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Journal for 9-Nov-2003 : Clare Valley (Auburn)

Nice riding early today, with gentle hills and a light NE tailwind. Quite a lot of fun really.

As we drew closer to the Clare Valley we started to come across the Sunday tourists from Adelaide, whose driving on rural roads leaves a lot of room for improvement. After a break we were waiting to get back on the road and were nearly wiped out by one such idiot, who took a sharp descending corner too fast an barely kept his car on the wrong side of the road. A bit later we crossed a series of skid marks with lot's of crash investigator's yellow dots marking. We later learned they were made just the day before: one killed, three seriously injured. I did manage to save another reluctant Shingleback from the carnage.

Lots of really pretty country approaching Clare. The purple fields are very pretty, but it's Patterson's curse, an introduced weed that grows everywhere, but specialises in the semi-maintained hobby farms that dominate Clare's landscape.

At the Clare shopping centre we met Hank and Anna, a Dutch couple circumnavigating Australia from Perth to Perth. They were amazed we hadn't heard of the Aussie couple ahead cycling on a recumbent tandem.

We cycled south along a think called "the Reisling Trail". It's a 26km bike path with a fine dirt surface. By fine I mean thinly ground. It follows the old railway formation so it made climbing out of the valley a fairly easy affair. It took a lot of the fun from descents though, and pretty well stuffed the daily average. We anticipated having to dodge a few semi-sozzeled two wheeled wine tasters on this path on a Sunday afternoon, but all we had to dodge were blue tongue lizards and millipedes.

The caravan park cum show ground isn't much for camping ("no bikes in room" from motel => no us in room either), but it did sport a tandem recumbant bicycle and a pair of Aussie touring cyclists to drive it. Bill, Julie and tandem from Sydney left home with 340ks of gear and bodies nearly a year ago. All three are considerably lighter now. ( They set up their tent on the gravel car park ("we're used to it" they claimed) while we put up ours on the only non weedy thorny patch of grass in the whole place: the astro-turf in the cricket nets.

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