I would have loved to have used our rest day today, but considering that Salt Creek was in the middle of absolutely nowhere, the stink of fish was overpowering, and the much larger small town of Kingston SE was just a few hours ride away we chose to keep moving and potentially use our rest day there.
That ride was exactly what I needed in order to keep me in the game. Though the scenery was quite dull as we spent most of the ride surrounded by trees, the road was flat and generally smooth and for the first time the wind was still, neither blowing against us nor behind us. Though I would have preferred for the wind to give us a bit of a push, stillness was a welcome change as we no longer had to fight to keep moving.
I think our biggest problem was really just the trucks. Each time they drove past us in the opposite direction they put out so much force that at times we’d either get shoved back a few feet by the wind coming off them, or their wind would give us a good knocking against our sides.
Not suffering through the day was an incredible change for us and the only time we stopped was about 60 kilometers into the 85 kilometer ride, when we pulled over to the side of the road for our lunch. Sitting on the side of the road, we devoured a box of Pop Tarts that we had purchased at a grocery store in Meningie. I hadn’t had Pop Tarts since I was a kid, and man did that stuff taste amazing. Sugar is awesome, especially when you know that you’re going to burn all of it off. Sadly, after this trip I’m not sure Rich will let me eat them again, not for some time at least.
At the end of the ride, I was thrilled. Only 155 meters of elevation for the entire 85 km. Additionally, the caravan park we were spending the night at was right on the beach. Throwing up our tent, we immediately headed down to the ocean for an ice cold cool-off swim, and my first ever foray into the Southern Ocean. Of course this didn’t last all that long – the Antarctic currents are absolutely freezing, and living in Hong Kong has made me soft – but it was great to give my legs a bit of a shock to help release the strain on them.
We ultimately befriended a 30-something couple and their two young boys, who were in the plot next to us at the caravan park. Other than the cyclists we met the previous day, and the Brit at Salt Creek, they were the youngest people we had encountered all trip, and we were really happy to have people to talk to that didn’t look at us like we were absolutely nuts.
Then it started raining, and raining, and raining.
It rained all night. I was so relieved to have a water proof tent. It could have been gruesome otherwise. The last thing we needed was to be huddled together in our little four-man tent (having a larger tent was such a blessing – it might have been heavier to lug around, but we could sleep comfortably with all our gear inside) and get waterboarded in our sleep. By the time we woke up the next morning, the rain had turned into a drizzle and we deemed it safe enough to go out in search of coffee. However, we had woken up around seven in the morning, and apparently not even the coffee shops opened until half past eight in Kingston SE. Not knowing this, we ventured out into the cold, damp world and walked along the beach, hoping to find a main road somewhere along that path that would lead us to food. Turning into what seemed like the town center, which consisted primarily of a bunch of little houses, a real estate agency, laundromat, and some grocery and liquor stores, we eventually came across a little coffee shop, Bliss, only to realize that it was still closed. Walking up the street though, we ran into the shop’s owner who told us that she would be able to open up her shop early, if we could just wait another fifteen minutes or so.
Trying our best to kill the time, we of course stumbled onto another coffee shop, the Cottage Coffee Shop that was already open, but decided that since we were spending a second day here, we could try that place tomorrow and hopefully get an early start, and go back to Bliss today. Once we were allowed inside we found that Bliss was incredibly cutesy, full of objects appropriate for women and children obsessed with unicorns and rainbows. The place felt very fluffy, though nothing inside it was. There wasn’t much in the way of breakfast so we enjoyed a coffee each and chowed down on some brownies. We agreed that we were going to burn it off, so who cared if we ate chocolate for breakfast?!
On the way back to camp we picked up some slices of turkey and chicken, as well as more Pop Tarts and any other snacks we thought we might need to get through the day. Rich had to write up his monthly piece for Tokyo Cheapo, so it was likely that we were going to need to stay around the caravan park for the day and it was best to have food nearby in case.
Picking up lunch turned out to be the smart choice. Barely an hour after we settled back into our tent it started to absolutely pour down rain. The rain was bad enough but wind was even worse. It turns out that we picked a good day to take a break – riding in that storm would have been a nightmare. I’m convinced that had we not been sitting inside the tent that it would have blown away. I tried to get out as much as the rain would let me, running off to the beach if the downpour turned to a drizzle, and would hightail it back if the rain picked up. The air in the tent didn’t circulate much while we were inside it, and I ended up picking up a cough that would last me the entire trip. As well, the rain got so brutally bad at times that our waterproof tent started to lose its strength, drops of water seeping through. Bugs too began to try and attempt to call our tent home as the rain got heavier and they needed somewhere to hide. I was not pleased.
We spent the rest of the day in that tent, ordering pizza from the caravan park’s kitchen (according to the owner of Bliss, many locals buy their pizza from the park as well), and watching movies on my laptop. It was far from an enjoyable rest day, but what else could we have done? There was no way we were cycling through that.