|Oppy, Kate and Sean - Women's Tour Down Under|
From our Raja Muda sailing experience, we had met Matt and Kate, who live in Adelaide. They had invited us to visit them if we were ever in the neighbourhood, so we bunked with them while taking part in officiating.
|Locals make the best tour guides|
Highly underrated, the WTDU is a chance to watch and actually talk with the competitors. Post-race, the teams are available and willing to hobnob with spectators, officials and fans. The courses are challenging and have lovely scenery. The men's Tour seems to get all the attention and press coverage, though.
As part of the race preparations, the small towns that are start or finish points compete with one another for the "Best-Decorated Town" designation. Dispaly bikes are set out, hay bales are assembled into artwork and locals come out in big numbers with banners, flags and noise-makers. It's quite festive ... even in the rain!
|noice bikes, drizzly conditions|
As marshals, we endured 40c heat (Day 1), drizzly, cold rain (Day 2) and 25+ knot winds (Day 3) at our stations. No crashes or incidents took place on our posts, although Kate had some sheep shenanigans and Sean had curious cows come to visit.
|very remote locations|
|Sean and friends|
|hay bale decorations|
Spending some time with Matt and Kate was a nice balance to our "working" side of the trip. We had some lovely evening visits that didn't involve trimming sails or jibing.
Matt took us up to Mt. Lofty, the premiere viewpoint overlooking Adelaide. The climb to Mt. Lofty is a top destination for cyclists and there were dozens enjoying a well-earned Sunday morning coffee while we were there.
|The view from Mt. Lofty|
We did a day with the whole Buchanan family, visiting D'Arenberg Winery and their favorite local beach. The winery was become quite the tourist attraction, as a visit is billed as an "experience." Before a tasting you are led through rooms at their main building that are meant to stimulate you with sights, sounds and smells (lost on Sean) before you get to experience their wines. You make your way through their very distinctive building to the top floor to enjoy the fabulous views and their fabulous wines. Matt was designated driver, which meant that we could all have a good guzzle of a number of their offerings.
|D'Arenberg Winery - inspired by a Rubik's Cube|
|Kate and Grace have a seat|
At Port Willunga Beach, Matt shared memories of a childhood spent along the shore, thinking nothing special of days exploring the old sandstone caves, swimming around the jetty pilings and digging in the sand. The beach has always been well-used. Early settlers dug storage caves into the soft sandstone, abandoning them when the wharf fell into disrepair and eventually remained only as a few pilings. A gorgeous swimming beach has remained and still draws many of the locals.
|Matt, Kate and a little clown|
|making sand art|
|Kate and Grace|
|Hooray - more sand for our collection!|
On our way home, we had all time to stop at local attractions, like Land Rover on a Pole (Keith, SA) and Pink Lake (Dimboola, VIC). Who says an eight-hour drive has to be boring?
|They come from the four corners|
of the earth to see ...
|Pink Lake - lots of pink, not much lake|