The Twins Rest Area to Coober Pedy
Up = 446m - Down = 403m - Highest Point = 238m
THE TWINS REST AREA TO COOBER PEDY - 24th August 2017
Today will be 8 days in a row on the bikes - and out bottoms and other parts are certainly looking forward to our first rest day tomorrow!! Also the comfort of getting to a proper caravan park after the free-camp was very appealing! We were all up and ready to leave at daylight – so it was great to get away just before 7:00 am. We hadn’t gone 5 kms when a pilot vehicle headed towards us signalling a wide load. Caution is always required when this is the case as they certainly can be wide! We slowed right down and headed over the left hand rumble strip and watched the oncoming large piece of mines equipment rumble by.
The temperature at this time of the day is pretty low – about 6 I think, and the wind was very light and slightly from an easterly direction - so a slight side wind. As the morning went by the wind picked up - but luckily for us it was moving around to the south and by the afternoon was of great assistance! Heading this way is starting to be justified after the first 4 days of headwinds!!
Our first rest stop and meet up with the team was scheduled after 37 kms had been covered. This was almost at the top of the steepest climb of the day so we were certainly ready for a drink and snack by then - and looking forward to the rest of the ride being easier. Actually - it wasn't really a very steep climb - just these long gradual "always up" - a gain of 70 metres in 40 kms!
Snuggled in a tent under the shelter at this rest stop was yet another cyclist from Korea. We “spoke” – (he had limited English and I have no Korean) – and gathered that he had left Darwin the same day as the other Korean cyclist we had seen several days earlier. “Older than me” this cyclist described the other one. This guy looked about 30 - but I am appallingly bad at guessing peoples ages. The other Korean had told us he was 64. He must have been a lot fitter though as he was well ahead of this guy!! I am not sure if he was going to start cycling today or not – the wind at this height was pretty strong – and he would be heading into it – AND – we know how headwinds in this area can be killers!! It was now just after 9:00 am and he looked like he had just woken up.
We continued on our journey and it was lightly undulating – the inclines were not really that noticeable and the declines just felt that little bit easier. The roads were also very straight – and for something to do we would try and guess the mileage until the end. I think one stretch was 22 kms!! There were so many mirages on the road ahead.
Second rest stop we made our “lunch” stop where we normally have sandwiches or a wrap and a bit longer stop. Bette had the kettle boiled so we were spoiled with a hot coffee! Thanks Bette - very welcome caffeine fix!!
Away we went again, over some cattle grids, still enjoying the richness of colours that the desert has. Emu’s were spotted walking across the desert and roadkill seemed to be a mixture of kangaroos and emus.
Our final meet-up place was 15 kms short of Coober Pedy at the Hutchison Memorial. Will Hutchinson is considered the founder of Coober Pedy - and discovered the first opal in Stuarts Range Opal Field in South Australia. A drover for Sir Sidney Kidman at the time, Hutchison was droving cattle from Clifton Hills Station in South Australia to Glengyle when, along the way, he went for a swim in Eyre Creek. Although he was a confident swimmer, Hutchison drowned and the reason for his death remains a mystery. His body was recovered three days later and was buried nearby.
As we neared Coober Pedy the opal mining became evident with several small “digs”, and some larger ones evident. There were signs roadside to warn people about walking in the area for fear they could fall down disused mine-shafts etc.
With the tail wind all day we rolled into town about 2:00 which was great work considering we had had lunch n the way as well. This gave us plenty of time to unpack, get our washing done, catch up on showers and then sit and relax knowing that the next day was a rest day.
Two South Australian policemen (one was actually from Aberdeen) arrived into camp and went and “fiddled” on the fenceline behind and slightly right of where we were set up. In recognition of Don’s desire to be photographed with “the law” in every state when we rode across USA last year – we thought it would be fun if Annie did the same!! However – we were not overjoyed to hear that they were fixing up a security camera and that the camp had a laser sensor right around the border as petty thieves had been through the camp the previous evening. Apparently they are on the outlook to steal money, or alcohol – a quick grab from unlocked cars, vans and tents – but it was a little unsettling – especially for Annie who was to sleep in a tent!!
We took advantage of dining that night in the camp pizziera – and what was described as a LARGE pizza was certainly that!! Goodness only knows what the still bigger one called FAMILY size was!!! It was a nice way to start our small “break”.
Our appetites even though great couldn't manage all the pizza so we had a ready to heat snack for tomorrow.
Also excellent was having mobile service so I could make a few phone calls that needed to be made and catch up on facebook posts and family and friend emails!!
Early in the night I got a txt from Annie - Don had been concerned about the picture with the "law" and worried about her sleeping in a tent, so had rung through to the camp and booked her a room for the 2 nights. So the tent sat there empty!!
The Big4 Stuart Range Caravan Park is great. Very nice facilities, and a multitude of accommodation options - from tent sites, powered van sites through to cabins and nice motel rooms. Their pizza's were fabulous, the beer a good price (at happy hour) and you could even fill up your van water tank with drinkable water for 40 cents!! Once we leave here the water will probably not be drinkable so we all happily filled up. Fortunately we had stocked up on bottled water in Port Augusta and were confident that we would be able to get more tomorrow at the local IGA store.
PROUD TO BE WEARING BIKE JERSEYS MADE BY BEASTWEAR.
EASY TO ORDER - DO IT ALL ON-LIINE!!