Nurioopta to Saddleworth

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June 30th 2018
Published: July 6th 2018
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Woke up to the ole' Good News Bad News story. Good news today we are back in the saddle, feet are itching and we are ready for that distant horizon. Bad News, it rained last night, tent fly wasn't closed properly and I have a minor lake in my tent, everything is wet wet wet!, More bad news, possums broke into my food pannier and made good work of my vegies. But I am a glass half full kind of fellow, you learn to just "go with the flow", on the road and count the many blessings, that come with ultimate freedom. We said our Cheery Byes to all our good friends we had made in Gestapo land, broke through the razor wire and made our escape, on our trusty treddlies. Just a quick stock up on food and water for the next few days and its time to hit that open road to wherever it leads us two vagabonds. After a quick restock we made our way to the other Gestapo Guy, bossman Rodney at Schulz Wineries, to pick up our pay, well mine wasn't very much, but its nice to have a few lazy dollars in the pocket.

Back on the road we headed north west to Kapunda, Australias oldest mining town, where copper and high quality quartz marble were discovered in the 1850's. The town went from boom to bust, when the Victorian gold rush lured the prospective miners across the border. It was almost like a ghost town as we rode through the main street lined with deserted houses, empty shops and tumble weeds barreling down the street. The town had definitely seen better days. As we rode out of town before sundown, the wind was getting colder and stronger, time to fish out the long riding pants for only the second time for the trip. We struggled against the northerly headwinds for just over 20 ks, after riding past Mount Allen, we soon entered the historic town of Hamilton. With its old stone cottages and huge towering cathedral built in 1860, it seemed we had stepped back in time as we checked out the deserted buildings that early settlers once called home. We could get a good feel of how these people lived and the conditions they lived in. We scouted around the old cemetery behind the cathedral, the earliest grave was dated 1851.

We had some lunch out of the wind behind the cathedral, before we continued north to Marrabel, famous for its annual rodeo. However more famously for "Curio" a very difficult bronc horse, that threw every rider in quick time. That was until 1953, when local bronc rider Allan Woods, lasted more than 16 seconds in the bucking, I said bucking saddle. The feat earned him an impressive life size statue honoring his impressive ride. We were so impressed we thought we would honor his ride by sinking some welcome brewskys at the local pub, or maybe we just wanted to get out of that bloody wind. Head full of beer we struggled to stay in the saddle as we rode the 12 ks to our stop for the night at Saddleworth, it seems today it is all about the saddle. On the distant horizon, there stood an ominous Catholic Cathedral perched high on a hill, with storm clouds threatening to dump on us. Leg weary, cold and wet we climbed up the steep driveway to the house of the holy on the hill. As with a lot of these old churches, the departed parishioners are buried in the church ground. Not perturbed we set up our tents between the grave stones and respectfully dined among the departed. I must admit it was a bit eerie setting up tents in a graveyard, I slept with both eyes open, and twitched a little, well you know, things that go bump in the night. We rode 61 grueling ks, today, battling the headwinds, first day back in the saddle, all things considered, we slept as well as those beneath us. but unlike our departed companions we would greet the sun, hopefully!!


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