Church House,Jail House,School House,Out House, Highway number 79 - 3 old blokes tackle the Mawson Trail - CycleBlaze

April 18, 2021

Church House,Jail House,School House,Out House, Highway number 79

Spalding to Gladstone

After a couple of lazy beers in the front bar of the Spalding Hotel,  we adjourned to the restaurant, for what turned out to be a decent roast chicken with vegetables Hungarian style (the bejesusus cooked out of them).

A classic country pub
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We rose early and had toast and vegemite (rationed at 2 slices per person in individual glad bags). It was still, cool and crisp as we cycled out on a sleepy Sunday morning in Spalding.

The first hour took us along the Bundaleer channel’s, an engineering feat in its time. Described as the 6th wonder of Australian engineering, it transported water to the Bundaleer dam purely by gravity and was piped to Port Pirie and surrounding towns as their water supply. Today it’s famous for being the largest sheep dip in the world.

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After leaving the Channel we started climbing up into the Bundaleer Forest. Two guys we’d met in the pub who were cycling south warned us of the cat head burrs in the forest and suggested we avoid the single track. Reluctantly we did, but even approaching there I managed to find 10 of them stuck to my tyre, with 3 of them having pierced through evidenced by the white sealant leaking out. Thank god for tubeless tyres.

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No way for the support van to get through
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Lunch was at the long abandoned  Manatoo school opened in 1920 and closed 7 years later. An amazing building worth preserving but unfortunately seeing the ravages of time.

Alfresco dining
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I reckon I could get Nico to fix this up.
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The last 15 k’s was a downhill spin into Gladstone on a corrugated dusty road. Gladstone has 3 pubs but sadly they’re all shut. Gladstone was a railway town and had a maximum security jail but both industries shut in the 80’s. The jail is now a tourist spot and for the princely sum of $40 you can stay in the birthing room or the Matrons room. $20 gets you the cells. That’s where we are staying tonight. Due to my diabolical run of bad luck at rocks scissors and paper I’m in the cell.

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I’m in the 2nd room on the left
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We must have opened and shut over 20 gates today
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Little does this farmer know that these gates are selling for $1500 in Hahndorf
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Today's ride: 76 km (47 miles)
Total: 493 km (306 miles)

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