I woke up with the sun. I decided to get in touch with my trendy-inner-wanker/hippy, and did some taichi on the beach, which, although being supremely peaceful, left me feeling very silly. Whatever. Yaegs woke up, and we took it slow. After quickly taking down the tent, we hung about and read for a half hour. The plan for the day was to make it onto Kangaroo Island (KI), which meant a five-hundred-or-so k day. The first few hundred k’s were high-speed, low-interest riding – essentially, more of the same long, straight roads that had bored us shitless yesterday. At least we weren’t riding into the sun, but rather chasing our shadows, à la Ewan and Charlie. Once we crossed onto Wellington, and turned ninety degrees to now be riding into the south-east, the roads changed and we were blessed. We followed the roads down into Victor Harbor (note the American spelling – like Kingston S.E., another thing that we wondered about but never got to the bottom of), and were slowly drawn in and enchanted. Our brains were so relieved to be done with straight-line riding that every corner was a godsend, and our bikes responded beautifully. We tucked and turned in, every corner a little piece of bliss. When we got into Victor Harbor we were both enthused and excited again. Feeling thoroughly over burgers, we went into a Lebanese joint for lunch.
Next on the agenda was Cape Jervis, from where we could catch a ferry over to Kangaroo Island. We were led through the Fleurieu Way (said as French-ly as possibly), past many wineries and vineyards, and on these great, small country roads. These roads ducked and weaved, bobbed and sailed, with crests, dips and corners enough to make you feel so glad to be riding. After dealing with Victorian drivers, we were pleasantly surprised to find South Australian drivers pull over and let us through.
Sadly, when we arrived at Cape Jervis, we found that all of the ferried for the day had been booked. We decided to head up into Hahndorf (a.k.a. Little Hamburg), an old German settlement in the Radelaide hills, and make a decision from there. Heading onto KI wasn’t going to be cheap, but we had heard such amazing things. We travelled through the same great country roads to Hahndorf, and, over a few beers and a ridiculous amount of meat and sausage, we decided to change our plans. We’d head back to Cape Jervis and KI tomorrow, spend the day and night on KI, then come back tomorrow. The meant missing out going to the Barossa valley, home of some of Australia’s biggest boldest reds. Whilst the prospect of not getting a good Shiraz saddened me no end, I made amends by deciding to pick up a cheeky Reisling from the McLaren Vale on our way out of KI and on the home run.
We woke up early, still stuffed full of several varieties of German sausage and feeling vaguely ashamed (you know what I’m talking about), and booked our ferry over to KI. We made our way back to Cape Jervis, thoroughly enjoying the road. Due to a navigational error, we ended up on the same track as had been used for the Tour Down Under (an atrocious name, I know). We overtook cyclists on both the descent, then, after realising our mistake, the ascent, which made us feel very clever. About twenty k’s out of Cape Jervis, we realised that we didn’t have quite as much time as we had thought, which necessitated some quick riding and aggressive overtaking, which the Sprint relished. I’ve realised that by commuting on it, I’ve never really taken it for the rides that it was built for, that it was designed for – lots of corners at high speed seemed to be just what the doctor (mechanic?) ordered for the bike, and it was responding beautifully to the prescription. We made it into Cape Jervis with five minutes to spare, loaded our bikes onto the ferry, and thought of our plans for KI. I had heard that the west coast of the island was amazing, so we decided to aim to camp over there, and, on the way, check out the descriptively named Seal Rocks, Remarkable Rocks and Admiral’s Arch.
We landed on the island at about lunch-time, and so stopped in at the local pub, which had a beer garden that went all the way to the edge of the cliff, which we thought was a fairly dangerous and poorly-thought-out combination. We filled up with petrol, which was incredibly expensive, and set out. The roads on KI were very well maintained, though quite straight, which left us with no choice but to tackle the KI Speedway! (our wording), and open the throttle a bit. We both did, and were both quite scared at just how fast our bikes were going. Seal Rocks were about a hundred k’s away, so we arrived there in the early afternoon. Before the car park, there was a small section of gravel that made us slow down – perfect timing, as around the corner, a wallaby (much like a kangaroo, only smaller – and there’s nothing wrong with that!) was sitting on the road. We both pulled up next to each other, glad that we hadn’t taken the corner at speed. As we were tossing up just how well the wallaby would respond to a game of chicken, and just how our bikes would respond to a wallaby, the bastard hopped away, into the scrub. Our little touch with nature, except not in that way prohibited by the court order.
Seal Rocks had lots of seals. We then rode onto Remarkable Rocks, which were pretty remarkable. My favourite part of the Remarkable Rocks was the base of granite upon which they sat, which sloped down into the sea. It was only a couple of hours before dusk, and given the wildlife that we had already seen, we wanted to be well set up before the animals got up (and got active). We went round to the deserted lighthouse keeper’s cottage, which had been deserted for a good century. Again, the sun was setting over the sea, which was the most tropical green near the shore, graduating out to a brilliant blue. Once we decided that it was late enough in the day for the rangers not to bother checking on us (or, if they did, too late for them to tell us to move along), we set up the tent about ten metres away from the cottage and went to work creating a nutritious, delicious and (avaricious?) dinner using nothing but four bean mix, kidney beans, masala powder and cumin. I like to think that that the results speak for themselves.