This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels July 4

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SUNDAY 4 JULY     ALICE SPRINGS

This is the day of reckoning – we will do the much talked about and deferred bike ride out to Simpsons Gap. This sealed bike path goes for 17kms, from Flynn’s Grave, on Larapinta Drive, 7kms from the city centre, to the car park at Simpsons Gap. It provides a chance to cycle safely, away from road traffic, through the beautiful, arid environments of the Western MacDonnells.

We put the bike rack and bikes on the back of Truck and drove as far as the car park of the Desert Park, leaving Truck parked there. We thought this was a pretty secure place and better than just out by Flynn’s Grave, but it added 2kms each way to our ride.

It was a lovely, sunny day, not too hot. The nasty cold wind was not blowing. This had caused us to put off the ride on some previous days.

07-04-1999 john and bikes.jpg

The trusty steeds!

The bike track was excellent and wide enough for us to ride side by side. It was gently undulating in parts, with some sharp bends. Each km is marked and there are information signs along the way.

I took the small camera and looked forward to seeing the photos taken along the way.

We side tracked to The Knoll and climbed up it for the view. This added another km to the ride. It was one of several pretty places where picnic tables have been set up.

07-04-1999 bike path view west panorama LHS.jpg

The view to the west from the bike path

07-04-1999 bike path view west panorama RHS.jpg

This outlook fits just to the right hand side of the photo above it

Some of the iconic Central Australian ghost gums along the way featured unusual and contorted shapes. We were intrigued by one that had a burl effect on its side, with a hole in the centre, which we assumed would be attractive to nesting birds.

07-04-1999 tree shape.jpg

We wondered how this was formed on the tree?

07-04-1999 tree with shape

It was a really large and old ghost gum tree

We stopped a couple of times more, for rests and photos.

07-04-1999 rest stop

Rest and refuel

We ate our late lunch at Simpsons Gap, which was very crowded with picnicking families. One of the lovely things about the ride along the bike path was the relatively few other people on it. Given that it was a Sunday, this rather surprised us.

It was an easy ride out to Simpsons Gap, but harder going back. A breeze had sprung up – and it was a head breeze, and quite pronounced in places.  Our bottoms were getting sore enough to be looking forward to the end of the ride, too.

07-04-1999 cycle to simpsons gap

A great day for cycling on an excellent bike path

We were glad to see Truck, and pleased we hadn’t set off from the caravan park, as we had considered! The extra fiddle of getting the bike rack onto Truck had definitely been worth it. As it was, according to the bike speedo, we had ridden 42kms. Quite long enough. It is a while since we have been for a ride and this would have to be one of the most panoramic bike paths in the nation. It was a most enjoyable day.

07-04-1999 simpsons gap bike path

The bike path route

John decided that he wanted a fry up for tea, so a quick visit to the supermarket was needed on the way back to camp.

Then we hit the showers – blissful.

Tea was soup, then sausages, bacon, egg, toast, mushrooms.

Tomorrow, I expect there will be a few parts of us that complain!

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