It was nice and warm and dry all night in the cabin – we could hear the wind and rain and were pleased to be inside. When we woke up the sun was shining, everything was wet and there were branches and trees down everywhere, but the wind had died right down.
After breakfast I walked back over to our tent, which was still standing and had a few pools of water at the base of the poles inside. The mattress was also a bit wet. I opened up all the windows and started pulling everything out to dry a bit in the sun before we packed it all up. There were still grey clouds milling around and I was concerned that it would rain on all our drying things, but it held off. Once I had the tent empty I went back over and helped get everything out of the cabin, we returned the key and then started packing up our stuff. Talking to the staff at reception they said that the Adelaide Hills was the area worst hit by the weather the day before.
The kids played in the games room and Caitlin wandered back and forth between helping, playing with the others, and balancing on the rocks around the campsite. Having the windows open had dried out most of the inside of the tent – we packed it up last (which is the opposite to what we normally do) and it was a relief that it was mainly dry inside at least.
We were ready to leave around midday. Tony dropped the kids and I off in Hahndorf so we could browse the shops like we’d wanted to do the day before. We checked out an op shop and then the fudge shop, all the kids bought some fudge or lollies with their holiday money. We also enjoyed looking at the old buildings and the autumn trees and vines. When Tony joined us Caitlin and I wandered a bit further and also explored an alpaca shop – I bought some alpaca wool insoles for my boots. Once everyone had finished choosing their lollies we headed back to the car for sandwiches. While we had been shopping Tony had taken the trailer back to the auto electrician to fix the plug that joins on to the car – now our blinkers and brake lights work without having to spend 10 minutes jiggling the connection.
We headed in towards Adelaide and then turned north. We listened to the end of Almost Super and were pleased when I looked it up and discovered that the author is writing an Almost Super 2. We used the Fuel app we’d downloaded to find the cheapest fuel on the way out of the city – the price wasn’t as good as the app said, but it was still better than what we’d been seeing on the main highway, and we were able to update it ourselves.
Heading towards Gawler the traffic was quite heavy then suddenly it cleared and our surroundings became less built up. I immediately felt excited and relaxed – it’s like the first week was just a tester holiday, and it was all places we’d been before (or near enough), and now the NEW part of the trip begins. Exploring unknown places and doing things we’ve never done. Also being out of the city always helps me relax.
We drove as far as Clare. The countryside on the way there was different again to anything we’d seen – not many trees, lots of rolling hills cleared for crops. Lots of sheep too. Even driving through areas of gum trees the ground below them was fairly clear, not a lot of undergrowth. Coming in to the Clare Valley was cool, being surrounded by vineyards and reading all the names of the wineries – Tony knew a lot of them, and has met some of the people who work there or run them.
We settled for the night at the Clare Valley Racecourse, just a bit out of town. It’s only $20 for the night, and we can use the jockeys’ toilets and showers in the race secretary’s building, or there’s (not so nice – full of tumbleweeds!) a public toilet block near where we camped. We arrived a bit before 5 so actually set up the tent while it was still daylight, a first for this trip! The kids ran around on the grass and went up the hill to see a horse in a paddock. Caitlin was excited to see the stalls where the racehorses would be stabled on race day. Tony used the large expanse of grass to practice hitting some golf balls.
Once it got dark we had dinner – left over chicken curry in rice paper rolls, very yummy. The kids played inside the tent for a while and we tidied up a bit, then went to bed around 8pm to read Brisingr. After we stopped reading we heard a noise outside, Tony said he thought he’d seen a cat. He and Caitlin went to check – a ginger cat had knocked the lid off our bread tub and was eating our butter! They put things away a bit more securely – then shortly afterwards I could hear purring outside. Caitlin and LiAM went to check, and said ‘yes, the cat is out here – oh wait, there’s 2..no, 3 – oh there’s kittens….’ So it was a mum and 4 kittens, who were purring because they’d found our garbage bag and were licking the sour cream lid we’d thrown out… So we tidied up even more securely (I don’t know how they got to the garbage, I thought we’d put it away) and things were quiet from that point.