So, the Do It In A Dress campaign is done and dusted for 2019, the dresses hung up in the wardrobe, the bike cleaned and converted back to normal ‘Ballarat commute mode’, and the last of the donations has trickled in. And all I can say at the end of it all is WOW! What a wild ride…
I met with a local Murray Bridge journalist, Peri Strathearn, on Tuesday at the caravan park I was staying at, to conduct an interview and a photo for the local newspaper, the Murray Valley Standard.
Today’s ride was by far the toughest, most gruelling bicycle ride I’d ever undertaken, and pushed my body to limits I hadn’t exceeded for more than ten years… I rode along the city streets down Glen Osmond Road and then Pulteney Street like a conquering Roman caesar as I beamed with pride, appreciation and satisfaction, stopping at Rundle Mall and achieving what I’d set out to do six months earlier, with nothing more than a rough sketch of a plan and a crazy idea to ride to Adelaide in a school dress.
Today was scheduled as a rest and recovery day, to allow me to a) recover from the past eight day’s journey, and b) rest in preparation for tomorrow, which might turn out to be the hardest day’s ride yet. So I stayed another day at the Murray Bridge Marina & Caravan Park on Roper Road, Murray Bridge.
I woke up this morning with a bit of a hangover, but nothing too bad, and got my laundry done pretty early. I wandered around town for a while, checking out the Bordertown train station, a stop for the Overland Train I’ll be taking back to Melbourne this coming Friday, and was saddened at how run-down and in need of maintenance the neglected but beautiful heritage station was.
After the hard day yesterday, today was brilliant! Awoke refreshed, with not a lot of distance to cover to finish off Leg 4 — about 40 km to Bordertown, SA. I left Kaniva early and headed out for the border between Victoria and South Australia at Serviceton. I was soooo happy to finally reach the border. Although I’ve already covered half the distance of my journey, in my mind the border has always been the ‘halfway’ milestone.
I set out from Dimboola and before long reached Loch Iel, more commonly known as the Pink Lake. This salt pan is home to a type of algae that reacts to the sun by showing a pink hue, making the entire lake varying shades of pink depending on time of year, sun position, etc. It was very beautiful…
I started this morning in the worst possible way — disaster struck my rear axle. I snapped the ‘Burley Balls’ rear axle bolt, which was made out of cheap Chinesium, as I went to depart the Darlot Motor Inn! I was devastated — this could easily have been the end of the adventure right there. I was completely immobilised. Without a rear axle I couldn’t even walk the bike to the local bike shop. I rang my partner Danielle in despair.
I awoke early this morning to the sound of kookaburras laughing, and then cockatoos having a screaming match, so much better than an alarm clock! I love the bush!! Enjoyed a beautiful sunrise through the gum trees as I packed up camp and had a muesli breakfast. The family I’d met, the two little fellows were up bright and early like me, so we enjoyed breakfast together before I headed back down the gravel track to the highway. Lovely people!
Slept in slightly, then as I was leaving from home and not coming back, needed to double-check that everything was packed into the trailer and the gear was all ready to go.
I arrived at the Royal Exhibition Centre in Carlton this morning with no small amount of nervous trepidation, as well as some weary eyes, after catching the 0520 train with my partner, Danielle. We said goodbye with a big hug at Southern Cross Station, and I rode from there to Carlton, and parked at the big fountain to the south of the Exhibition Centre.