Woot! Party time!!!

We had a fantastic night with Brenton’s family at their shop, Formula Paints, where the frothies were flowing freely, and the bbq was cranking over, with all sorts of meat delights! (Apologies here to the vegetarians, and those wanting a more balanced diet, this was a meat fest, with fresh bread and tomato sauce!) Brenton’s brothers and their families were all awesome, and all welcomed us warmly, and provided the sort of hospitality that can only be shown by genuine folk, and we had a fantastic night, with far too many drinks, and a whole lot of laughs!

Today was the last day of the ride, the stage that you look forward to in one way, as you will achieve your goal, but dread in another, as it means that the experience is almost over. For mine, I get to the end of the event, and I find myself wanting to just keep on riding. Sydney was only another 1,000km from here, easily achievable!

Todays ride was Renmark to Wentworth, and we were joined on this leg by Scott Hardwick on a restored ex Dean Whitehorn bike, and a couple of the Riverland Cycling Club guys escorted us out of Renmark. The pace was set, and we were away, continuing our rotations, but this time, we planned to ride the whole journey two abreast, as we had our full compliment of support vehicles, plus Brenton’s family following us.

We stopped for lunch at Lake Cullullerane, a beatiful picnic and camping location that I had never been to before, but am thinking I must revisit by bike again one day. Just prior to pulling in here, we were overtaken by a car, that obviously did not see the semi trailer boring down on her, and already pulled out to overtake us! So to avoid a serious accident, the semi driver pulled over to the “hard” shoulder of the road, and continued to overtake this driver. This was a pretty scary moment for some, as if the truck had tipped on the shoulder, or caught a wheel and twisted, it and the car could have easily taken us all out!

I can hear a couple of folk thinking, “Well that’s a shame that the truck missed Smudge!”, sorry to disappoint, you might want to pay a better driver next time!

The lunch stop was brilliant, a bus load of gamblers were already there, and came over to throw nmore coin in to the collection tins, and even brought us over some very nice chicken pieces. As we were preparing to roll out, a fine gentleman with a smile like an old picket fence came up for a chat, and warned us about the condition of the roads ahead.

Well thankfully he did, as the roads were atrocious that bit further up, with some very major potholes and uneven surfaces. One of the potholes was so deep, I swear there was a feller sitting at the edge of it fishing! Juz joined us for this section of the ride, and even took the lead role for one rotation at the front of the fastest moving pack she has ever been in yet! She did very well, and will do even better after some more coaching and advice. She smashed her previous PB for that sort of distance, which was awesome for us to all be a part of.

When we took the last turn off to Wentworth, Brenton’s family was there again to cheer us on, and take even more photo’s as we rode passed! Sarah let loose with a hearty “We love this shit!” as she took that corner, bringing a laugh to everyone there! A little further down the road, Juz needed a drink, sp we pulled over allowing the cars to pass us again, and when we remounted, one of the family cars was parked blocking the road.

Not knowing what was going on, I took off ahead of the group to find out why they had blocked the road. Lo and behold, there at the roadblock was Terry’s missus, who had flown through the night from WA to be there to greet Terry, and the rest of us! This was a fantastic moment, as Terry was definitely the Mayor of Struggletown by now, and finding it hard to keep going with a raging cold and chest infection, but like the trouper he is, he carried on without complaint! It was a beautiful moment for all, when Terry let loose with a “That’s my wife!!!”, and they hugged in the middle of the road.

We remounted and headed for Wentworth, Terry finding a new strength from deep within knowing that his wife had flown over to share in this moment with him.

The arrival into Wentworth was a bit of a let down for Brenton, as originally one of the sponsors was going to set up some sort of welcoming for us, instead we rode into town, and made our own little fanfare when we finally found somewhere to pull over. After much discussion, we decided that it would be easier now that the destination had been reached, to pack all of the bikes away ready for transportation, and head back to Mildura to get cleaned up, before heading off to the Coomealla Club for dinner that night.

One of the local footy players was celebrating his 300th game there with the club, and we had been invited to share in that event, which surprisingly was a very nice night indeed. The speeches were good, our team was introduced, and one of the ladies from the committee came over, grabbed our collection tin, and went from table to table getting donations for our ride which was awesome of her.

We headed back to our motel in Mildura, which sadly was the Mercure, and we had stunning apartments that had been supplied by Integrated Services, and the comfort was most welcome after the journey we had just completed! A few of us gathered in our room for a while, sharing some drinks, some laughs, and talking about the amazing journey we had all just shared.

Keep the rubber side down,

Smudge!