Ceduna to Streaky Bay – 110km
The dawn service at Ceduna was filled with solemnity and reverence as we all reflected on our personal connection with ANZAC Day. Vibrant red knitted poppies skirted the walkway and memorial square. We heard poems, stories and listened to the haunting resonance of the Last Post. The moment that summed up the meaning of ANZAC Day to me was a note written by a grandaughter citing her fallen grandfather and fellow diggers words, "So you could have tomorrow, we gave up today!"
As the coast has been hit by some very turbulant weather, we decided to delay our start this morning in hope the forecast of abating winds would hold true. With the pilot vehicle refueled, a wave of goodbye given to Sandra (Sonya's mum) and confirmation with the rear vehicle driver that there were now 9 riders and 8 bikes in the peloton, we rolled out of Ceduna at 9:00am heading for Streaky Bay. A tight peloton developed to minimise the impact of the strong winds. Many locals had heard we were in the district, so cars slowed and gave us an encouraging 'toot' as they drove by. We even had our first mobile donation, with a driver handing money out his window to Baz. As Baz rode up beside us all to let us know of this donation, he was holding the money in his hand and waving it with excitement. We all feared it would take off and end up in Ayres Rock, but thankfully Baz quickly deposited the donation in his zip pocket for safe keeping.
The riders were particularly quiet today, which was a reflection of yesterday's hard ride and more of the same today. John and Janette kept our spirits up with plenty of breaks, food and encouraging words. A gourmet lunch of sausage rolls and pasties was promised today, so with 12km to go after a BLT, the group was focused. Lunch was in the sleepy coastal town of Haslam; home of the world's smallest post office! We made our way to the picnic area down near the pier. Immediately some travellers came over to welcome us to the region, hear our story and make a donation. The START story continues to spread, which is both exciting and humbling.
With 41km to go, we decided to break it down into two stages.
The last BLT left us with 21km to town. Janette and John gave us an update on the ANZAC Day football match. We had all given Janette our tips for the person who kicked the first goal, the winning team, the winning margin and the ANZAC Day medalist. Kerryn, of course, picked Elliot as the player to kick the first goal, so we all had to stand there watching her do a 'Collingwood jig' as she celebrated the news that she'd won this category!
We then proceeded to turn into a headwind and were immediately greeted with yet another coastal shower. Jan reminded us all that, "It's challenges like these that create the memories!" I recall concurring with her, but suggested she remind me of this fact when I'd had a shower and was enjoying a nice hot cup of tea in Streaky Bay! As we passed the 5km sign, Jan rang her bell 5 times indicating we were now in the outskirts of our destination town. The final decent into town revealed a wonderful sweeping bay and immediately lifted our spirits.
Within seconds of arrival a TV was on so the Bomber (multiple) and Pie (singular) supporters could watch the final quarter. Collingwood appeared to pull one out of the bag, so we can only anticipate that Rob will fine Kerryn severely for this indiscretion!
A great ride by the entire team. A special "thank you" to Sonya who joined us for her first day of riding. She was amazing in protecting many of us from the strong winds. Time for some well earned R&R after having completed over 2,000km of our journey to Melbourne. Amazing stuff!
Lest we forget