Saturday, 9 October 2010

BEYOND THE DOG FENCE






As I’ve previously mentioned, just South of the Coober Pedy opal mine dumps we crossed the Dog Fence. This fence, which stretches for thousands of k’s across Australia, is one of the measures discriminating against the dingo (they are also being shot and poisoned, and even have an unjust reputation as human “killers”). Since crossing the fence we’ve moved steadily South, reaching the coast and Adelaide along the way. Adelaide impressed me as a rather pleasant uncluttered city with lots of parks, and also recreational paths along the Torrents River. I even peeped in at the renowned “pretty” cricket oval – and I was disappointed to see that the stands have been modernised, in fact the building work is still in progress. As it was a long weekend at the time of our arrival, Leana and I stayed a few days at the caravan park on the river banks. When business resumed as usual Leana got a new rear hub for her bike (which I fitted), and she also bought a set of good tyres for Old Saartjie (my bike) – I’d been cycling on a tyre sewn up with fishing line for the previous 900 k’s. Over the past couple of days we’ve moved rather slowly through the picturesque Adelaide Hills region, where we met a South African family in the Mt Barker camp site who are in the process of immigrating (their furniture is still on the way over). After the hills we had to contend with a howling wind out on the plains along the Murray River, but we’ve dealt with that in the same way one would eat an elephant – a mouthful at a time. It seems that after the long trek across the centre of the country we’ve become a bit lazy, and today we’re resting at a very nice camp site in the small town of Meningie on the shore of Lake Albert. Tomorrow we intend to head SE from here along the Princess Highway towards Melbourne via the Coorong National Park, the Limestone Coast, and the Great Ocean Road. Although I made it over the Dog Fence, I’ve been in the “Dog Box” lately, and it seems that Leana intends to leave me (again), perhaps in Melbourne. In one month my Australian visa expires, and this is one country where one can’t just cycle off across the border. Whichever way things turn out, I hope to reach Sydney by that time – we’ll see. Daily distances cycled since Port Augusta have been:- Port Germein 74 km; Snowtown 98 km; Dublin 88 km; Adelaide 62 km; Mount Barker 39 km; Tailem Bend 79 km; and Meningie 63 km. The total distance cycled in Australia so far is 3 902 km since Darwin. Total so far this year is 11 672 km, and the total distance which I’ve cycled since leaving Cape Town on 27 March 2007 is 64 409 km.

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