Saturday, December 01, 2007

DAY 56: Day 2 off Adelaide / Torrens Linear Park

Fri 30th Nov 07
Sunny, hot, 30+C again
50km @ 12.0 km/hr (ambling along)

Great sleep again in the peaceful garden and slept until 8. Spent an hour with Grace discussing bike stuff, and he made me a ‘sock’ cover for my water bottle to help keep it cool during the hot day (it worked too).

3km into the city and onto the TLP cycle track. The linear park term refers to the stretched-out wider banks of the Torrens between the sea, Adelaide city centre, and extends a further 20km or so to the west. There are for the most part cycle tracks both sides of the river and it appears that a broad strip of land some 100m (at least) wide either side of the river is owned by the council and is effectively one long park. The cycle track was in good condition for most of the way - all tarmac - except that it is suddenly closed off both sides at one point without any instructions how to get around the obstacle. It took me a while on ordinary roads to find my way back onto the track. Note sign below - this probably refers to the pollution due to stagnant water as there is so little water flowing at the moment.

The river is dammed just downstream of the city so as to keep water levels high / constant, but beyond this the river dwindles to a trickle - literally the size of a small Scottish burn! Clearly there has been little rainfall recently as confirmed by the constant discussion in the papers here about the need to conserve water. for example hosepipes are banned, but judging by letters to the paper some people are using devious means to get around this - allowing a constant trickle that can’t easily be seen, or watering in the middle of the night - it’s easy to tell who’s at it though by the greenness of the lawn!

The last 2 or 3km before the sea is wetlands (right) - well, assisted wetlands in that more weirs help retain what river water is available rather than allow it straight into the sea. As expected the bird life here is amazing - Australia really is an ornithologist’s paradise, they are so numerous almost everywhere. Shame I didn’t bring my binoculars along today.

The track reached the sea at Henley Beach some 17km from the city, got a drink and a paper, and found a nice shady bench to sit and type up my blog, which is where I am now (below). I’ll probably upload at Peter and Sue’s tomorrow as I have been promised ‘Broadband for as long as I like’!

The pic on the right is of the cycle track as it passes under a road bridge in the centre of the city - dappled warm sunlight; lovely riding.

Later I had ‘roo' and noodles for lunch then slowly ambled back along the cycle track with the wind behind me. It had felt much cooler by the sea - quite comfortable - but just a few km inland it was again getting hot, although generally it wasn’t as hot as yesterday. I understand this is the hottest November on record here, and 37 is forecast for tomorrow - lucky I only have 15km or so to ride up to Peter and Sue’s. Grace and I sorted a ‘safe’ route for me to get there. Grace has been very kind and helpful - he fitted a sock onto my water bottle to keep the water cooler and better to drink -= the principle being that wetting the sock helps keep the contents cool as the outer water evaporates, I having tested it out today I can say that it works very well. My water was nowhere near as warm as it was before. He also got some eyelets and fixed them around my piece of shade cloth I use as a protective base layer for under the tent, so that it can double as a provider of shade on hot sunny days. The eyelets will allow the thing to be slung up between trees for example to create a cooler spot beneath; I can see that being useful if this heat persists which it is bound to do in the future.

The ride back to the city was very enjoyable - warm sunshine, nice tailwind, nice shady cycle track, cafe stop for FUIC and cake, lovely greenery and scenery - bliss; a proper, relaxed, holiday day.

Back in the city I had a peek at the Adelaide Oval cricket ground; very smart; and a look around St.Peter’s Anglican Cathedral. The couple looking after the church today were chatting about Caithness - the husband worked on the Loch Affric Hydro power station and visited Caithness in the 60’s on a motor bike. He had an accident at Forss and he said that some kind people called Dunnet looked after him for a few days until he recovered. Small world.

The three pics below show the contrast between the artificially 'big' river as seen in the city centre(below right); and reduced size downstream (below). The sign is self-explanatory.

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