Oatlands to Richmond
This post is a day late. By the time we arrived in Richmond we were quite tired and then had to fight the wind to set up tents, cook tea etc. So the blog took second place to a nice quiet book read!
So, how did Sunday go. In a word, well.
We started off travelling along the Lake Dulverton walkway to Parattah. It was a good pathway to begin with, gravel topped but mostly with gravel crushed to a small size. Along the way were signs providing information about the area – and in one place there were indications that this used to be a railway.
One sign advised that 77 different species of birds have been seen in that area and the land care group was busy planting native plant species to keep them coming. This was in the currently dry part of the lake which looked like it has had no water for quite some time.
Eventually the path deteriorated into a single line, 1 person walking track which was no good for a trike. At this point we took to the nearby road and kept going to Parattah. There is a large railway station at Parattah. Why? is a question I cannot answer without much research as it is a very quiet, small village now. There are some railway sidings and equipment to be seen but what for I don’t know, I don’t know the history. So we kept pedalling!
The road through Parattah itself was uphill, as was a lot of the road afterwards. It was interesting to balance human effort and electric motor effort to try and find the best combination for speed and distance. Colin outpaced me for this climb as I stuffed around looking for the winning combo.
The country we were passing through had an diverse mix of run down farms and modern, well maintained ones along with the occasional vehicle wreckers paddock. All picturesque in their own way.
The wind was interesting. It was behind us and I decided to see how much it pushed the trike and I along, without pedalling. I chose a “flat” part of the road which I think was actually running a little uphill and could feel each push in the back as we continued on our way. Not enough to allow no pedalling in the long term but certainly an input.
We were passing through a very dry country and it was looking like it would soon get some rain. The clear skies had given way to an ever growing number of thick, grey clouds. The weather forecast advised of storms. No precipitation as yet so OK, let’s carry on as though nothing is happening!
We climbed into Tunnack. An interesting town (village) with mostly well maintained buildings. The above was the standout. It hasn’t had a paint job since who knows when and the garden decorations weren’t plants – it was the truck.
After Tunnack there was more climbing, then some downhill and then more climbing until … we reached the main descent of the day.
I will insert the video of the descent when it’s ready as it was a memorable one. The first part on tarmac and ‘Ride with GPS’ tells me a max of 65 kph was achieved. At that point a left had bend was flagged and I used the brakes. The speed and weight of trike and baggage resulted in a slow haul back on speed so into the bend we shot to enjoy a few moments of zig-zag excitement as the surface turned to corrugated gravel.
Never mind, keep on travelling at around the 40k mark. Perhaps we will skim the surface of the ‘gations I thought. It didn’t really! The vibrations were shaking fillings loose. A bit further down there was a bend and a small concrete bridge. The surface on the bridge obviously had a problem as the trike skidded across it in a boisterous manner. Oh well, skid saved, we continued to barrel on down the hill. At this point the right had wing mirror had vibrated itself to a point where nothing behind was visible. All was well with the left hand mirror until it fell off. Braking was tricky with each front wheel locking up in turn but we did stop. I walked back to find the mirror and reattached it. I also tightened the other which was now in danger of also falling off. Nothing else seemed to be loose, except perhaps the screw in my brain that just loves downhill speed. Colin hadn’t appeared yet, obviously taking a more sensible approach to the downhill – so I hopped back on, back up to 40kph+ and rode the bends to the river at the bottom.
There we met up, had a bite to eat and thought about the climb away from the river.
At this point the clouds decided to release their water onto us. The wind drove it at 45° into all open panniers, bags, eyes, ears, jackets etc. The water in the clouds must have been sourced from Antarctica – it was very cold. Imagine – two days ago it was 38°C and now it felt like it was freezing. But, of course, there was no snow in this rain so we were just being whimpy.
I think that for every bit of fun in life there is a fee. I reckoned the climb up through Parattah, Tunnack etc was the fee today but there turned out to be a second instalment to pay. The climb up from the river was steep, long and winding. Colin’s legs were feeling it by now and I found myself in the lead, still using my battery saving formula for pedal assist setting, gear selection and pedal pressure.
We cranked onwards and upwards. The rain gradually stopped and the rain gear we had donned made us quite warm. No point in stopping as we were into a climbing rhythm. Onwards and upwards.
Eventually it had to happen – we reached the top.
It was then a downhill to Colebrook onto the “Mud Walls Road” which runs from the Midlands Highway to Richmond. Colebrook turned out not to have a cafe, so no coffee there. Well, there was a cafe once but it is now defunct. We continued on the 15 kilometers to Campania where there was a cafe. The traffic on this road was consistently annoying! Some drivers don’t seem to realise they can cross a solid white line to overtake a trike. So they slow down, almost stop and hold up everyone else in the queue. Others like to see how close they can drive to a trike (or have no idea of the width of their vehicle) while one person watched me get into the gravel to let him past, then hooted a long blow to express his annoyance. At what exactly?
I was glad to get to Campania and pull in for a coffee. Colin was feeling like if he stopped that would be it – no more riding for the day. So he kept on going to Richmond while I had a rest in the local park downing a mediocre coffee plus 2 anzac biscuits. I had bought a small bag of lollies too but they were lost on the way to the park. I hope some kids found and enjoyed them.
Eventually I got into gear and started the final 10ks to Richmond. The wind behind, a slightly wider carriageway and plenty of traffic to concentrate the mind = a quick trip.
We camped on a powered site in the Richmond Caravan Park but the terrain could not stop the increasing wind blowing in. This made tent set up difficult. Eventually we got finished and headed down to the camp kitchen to cook tea. On the way we passed a tent that had collapsed in the wind. The owner had ridden his motorcycle out some time before.
After tea we returned to our camp and tidied everything up for the night. The motorcyclist returned and people around us helped with tape etc to fix up the collapsed tent. Then we had a chat. The tent had been with this ex-Holden worker/bike ride for the past 6 years and supported him through some 30,000 kilometers of travel through Russia, Tibet and many other difficult sounding countries. The people you meet! He then mentioned a friend of his who was in the first Longford Revival meeting. He pushed his Suzuki Hayabasa along Pateena Road, Longford (part of the old Longford GP circuit) at 1 MPH under the record set by Chris Amon of 188 mph. The thing is, Ken (of Huonville) and I were standing there watching this attempt to break the record. So Mr X (never learnt his name) and I had a bonding moment and then I was shown pictures of the Suzuki out at a salt lake near Iron Knob, SA where is has collected something like 6 speed records.
The wind remained strong and cool so we retired to our tents early where I didn’t fancy writing up this blog. Apologies to my followers.