Tuesday, November 27, 2007

DAY 51: Wallaroo to Clare

Sun 25th Nov 07
110 km @ 13.5 km/hr
Sunny, hot afternoon 30+C
Headwind first 20km then sidewind
Climbed from sea level to 398m

Up by 0600 and away 0715 in view of possible long day. And it was, long and hard, not to mention hot.

10km to Kadina and another 14km to the turn for Locheil and Clare. I made a mistake with the latter and turned too early onto a (good) gravel road which ran parallel to the correct road, and I took it because I wasn’t sure whether it was gravel or tarmac due to a dodgy map. Anyway after a pleasant 6km in the bush on an ever-diminishing track I decided to check my position with the GPS and I found I was very close to the correct road, and soon found it. It was sheep or cereals all the way to Clare with about 50% tree shelter at the side of the road, and only one cafe-shop in 80km. This proved to be a very quiet road with hardly 10 vehicles per hour - bliss!
As I progressed I could see hills ahead, looming out of the flat country, and sure enough a few km before The Shack cafe at Locheil there was a bit of a climb for a few km, but countered by a long, fast downhill into this little settlement.
I topped energy levels up with a FU Iced Coffee as usual, and Picnic, and proceeded in increasingly hot conditions. I had great difficulty drinking the warm tasteless water; I need to address this problem before it causes me grief - lack of body water = lack of energy = suffering. There was nowhere to get fresh, cooler water either.
After 80km+ I was grovelling somewhat; struggling along very slowly, but 12km from Clare thankfully arrived at a cafe in Blyth (right), and a latte and carrot cake revived me a little.
It needed to, because after Blyth there’s 6km of climbing, the last 2km being STEEP - at least 10% and more at times. I noted from all the writing on the road this is probably part of the route of the Tour Down Under cycle race - I’m not surprised. Anyway the nutrition must have kicked in and I spun away until the summit and enjoyed what I thought would be the final descent into Clare - but there were a few more short and sharp climbs yet, and an interminable plod for 3km after the town centre of Clare to the Caravan Park. Peter had recommended this CP and indeed it was very nice - lots of shady spots, and good facilities as at Wallaroo.
Unfortunately after erecting the tent I had to return to town to buy dinner, however with lighter load and yet another FUIC inside me. (Surely you know what that stands for by now?)
I threw the lamb chops (Scottish readers note - 3 large chops for $5 (£2) i.e. cheap) and zuchini, onions, mushrooms and onion onto the electric barbie and felt absolutely weary / knackered, but chatted to another ‘chef’ whom I had chatted to before at Arno Bay a few days ago - this keeps happening again and again.
2110 now as I type in the tent in utter peace - the last 2 nights at Wallaroo have been rather noisy with groups of youngsters on a ‘weekend out’.
No plans for tomorrow (Monday) yet - I’ll have a look in the TIC tomorrow and make a plan. I have to be in Adelaide to stay with a Warmshowers host on Weds nt., and then invited to Peter and Sue’s next weekend. Looking forward to Adelaide.....

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