We've been heading generally north, away from the coast and with it the reliable rains. Each day has seen a change in the land. The well watered Claire Valley is, of course a famous wine district, a a day's ride north and you are in wheat and sheep country, and a day or two after that and its semi-arid cattle grazing country. The change is quick and a reminder that small change in prevailing weather patterns can trigger a radical change in lifestyle.
Three days out of Adelaide and were were convinced the Mawson Trail wasn't working for us.
|A bit of rain and much of the Mawson Trail turns to a thick muddy clay.|
|So the chance to ride on a rail trail was a real joy|
|Limestone farmhouse ruins - wheat and sheep country - RM Williams Way|
The weather clears but the wind that blows away the rain is strong and in our faces. It blows gusts of 25km/h plus and sucks all our forward pace. It is a struggle to maintain 8km/h and by we are wrecked by lunch.
|Clear skies, open road ... powerful headwinds|
We arrive at Orrooroo. around three and stop for the day. We are so knackered and the winds so strong, we opt for a caravan park cabin rather than a tent. The next day weather reports say the winds strengthened to a howling 20km/h with 35km/h gusts. It might be a bit of a cheat, I think we made the right call.
|We're in cattle country now|
As we head north into the Flinders Ranges and the country becomes beautifully scenic and little more undulating. This is big sky country. Vast cattle grazing properties, horizons in every direction and the spectacle of ancient geology. The Flinders Ranges were formed by warps and folds in the Australian Plate and t he stresses that make the range continue to this very day. These is a seismograph in the Hawker roadhouse and it regularly records local tremors. There was one last night - but not a big one. We didn't feel it. These forces produce a land of bight colours warped hills and majesty.
|Majestic scenery with photobombing wallabies|
|Castle Rock - folded rock|
The next town of any size is Coober Pedy, some 650km away. It's remote country, with no supermarkets, limited water and I assume no internet. We are stocked up and ready. Bring it on.