September 11, 2002 - Nelson 169k/101m*

3 days done. 98, 118 and 101 miles, 317 total – 106 average. 9/11 was a fairly easy ride – head out of picturesque Robe and into flat cattle land along the ocean. The first interesting sign I came to said:

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They heard cattle down the road. When I came up to the three vehicles and hundred or so head of cattle, they flagged me down and told me in Australianese that I would spook them, so they gave me an escort. A jeep/truck vehicle of some sort stayed next to, but slightly behind me. So, I spooked them, they galloped alongside, I freaked and accelerated, and the cattle, the car/truck and me whipped along together for a couple minutes. This was not time for a picture, but it was exciting.

The first town heading east along the coast (50km, 30mi) was Beachport. All these communities are doing whatever they can to attract tourists. The area is alternately called the Lobster coast, the Limestone coast and the “Southern Ports” road. Word was that Beachport was not as nice as Robe (see 9/11 update, so I skipped it. But I took the opportunity at this sign to tighten my loosening aerobars.
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Following that, Millicent – a non-descript, non-touristy town probably supporting the local ranching industry. I saw my first crop lands, mostly trees. In SA they grow them like we grow corn in the USA. Rows and rows, kilometers and kilometers of trees – with signs that say Rialata Pine, planted 1942 (or 1944, 1970, 1998, you pick the year). In other places along the way you could see the ocean, in this case with a pasture between me and it.
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Outside of Millicent I stopped at the Tantanoola Cave and took a brief tour. It was small but spectacular and well guarded. I missed the Tantanoola Tiger, whatever that is (if you know, email me).
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Then it was into Mt. Gambier, the biggest town since Murray Bridge 300+km ago. It has maybe 10,000 people, some more caves, and the “blue lake”, which I saw photo’s of at the local McDonalds (fries and a coke (carbohydrates and sugar)) during a late lunch. Then it was a right turn south into some nice hilly country (I was getting sick, sick, sick of flat, flat, flat) with a little tailwind across the South Australia – Victoria border to the Glenelg River and the town of Nelson. Now a tourist town, with some history.
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After 3 days Lisa was anxious to see a real live kangaroo. “Drive through the neighborhood and look between the houses, and you’ll spot them.” Sure enough.
Think combination of deer and rabbit. Deer = Bambi, Kangaroo = Skippy. (A 60’s Australian TV program where a Kangaroo does a Lassie imitation, but not really, because they’re not pets and not very smart.). Some homes have what I would call anti-kangaroo fencing – 8 foot high with a driveway gate. Mostly they hop where they please though.
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I wanted to put my feet in the Southern Ocean, so we did that too, and found lots of cuttle bone for Micky. We saw kangaroo footprints on the beach. They don’t seem to walk at all, just hop (having seen it, I call it going “boingy, boingy”). I can’t tell the difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo yet, but boy, do kangaroos taste good. You need to have them rare, because there’s no fat, but it’s the best meat I’ve ever had. Really. If you can get over the guilt (baby in pouch in photo above), go for it.

We stayed at the Black Wattle Motel in Nelson, owned and operated by Lois and Rob Nixon. The buildings are cinderblock motel, the rooms well accessorized, the views of the river beautiful and the restaurant –service and food – extraordinary at double the price. Another pattern in Australia, great food, very reasonable prices, so far.

Here’s the beach shots. More to follow.
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