Up a bit earlier and breakfast and packing completed. Looks like a beautiful day for a ride. Light cloud and warm and will probably get hotter like yesterday. Refueled and on the road just after 9:00 and all too soon the sky starts to darken. Big storm brewing but there are a couple of gaps, hopefully we will get through. No such luck, rain starts and a decision needs to be made. Wets or run through? Always the conservative, we stop and put the wets on. Good thing, although we missed most of it if we had kept going we would have hit an absolute downpour.
In and out of showers and refueling in Narrandera, we decide to keep the wets on and a few minutes later we are in it again. The weather fines up as we approach Jerilderie but the air is a bit hazy. The wind is picking up and blowing directly across our path and we are regularly leaning 10 – 20 degrees off vertical as we are struck by wind gusts. I soon realise that we are heading into a dust storm and it is worsening. Rather than risk engine damage or unnecessary maintenance from a blocked air cleaner we pull into a rest area to wait it out. There is Winnebago already stopped there so we park alongside for the protection and talk to Dot and Sid. Rather that let up, the storm is getting worse and visibility is reducing rapidly going from 300 meters to 50 meters in about 15 minutes and that is how it stays for the next 90 minutes. About an hour or so after we arrive, a couple of bikes pull in and it turns out they are also from Brisbane and decide to wait it out. After a couple of false alarms, it finally begins to spit rain and the sky starts to clear. It is soon OK to travel so it’s back on the road after sitting in the dust and wind for 2 hours. The bike, trailer, Therese and I are just covered in a thick layer of dust and that starts to to turn to mud. As we battle along again fighting the winds. The radio talks of red mud falling on the Snowy Mountains and turning the snow orange. It also mentions the 100 kph wind gusts. No wonder we are having problems staying on the road.
We pull into a motel at Jerilderie but the decision to stay is foiled when we find there is no power due to the storm. With the owners blessing, we give the bike and ourselves a quick tub under the motel hose and back on the road in the rain.
What the heck, we just keep going and roll into Echuca and a motel just on 6:00pm. A dry bed, able to dry out and wash the dust off and plan for tomorrow.