Day 139: Meningie, SA - Four Legs on the Slow Road - CycleBlaze

January 12, 2015

Day 139: Meningie, SA

It's the kind of moment you imagine when you try to picture yourself traveling to the other side of the world and cycling across the continent of Australia: awake at 8:30 in the morning, the sun poking through puffy clouds on the horizon, sweating heavily in the humidity brought by those clouds, sitting in the sheet metal-sided TV room of a holiday park watching the Denver Broncos get their asses handed to them by the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs as shirtless German tourists pop in and out to hook up their electronics to the nearest power outlet. It's the stuff of magic, the stuff of dreams, the stuff of memories.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

I crank on work-related stuff for hours in the warm, sticky, stuffy laundry room that becomes an office by default, because it's the only place I can find with a power outlet and a chair. I'd rather be napping, or eating fish and chips, or sitting under a tree and staring out at the lake and the thick bank of low clouds that have descended on it. But the work is what allowed me to take off on this adventure on a whim, without having to save and sacrifice for years like most people who do the same, and a day like this every few weeks is the price I'm happy to pay for that privilege.

A constant theme at the holiday parks and backpackers we've stayed at in Australia and New Zealand: treat your customers as if they're little kids.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

The middle of the afternoon brings rain, light at first but then a legitimate downpour for the next half an hour. It rains so much that the tank that collects the rain water from the roof gutters — the kind from which most of our drinking water in this country has come from — fills to the top and starts to shed the excess through an overflow pipe. It's the sort of rain that falls on the metal roof of the laundry room with such force and consistency that it creates a soundtrack of calming, shapeless white noise. When I step out through the door and into the heart of it, it takes only thirty seconds for the shade of my t-shirt to turn from light green to dark.

Heart 0 Comment 0

It's a good time not to be cycling. It's also a good time not to be sailing across the surface of Lake Albert at three miles per hour as the wind drops to nothing and the floor of your boat starts to fill with water and the the dock is still miles away. But so it goes for the two guys in short-sleeved shirts who sit in the little red sailboat that inches its way along the shoreline through the worst of the weather.

From National Geographic, April 1968.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The rain passes and then returns in irregular cycles for the rest of the day. We spend hours in the tent listening to the showers arrive, build to the point that they drown out the evening chatter of the holiday park, and then fade until all that's left are the sporadic drips and drops breaking free from the branches of the trees above us.

We think that will be what carries us off into another night of heavy sleep, but we're wrong. The honor instead goes to the the cigarette smoke, out of tune guitar playing, borderline insane laughter, and lisping speech of the shirtless twenty-something Spaniards who put together an elaborate dinner in the nearby kitchen. It goes on until some time after 11:00, when they wander off into the darkness of the night in one delirious group, howling with delight and making soft S sounds all the way.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0