Theaussiechallenge Post # 79 Grass Patch
Day 100 41 days to go. Distance today 160km total 7942km. It’s 7.30pm Monday 15/10/2012 Grass Patch. This stretch of highway from Esperance to Noresman has a history steeped in Cob and Co transport and natural water supplies for the bullocks, horses and folk utilizing the services dating back to the late 1800s. It’s also one of the most beautiful stretches we’ve ridden through in WA and that’s saying something. The forecasted rain did a no show yay for us but big bugga for the farmers and locals who are now on water restrictions according to the manager at the Grass Patch Tavern. I said to Rube in the morning, ‘I’m looking for the rain but I can’t see it ’cause the sun’s in my eyes!!!!’ And that’s how it stayed for the day which was just awesome. Heather behind the bar at the Gavin Soak Hotel said the morning clouds in Esperance had three drops of rain in them before they were exhausted and disappeared in disgust. Apparently Mother Nature doesn’t mind Mondays at all or at least the one today yay 🙂
The landscape was stunning with an abundance of wild flowers by the road and fields of wheat waiting for harvest in a weeks time. The grain silos are a real feature in each of the towns and will be in full force during this time with wheat and canola. There are so many dry salt lakes vivid white against the blue skies and green fields and despite their barren feel, looked amazing and made for photos. The fauna consisted of mostly flies and flies and their buddies and rellies and neighbors and every ‘drop in’ guest fly imaginable. Mum Ive said it before today, but I’ll say it again, thank you for lending me your fashion accessory head net x It got such a work out today and I’m sure saved my sanity. I can do flies except on my face or moreso the eyes, nose, ears and mouth where they want to beeline in droves. I did take some fun pickies but with them gathered on the head net desperately wanting to to get to their favorite orifice. Sorry guys you’ll have to wait for the next cyclist who doesn’t have such a smart Mummy!!!! x I passed a herd of dairy cows in a paddock. When they spotted us the whole herd came running up to the fenceline and lined up staring at us. It was the oddest and funniest thing and cracked us up. Of course we had to stop for a picky. They’re obviously very wild and vicious when their not being hand fed by the tough farmer. They even chased us down the road for a bit when we headed off apologizing for not having any treaties for their three stomachs. We past a section of road that was lined with pine trees and home to nesting magpies. Now these guys were tough and bombed dived us like WW3 ’cause clearly we wanted to attack their babies. Go figure!!! I never get that with Magpies. If I was doing a Winnie the Poo up their tree stealing a handful of honey I could understand their full scale attack!!! I’m sure they just have a new age gene that loves bombing the passing human. Rube called them names I can’t repeat and we were happy to fall off their radar once past the pine tree war zone. We did see an awesome spectacle that I’ll remember right up there with riding alongside the emu. We past a huuuge flock of yellow underwing black cockatoos who were in the low branches over the roadway. They then all took off with deafening squarks and circled above our heads before settling again as we rode past. It was only a few moments but the sight and sound was truly amazing and against the blue skies they were a flash of brilliance. I looooove black cockatoos!!!!
The history is really interesting. I took a picky of info for Gibson and another historic town we stopped at, called Scaddan so I could remember the cool stuff to share. Scaddan was first known as 30mile being 30miles from Esperance and the first water condenser. Condensers were situated about every 15miles along the Esperance to Noresman highway for supplying water to the public, camel, bullock and horse teams. In 1910 the first settlers arrived in the area from Australia and overseas to farm land that had been allocated to them. Scaddan became a town of bush timber shacks lined with hessian and earth floors. The conditions must have been so tough as it gets crazy cold here well below zero in winter and not much over 5 degrees on chilly spring nights like this one!!! In 1915 a hotel was built to offer food and accommodation for the Cob and Co travelers. The tin shed hotel still stands in the town and made for a great photo along with the iron ring stand used to tie up the horses during its era.
The Gibson Soak Hotel was built in the late 1800s. Since this time, it’s not only been quenching thirsts and supplies from the bar but also supplying fresh water from the soak it’s built on. This is like a natural underground spring and the water is still bottled and sold to the public. It was first discovered by a local bloke called Billy Gibson, the first white man to come across the soak while he was searching for stock. The water source was surveyed in 1886, the same year the pub opened and named in his honor.
Rube and I arrived in Grass Patch around 4.30pm and stopped in at the Tavern where their was a sign to make enquiries re camping. We gotto talking with the barman and a bloke sitting at the bar enjoying a few rums. He’s travelled around Australia a squillian times but was telling me he now has a ‘lady friend’ and they head in the new year for their first trip round together. He was very cute and excited and was keen to have a chat about all the places they want to visit in their travels. Not bad for a bloke in his 70s at a guess. Bit hard to tell as he was very weathered with lots of smile lines and didn’t mind a yarn or two or twenty. We eventually got around to asking the manager if we could score a free tent site which he hapilly agreed. The grounds are a bit down the road and have free laundary servives bonus bonus!!!1 So the gear and me have been washed good and squeaky. The laundry room is really warm. My cycling gear is strung up like Christmas decos to dry so its a good thing we’re home alone in the camp. Tomorrow it’s onto Norseman about 130km away. If we can find internet access we’ll download our photos since Perth and stay there overnight. Otherwise we may end up 20 odd kms into the Nullabor at a rest area. We’ll see what the day brings. This one however has been awesome and it’s been equally awesome to share it with you. Talk soon x