Day 69 73 days to go. Distance today 110km Thursday 112km Wednesday 40km. total 5573km. It’s 3pm Friday 14/9/12 Burkett Rd Rest Area. Ten days to Perth but who’s counting….. Rube just screamed out ‘Me!!!!!’ 🙂 Ask us what’s been the trickiest part of the challenge to date and it’s without a doubt this stretch since Port Headland. All the tricky bits we’ve encountered to date are here in force with a healthy dose of extras. We’re pretty familiar with the following: long stretches of open floodways, 40+ degree heat, kms of creeping inclines, heavy bitumen, roads with little roll, and road trains. But bring them together with a big dose of WA surprises and we’re being stretched. We’re getting there but everyday is proving an extra special challenge with steak knives. It’s redefined ‘one day at a time.’ It’s more one 10km at a time, chip away at each km then start the next ten kms. It’s making for long days mentally and physically. I’m so proud of both of us, how we’re getting through it and backing up. The surprises include head and side gale winds, gusts and the odd whirlwind, brief but angry dust storms, no water except for roadhouses, less numbers of vanners on the road, more numbers of road trains, and travelers camping overnight at the tourist locations off the highway as opposed to the rest areas on our route. We’re carrying 15 litres of water in between roadhouse stops so Rubes working hard for the money honey. We’ve had to devise a whole new rhythm in our peddling not to lactate out on the inclines and in the wind. It’s working a treat and today put it to Bruce Sringstein’s ‘Thunder Road.’ I heard yesterday that there’s a wind warning a bit further south so we’re expecting the same for the next ten days. Since the horror day Tuesday we’ve been starting at 6am with the sun. It’s making a difference to get a big chunk of the kms done before it really blows up later morning. I’ve had to redo the distances as we can’t manage more than 120km on average. This has meant we won’t be able to divert to Coral Bay but there’ll be other trips and with a car 🙂 I’m getting just how awesome Australia is and it’s waiting to be explored, adventured, understood and appreciated and helped in our future to be sure. That love affair that started back on the Capricorn Highway is a solid relationship now and I’m very fortunate to be part of our Country with a taste of her story. More please!!!!!
The ticky bits over the last days are all part of it and it wouldn’t be Theaussiechallenge without it’s share of tough times so all good indeedy. There’s also been some real highlights and cool folk met since I posted Tuesday. Wednesday was an unplanned short day. After 40km we cycled past The Robe River and there was a rest area right on the river banks. It was so beautiful and the spot was full of trees and facilities. There was a family packing up camp so I u-turned it and checked if they had a few extra litres of water so we could camp. They were happy to help and gave us a chance to R&R and enjoy this fabulous spot. We had our pick of spots being early and found a great shaded possie to enjoy the afternoon. I had a wash in the river and the best nana nap then indulged in writing until sunset what a beautiful treat loved it. The river was full of birdlife and fish and it was delish yay. I later met Hazel, Gary and Megs their blue cattle darling girl and folk. They were big big fun. They are from a coastal town south of Adelaide and have a house right on the beach. Gary’s an ol’ surfer from the 60s and him and his mates discovered and named allot of the surfing spots along that part of the coast. He’s a carpenter by trade but in retirement now picking up work on the road as needed to top up their travel slush fund. Hazel’s a registered nurse who also cuts hair for $15 for her pocket money. She had her eye on my messy dreads but they’re staying for now. They have the coolest troopy and off road caravan. They love traveling all the remote places this trip being the National Parks and indigenous stations east of Derby off the Gibb River Rd. Their car and van has so many cool scars and stories. They think what we’re doing’s amazing and invited me to join them for dinner. It was a great night talking crocs and travel and indigenous culture. Loved their company and an awesome evening to end an awesome day.
The next day was 112km through to Nanutarra Road House campground. They paid our$10 camp fees and donated $10 awesome. When I first arrived I met two truckee lads stopped for a feed. Tough rough big softies. They have seen us a few times now on the road and commented on our ‘wave’ nice!!!! The lads emptied their pockets of their ‘beer’ money and together donated $82.50 wow!!! I wanted to get a photo with the lads and they said ‘no way the last time we got a photo was a mug shot at the lock up.’ Like I said….very colorful with big bellies and hearts of gold. Thankyou Willy and friend. After we set up I was invited to dinner by Ian and his wife I can’t remember her name bugger!! We drank chilled water in wine glasses and ate fresh bread and parmesan with pasta. OMG sooooo delish and spoilt rotton by a very lovely couple. They waved me off this morning heading out for their morning walk and snapped some pickies with Rube and I getting under way with the sunrise. When we got to this rest area there was noone around, it’s very open but with a bus shelter that has been our saving grace out of the wind and dust for the afternoon. We’ve been visited by two families of Indigenous folk travelling from Carnavon to Oslo for a funeral. They were well under way with their mourning drinks except the drivers thank goodness. They had dried roo and asked for a knife to cut up their lunch. Rose came over for a chat and was telling me all about her family and the Aunty who had passed away. It was a bit slurred but very interesting and the family loved getting their photo taken. Next to vist was Wendy and Patrick traveling from Dubbo around Australia. Patrick had an accident about 10 years ago and is now in a wheelchair. But what a jet star for guts and getting on with it. He’s set up his car and van for wheelchair access and offered Wendy free travel to help him share his Aussie trip. They were spectacularly friendly and warm and gave me a coke, bag of fresh vegetables, muesli bars, almonds and an instant friend rice packet. Thank you beautiful people. Another family had a short stop and couldn’t believe what we were doing. The dad said, ‘anyone brave enough to do what you’re doing deserves any help we can offer.’ They invited me to stay with them in Perth if needed and gave me their number to call if we need any help. They’re on their way back via Exmouth. Then Fay and David pulled in to stay for the night which is awesome having other campers here. They are from Port MacQuarie and traveling for 12 months around Australia. We instantly clicked and have been chatting now for a couple of hours. They’re heading onto Exmouth tomorrow and want to stay near the golf course and eat prawns. David used to drive road trains across WA and they have travelled the State since the 70s when their kids were young and have seen so many changes now with the boom of mining and industry. They remember Brrome and Coral Bay when they were dot towns with dirt roads but still the amazing beaches. Fay has completely mothered me sharing her Bundy ginger ale and soda, boiled eggs, fresh bread, wrapped salt and pepper, and an apple and orange. How much spoiling can I girl have in one very short very special afternoon. We will ride of the humbling generosity of these folk for the next tens days to be sure. It’s getting darker now so I may pause a bit to set up camp while there’s still some light.
It’s 7.30pm and Ive just had a looky through the picks from the last days. The scenery is such an enigma. In the morning and afternoon light it’s just stunning showing off the raw contrast of colors. The ground is red iron hard but with a soft sand cover in parts. Then there’s tuffs of yellow grasses and low shrubbery. Dotted throughout are ground cover wild flowers mostly hues of purple and pink flowers. It’s as beautiful as it sounds at these times. Then during the heat of day and when the wild weather blows in, it’s brutal and barren and semi desert tough and uninviting. Then I stopped for a roadside wee break and was drawn to the ever present birdlife mostly colored face finches beep beeping their business as usual. The conditions and trials for the early explorers and settlers are incomprehensible. I passed a section of road today that had signage up as the emergency landing strip for the Royal Flying Doctors Service. A bit further down was a road crossing that must have some connection to the airstrip but looked so funny in he middle of nowhere. Someone else thought the same and has painted on the roadway ‘Roo’s crossing’ Very funny and great photo. I have such a smorgasbord to choose from for dinner so I may go and check the cool pantry for what’s on the menu tonight. It’s been a day of highs and lows with lots in between and another awesome day overall. Talk soon x Cash donations $1671.85 yay!!! Ps hey Evan I saw another shooting star tonight and thought of you darling little man xxxxx