- Distance: 727km
- Dep: 7am
- Arr: 5pm
- Temp: 17°C to 38°C
I woke up two minutes before my alarm, very unlike my usual anti-morning self. Thanks to my practice packing, it only took 30 minutes total to get Sheba all dressed up. My reliable little beast started up nicely and we hit the freeway at 7am sharp. I not only rocketed out of the city, but I also managed to complete one of my playlists by the time I reached Ballarat. Highway riding isn't exactly stimulating. In fact, I'm certain highway riding actually leads to premature death of any motorcycle specific skills.
As I rode with my back to the sun, I felt my mind slowly let go of the stress of city life. Traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, dull concrete slabs and overly pruned greenery. It was a relief to see that just past Ararat, the Grampians were very much in its natural state and the plains were rough and wild.
But some other incredible force of nature shocked me during my lunch in Horsham. It crept up faster than I had realized, even though I had prepared for it all day. Bloody Australian heat. It just happened to get to 37 degrees and I was on the bike in leathers. Make no mistake, I drank more water than someone my size should have, but it made no difference. This first ride of a long journey would be my only capital-city-to-capital-city ride for the next 39 days. I felt a lot more prepared than I thought I would be thanks to my little spreadsheet, but of course, this would be the safest ride of the entire trip. All of my equipment is perfect, my bike hasn't gone through any crazy shit yet, and there are heaps of petrol stations along the way.
When I hit the South Australian border, it was actually one of the most exciting parts of the ride because I had never been to South Australia! I was incredibly pumped to see the big Welcome sign, so I took note of the nearest town so I could pull over. It goes without saying, it is so much hotter being stationary than moving.
The temporary shade provided by Sheba was a mere 1 degree cooler than being in direct sunlight, but I took advantage of it to drink half a litre of water. I don't handle heat very well, and I knew this going into the trip. It's one of my top fears when I was planning this trip. But this is all about conquering fears and being brave and flying solo. I'm sure I'm doing one of those.
I struggled to peel myself off at every petrol station leading up to Adelaide. The weather was scorching by the time I reached within 100km of the capital of South Australia. When I finally made it, I unknowingly slotted myself into what is most certainly the pinnacle of South Australian peak hour. Sheba was thirsty but I didn't want to pull over just to look at a map. Adelaide is a pretty city and would probably be better appreciated when not delusional. I finally gave up on cruising and parked on the side of the road (legally) to look up the nearest petrol station. I was sweating balls, hungry and tired, but finally got her fueled and headed 20min out of the city to a preareanged AirBNB.
Thankfully, the owners left a key in the mail so I made it in and took the most glorious shower ever... right before eating a kebab from a pizza place. Note to self: never eat a kebab from a pizza place. In suburbian Adelaide. In a park full of mozzies. The sunset was nice though, and the cool evening temperature of 33 degrees actually felt refreshing. Imagine that.
[edit, after the trip - spoiler alert: the pizza place kebab remains the worst meal I had on the entire trip.]