October 25. Harrocks Pass into Beautiful Valley. Steep and lovely, hillsides carpeted purple with Salvation Jane (aka Patterson’s Curse). Later took a picture of sheeps butts, belly deep in purple flowers, backed by large red gum trees that are new to us; huge, hollow and gnarled. Wheat and sheep, Wirrabara was once a logging centre. We camped in the city park, showers and grass, $5. Cricket practice on the oval and laughing kookaburras in the trees. Very friendly people.
October 27 Town of Clare in the Clare Valley. Rode the Reisling Trail and backroads for 42 kilometers. Beautiful in a very European way; stone cottages in small villages, grapes, sheep, wheat and oats on steep hillsides. Went to a wine tasting in the evening, a first for Claire. Fun. We spit most of it out in buckets provided but took home full wine glasses of Madeira for desert. It was fruity sweet with a ten second delayed aftertaste of toasted almonds. Surprised myself by liking a sweet wine. Something new to explore.
Our friend Grace Newhaven arrived to escort us back to Adelaide. Grace is the creator of Bicyclefish web page, resource for touring cyclists in Australia. Wonderful site, and Claire is helping him update the information on the Plenty Highway and the Nullarbor. Tomorrow our other Adelaide friend Paul Keen will arrive to ride with us.
October 28. Paul arrived with his family. We had lunch and pictures with his wife Jenny, stepdaughter Emma and one year old son Joshaua Then the four bicyclists had an enjoyable day riding the Reisling trail and backroads to a bush camp. Grace gave us a lesson in damper making that answered some of our questions on why the edges of ours burns sometimes. The next day found us wandering more backroads and the Mawson Trail. The final leg into town was by train.
Stayed three nights with Grace and his partner Susan, a very cute and sweet person who is often Grace’s cycle touring partner. Our days were very busy getting some new cables and housings on Zippy and finding out about the visa extension process. We had brekky and evening tea with Grace and Susan and at least once kept Susan up way too late talking; made it difficult for her to get to work on time. Their hospitality made it easy for us to get our bearings in the city and start on all the things we needed to get done after five months on the track.
From Grace and Susan’s we went to the Adelaide Caravan Park, a shorter walk into the downtown, where everything we needed to accomplish was located. By Saturday morning when Paul cycled in to collect us four our visit to their house, we had accomplished all of the important things on our list; our visa extension and Christmas shopping among the most important. We enjoyed Adelaide. It makes me think of Portland, Oregon, where I lived for several years, both in size and temperament. Both are British in background, a bit dour (they wear black a lot) and proper. Also very friendly, if not as effusive as we have found some Aussies. The teens wear school uniforms: girls plaid skirts and knee socks, sweaters and blouses, sometimes straw hats; boys, slacks, shirts and ties, sweaters or blazers. They rebel by pulling their shirt-tails out after school. Would that American kids rebelled that way. Not all is innocent here though. The public toilets have needle disposal bins prominently placed. Parklands surround the compact downtownand made walking back and forth pleasant. All in all, a wonderful place to live I reckon.