Theaussiechallenge Post # 84 Madura
Day 106 35 days to go. Distance today 95km yesterday 105km total 8607km. It’s 4.30pm Sunday 21/10/2012 Madura. I didn’t do up a post last night at Cocklebiddy as I was chatting to the locals, truckies and vanners until dinner o’clock. There was a sign outside the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse that said ‘Population 8, budgies 6, dogs 2, cats 1 and kangaroos 2 345 678.’ Love it!!!! And by the number of road kill there’s heaps of big greys and reds around but I haven’t seen one still hopping. The eyes are open for wildlife as according to the roadkill richter scale there’s also heaps of emus, camels, black and brown snakes and a lizard called ‘two heads’ by locals as its tail is rounded and stubby like it’s head. These I’ve seen heaps of sunning their scales on the roadside gravel and giving us a blue mouth hiss for disturbing their basking. Birdlife includes crows, wedge tails, hawks, finches and a whole bunch of others I’ve never seen before with quirky calls that are very cool. I saw the oddest bird today cross the road ahead of us, check us out as I was trying to get a picky then take off non fussed with the attention. He was grey in color and looked like a crane but straight backed and about 3/4 meter tall. That’s one to check out in the bird book when I get home unless someone knows what he might be? The roadkill is prolific and the smell a bit of a constant yuck! I try not to think about it but it accumulates during the day and can get quite overwhelming. The days are long for the kms averaging little more than 10km per hour with the winds that blow NE and SE with gusts that can blow from anywhere. It’s a constant reminder that we’re in wild country with the Australian Bite just a stones throw away to the south. The road actually hugs the Bite after Eucla on the SA border and the cliff views are entertaining my brain during the tricky times in the day. It’s been a long couple of days and I checked the photos before to remember more detail amongst the mental blur. The mornings are stunning riding into the sunrise and growing light.The sun dazzles the light blue skies and reflects a flash of white light off the road. It’s a cool contrast against the landscape and I’ve got some great shots. The landscape is barren by first impressions but filled with unique rock formations and sparse natives. I stopped for a wee break this morning and whilst keeping one eye out for traffic, the other spotted a preserved cone shell in the rocks, which we’ve acquired. There were also white sheer wild flowers and from ground zero were translucent with the morning sun. It was beautiful and another moment in a moment which I love during business stops. Another find was a toy Ford muscle car which is one of my fav old cars and racing car yellow. Its battered with character and story dints and has taken pride of place on Rubes pannier.
The sky is also unique. Today there’s not a cloud but yesterday there were faint lines of clouds starting from a point to the south and stretching outwards to the north. It must have something to do with being so close to the south pole. Whatever the reason it was a spectacle and the camera caught the effect which I look forward to sharing. These clouds soon faded and then came patterns of cloud tuffs that were a designer’s dream. The sky seems so big and reminded me allot of the Mongolian sky with the same expanse of open landscape and skyline. It’s awe inspiring and captivates and is the best distraction from the wind and long inclines. Today was a horror for inclines which went up the entire 95kms and I’m not even being dramatic!!! But then I realized why when Rube and I came out to the Madura Pass looking out to the open plateau to the south. Oh my deary me what a wow moment like really tear factor stuff. We stopped to savor and spotted two wedge tail eagles riding the thermals above the plateau. Yep!!!!!!!!!!!!! I stood there for about half hour transfixed and the toils of the last days faded to insignificance. I’m sure they’ll surface again as war stories down the track but for now ‘who cares’ it’s worth the effort to experience the treasures of the Nullabor with heaps still to go yay.
The folk I have met over the last days have also been a highlight. Yesterday we stopped for a break and waterup at Caiguna Roadhouse where I spoke to heaps of other travelers and scored a bunch of donations. Thank you Ron ($20), Wendy and Therese ($20), and Lyn ($10) for your generosity and chats. At the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse I met two truckies Pat and David. Pat is the first female truckee I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and fussed over her rightly so. She was so gentle and kind but very shy not like her offsider who was a cheeky larikin of pure naughtiness. I got photos with them both before they headed onwards to Eucla. They told me to keep an eye out for them today on their return route to Perth. Mid morning there was a huuuuuuge oncoming horn blast and it was David all smiles and waves with Pat following suit close behind. I love Truckee folk and their open raw culture indeedy. They share a family type bond and mate ship that’s very special and cool to be amongst xxxxxx The roadhouse folk let me stay for free and I found a possie out of the wind to set up camp by an old red tractor. Rube bonded immediately and has been blowing chug-a-lug tractor rasberries all day. She cracks me up!!!!! I met Margaret travelling with her family from Melbourne to Perth. Their city folk and loving the adventure of the nullabor and outback. ‘Nothing like Melbourne!!!!’ and we shared travel stories for ages. She was so taken with what we are doing and full of compliments and encouragement. Thankyou Margaret for the company, kind words and donation ($20). Please keep in touch via email.
From the pass, Rube and I squeeled our way downhill to the Madura roadhouse. The manager let us stay before I ended my speil which is somewhat embarrassing and I gave him a big hug and giggle. There’s a bunch of folk staying in the attached motel, who are driving vintage Bentleys on a roadtrip from Adelaide to Perth. We exchanged wows; them over Rube and me over their beeeeautiful cars!!!!!! Some folk asked for a card and I scored donations from Miles ($50) and Michael ($10) and a buddy of diet coke from Micko. Needless to say that tasted a little fantastic after we set up camp and washed squeeky clean.
It’s nice to do up the post earlier tonight and take my good time to savor what’s my favourite time of the day. Last night I had a looky at the Aussie Lonely Planet in particulalr the section on the Nullabor. I’ll finish up tonight with an abstract. Cash donations with the $130 from the last 2 days are at $2465. Talk soon x
“London to Moscow, or Perth to Adelaide? There’s not much difference, distance wise. The 2700km Eyre Hwy crosses the southern edge of the vast Nullarbor Plain – a place travel-lers seem to want to cross just to prove they can. Be prepared for an almost meditative drive that takes days and needs a damn good supply of water and plenty of compilation CDs. North of the Eyre Hwy, the Trans-Australia Railway runs across the Nullarbor. One stretch of the railway runs dead straight for 478km – the longest piece of straight railway line in the world. John Eyre deserves having a highway named after him because he was the first of his kind to cross the stretch in 1841. After a telegraph line was laid (1877), miners en route to the goldfields trekked across the vacuous plain under its negligible shade. In 1912 the first car made it across. By 1941 the rough-and-ready transcontinental highway carried a handful of vehicles a day. In 1969 the WA government surfaced the road as far as the South Australian border. Finally, in 1976, the last stretch was surfaced and now it runs close to the coast on the SA side, with the Nullarbor region ending dramatically at the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. From Norseman it’s 725km to the South Australian border, near Eucla, and a further 480km to Ceduna (meaning ‘a place to sit down and rest’ in the local Aboriginal lan-guage) in SA. They aren’t kidding! From Ce-duna, it’s still another 793km to Adelaide (a long day’s drive) via Port Augusta.”