mt bike 6:44:00  109.0 km (3:42 / km) +1170m 3:31 / km
day 3 Clare - Eudunda
We headed off at 8am directly onto the Riesling trail swept along by tailwind northerlies for a change…what fun…until I failed to comprehend Jo’s quiet suggestion of taking a turn-off to Watervale, which I had failed to see…so we did an extra 4kms, including 2kms back into the headwind, when I eventually realised my mistake. The Watervale café was very welcome, for the girls having coffee; browsing the old homewares & us all gathering takeaway lunch etc. 12kms later we cruised into Mintaro, did a quick lap of the historical town and then headed on, with a slight detour to visit historic Martindale Hall. Soon after, whilst gazing at a ruin I nearly ran over a big brown snake, the first live one we had seen, after 3 smaller dead ones.
Heading into the shop & pub less Manoora we were surprised to see a “Community Event Ahead” sign & immediately put the brakes on. There was a big community market (only happens twice a year) in the hall & a multitude of food options outside. So, we had another longish break, buying fantastic organic beef/lamb burgers from Wira Lea Farm. The diversion loop off the main rd. just outside Manoora wasn’t appreciated, and we flew downhill past Carlsruhe church & manse with hardly a glance and through Waterloo, the home of Tom Kruse, the famous outback mailman.
Onward with 3 climbs still to come. We met a guy walking the Lavender trail section by section & also chatted to a farmer, who was rueing the scarcity of rain. Jo thought that Quin & Webb Gaps meant there shouldn’t be a climb & was sadly disappointed. Quin’s gap has the impressive Waterloo wind farm turbines along the Tothill Ridge. Stacey was rapt to “conquer” her namesake Gap. Across & up Webb Gap, steeper still than Quin, with a Heysen trail tank and a conservation area on top. The eastern Webb Gap descent had been much improved since being rutty & rocky in July, although was still steep at 22%. An annual gathering of conservation folk camped at the bottom, with Ted’s memorial there also. Uncool member who died this year.
We got up to the Scenic Rd ridge next to Inspiration Point easily but there were still some uphill sections before the highest point so legs were feeling a bit tired. A pity that it was quite overcast and the getting a little dark, as the views were a bit muted. Still heading south certainly is the easiest way to do the ridge & we were soon on the bitumen rd. This dragged on, especially after Hampden, the former railway village. Dropped into Eudunda, (home of author Colin Thiele) & were in rooms of Top Pub by 6pm. Another good meal, joined later by bike packing newbies Rachel & Tracey, who looked more tired than us – but had started later & were tenting. Pub was a bit strange, in that it stopped meal orders at 7.30pm & closed at 8.30pm..on a Saturday night!