Theaussiechallenge Post # 89 Ceduna

so that still gives us heaps of time to get underway and do a chunk of kms off the distance to Port A. I must say fine fine folk from me and Rube, it’s pretty dam fine special fabuloso to arrive here safe and sound with a whole bunch of sweat and tears and smiles. Its been the most significant, interesting and challenging experience doing this stretch of the country. I can say that now with the Nullabor behind us without the other choice words we’ve used to describe it at times 🙂 Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 88 West of Peneng

. Today was another cracker of a headwind effort which blew into a gale for the last 30km so I was pretty happy to do the 105km for the day. The countryside’s beautiful, a bit hilly and challenging with the wind but we did good to stay focused and chip away at it. There’s heaps of wombats about which unfortunately means lots of roadkill over the day sad to see as all roadkill is. I’d love to see a little fat fella and may get a chance with a dawn start so we’ll keep the eyes open. We had our stop today at the Nuddroo Roadhouse and met a cool man who lives in Fowlers Bay. Bill said that if ever we’re in town to ask for him and he’ll take us for a ride along the beach which he says is one of the best in Australia. He’s travelled extensively over the years and reckons the Bay is his choice place. Sounds beautiful. The turn off’s just down the road and is on the to do list for next time round like so many other places. This rest area’s really tucked away and we’re pretty much wild camping which is awesome. There’s no other vanners about like yesterday and I really like the remote feel. Camping along the Nullabor you can’t beat it yay!!!!! It’s extrememly cold tonight propbably the coldest its been since the Barkley Highway so everything I own I’m weary to keep toasty. There’s something mulling about outside but I can’t spot him so I’ll have a closer poke when I go cook some dinner soon. I loooove critters and we have some pretty cool ones in Australia. This morning we woke with an abundance of bush budgies all busy chatting over breakfast and their morning choirs. I put a container of water out by the tank and they came down in numbers for a drink awesome. They were chased off eventually by the magpies who pushed in for their share. It was a great way to start the day !!! Time for dinner. Ceduna tomorrow hopefully yayayayayayaya!!!!!!!! It’s a milsestone that’s for sure!!!! I have to go critter spotting. The spirits are back up tonight which is cool and big fun. Talk soon x
Ps its a stunning night. I didn’t spot the critter but I hear him mooching about still. There’s a lone magpie singing his last song for the day to the moon with the wind and crickets harmonizing. The Nullabor night is at its best and showing off for us how incredibly awesome!!!! Rube reckons its a bit of alright indeedy. X

Theaussiechallenge Post # 87 Yalata West

Day 110 31 days to go. Distance yesterday 200km today 75km total 10087km. It’s 7pm Thursday 25/10/2012 Yalata West Rest Area. Talk about yesterday and today being chalk and cheese. I woke yesterday with blue skies and a tail wind how incredibly beautiful for the first 30km where the road hugged the bite and I was able to enjoy the euphoric views at 2 of the lookout spots earlier on. It was so beautiful to stop and savor the coastline with pickies and moments of delish. I took a photo of the info display at one of the spots and have included the details to share the interesting facts about this stretch of the Nullabor National Park. “Nullabor plain is the worlds largest single piece of limestone and covers an area of of around 200 000 square kilometres. When limestone interacts with underground water, it dissolves to form a ‘karst’ landscape – an amalgamation of caves, underground channels, and a rough bumpy ground surface. The nullabor hides much of its beauty benneath its surface of the National Park. It is an extensive cave system most of which is unexplored. Passages run for kilometers linking massive underground caverns . Some contain saline groundwater, others have interconnecting passages that form extensive underground water labyrinths. When enough limestone erodes underground, sinkholes develop like the Murrawinjie cave. Early European explorers and settlers were challenged by the alien landsape and unforgiving aridity. To the explorer Edward Eyre, the Nullabor was ‘the sort of place one gets into in bad dreams.’

Rube and I flew on through our ride and passed a rest area where a couple were pulled up and waiting along the roadside for us. It was Bill and Christine who we met at the rest area where we spent our birthday. Bill treated me to a can of solo that day. They were so happy to see us again and invited me for a coffee and bickies which was perfect timing and another awesome treat. They live in in NSW in a place called Gorokan halfway between Sydney and Newcastle. They have kindly invited us to stay with them on our way through which is so lovely. I’ve had a relooky at the maps today for our options from Port Augusta. I need to have a chat with my poppy to see what he thinks will work well. We’re both pretty weary and the Nullabor albeit cool indeedy has taken a toll on the days and on us mentally and physically. So I’m keen to keep the kms per day not to crazy for the last leg home. Which ever way we choose it needs to be manageable and sustainable for the last month. Im sure we’ll perk up once we get a break from the constant headwind which gets a bit tiresome. What a great thought home yayayay !!!!

We squeezed out as many kms as we could yesterday covering 200km for the day which is the biggest day we’ve done but I was keen to make the most of the westerly. We arrived later in the arv at the Nullabor roadhouse, a welcomed sight as it was threatening to rain with showers blowing in late off the ocean. We managed to get Buddy set up before the rain started so I tucked myself in for an early night after a shower and bite to eat. Unfortunately the manager wasn’t prepared to let us stay for free which was a bit of a shock to the system being spoilt for so long. Ouch to the purse but can’t complain with our run of good fortune. It did make me take stop and have an extra appreciation thought for all the places to date that have supported us!!!!! A good heads up how lucky we’ve been 🙂

I woke this morning feeling weary and fantasized about going back to bed with toast and coffee and more zzzz’s. It was a long hard haul again today with the scenery changing to hilly and more wooded landscape. And of course the headwind was back as we’ve come to expect from the Nullabor. I was talking to some campers this morning and Bill was explaining the wind patterns this time of year bringing about south easterlies for the most part. Oh well!!! We’re at the other end of this stretch now and only 5 or 6 days to Port Augusta. With the early start this morning and tricky ride backing up from yesterday, I was pretty much shattered by midday and stopped at this rest area to boil up a cuppa for some inspiration. There were a couple here traveling back to Sydney who shouted me a coffee and Scotch Finger bicky just yummy!!!1 it was also cool to have some company and conversation. I waved them off and decided that was enough headwind bashing for one day. It’s a nice rest area and with water which is awesome. I set up buddy and passed out for a couple of hours which was delishly delish!!!! We’ve then chilled for the afternoon mapping out a route home as I mentioned earlier. We’re sharing the rest area with a couple of local magpies who have chatted to us during the arv and kept us company. I must say Im a bit looking forward to being home and seeing the fam again plus my big sister Katie will be there to greet Rube and I on the 25th fabulously yum thought!!! For now but it’s time to cook up some dinner and tuck myself in cosy for an early start again in the morn. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 86 Border Town SA

Day 108 33 days to go. Distance today 85km total 8812km. It’s 6pm 23/10/2012 SA Side of Border Town. I said to Rubes yesterday during some ‘way too hot’ crazy moment…… ‘Rube last day in WA!!!!’ and it was 🙂 We’re sitting at the roadhouse on the SA side of Border Town and have just spent the last couple of hours planning an itinerary for here to Brisbane by the 25/11 via Warrnambool to Melbourne, the Hume to Sydney, then A1 to Brissy. At least on paper it’s possible without doing crazy kms per day. I just needed to see the distance and days could work so subject to change, that’s one of a few options. On the route from Eucla to Border town we were thinking about our favorite WA bits and bobs. Roebuck Bay’s up there not just for the ‘Stairway to the Moon’ but that we managed to get there by the full moon then treated ourselves to a day out chilling and collecting shells on the beach for our birthday. Nice!!!! Of course Bungle Bungles was magical and that we even got to see this amazing place was magic in itself thanks to Bruce…You’re the man my friend and hope you have settled back to Warwick home life x My favorite wildlife experience had to be riding with the emu…it still makes me smile and can still see the whites of his eyes checking us out as he ran alongside us with his neck out and pom pom bouncing. I must say the wedge tail eagles are pretty cool but. We spotted our first by the roadside this morning eating his roadkill. He hung around long enough to grab a picky then took off in slow motion to a branch in a nearby eucalypt and perched himself next to a mate both checking us out as we rode by sooooooo cool!!!

It was just after 6am when we started this morning and we woke to overcast cool weather. Can you believe it after yesterday, you wouldn’t pick the same country soo different. I didn’t care that much about the wind today, it was just nice not to have the brain not cooking. A truckee fella this morning was up early and we had a wee chat. I told him about Lindsay’s treats yesterday in the heat. He said it was 44 degrees at the roadhouse so on the road it would have been turned up more with the heat coming off the bitumen. It was forecast another hot one today but apparently this huge cloud has blown in from the southern ocean across the SA Bite coast. It’s been raining on and off but nothing too dramatic. The next 30km of coastline is suppose to be spectacular so we decided to stay here overnight and give ourselves every chance for it to be clear tomorrow to enjoy the cliff views to the max. This morning we started early enough to finally see the red roos in numbers hoping off when we startled them. They’re cool creatures in full bounce and can move at speed. I haven’t seen red kangaros in the wild before and their moving color was particularly awesome against the green shrubs, red soil, overcast sky and escarpment back drop. There’s been a cliff line that has followed the road since crossing the Madura Pass. We crossed it again today coming up over the Eucla Pass before the border. We’re now quite elevated and will hit the cliffs pretty soon after border town. It’s time now to head back to camp and have an early dinner and zzzz’s. I’m soo weary tonight probably still recovering from yesterday’s brain fry. It was good to stop a bit earlier today for some time out and background noise of TV while I pawed through maps. Welcome to SA and the stretch from Border Town to Mt Gambier before Victoria. On paper it’ll take from the 24/10 to the 5/11 all going well!!! I’m kinda expecting the route to change due to the unexpected but hey that’s what meeting Theaussiechallenge is about and we’re once again safe and sound and into another chapter. The folk here at the roadhouse have again let us camp for free and to hang out in their diner which has been very cool indeedy. Time to go check out my girl and see if she’s ok. I just looked outside and forgot how dark and wild the weather is. Deep breath and go brave it Maree….. Talk soon x
PS I’m sitting back at camp next to Buddy and the girl with the grape on very chill bill. This time last night I was in my undies and t-shirt still stinky hot with the storm looming. It never made a mark last night and tonight it’s hanging round for another go. Fingers crossed it’ll find it’s way round our cosy border corner. Time to feed the starvs big yaaaawwwwnnnnn and biddy byes. Rubes moisturized her sunburnt bits from yesterday and is already snoring zzzzzz’ds. She ‘s working so hard and doing a spectacular job at it!!!!!! I love her heapsest biggest everest x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 85 Mundrabilla

Day 107 34 days to go. Distance today 120km total 8727km. It’s 7.30pm Monday 22/10/2012 Mundrabilla. I’m sitting outside Buddy camped at the roadhouse in a spot I hope is going to be pretty well protected by the incoming storm from the NW. It’s the oddest pre calm as the storms been looming for the last couple of hours. It’s fighting against a wind from the SE making the clouds creep ever so slowly our way. The breeze is a treat against the skin which is still toasty from what has been the hardest day yet. I left Madura round 6.30am and it was already blowing a total gale from the NE. It carried a heat straight of the desert and its been 4045 degrees for the 9 hours ride. I’m in the habit of carrying extra water for the unplanned stuff and thank goodness as the 4.5 liters were inhaled over the day. Ontop of this I scored a bottle of diet ginger beer and iced coffee from a passing truckee called Lindsay who threw in a muffin. He was the only person who stopped today which was surprising given the wicked temps so it was Lindsay to the rescue and his treats are what made the difference. Thank you mate. ‘I’ve got so much respect for you blokes!!!’ was his parting comment after our roadside brief chats. He’s an ex-high school teacher now enjoying a different career and he oozes that truckee charm I’ve come to love so much. The trick today was to avoid heat stress and not go too hard at it to get the heart rate up. This was extra tricky with the headwind and it took us a while to find the right gear to manage the conditions but still get through the kms. By the way we did awesome and soooooooo earnt the $20 donation from Mick when we arrived at Mundrabilla. The folk here have let us camp free and it was straight to the shower to cool off and rinse the gear out. I had some chats with the other folk camping here who are also heading east and finding the conditions wicked on fuel consumption. One lady is traveling by herself with her pooch after retiring last November from Nursing. She’s from Adelaide and has spent the most part of her career doing bush nursing in Indigenous communities. She is so interesting and was talking about the challenges improving health and education standards. It’s time for dinner and some zzzz’s for a 6am start after dropping the key at reception. Tomorrow we’ll aim to cross the SA border at Border Town just after Eucla. All going well this has been our last full day in WA. It seems a long time ago when we we arrived in Kunnunarra at the top end. So much has happened and our challenges have been pretty full on in this wild half of Australia.Cash donations $2485. Talk soon x PS The wind is starting to pick up a now but Buddy’s been bungee’d down well to brave what mother nature has in stall. Let’s see what the night brings!!!!!! It’ll also be Buddy’s first test in the rain but I’ve got my bets on the boy will do awesomely 🙂

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.”

Theaussiechallenge Post # 83 West of Caiguna

Day 104 37 days to go. Distance today 108km total 8407km. It’s 7pm Friday 19/10/2012 Rest Area 39km west of Caiguna. The Ninety Mile Straight is so barren but there’s a beauty here that’s unique and captivating. It’s like a wildness, remote and raw and I truly feel in a real wilderness pocket of Australia. This morning we packed up early but then got chatting to the folk at the rest area. Heather and Bob are traveling around Australia with Heather’s 90 year old Mum Daphne, treating her to the treasures of Australia and she’s all smiles and loving the adventure so clearly, they all are. They have traveled many times around Australia and to share the experience with their Mum now is so special for them. Daphne’s collecting wild flowers and pressing them is her book as a keep’s sake. She’s also hot a map out Australia and marking their travels along the way. She was so excited showing me the map and her favorite spots. Gorgeous woman!!!! They’re very endearing folk and it was an awesome way to start the day. We got some pickies with Rube and they donated $20, before waving us off with safe travel wishes into our day.

Despite being sparse and flat the small birdlife was abundant and busy in the low lying shrubbery. The parties of ‘tweet tweets’ were cheeky at their noisy best and kept us amused along the early morning straight kms. There was a strong inland wind from the side that grew through the morning. It was blowing the strongest bushland scents that had an aroma I wanted to bottle. So instead we savored the atmosphere and chipped away at the 90 miles having a lolly and water stop every 10 km road marking. The wind did its huge turnaround at 2.30pm and smacked us like a wall with a south easterly. We put our head down and were aiming for Chiaguna when we came across this rest area at the 108km mark awesome!!!! I’ve been talking to a couple who travel the Nullabor each year and they said the trick is to start early before ‘whatever’ wind picks up mid afternoon. So no more snooze buttons for the next days and we’ll aim to be on the road by 6am eeeeek but worth the effort as the wind is quite wicked. These folk love the Nullabor and were sharing their stories with me all wide eyed and full of ‘wows.’ The stretch over the border which hugs the Bite sounds so amazing for its views of the cliffs and ocean. Apparently the blues are something to be seen in the change of depths off the coast. It’s a nursery ground for the Southern write whale and there are still 3 pods with babies in the shallow waters. The nursery provides a natural shelter for the babies until they get big enough to venture out with the pod into the deeper ocean. It’s later in the season now and in September it’s not unusual to see 30 or more whales in the shallows. Can’t wait to see the spectacle but that’s still a few days away with lots of road to cover to Eucia and Border Town.

We set up camp in the later afternoon and I found a posy behind a bunch of shrubs that’s well protected from the wind. Buddy’s facing the west and I sat for an hour enjoying a cuppa over sunset with the racing streaks of cloud turn pinks and orange over sunset. It was stunning as is the starry night and crescent moon now this evening. I’m loving the Nullabor and totally get why folk travel here for its special flavor. There’s another couple of campers here who I scored some water off this arv and they also treated me to a fresh homemade scone and butter. That’s for desert tonight and sounds pretty yum. On that note it’s time for dinner and early zzzz’s for an earlier start in the morn. Cash donations $2335. Talk soon x

PS Are there any downsides. Of course!!!! My bits at the business end of things are chaffed and raw from the cheapy seat. Thank goodness for butt cream and paw paw ointment. I eat mor flies during the day and bugs at night than I care to think about. The headwind is right up there with going to the dentist and ants get into everything. Then I turn off my head torch and enjoy the rest of my cuppa in the dark of the Nullabor with the wind blowing over the bushes filled with crickets rubbing their sexy legs. The crescent moon is laying on a bed of small cloud under a blanket of stars. Is it worth the discomforts? Hell bloody yes!!! That’s one of the reasons I love posting each night; to remember all the little things big that bundle up to another day of magic. I’m happy.

Theaussiechallenge Post # 82 West of Caiguna

Day 103 38 days to go. Distance today 150km total 8299km. It’s 7pm Thursday 18/10/2012 Rest Area 147km west of Caiguna. We have a clear night sky of stars and a crescent moon smiling this evening along with a wicked wind coming in from the coast. It came up about 20kms back at the emergency landing strip of road for the Royal Flying Doctors Service where we had stopped for some pickies. We had our break at Balladonia 110kms into the day. There were a whole bunch of vanners stopped there as its one of the few roadhouses along this stretch of the Nullabor. There were also about 200 Outlaw motor cycle fellas on route from Tasmania to Perth for some event. I met some very cool folk all wanting a chat and ended up staying for 2 hours enjoying the contact and conversations. Earlier on in the day we were passed by Tish and Gary which was awesome seeing them again and they were heading onto the rest area where we had hoped to get to tonight. Unfortunately the tail wind that sprung up in Balladonia was short lived and what I thought was going to be a very fast 50kms to the rest area ended up being a slog-a-thon. We ran out of light 17km short where we passed a small rest area where a van of folk were stopped happy happy days!!!!!! I pulled in and asked if we could grab some water from them which they kindly provided so that’s where we’ve set up camp. It’s a beautiful spot and Ive pitched Buddy in a protected possie tying him down with the bungies and rocks for the windy night ahead. It’s a bit of a bugga not getting through to Tish and Gary as I would have liked a catch up session with them this evening. But we’re safe and cosey here and have landed on our feet in the unexpected conditions. Today stayed beautiful clear skies into the evening tonight which is awesome. We were waved off by Jo and Angie and got a photo to remember these fine folk. Jo’s been all motivated to get his bicycle out again which is great. As it turns out he stopped riding a couple years back when Angie had a stroke to make time to help in her recovery. He’s just turned 70 and looks amazing and is keen again to get back in the saddle after talking bikes with us and stirring the bug again. Good luck mate getting back onboard and enjoy those happy hormones. Endorphins are the best!!!!!! The scenery has changed a few times today from sparse low lying shrubs to red soil and natives. It’s now very open plains since the airstrip and we passed the sign that marked the point for the longest straight stretch of road in Australia at 145.6km called ’90 Mile Straight.’ So I don’t imagine there will be too many twists and turns tomorrow 🙂 It’s more undulating then what I can pictured but the road conditions are awesome and good for peddling on. We passed out first wedge tail eagle today in flight with his wings and wedge stretched out riding the currents. What an amazing sight. He didn’t hang around long enough to get a picky but hopefully I’ll get another chance as they are common on Eyre Highway feeding on the roadkill. I met a very cool couple in Balladonia Bruce and Angela who are from Capalaba, Brisbane and on a 4 week trip on their huuuge crusing motor cycle. They too love Australia and I loved our chats over coffee and lunch. They have both just retired and this trip is their time out to digest the change which is huge for them being ex corporate workers. They have two small fluffy pooches who are their babies called Coco and Channel and they were showing me photos soo very cute and clearly their pride and joys. They are currently at a five star pet resort also on holidays while Mum and Dad enjoy their time out travels. I gave them my blog details and hopefully will hear from them again. They very generously donated $50 which was awesome and I got a picky for keeps sake yay. I met another lovely couple Mick and Kerry who are from a town along the Hume highway I can’t remember the name. Kerry, up to recent times worked as part of an integrated DV Response team in the community sector in town and we spoke for ages about the challenges of collaborative interventions and the White Ribbon Foundation. She has invited me to visit when we cycle through and has given me her details to make contact when we’re closer which is fabulous. I look forward to seeing them again and talking further. They have seen Rube and I about 6 times since Katherine and finally had the chance today in Balladonia to come up and introduce themselves. I’m so glad they did!! Tomorrow we’ll aim for Chuguna. For now it’s time for dinner and beddy byes out of the wind all cosey in Buddy yay. Cash donations $2315. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 81 Ten Mile Rocks

Day 102 39 days to go. Distance today 80km total 8149km. It’s 7pm Wednesday 17/10/2012 Ten Mile Rocks Rest Area. We’ve met the most beautiful couple here in the rest area and spent hours chatting away the afternoon just awesome !!!! Their names are Jo and Angie from Melbourne. They immigrated from Ireland 40 years ago and still have accents warranting serious attention so not to miss any of their wonderful cheek. I love it!!! They have known each other since they were sixteen and grew up in a small country town where girls wore dresses and tradition was law. But they are adventurers and love cycling. Jo made Angie a bike when they were young and she used to sneak out in a frock then change into ‘shorts’ OMG rebel to go riding with her man. Their sons and grandchildren are also right into competitive cycling doing time trials. Their 16 grandson is the Australian champion for his age. They’ve spent 6 months up in Broome visiting their son who lives there and love life on the road enjoying Australia with all its little big treasures and the people they meet along the way. They are sooo people orientated and Angie has always worked in care with mentally ill folk mostly. They both have huge hearts of gold and have been an absolute treat to meet and talk with. Angie had a brain injury some time ago and had to relearn to walk and talk and in 9 months is pretty much her usual self again bar some short term memory challenges. She works as a volunteer with St Vincent’s de Paul and loves to second hand shop which drives Jo nutty. Not really they are still so clearly in love and ooooze fun and genuine care for others. They don’t carry extra cash while traveling but want to make a donation so I gave them Mum and dad’s address to send a cheque when they get home in about 2 weeks. One of the many many choice folk I have met in our travels and this is the best part by far in what we’re doing. We hit the Nullabor today along with lots of rain that blew across from the inland. The sky looked cranky but wonderful against the colors of the bush. The soil is that rich outback red but the flora is unique. There’s low lying native bushes that are deep green but with silver frosted tops. Then theres mixed layers of eucalypts with burnt orange gnarled trunks. The color combination is wonderful and the smell particularly with the rain was bushland scents at its best. It wasn’t heavy just constant and quite dark in the overcast. So Rube got her lights christened that were recent pressies from Mum and Dad and did the visibility trick perfectly today darlings thank you thank you!!! We were later setting off this morning as I gotto talking to sisters in the camp kitchen. They are from Armadale and traveling Australia together with their husbands. We talked about all sorts from travel to domestic violence. They shared a cheekiness and are clearly having a wonderful trip sharing the adventure together. One had a 10month mini foxi jack russell cross called ‘Misha’ which is Croatian for ‘little mouse’ and she was beeeeautifuuul !!!! All the while Misha was running up to passer by campers saying hello in exchange for scratches and cuddles. I could have bundled her up but she was Mummy’s girl bigtime and loves life on the road with her pack. Dogs are awesome!!!! The rain was still persistent with a head wind not too tricky but made for a chilly slow ride than anticipated. We were never going to make it to Balladonia roadhouse as hoped, so when we passed this rest area it was time to stop and get into some dry gear. The heavy sky blew itself out over the ocean and the dark horizon looked awesome as the sun poked out and cleared to blue skies. So we’ve managed to dry the gear which is great and meet amazing folk better still. The flies also came out with the sun in numbers only seen to be believed. My head net is my new favorite accessory and compliments the dodgy camo cap ala perfecto. We’ll adjust the kms tomorrow as we do and might even score that tail wind I’ve heard so much about. For now it’s time for dinner and zzz’s. I was tired today probably an accumulation of the last weeks so an earlier day was welcomed. I’m sure the farmers were doing nudie dances in the rain. Rube wanted to do a nudie run in the rest area in their honor but had no clothes to take off. She’s so naughty god bless her dirty chrome bits!!! I’ll end tonight with a couple of snippets from emails I checked in Noresman. Great to hear from everyone thank you xxxxx A wonderful intro to the Nullabor today despite the weather. That’s what the gortex is for. Thea and Graham it kept us safe and cosy and you guys rock as it’s also one of my fav bit of kit knowing there will be more rain in the ks to come. Talk soon x

‘love you blogs Maree. Dunno how you keep so bright and cherry after each long day. You are an inspiration to all your followers. Bruce (The fella we went to the Bungles with). Note: Bruce doesn’t see all those inglorious moments in the day which are less said the best LOL 🙂

Go well girls ….may you have tail winds to help you along the way….enjoy the ride…..go well….keep safe…this will be one big “bite” out of the challenge……get the pun????????? Janet (Sister)

‘…..So glad things are going along well for you except for the hills & headwinds. Wow you certainly are rolling along with the kilometres long behind you. YOU ARE AMAZING. Still in awe of you. You just keep going. So glad you,ve been enjoying our spectacular south-west. And now for the big one the NULLABOR Good Luck it should be awesome! We mean it. Be thinking of you along the way. Heh have you got someone travelling with you as we,ve noticed “we” mentioned but weren,t sure if you meant Rube!!? …… Life back in Geraldton is going well but still I yearn to be back on the road. When I,m dusting, washing floors vacuuming I think heh this isn,t that hard in the caravan!…… Love Sue & John’ (The folk we met just before the WA/NT border and stayed with in Geraldton).

Theaussiechallenge Post # 80 Norseman

Day 101 40 days to go. Distance today 127km total 8069. It’s 8pm Tuesday 16/10/2012 Norsman. So we’re finally here at Norseman and start tomorrow into the Nullabor how incredibly exciting and a little bit nervous to see what this very long stretch has in stall for us. Look out!!!!!! We arived at 4pm this arv after a bit of harder ride this second half of the Esperance highway with a slow incline and slight headwind. But I’ve been told that it’s downhill and a tail wind if one pops up so we’ve got our fingers and spokes crossed that it’s a good run. It’ll be about 6 or 7 days to Eucia just before the WA and SA border. Then 10 days-ish to Port Augusta with internet access unlikely until then. This means a huuuuuge wod of posts coming your way when we do finally get access and what I hope will be awesome reading ontop of a big adventure ahead for me and Rube in the next 2 weeks. We had to buy a few more things at the Norseman IGA then found the campgrounds where ‘Mark’ the manager was happy for us to stay as a freebie even before I got the spiel out. He even donated $20 thank you!!!! We still have some things to organise tonight after chatting to my partner and checking emails. So it’s a short post to get done what we have to, shower squeeky clean, feed the starvs and crash for some serious zzzzz’s and an early start for our first day of 166kms. We’re aiming for the rest area on the other side of Balladonia roadhouse where we’ll water up for overnight and the next day. I’m off to do our thing and very excited I must say. Wish us luck!!!! Cash donations $2265km. Talk soon x