Well, it only popped it’s head out for the last 10k in to Euston this afternoon but after a full morning of pouring rain with thunder and lightning, it was very welcome. It helped thaw out our frozen fingers and toes and dry our sopping clothes.
Mick, Katie and the boys certainly brought all weather conditions with them. Our first few days together brought beautiful weather for cycling. Blue skies and strong tail winds that seemed to follow us at each turn. After my first morning out of Port Augusta (which was up there with the strongest side and head winds together with the poorest road selection of the trip!) we asked eight year old Sonny to talk to the winds for us. He did more than that and did a full wind dance by the side of the road. And wacko, within a couple of hours the wind came from behind and stayed with us for the next couple of days. It was brilliant cycling. Down through the gorgeous towns of Melrose, Laura, Burra and into Morgan and Renmark. Open fields, quiet roads, good surfaces (oh the gift of a smooth surface) and beautiful countryside. We stayed on the Murray at both Morgan and Renmark, and watched the sun go down with wine riverside.
Oh but then we forgot to ask Sonny to do his evening dance. Bad mistake. A long day into Mildura came with head winds the whole day. It was one of those days. Head down. Keep the legs turning. You arrive eventually. The much welcome distractions were the characters that Mick and I met at our rest stops. Mal, a truck driver heading to Adelaide to pick up a load of Coopers and a lovely bikey who had everything he needs in life strapped to his bike. Both were quick to donate when they heard about our cause. After an interview and photo shoot with the Mildura Sunraysia daily we pretty much collapsed into bed.
And now we’re here in Euston. Mick and Katie’s last day on the road. They will pass sister Kate tomorrow, arriving with her two girls Pippa and Zoe, and do the handover. It’s been brilliant having them all with me this week. Mick has ridden most of the way with me. Pretty impressive when he’s never ridden more than 50km on a bike before now. He’s totally embraced it, has enjoyed the challenge of all weather conditions and has been a great fun cycling buddy (though I reckon he’ll be quick to buy a new saddle when he returns to Sydney!). Katie, Lucas and Sonny have been super. Clap ins and hugs greeted us at every rest stop and at the end of each day. Katie always managed to find the best coffee in town and drive it out to me roadside for a great midmorning caffeine hit (after weeks of pretty basic coffee options, this has been like Christmas). Lucas and Sonny have played in just about every park between here and Port Augusta and now talk about ‘the mighty Murray’ as if its as familiar as Sydney Harbour. And the best part has just been hanging out with them. Living in Perth it’s rare that I get so much time with them. So what a fabulous treat it’s been for me.