The Long Road South v.12

Some things just take time. Like building an airplane or creating a sculpture or writing a book. Driving to Sydney from Adelaide is like that. There are many diversions along the way, they're very enjoyable and certainly part of the journey, but you have to press on and finish at some point.

We woke up in our little town freezing cold, soaked through with dew, tired and sore, but couldn't be happier. Our night under the stars was the best moment of the trip, and as the bright sun slowly rose we became aware of the fact that we were located either in or directly next to a train yard. We knew all we could possibly think of doing that day was to drive, but a good exploration of our surroundings was impossible to pass up. Between the trains, the general store and the abandoned businesses we were pretty proud of where we'd stumbled upon and swore we needed to research it - remembering its name would have been a good start there.

The day proceeded with a whole lot of road, lunch on the Murray River, stopping far too frequently and passing the same trucks over and over again. You know the drill. It's a long process and daunting, but you wouldn't want to be anywhere else than on the open road, sharing the journey with new friends you'll have for life. Bring on the next one...

The Long Road South v.11

The journey home from our maiden South Australia adventure was fascinating. Despite living in Australia nearly half of my life, and having seen a large majority of the coast, I had never been inland more than driving to Melbourne via Gundagai and Hollbrook. On our drive, we steered off the road as much as we could in a race to get back before the end of the long weekend and saw amazing foliage, beautiful scenes and more mice on a road than have ever been witnessed by our collective eyes - or could possibly be fathomed by our collective minds!

Crossing the Murray on a barge on sunset capped the day nicely and a pub meal at one very empty Lameroo Hotel gave way to a running race down Lameroo's main street on very full stomachs. The end result of that wasn't pretty, but you should all know that Kenno can run like the wind.

We drove and drove until eyelids could not stay open by any force including double-ended needles, so we pulled off into a town whose name I could never repeat and whose existence on a map would be questionable. They happened to have a rest stop on the main road that consisted of an entire three shops and it was there that we set up camp, with four mattresses laid together directly under a sky that could not possibly have held more stars.

The Long Road South v.10

Christian Surfers are a unique brand of personage. Combining a love for Jesus and a passion for the ocean seems to mesh them into some kind of crazy, over-exciteable perpetual grommets. They roam in packs worldwide and back up the (sometimes derogatory) conception that Christians are always happy - by genuinely always being stoked.

I've grown up with this lot from as young as I can remember and can't imagine life without them. They're like one big multi-boardcraft, multi-cultural, multi-gender, multi-lingual, multi-denominational family that somehow always gets along and creates all kinds of sweet camps, contests and adventures along the way.

The end goal of our road trip was the Christian Surfers National Gathering in Victor Harbor and it was awesome to meet together with 150 others like us and spend the Easter weekend hanging out; worshipping, learning, searching for surf and getting our dance on! The weekend contained way too much to cover here, but suffice to say it was an epic time and one that won't be forgotten in a hurry.

These photos are from the afternoon of one of the best days of my life. We spent it driving all around Victor Harbor looking for any kind of waves that wasn't closing out or ridiculously fat. After a couple hours searching we finally found a sweet, pitching right and surfed through the dusk of an amazing sunset with a beautiful view of the famed South Australian plains to boot.

The Long Road South v.9

Shifting from a cold and wet night of sleep tenting in the beautiful Australian bush the previous evening to a dry, overly hot and crowded hotel room, with wallpaper and carpet straight from the browntown 70's, was quite the contrast, and I certainly know which one I prefer. Rising early from heat exhaustion I headed out camera in hand and set off to explore the unironically coastal town of Portland.

Lo and behold, directly in front of me upon walking out the door was a port. I started heading for it, but noticed a massive rainbow in the other direction, and a beautiful old church up the road. I did my best (poor) to capture the astonishing beauty of that scene before walking down and around a little jetty playing home to some quaint old fishing boats, each looking like unique characters that could have easily come straight out of Scuffy the Tugboat.

A huge front was fast approaching so I headed back to find a good coffee shop. That turned into far more of a mission than I had expected, as so far good coffee was always at arms reach. Not so in Portland, and by the time I had searched every obvious location and become decently soaked, Sera and Koffo appeared on a mission to find a supermarket to buy a big shared breakfast. So a new mission began, with a Safeway found and attacked in short order. We grabbed the others and set off back to the jetty for a picnic breakfast in the cold rain that couldn't have been far from sleet.

Eventually we packed up and set off to look for surf, catching wind that it should be cranking. After an unsuccessful mission to find the main secret spot in town and a scoping of a beachbreak featuring small closeouts in a protected corner, growing out to the largest beachbreak waves of all time, we decided we had to just get on the road as we were due 6 hours away in Victor Harbour that night. So, of course, we went back into town in Portland, performed coffee search number two (just as unsuccessful as the first and yielded thee worst coffee ever), perused every op shop in town and only then did we actually finally hit the road.

The rain made way for beautiful, sunny open road and it felt good to be driving. We made it as far as Kingston with barely a stop, but upon refuelling discovered Sera's father's car had some internal issue or other (car engines are so far removed from my intellect that I could barely name one piece in them). It was the last day before the Easter weekend and 4pm, leaving a mechanic essentially out of the question. After checking out the main tourist attraction in town, the Giant Prawn (respectable), and Lisa and I made our way through a tractor museum (something I really did not think existed), we called and begged and found someone around the corner and all worked long and hard to discover and rectify the problem, while I focused my attention on the latest Dumbo Feather (good magazine that!) and caught up on my Words With Friends games. 

By the time the riddle was solved dark had descended and it was well past dinner time. Turns out Kingston has a good bit more class than Portland and we found an amazing restaurant housed inside an historical shearing shed. It had been entirely refitted and unbelievably well-maintaned by the same couple who served us, and featured the work of many local artists throughout. As we sat down a huge thunderstorm roared through town and we wined and dined in our warm, comfortable shed, declaring it our celebratory end of road trip meal. After which we hopped in our cars and drove another 5 hours, well into the night, rocking up at Victor Harbor with eyelids propped open by pegs and crashed into our new homes for the weekend with a dull thud.