I left Coonalpyn this morning feeling pretty awesome. I’ve gotten a large portion of my journey out of the way, I’ve stayed at some great places, met some lovely people, and seen some beautiful sights.
I stopped at the Coonalpyn Silo Café for a coffee, and it’s the nicest one I’ve had on my trip so far — highly recommend! Had an interesting chat and bummed a ciggie from some lovely locals out the front.
From Coonalpyn the ride was still pretty flat, much like the trip from Bordertown to Coonalpyn the day before. I was swooped by a hell of a lot of magpies today, so my first reaction when I arrived at Tailem Bend and a wedge-tailed eagle flew over me and followed me for about 150 metres was to fear it was a magpie and cringe, but I realised pretty soon after that what was going on and had one of the moments of the entire trip. Just the sheer beauty of these birds… glorious!
The next moment of the trip wasn’t far away: as I pulled into Tailem Bend, on my left the houses cleared and I got my first glimpse of the Mighty Murray River, which I’ve never seen this far west before. I love the Murray River, I call it ‘home’ and feel a deep connection to it, so this was a wonderful moment in the trip when I struggled to control my emotions and my happiness at having made it this far.
When I pulled away from the river to continue my journey and BANG! my trailer’s tyre blew out, I wasn’t even miffed. I was still on such a high from the eagle and the river that I simply replaced the tyre with a smile on my face and kept on rolling…
I stopped at this kitschy little pioneer village tourist attraction, mostly to gawk at the nice old vintage cars parked at the front. I grabbed a cold drink from the café/gift shop there and kept going.
It was at the turn-off to Murray Bridge that the highway becomes off-limits to cyclists, so I rode up the back road to Murray Bridge, crossed the Bridge itself and found the information centre in town. With no available free camping, and the thermometer showing over 30ºC, I decided to cycle for a little while looking for a place to camp on the sly, but ended up lodging at the Murray Bridge Marina & Caravan Park, who provided me a second night for free.
With tomorrow set aside for some R&R, fishing and not much else, I made camp and settled down for the evening…