Took until one in the afternoon the next day to leave Strath. Josh had to be at work at 1:30, but with four hours of sleep, he decided to go in an hour late. We sat on the couch watching South Park. Like YouTube, it was awesome. Like McDonalds, I’m not going to apologize.
I was quite taken with Strath and took my sweet time among its well-shaped parks, churches and shops and stopped for a pasty and coffee overlooking the river. Josh stopped by on his way to the bank and sat down. Having just finished my coffee and with Josh due back at work (the bank is a 1 min walk from the real estate office, and it’s pretty apparent if he procrastinates), he invited me back to the office for tea. I felt comfortably out of place in my spandex among Josh and his nicely dressed workmates. We talked a little real estate and property management. They don’t make any more land, and what’s around is booming. Despite Australia’s size (think slightly larger than the USA), the twenty or so million people who live here are not too keen to move to the dirt pieces of Nullarbor land to set up shop. Said "goodbye" once more and walked to another bakery.
It was justifiably lunchtime, and the meat pies had been recommended. Josh walked in five minutes after me, and we easily avoided the sometimes awkward situation that develops when "goodbyes" are drawn out over hours. We picked up right where we left off, shook hands once more, both pleased at a new and serendipitous friendship.
This time for real, I rode out of town and the last few hills of Adelaide into a flat and well-ordered wine country where the vines were capped at each end with red flowers. My last link with this picturesque wine and farmland was a short river ferry across the brown Murray River. Five km later, my country dream was rudely awoken with the sounds of a freeway. This was my road, and it was still close enough to the big city to be unattractive and busy. I slept between the road and the train tracks, neatly obscured from both, but still vulnerable to their noise. The rumble of the train woke me up that night, yet, instead of startling me, the creaks, screeches and moans of metal on metal were comforting. I lay lazy and comfortable in my bivy, looking at the stars and listening to the sound of Rail and Road. This was a far cry from my first roadside bush camp. This was starting to feel normal