Bikepacking Through Little Germany (Australia). Part 3

Come the morning my ‘drying cloth’ got another good work out. To dry the outside (sprinkler system) and inside (condensation) of the tent flysheet. A random microfibre cloth was something I chucked in at the last minute on my last trip, yet one of those item I used nearly everyday, and so it was on this trip too.

Again, use what you’ve got to make the pack up easier.

Packed up, it was back into town for a bakery breakfast. As I said I was mostly fuelling differently this trip, but some things can’t be missed, they are part of the trip (also, stay metabolically flexible šŸ™‚

Riding into town coincides with children walking themselves to school. I get plenty of waves, smiles and saying hello. The most natural thing in the world, especially when there is a fool with a push bike and trailer to liven up the morning walk. Except you wouldn’t get it in the cities, the kids stare but but don’t say anything. I get why people move to the country to raise their children.

That the (adult) people are more friendly goes without saying.

This artist is cleaning up around here.

Hints of theĀ  German settlement past are everywhere.

Unfortunately I feel lots of that culture has been lost, especially a lot of the food and wine culture. However it can’t have been much fun having a German surname around here in WW2. I can see how celebrating being ‘German’ would have been lost also, or maybe it’s just the natural passage of time in a new country, no one here celebrates being ‘English’ either.

The state government has recently made a big deal about opening up our reservoirs, and the land around them for recreation (they will feature for me tomorrow!). Promoting this recreational resource heavily. Why were they locked up? That decision was made in WW2 due to the high German population in the state, the government were worried about theĀ  water supply being poisoned. In 2021 they feel that threat may have passed…

Fuelled up, I headed back out.

Pub from last night.

Non functional water tank on the way out of town.

Back to the oval to brush my teeth and refill the water. A couple of false starts getting out of town (land around towns tends to be more locked down unsurprisingly), in the end a short ride along the bitumen. Then onto something a bit more peaceful.

There was a patch of almond trees. Someone was trying to keep the birds off at least one of them.

King John Road stumped me for a minute, until I realised it wasn’t an English King it was named after.

I was slowly winding my way south, sticking to the dirt roads.

I came across this striking lemon and lime church.

One of three churches in a row. This one built when the (very plain) one next to it became too small for the congregation. Once again it struck me what a hugely important part religion played in settling this, at times, harsh and barren country.

I disturbed a flock of very large pigeons that call the three churches home. Happy with me they were not.

More gothic triumphs in the cemetery.

The dirt roads were easy riding, with only the odd challenging section to navigate.

Through the village of Dutton and then more back roads to the small town of Truro for lunch.

Past this substantial and substantially dilapidated house.

Truro is a busy little spot, sitting on a main thoroughfare for tourists and road-trains alike. It was a bit of a shock to my system after being mostly on my own for the last few days.

I had only consumed one small bottle of water this morning. I’m figuring water consumption has nothing to do with time or distance and everything to do with exertion. You can’t have ‘3 days’ of water, if you don’t know what those days will bring. The paradox being is the terrain where you are likely to need lots of water, is also the terrain you are least likely to find it.

Predictable lunch.

Range Rovers… They get under your skin.

Back on the dirt. I was now skirting the edge of the Barossa Valley, which means only one thing, vines, lots of vines.

They have churches here too.

More good backroads. I was really clocking up the km today.

However they eventually ran out and there was nothing for it but to pound bitumen.

I was now into the foothills of the Mt Lofty Ranges, these rolling hills were keeping the lactic acid flowing in my legs. The climbs are moderate, but relentless. A bit of Type 2 fun to round out the day!

Then back onto dirt for the final section for the campground I was heading for. More pretty vineyards.

I was heading for a Forestry SA campsite. On arrival I read the sign about booking online, no worries I had full phone service now. The website was saying the campsite was full. This seemed highly unlikely on a Tuesday night in autumn. I decided to split the bike and trailer, hop the locked gate and go and look for myself.

Now splitting the bike and trailer with the trailer loaded is a bit of a trick and I didn’t pull it off this time, I ended up with only one side of the axle disconnected and the unstable weight of the loaded trailer keeled over and bent the still attached other side lug… I was tired and frustrated. I should have checked the campsite booking earlier. I recognised this mental state, poor decision making leads to more poor decision making if you’re not careful.

I hit the circuit breaker and got my good head back on. First, fix the trailer, as it won’t currently fit back to the bike. A bit of massaging with the Leatherman and all was good. Good old chromoly steel. Now are there any other campsites? You’ve got internet… Yes, another campsite I knew only 5km away. I actually didn’t feel like riding anymore, but I booked a site and knew it would be worth it once I got there. Google said 25 minutes ride, cross country.

15 minutes later I’m there. Nothing wrong with the body, it’s all in the mind. Something you have to be careful with on these solo adventures.

I arrive as the sun is literally setting, and grabĀ  the first campsite.

The ground is super hard to get pegs in, they are just bending (it’s probably time for some new pegs to be honest). I can’t get any tension on the flysheet, with no wind or rain predicted it should be ok… Not for the first time a freestanding tent design seems to make a lot of sense.

Another tinned fish/fermented sausage concoction for dinner. For these trips I go to the Op (Thrift) Shop and buy a second-hand book to read. I had this book for months, as I’m reading it I realise it’s set in Germany…

Big day today, maybe 90km. A real gravel grinder type day.Ā  Male Koalas carrying on during the night didn’t stop me getting a good nights sleep, that’s the one thing guaranteed out of this.

***

I’m up for sunrise.

Bent and loose…

I’m packed and on the bike in quick time. Good chance I can ride home today.

Pretty views through the pine trees on the way out.

It is cold in here though. I’ve got 2 x long fingered gloves on. Having long since learned that is the solution to stop frozen hands on a bike. On cold mornings like this you want uphill to warm yourself up, so of course I get a nice long descent to the reservoir. I stop in the sun to thaw out.

Autumn rules.

These newly opened reservoirs have trails through them. I decide to follow them this morning, no need to look at the GPS hopefully, just follow the signposts. I’ve ridden the second section before, however this first section is new to me.

Deciding to ride until I’m warm enough to loose the winter gear, I keep an eye out for somewhere for breakfast.

Not a bad spot.

Keto brekky.

I watch an ant make off with a flake of cheese, twice his size. Sometimes it’s literally the little things.

Sat here I’m in a pretty good place. I say to myself, let’s really enjoy today.

See – ecstatic…

Fuelled up. I hit the trail. So far it has been open and easy to follow. A couple of km later it closes in, considerably…

We head steeply uphill. I have to ‘bump’ the trailer over those wooden steps. This is strictly pushing territory. My lovely new wide bars, which I had appreciated so much up until now seem to snag everything.

Take a moment to appreciate some nature.

More uphill, more bushes, plenty with small thorns. It’s death by a million scratches and a thousand pedals in the back of the thigh later, I finally get to the top.

Warren Conservation Park, crap, I’ve been here before. This terrain is no joke.

The trail opens up and I’m back on the bike. More mountain biking fun.

The downhill is about as extreme riding as I’m up to. The photos don’t show the steepness. I actually walk two sections, but that brings it’s own problems with the un-braked trailer continually trying to run away and jack-knifing with the bike.

I ride as much as possible. The rear of the bike is actually more stable than normal, not surprising with 30kg slung a metre off the rear axle. I’m really grateful for the full off road tyres in this section.

We bang, bump and skid our way down. You got to be glad for good gear here, we’re all taking a beating.

Finally I pop back out to the pine plantations. Phew! That was intense.

These tyres had literally 50km of road riding on them before this trip. They certainly had their work cut out – that seems like a lot of wear for 3-400km of riding.

Back to the easy plantation roads.

I pick up the trail I’ve ridden before, I know what’s coming up and crack my final water bottle.

The Adelaide Hills is a pretty area.

So there are a good four or five steep hill/gully climbs coming up. I know now the technique is just to push as soon as you run out of momentum. On a shorter ride I’ll crank as long as I can, but energy conservation is the name of the game here.

The new fuelling is working great too. No longer after doing a climb like this, do I come round the corner and see another climb like this, and think – I’m not even sure I can do this… I just get on with it. Probably not just the diet, experience is key too.

I bump the trailer over the last style. Talk to a lady about to walk her dogs, who are intent on sniffing me – yeah I probably smell pretty funky by now.

I’ve made good time. Just a lazy three hours on the bitumen home from here.

Good trip. Thanks for reading.

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