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Blog 147 Nutbush to Melrose

23rd February

The leaf blowers of Port Augusta are doing their job on the Main Street, except the wind is blowing the leaves everywhere but where they’re supposed to go. Pointlessness perfected. The fella with a long grey beard looks as if he’s been allowed out of a secure institution and the council job is the only one he can hold down. Everyone else I see is overweight. Well, fat. Many of the women are shaped like barrels floating down a river which as their balance pivots from side to side is how they look as they try and keep a straight line. Mental health or too much cake, it’s hard to say, but ‘The Lingerie Store’ just down the road from the Flinders Hotel, whose sign has lost one of its ‘l’s’, is tailor-made for the full bodied Australian woman who can drive a tractor and carry a sack of potatoes without breaking into a sweat. Meanwhile Des’s taxis, the white hybrid Hyundai with its chequered yellow stripe down the side pulls up outside Cole’s cafe where I’m charging my battery and deposits two more very large women. Sometimes life feels like an observation point beside a battery farm for obese humans. When you see support bandages on knees you don’t know whether it’s because it assists cruciate ligaments about to snap under the strain, or a disability which makes it impossible to exercise, but Des is back again with another load of fat people with their shopping bags so they can fill up at Cole’s. I cross the park to the library as I know they have wifi where I can recharge my Telstra e-sim. At the same time I can continue to charge my bike battery whilst uploading my film assets to my google drive so the agency in Milan can create part 2 of a five part film sequence. I wouldn’t say it’s a busy morning but spliced into my 200kms daily riding average it’s as much as I  can do.

My schedule to ride into a headwind for 200kms is slipping so 160kms will have to suffice. There is an irrational expectancy that the headwind into which I’m about to plunge has lessoned. It hasn’t. Jobs done. I plunge. At 310kms Adelaide is too far away, then I realise Snowtown is on route, 160kms. Perfect. One of my favourite hotels. But then I have a change of heart. The trucks down to Adelaide are being blown just too close to me. It's a gale. I'm hanging on, not to be blown away only to be sucked by. I feel as if my brain is being torn apart, it's too hard, I see a turn off east and take it. Towards Peterborough and through Wilmington. I then filmed her.

"My mama always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'" - Forrest Gump

And across the road was the Toy Museum

Lunch was a meat pie on a white bench under the shade of broad leaved wide trucked evergreen tree with white birds chatting to me to keep me company while I decided what to do. So I rode on past the Goyders Line which is a line that runs roughly east–west across South Australia and joins places with an average annual rainfall of 10 inches. Riding on I past Ed Bushys Cheese Tree and the ‘Ents’ of the haunted forest; huge girth of trunks split asunder until entering Melrose past the old smithy and it was simply the cutest little South Australian town. Corrugated roofs sheltered green trimmed verandah edges and the top of the main street the North Star Hotel presided over all. Just before on the right I had a coffee at the 'Over the Edge' bicycle shop and cafe.

One of the nicest bicycle stores I've seen

Richard was the owner of this lovely shop and we had a brief chat.

My little bike next to the Australian flag

Until finally I rode out of town until I found a copse of trees lit up like a showtime special as I made up my tent to creep inside and sleep like I've never slept before I was that tired.

Map of the Day

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