After the abject misery of the previous day of riding in the rain we all woke a little nervous and timidly peaked through curtains to survey the new morning. Blue sky and much thanks to various deities ensued. The run from Port Augusta to Lyndoch was a close second for the shortest day of the trip weighing in at around 300km. We were also due for lunch at Peter Cherry’s place in Gawler, only a few minutes from Lyndoch, where the local Honda dealership and Goldwing Riders were going to meet us. I stupidly didn’t check the itinerary map for the day figuring it would be a straight run down the highway and missed out on some country road exploring. I was also not far from Adelaide itself when I realised the voice in my head (the GPS) hadn’t told me of any turn-offs. The Navigon App on my iPhone had crashed which resulted in my having to backtrack some 30kms north and was almost late for lunch. After lunch there was an auction for some goodies to raise more money for the Steven Walter Foundation and amongst things like a bike wash and paintball tickets there was a couple of choice items. An Around Australia Ride t-shirt that had been signed by all the riders went for around $1,000. We were all aware we could just sign more shirts for each other, but that’s not the point, is it. What did feel fairly priceless though was an etching of the Around Australia Ride logo that had been done by one of the locals (apologies I can’t remember his name, will update if I get it). There was fierce competition for the etching and it finally went for a whopping $3,000!
Lyndoch was only 15km away and because the next day was another designated rest day I wanted to see if I could find the cause of my fuel issues. In the car-park where we were staying at the lovely Lyndoch Hill I had parts stripped off the bike as I checked fuel lines, spark plugs and conducted open heart surgery on the carburettor. I couldn’t find anything wrong. So I took a leaf out of the audio-book I had been listening to on part of the trip, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which for those not in the know is an exploration around philosophy intertwined with a cross country trip on a motorcycle between father and son. Anyway, at one point he talks about being stuck on a problem (an analogy about life) and when you have tried everything you can possibly think of to become unstuck then often the last resort is to just sit and stare. So stare I did and within a few minutes I realised there was a tube on the carb that I was pretty sure should have been plugged. A quick check online at the manual and my suspicion was confirmed. Rick and Bob (of Specialty Fasteners fame in Fyshwick) came to my assistance and jury rigged up a little number from Rick’s support vehicle and fashioned a plug for me. I’ll see if it helps tomorrow.
On the designated rest day there was another wine tour for those who wanted to partake. Unlike Margaret River which is barely 40 years old, wine in the Barossa region has been made since the 1840s and so has a bit more heritage behind it. There’s currently 150 wineries and over 750 grape growers in the region meaning there is no shortage of cellar doors to visit. For me I did a local loop on my Road Star through the townships of Williamstown, Mount Pleasant, Eden Valley and Tanunda. I enjoyed lunch at one of the Grant Burge Cellar doors with a cheese platter and glass of Shiraz while overlooking a vineyard, so tranquil. The day’s run was just over 110kms and my fuel use went from a terrible 12kms per liter up to 17kms per liter – this represents an increase of 80kms before hitting reserve so it was significant.
The second night in Lyndoch Hill was a memorable one with our hosts Mark and Mandy looking after us in fine style. So fine in fact they donated for auction three nights accommodation for two at Lyndoch Hill, wine tour, personal cellar door tasting, wine, food and other treats. As the bidding rapidly passed $1,000 Mark and Mandy upped the donation to be accommodation for four (two rooms) and this is when things got interesting. Matt and Joe put their heads together and started bidding as a syndicate. Syndicate what? How do you use accommodation like this if a syndicate wins? Well the final amount was $2,500 which Joe and Matt won, and then they promptly announced that they were giving the accommodation they had one to Allan and Phil to use with their wives for all the hard work and organisation that had occurred. Phil had some very moving words to say after that mentioning his son Steven (Walter) would have been looking down at all this in amazement at what the original Snowy Ride had become. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
This was the last of the two night stops and we now have the final run of Mount Gambier, Lorne and Lakes Entrance ahead of us before we reach Thredbo on Friday the 5th of November. The adventure side of things feels well and truly over now with civilisation ahead of us all the way. Doesn’t feel like such a challenge anymore with petrol stations no more than 50kms apart and the trucks are getting down to normal size now. What will I do when it’s all over?