Sleep didn’t come easy last night through a mixture of trucks passing, aircons buzzing and trying to process the fear experienced when riding my Super Tenere in sand yesterday. I gave up at 5am and set about having some breakfast, coffee and strapping everything back on to the bike. Calls home etc were also done and dusted.
I left shortly after 7am riding with Tragic Troy from the Central Coast. We stopped briefly to take a picture of the Murray River before getting into the ride proper which started off heading back towards Victoria until we took a right at Taldra Road just before the iconic Dunlop Tyre Bridge. There had been a bit or rain overnight so I had hoped that the dust which was a bit of a feature yesterday would have been less of an issue today. However it was very still and the dust that was churned up by bikes that had gone before just sat over the road like a mist. That just meant leaving plenty of space between bikes and being careful with visibility. It also meant keeping the nose and mouth covered, praise be to buffs.
The other feature of the early part of this ride were loose stones on the road. By no means as tricky as the sand yesterday but riding on marbles is still somewhat disconcerting for a newbie like me. No moments or issues resulted from it, just additional care and concentration required.
Taldra turned in Hondow Hondow Road, and right into Taplan and Christie Road. It was a predominantly rural area and the scenery was typical and easy on the eye. The riding became easier and the troops thinned out so dust was no longer an issue while people weren’t passing me.
We then took May Road across one of the main roads, Mantung Road and on to Old Loxton Road hich took me towards Swan Reach. But before arriving there the route took us on a short out and back past a beautiful looking farm under the cliffs beside the river
down to the river’s edge at Big Bend. There was a Tragic gathering there and unfortunately my photo setup skill weren’t able to adequately catch how beautiful it really was.
From there it was a short stretch on tar to Swan Reach and the ferry across the river. There were tragics sipping lattes in the cafe, you can just see the gathering in the rear of this picture. Again, snack stops aren’t really in my routine yet so I queued up and rode onto the Ferry.
We then took a great gravel road to Blanchetown then rode the Murraylands Road to the lunch stop at Morgan. The dust was back on this section and realised that occasionally some people like to be out front in the dust and are prepared to be a bit silly to get there. I frankly don’t get that part of this type of riding and what I saw struck me as a bit unsafe. Not that riding monsters like Super Tenere’s on dirt roads is a perfectly safe past time I guess. But I realised it’s not safe to assume that when you are riding at the speed limit and can’t really see behind you because of the dust that someone won’t appear from nowhere and pass you going very, very fast. ‘Nuff said about that.
I had a very nice bacon and egg roll with a coffee at Morgan and filled the tank. Unusual for me but it seems that offroad riding does require more calories than my usual style and I was a bit short on breakfast this morning. Captain T was there and I got some advice about the next part of the route which took me down Eudunda Road on tar to Mount Mary where I turned left and then right onto Stock Route Road. I was by myself again having a lovely time, back enjoying the riding and the scenery, it almost looks familiar but the road and soil is a slightly different colour.
The route then took me northish ending up on Burra Road. At one point motorcycle legend Stephen Gall passed me on this section gave me a wave and was gone. This part of the ride was really a lot of fun. I’d learned a lot over the last couple of days and it was all really coming together.
After Burra the route followed Leighton Road and after a couple of turns ended up on Route 137 where there were some roadworks.
Shortly after that I misread the route sheet and instead of a right and quick left I took a left. Instead of following dirt up towards Booborowie I rode tar almost all the way to Spalding before I realised my mistake. What an amateur! I made the decision not to turn back and try to find the route and just enjoy an afternoon ride through Jamestown and on to the final destination for the day, Peterborough.
Ironically I’ve now only ever been lost in South Australia twice and both times I had to ride through Jamestown to get back on track. A quick pic on the way into Peterborough and I checked in to the Roundhouse Motel.
Dinner at the Roundhouse Motel was simply bloody fantastic and the debrief there was full of stories of fun and mishaps during the day. I sat next to Maria Costello MBE, Isle of Man motorcycle racing legend and all ’round great person who was on her first ever Adventure Ride and by all accounts having a ball. Look her up if you have time, she’s had an amazing career.
An early night for me to process the day and get ready for the ride to the Flinders Ranges tomorrow.