes without stopping, which got us to Erldunda where we had a good break. I felt better then because we’d knocked off a big portion of the day’s riding by mid-morning.

When we were leaving Erldunda Teena took off in the wrong direction, turning left towards Alice Springs. I turned right and pulled over to wait. I wondered how long it would take her to twig...? About 5 minutes later she came back and we both had a good giggle about it before setting off in the right direction!

There were strong crosswinds for the next 250 kms. I had to lean the bike over even though I was riding in a straight line. There were some huge gusts that nearly pushed me off the road.
We had a quick stop at the South Australian border for a photo, then another at Marla. The wind was very strong here, blowing stinging dust around. A few travellers coming up from Cobber Pedy told of heavy rain so I suited up in my wet weather gear. As we went south the roads were wet, but we watched the rain storms move ahead of us and to the east so I stayed dry.
The landscape was the sparsest I’d seen on the whole trip.

Approaching Coober Pedy there were little sand hills everywhere, like someone had been playing at the beach (or they have very big ants here) and signs showing stick men falling into holes warning of mine shafts.

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From the highway into Coober Pedy

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One of the warning signs

My Dad was already in Coober Pedy staying at the same caravan park and I had dinner with him and his partner. Just after we had eaten the lightning and thunder started and I made a mad dash to get everything off my bike and into my tent. By the time I’d finished it was bucketing down and I was rather damp. I was very pleased to come back to my tent later, after taking refuge in Dad’s caravan, and find everything dry :-)

Today’s distance: 766km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 26: Coober Pedy. Monday 24th May 2010

I spent today with my Dad. We drove out to see the Breakaways – hills formed around what used to be a huge inland sea. Just before there we crossed the Dog Fence.

This fence, built to keep the dingos from the sheep farming areas, is the longest continuous structure in the world with a length of 5600 km.

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The dog fence

Past the dog fence is the most barren land I have ever seen. Called the Moon Plains, it stretches for as far as the eye can see and is completely flat and desolate, and has been used to depict a moon setting in a number of movies.

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The moon plains

Then we drove around looking at the various formations that make up the Breakaways. Surrounding what used to be a huge inland sea, they are very colourful and interesting.

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The Breakaways

Then we drove back into Coober Pedy and visited an underground church and a motel. Like many of the buildings in Coober Pedy they have been built into the hills and hold a constant temperature of 25 degrees, despite the heat outside.

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Underground motel

At the Old Timers Mine we took a self guided tour through the opal mine and one of the original underground houses. I thought I was going to have a day where I didn’t have to put anything on my head and then I had to don a helmet for the mine tour.... I had lunch with Dad and then we went for a walk around the town. Looking at the town map, the “public noodling area” had me baffled, until I learned that noodling was fossicking. The town was rather desolate and quite depressing. Without the opal sellers there wouldn’t be much there.

I think my Dad is getting forgetful – 4 times he called me by my sister’s name. :-)

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 27: Coober Pedy – Wilmington. Tuesday 25th May 2010

This morning I said goodbye to Teena and Suzie. They were having tyres fitted in Port Augusta so were planning to ride more or less straight there, whereas I wanted to take my time. Then I said goodbye to Dad who is heading up to Darwin over the next few weeks. It was drizzling so I went to the trouble of getting into all my wet weather gear, only to have it clear about 30kms out of Coober Pedy. I didn’t stop for the first 250kms – there was no fuel available. I amused myself by working out statistics, and was a bit alarmed to see my fuel consumption was much higher than usual. I wasn’t riding particularly fast but there was a strong head wind. I slowed down and rode more conservatively and arrived at Glendambo with my fuel light well and truly on.

After a break I bought some sandwiches for lunch and rode 70 km further to Lake Hart which is actually a lake at the moment rather than a salt pan. There I walked right out to the lake edge and sat on the train tracks to eat my lunch. It would have been sublime, but for the thousand or so flies that wanted to join me...

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Lake Hart

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A reflective moment

I arrived in Port Augusta mid afternoon and decided to continue on towards Adelaide. I stopped at a little town called Wilmington and camped in the caravan park there.

Today’s distance: 580km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:11 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 28: Wilmington – Adelaide. Wednesday 26th May 2010

It was a cold, wet morning. I packed slowly, allowing for my tent to dry as I wasn’t sure when I would next use it. I was headed for Adelaide but in no hurry to get there. Glenn was riding from the ferry in Melbourne this morning and had a much longer ride to get there. It drizzled for the first 60kms and then cleared. I rode through lots of small towns with lovely old buildings. The scenery alternated between grain fields and vineyards.

I had lunch in Clare and began searching online for accommodation in Adelaide. This proved harder and more time consuming than expected. I finally found a special on wotif for a 4.5 star motel close to the city and booked it for the next 4 nights.

I wasn’t prepared for riding into Adelaide in peak hour traffic. I took ages and even with my GPS I managed to get lost and spent about 20 minutes going around in circles in the dark. Not as bad as Glenn, whose navigator AND phone had gone flat as he was arriving in the city. Eventually he found the motel...

Today’s distance: 337km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:14 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 29: Adelaide. Thursday 27th May 2010

Today Glenn and I rode to the Adelaide Hills and visited Hahndorf – the German village. We walked along the main street exploring the little shops – I particularly enjoyed the cuckoo clocks and the ceramics. We stopped for coffee and cake, after which we couldn’t eat lunch. We rode to Birdwood through beautiful autumn scenery, and visited the Motor Museum there.

The road back into the city wound down through the hills – it had been a while since I’d done such winding roads. The sun was setting and the sky was very pink. Later we went for a walk to get Chinese takeaway.

Today I clicked over 10,000 kms since leaving home, exactly 4 weeks ago.

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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