Swan Reach to Blanchetown (Murray River)

 photo IMG_0218_zps76d9d659.jpg
With just 26km to ride, I lit a morning campfire and knocked off four hours work while enjoying some rare winter sunshine. It felt good to have an easy start to the day and allowed me to soak up the river atmosphere. By the time I hit the road it was close to midday. I was able to ride without a jacket for the first time of this trip. These types of simple moments are such treats.
 photo IMG_0216_zpse3338e5e.jpg
I had a choice of following the sealed road east of the river or a gravel road to its west. Today I chose the gravel option. I’m quite a fan of the road less traveled (and not only because it means there are less cars or trucks to worry about). I could see on Google Maps that Murraylands Road would take me through wilder mallee country than the highway, so it seemed like the logical choice.
 photo IMG_0221_zps37628f46.jpg
I decided to slow down. Sometimes I get a bit goal oriented and feel like I have to push to get the days mileage under my belt. It’s normal for me early in an adventure. It always takes a few days to let go and relax. Knowing this is the first part of settling in. After 9km I see a fallen tree that looks comfortable to sit on and will also provide shelter from the 40kph winds so I can cook up a hot lunch. The tree does the trick and I enjoy a hot dish of tuna, noodles and Asian greens. It fills my belly with the carbs I am craving.
 photo IMG_0224_zps0e6365c6.jpg
The country here is so vast. If I wasn’t here cycling through it at an average speed of just 14kph (9mph) I doubt I’d trully understand just how isolated and sparse this part of the world is. All I can hear is the wind, small birds twittering as I ride past saltbush shrubs and the occasional family of magpies whose territory I disturb. Kites circle above me, hunting mice and other land-based prey. I see the odd bunny rabbit; a sight we don’t see in Queensland where we only get the occasional hare.
 photo IMG_0223_zpsf3408724.jpg
Out of nowhere I see a dinosaur. I have to stop to take a picture and have a chuckle.
 photo IMG_0228_zps0684e583.jpg
Between the vast open spaces there are patches of mallee. There’s such a contrast between the cleared farmland dotted with saltbush and the dense mallee scrub. In the open country I am exposed and small. Between the mallee trees I am protected and sheltered. If I could camp here I would have plenty of firewood and be able to pitch my tent in the natural clearings between the trees. But it’s private land and the campground in Blanchetown and a hot shower is calling me. So after another short food break I continue the final few kilometres to the Big 4 campground in Blanchetown. It’s a good call. The campground has ensuite bathrooms for campers, a fantastic BBQ area overlooking the Lock 1 on the Murray River and a comfortable rec room where I can indulge in a little television in warmth on a comfortable couch. And that’s exactly what I do after cooking myself a big pork chop on a bed of pumpkin and spinach mash topped with honey and ginger infused stewed apples.

2 thoughts on “Swan Reach to Blanchetown (Murray River)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s