Day 17: Today we play “Identify the underwear”

Ned’s Corner to Berri (85km / 52mi)

At least through to Renmark, this was going to be a repeat of yesterday and so I got the pedals moving before sunup, intending to slip away un-noticed, to leave both the heat and the flies behind.

Up, down and then up again.

The pattern of rolling hills continued, punctuated by my now taking note of the detritus that falls off vehicles, to lie roadside as amusement for a passing cyclists.

Anything to put off the oncoming boredom!

A lounge chair, ladies underwear, tie-down straps, cutlery, thousands of wire coat hangers and a refrigerated truck door. I have seen the full gambit over the last two weeks. This new mixture of items was certainly more tolerant of the nose that the all too regular rotting roo carcass.

And then, after it only being an idea for the last few weeks, I crossed the Victorian – South Australian border.

Never before have I got so emotional over a road sign. I must have been on my own for too long, but crossing back into my home state of South Australia and seeing that large border sign was strangely emotional.

After all the planning, dreaming, explaining why to nay-sayers and promising friends and family that I would be OK on the road, here I was, back on home turf (with hardly a blade of grass to be seen) and the finish line almost in site.

While stopped at the border sign I ate the last of my fruit that could not be brought into South Australia and then continued on through the fruit-fly checkpoint for the last hour or so ride to Renmark.

Here I had an appointment with the local newspaper and not having showered for two days, I badly needed a clean public toilet where I could sponge down and wash my hair in the wash basin.

Miracle found, and with the wild man of Borneo banished (at least for the next hour or so), I met the local reporter and photographer who bravely approached within taking distance. Either they were hardy souls or the sponge had down the trick!

Then it was back on the bike for the short trip into Berri and my camp for the night.

Hello headwind and on the edge of Renmark, a steep escarpment to labour up.

At least I no longer had a shipment of flies to deliver to my destination.

This final 20km section with its accompanying headwind took the last remnants of my energy and it was an exhausted Bloke that showed up at the Berri Riverside Caravan Park looking for an unpowered site.

I suspect I was looking particularly dishevelled.

Thankfully they did not turn me away for unbeknown to me, there was more fun on the horizon.

But that is a story for the next instalment.