The first day on the revised route. What will the Ruddock Highway (A66) be like?
Packed up quickly, as one can when in a cabin, and stopped in Penola at the early opener for a coffee. Then headed out of town.
Would you believe it? A hard shoulder more than twice as wide as Maggie was there to ride on. As smooth as you could want too.
Why? I was riding through the Coonawarra wine producing area and the wide shoulders allow the vineyards to take machinery between plots without disturbing the b-doubles travelling at 110 kph. The good conditions lasted for 14 ks.
When I was a kid and trains had steam engines (yes, really) I indulged in a bit of train spotting. I was reminded of that today as I vineyard spotted. Along with many names unknown to me I also rode past Balnaves, Wynn’s, Penfolds, St Hugo and Lindemans.
The road was busy but no hassles – until after 14k the shoulder became much smaller. It was still enough to get out of the way of trucks though by taking to the gravel and sand extension.
After 30k the hard shoulder was suddenly made up of rocks and tar. At least that’s what it felt like. Outside wheel on the rough tar. Rear wheel the same. Inside front in the gravel. Safe but slow and uncomfortable. I found that moving to the road when safe to do so allowed me to speed up and use 2 more gears. Diving back onto the shoulder when vehicles approached from behind = gear down 2 to keep going.
Whatever, we arrived in Naracoorte by 1.30pm, had a good sandwich in a friendly bakery and headed to the campsite
Tomorrow its more on the Australian version of Route 66 to Padthaway.