Last night I just couldn't quite sleep soundly, I could not shut the brain off from thinking about the day ahead! But after eating as many pieces of toast as I physically could for breakfast, it was finally time for action.
Kimba is most famous for its giant Galah statue (sticking with the Aussie back country rule: if your town is a little bit short on the attractions front: build a big concrete sculpture of a Roo/whale/vegetable/bird etc).
But somehow in my haste to get moving this morning, my exit rote bypassed the town's famous Giant Galah! How I achieved this remains a mystery as there were not exactly a lot of streets in Kimba. The photo above is from wiki commons...
It was very cold this morning as the sun was etching it's way over the horizon, so I was grateful for a few hill climbs out of town to get warmed up quickly, and there were yet more endless roads disappearing off into the distance as far as you could see.
Beatrice was running silky smooth yet again, and urging an effort. When riding for a target of 160ish I break it down into 4x40km blocks and think only of the next block, which makes a bigger target a bit more palatable. I got through the first block nice and quickly and was feeling very strong so the day was set up perfectly in great riding conditions.
So after a pit stop for a muesli bar and an apple, the lunch target was the proudly named town of Iron Knob. No, its not a pardody of a Marvel comic...its a massive mine that has eaten a hillside for the last 100 odd years.
Behind this monster was perhaps the most depressing 'town' I have ever scene. It sounds harsh but the place was strangely fascinating...every house seem to have some sort of rusted derelict metal out the front, a car, some girders...anything. It felt very post-apocalyptic and would make an excellent set location.
At the far end of town there was a tiny post office with a tiny fridge and a tiny selection of cold drinks available...how the place remains afloat is another mystery as everything else in town resembling a shop was long since boarded up. Surely I was the only customer all day? The girl serving was surprised to see me anyway.
I ate lunch outside the abandoned roadhouse, fully expecting something dead to come shuffling out from the undergrowth at any moment.
After Iron Knob the land opened up into more vast open space and I had 68km left to ride in order to hit Port Augusta. The wind picked up a little but thankfully never got serious, but what did become an issue was a very dangerous final stretch of 26km into town, after the road from Port Lincoln merged with the Erye Highway.
This was the scariest piece of road on the trip to date. No shoulder again, but the main problem was very aggressive driving. I was watching my mirror as best as possible and just pushing as hard as I could to minimise the amount of minutes exposed to such madness. Rounding a big sweeping descending corner finally revealed Port Ugusta off in the distance and it was a great relief to get to town.
I only have about 350km to go and my flight back booked 5 days away so will take another rest day tomorrow and look around town. Also there are some good options for safer roads into Adelaide if willing to ride further that I'd like to pin down a bit more.
Total today: 157km