September 9, 2002 - Menengie 164k/98m *

I left Adelaide at 7:20A. Here’s the first bike picture, coming off Rundle Street at East Terrace. This is one of the busiest trendiest streets in Adelaide. Note the architecture. Reminds one of a frontier town. Consider this the before picture.

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Long shadows, early morning, a slight climb toward the Adelaide Hills. At the foothills the M1 Highway begins, a rare road where no bikes are permitted. They carved a bike lane into the side of the hill along the road for the first 10k. At that point the old 4 lane road through the hills branched off. While the M1 carved smoothly uphill, the old road switched back up another 20k of steady, moderately steep uphill. In many places there they split two lanes off for the cars, and two for the bikes.

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Long climbs aren’t my favorite way to start a day. Then it was another 50k through rolling hills to and through Handorf (Australia’s oldest German town) where I had breakfast at the casino. No gamblers at 10A. It was rainy and drizzly, and I stalled, bought some gloves and went to my fourth layer, rain gear. Then to Murray Bridge, a frontier town I read about in “The True History of the Kelly Gang” (see “Books”) and really wanted to see. Here’s the first bridge built across the Murray – a river Mark Twain called the Mississippi River of Australia. (He apparently never saw the Mississippi, or was just being overly gracious to the Australians – The Murray’s much smaller.)

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A relatively modern, in good shape, older bridge. It was sunny again. The best part of the day. Then I turned south for another 80k into very strong headwinds toward Menengie. Menengie is the gateway city (1,000 people) to the Coorang – a kind of inner banks that has been preserved due for it’s nature. It’s 140k long and four time saltier than the Ocean. I’ll ride along it most of tomorrow.

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This was also my first taste of nothingness. The map said there was a town, Ashville, (named after Betty?) where I planned to take a break. It was just an old cinderblock building with no services of any kind. At 3P I finally took a break in the middle of nowhere, wrote a sign to Lisa in the mud flat on the side of the road (which she never would have noticed anyway), and just as I was about to get moving again, she showed up for the first time in the day. I got out of the 10C degree windy day and into the car to warm up a bit.

And got to the hotel on the outskirts of town that Lisa had picked out just before 6P. It gets dark at 6P, and I had my taillights blinking, but didn’t take any pictures. More on that tomorrow.

Your Australian lesson for today “Barrages” are dams. (Stuart, feel free to email me any corrections.) Thank you for your patience. 9:16P in Robe, South Australia, Australia.

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