elatina hut to blinman - our final day!

Posted on Friday, June 04, 2010 at 1:50 PM by dyon

our last day of 10 weeks of touring, I couldn't believe it. it was a happy and a sad day. it was sad that our fantastic adventure was coming to an end. we had been riding for weeks and weeks, and we had been loving it. but on the other hand, I know that I was getting a bit sick of being on the go all the time. I was looking forward to the creature comforts of home: central heating (it is so cold at night here), more than one pair of pants to choose from, eating a variety of foods and seeing my family again.

so it was a with a heavy heart that we set off in the morning. another short-ish day but this time it was a hard day with lots of rolling hills. my legs were hurting from the climbing! early on we crossed over trezona creek which was very beautiful with lots of big trees (and lots of rocks).

dyon and kai crossing trezona creek

we rode as a group, we rode off by ourselves trying to get up these short, sharp climbs that busted our legs. soon we stopped for lunch and only had 20km to go, most of it being the main road into blinman. the road riding passed quickly with rob and I chatting all the way. finally we made into blinman - the goal of our 10 weeks of touring! we successfully rode the mawson trail and had fun while doing it.

teh mawson trail signs

we all rushed to the cafe for some rejuvenating coffee, cake, pies and milkshakes. :) and not long after, dyon's mother turned up with our car for our next adventure: dyon racing the mawson marathon and then driving home!

helen,dyon and kai after touring

wilpena to elatina hut (or middlesight water hut)

Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 at 1:33 PM by dyon

another short day on the bike, but the best day on the bike. the morning started with some singletrack which was flowing and sweet. dyon managed to ride most of it - very impressive while towing a double trailer.

dyon riding singletrack towing a trailer

then we descended for 19km between the ABC range and Heysen range, and it was amazing! It was breathtaking, it was beautiful and it was so much fun to ride. We were zooming through creek crossings with our eyes glued on the beautiful mountains around us.

helen riding through the ranges

we had a short (and nasty) climb out of the beautiful bunyerooo gorge. there were some 4WDers at the top that were so impressed with us that they insisted on taking photos. they didn't understand that to us it wasn't so much of an achievement, it was just part of a day cycling.

dyon, helen, rob and pete at the top of bunyeroo gorge

then we rode on to elatina hut through many more creek crossings which were thankfully rideable. at elatina hut, we gathered lots of firewood in anticaption of sitting cosily around the fire in the hut. rob tried valliantly to get a blazing fire going but the chimney didn't work and it wasn't drawing the smoke out. in the end we all went to bed as it was too chilly for a fire outside

rawnsley park to wilpena

Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 at 9:10 PM by helen

it was a lovely short ride today - only about 30km in gorgeous scenery. we took our time to enjoy the stunning views and being so close to the wildlife.

rawnsley bluff

the first section of the mawson trail was an interesting taste of more technical tracks. it was a rocky, rough and a little bit slippery. dyon and i quite enjoyed the challenge while kai thought it was a 'bit bumpy'.

dyon pulling the trailer over a rocky creek crossing

we had 1st lunch sitting quite close to this cute kangaroo. kai was keen to share his plastic toy kangaroos with the real roo.

euro kanaaroo  

wonoka creek to rawnsley park

Posted on Monday, May 31, 2010 at 9:46 PM by helen

kai cleaning the bikes  

the morning after the mud bath was spent discovering our bikes again. dyon managed to get our drive trains going with no water, lots of sticks and some lube for the chain.

the day before had been a long day in the saddle without many kilometres completed, but today was a long day in the saddle with some good kilometres completed. we had a lovely tail wind as we set off up the highway and did the first 26km quite quickly (averaging 19km/h). the next section was along the moralana scenic drive which was unfortunately into a head wind (as we back tracked south slightly) with some mud patches and undulating hills (more up than down it felt). it felt a bit like a hard slog for 28km but with stunning scenery all around. we were definitely in the flinders ranges!

having lunch on the moralana scenic drive  

then it was up the hawker-wilpena highway to rawnsley park. we were all feeling pretty tired after two hard days so we pushed ourselves along with the thought of a cold beer at the end. we passed some people doing a supported section of the mawson trail and they were surprised to see us carrying heavy loads overtaking them. we wanted that beer! so once at the caravan park we all enjoyed a cool coopers with chips.

dyon and i decided to have a rest day at rawnsley park and so did rob and pete so we all hung around relaxing for the day.

hawker to wonoka creek (oh mud, how I love thee)

Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 9:43 PM by helen

we met up with rob and pete again at the sightseers cafe at 9:30 for a quick and early start to the day. after we all had coffees, cake and pies, i think we were on the road by 10am.

we headed off along the mawson trail hoping that the track had dried out and luckily it mostly felt ok bar a few squishy creek (silty/mud) crossings. we hit the highway and decided to keep pressing on with the trail. we cruised along hard gravel tracks feeling confident and happy. then we climbed a little ridge next to mern merna hill and onto the valley of hell! we managed to get stuck in another mud patch.

initially it wasn't too bad so we kept pressing on, but as we kept going it got worse and worse. pete ended up carting his panniers by pairs then carrying his bike, dyon and rob went on ahead pressing through the mud together helping each other, and i spent time digging mud from between my tyres and mudguards. in the end it was easier for me to get into granny gear trying to ride through the thick mud. my mud biking skills have improved immensely! the worst was trying to clip in with pedals and shoes full of mud.

kai looking very happy in the muddy trailer  

after taking 4 hours to complete 4-5km, we had a rocky descent into another plain which was slippery and slidy but at least we could ride. we finally came back on to a dirt road and decided to head to the highway as quickly as possible. we got to the highway as dusk hit so we bush camped by the wonoka creek which was thankfully running as dyon and i hadn't brought any spare water.

buckaringa to hawker

Posted on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 9:38 PM by helen

the plan was to spend two days riding to hawker along the mawson trail as the trail meandered its way to hawker.

we started early from buckaringa getting some good kilometres under our belts. riding through simmonston (a town never developed, but land was sold) and over the wilochra plan was quite boring with not much to see and the threat of rain, we just rode as quickly as we could.

dyon and kai looking across the wilochra plain

the mawson trail hit the main road about 35km south of hawker and followed it for 1.5km. then back on to the dirt. this is when the heavy rain hit us. we struggled on and passed over the main highway again this time to head towards craddock and away from the main road. we stopped for a quick bite to eat in the driving rain and to decide what to do. and as the road we were to take towards craddock filled with rain and looked sodden, we decided that the only way forward was on the highway. so we ditched all the extra water we were carrying for our night bush camping and headed back to the highway. and just in time as dyon was having trouble with the road surface, slipping his way a hundred metres back to the main road.

while we were eating lunch pete and rob  (who we had met in melrose and are heading to alice springs via the mawson trail) rode past along the highway. dyon thought we could catch them so with our heads down we rode as fast we could. it was a touch slog of 28km to hawker. it was all slightly up hill with a terrible headwind. my legs were burning and i felt that i just couldn't keep going sometimes. when we managed to get out of the wind we could ride up to 18km/h but into the headwind we somtimes slowed down to 9km/h.

finally we got into hawker with chattering teeth and soaked to the bone. we never managed to catch pete and rob, there were always ahead of us. however, we did get a cabin in the flinders ranges caravan park in hawker for two nights so we had a rest day in hawker as well. we caught up with rob and pete over a few beers and a pub dinner, much better than in the saoking wet.

our rest day was spent huddled in the cabin as fierce winds blew outside and scattered showers so we were glad that we had warmth and shelter.

warren gorge to buckaringa north campsite

Posted on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 9:37 PM by helen

a very short ride to the heysen trail campsite at buckaringa area. we had lovely hard gravel roads and a strong tail wind so we felt like we were going fast for the first time, soon enough we had arrived.

we pitched the tent in the only non-rocky area (thanks to previous heysen trail users) and kai started setting up a fire.

kai building our fire

buckaringa campsite was a lovely sheltered area with the whole campsite to ourselves. we took a short jaunt up the heysen trail and then up the hill next to the campsite. fortunately there was a great view, lots of rocks to climb and perfect mobile reception so we were able to check our email and do other daily business. unfortunately we also found out that the rain predicted for the following day was still coming: 10-20mm! it was going to be a hard day in the saddle.

we enjoyed a lovely evening by the fire while dyon and i learnt how to play cribbage.

quorn to warren gorge

Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 9:36 PM by helen

we took a short ride past paddocks of sheep, cows and crops (into a headwind with a slight climb which was slightly depressing) into some of the hills of the southern flinders ranges. we had a short climb through a pass and then a short descent on to the plain towards warren gorge.

we arrived into warren gorge to be greeted by a bunch of caravaners telling us to camp elsewhere which we were quite happy about as we didn't want to be near them anyway. we stopped up the road unsure where the camping actually was situated but really needing some lunch. after lunch we pressed on a little further and found a lovely camping area under the shadow of the gorge.

yellow footed wallabies bounced around the campsite in the late afternoon much to kai's delight. seeing them jumping up the side of the rocky hills was amazing and kept kai searching for them for hours. we took a short walk along the gorge where kai discovered how to build cairns

.helen and kai building cairns

melrose to quorn (and yes we did eat corn in quorn)

Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 8:15 PM by helen

eagerly getting on our bikes this morning for a fun filled day of riding in the rain and wind, we managed to set off from melrose a little after 9:30. dyon did take some convincing to actually leave, believing that we should spend another day in the safe, warm sanctuary of 'A' cabin in the caravan park.

we rode down the main road then onto the dirt in high spirits aided by a tailwind and a false flat down, and the roads appeared to be fine after all the rain. well, that is until we turned onto spring creek road; it was a red clay mud bath. from there, riding turned into pushing the bikes and then the pushing turned into stopping every 50 metres to clear the gunk out so our wheels could still turn. it was hard to see when it would end...

luckily for us a lovely farmer saw our plight and rescued us in a 'red oot' (ute). kai was delighted to get a ride in an oot. and we were delighted by his warmth and helpfulness. he pulled out his high pressure hose so our bikes were clean in no time. luckily for us everything seems to be running smoothly still.

after spending the whole morning to cover 15ish km we decided to only go as far as wilmington (30km from melrose), but when we got there we didn't feel ready to stop. so we bought a pie, a pastie and a chocolate milk from the (un)friendly grocer (she was very narky about my muddy shoes which i voluntarily took off outside!) and headed on out of town.

luckily the roads north out of wilmington on the mawson trail were great, not a patch of mud in sight. and the tailwind was still helping us along. after another 11km we stopped for 2nd lunch only to find that someone had forgotten to pack the lunch (and dinner) ingredients!! they were still sitting in the fridge in melrose. :( so a brief and boring 2nd lunch stop was had.

there was a conservation park about 15km further along the road which we had in mind for a bush camp night. however, the road to the CP proved correct when it said "dry weather road only'. so we turned off the mawson trail (once again) and headed down to the highway. unfortunately there weren't any nice camping spots on the back roads to the highway so we ended up just riding into quorn. a long day for all of us as we didn't get here until a quarter past five.

the highlights of the day were:

  • mud, mud, mud
  • a friendly farmer
  • ride in a red oot
  • an unfriendly grocer (and a closed cafe that promised home made pasties! :( )
  • observing dry weather signs
  • fast highway riding
  • riding the furthest so far on this trip (72km)
  • corn in quorn (with yummy chicken schnitzels at the pub)

melrose the mountain biking town

Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 8:09 PM by dyon

it was so lovely to be in melrose: surrounded by bikes, people that are enthusiastic about bikes and locals that are getting into bikes.

we have ended up spending 3 full days in melrose due to the rain. luckily the first day was beautiful and sunny so dyon went off for a 3 hour mtb shop ride while kai and i found the kindergarten play ground. kai had a ball in the playground doing some really good imaginative play and discovering how to climb through toddler sized obstacle courses. the rainy days we spent in our cabin (at the caravan park) and wandering around when it wasn't too wet. and we also enjoyed some delicious scones with hot chocolates to warm us up.

tomorrow we plan to head out somewhere between wilmington and quorn. hopefully the roads/tracks are not too wet!

Edited on: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 8:59 PM