Theaussiechallenge Post # 59 Minilya

Day 70 72 days to go. Distance today 110km total 5683km. It’s 7.30pm Saturday 15/9/12 Minilya river roadhouse. Today was another windy tough one and despite trying to pull the positives out of the magic hat it all got a little much with about 40km to go. I let out a colorful explicit or two, stopped, parked Rube and sat by the roadside and had a sob. Yes I’ll add that one to the inglorious magic moments of With that out of the system I soaked the head with a bottle of water, straightened myself up, apologized to Rube and had a dose of the best medicine………. Ipod tunes!!!!! So Rube and I bopped to way-to-loud cool music with attitude, the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ soundtrack very nice indeedy, perfect in fact and just what the day needed to power on the last few hours. It still blows me away how the mindset can flipside with a bunch of positive happy hormones. I was just about to peddle off and saw a shadow flash past my feet. It was a red studded gecko who was so well camouflaged against the red stoney ground, all I could see at first glance was his shadow. What a clever little man. Feeling the weight of ‘bla yucky icky poobum’ already lifting, I laughed at my sorry self and headed off. We passed the Tropic of Capricorn sign so we’re pretty much on the other side of the country where we turned left at Rocky on the Capricorn Highway. There’s been some kms in between but I still clearly remember seeing the ‘Westwards’ sign in Rocky and getting a rush of here we go into the outback…very cool!!!! We’re approaching the half way mark also in days and kms so the Tropic of Capricorn sign was a bit of a milestone landmark today. And single figure days to Perth…9 to be precise!!!

We arrived at the roadhouse at 2.30pm so happy to be done with the day’s ride. I met two aboriginal girls traveling back from Oslow and live in Carnarvon. They were super friendly asking me all sorts of questions about the trip and stuff. They’re going to look out for us coming into town tomorrow about 4pm hopefully, and will show us about if we hook up. Cool ladies and they gave us a tip which caravan park to head for when we arrive. I need to do a top up shop and it’ll be nice to get a supermarket fix. The roadhouse has treated us to a powered campsite as a freebie, thankyou Mark you’re a jet and we have enjoyed the afternoon pampering and pottering. The gear’s all fresh and vegies chopped up to now cook a delish dinner of fried rice thanks to Wendy and Patrick last night. Short post tonight as I’m keen to pass out for an early start with the sunrise and 145km to get through. Deep breath…we’re all over it!!!!! I’ve lubed my girl and checked her tyre pressure so we’re full steam ahead in the morn. A wee poem to share that I enjoyed writing this arv. Talk soon x

A woman’s heart is ocean deep
And runs with wild herds
She soars the highest mountain tops
With eagle eyes and wings.

Her heart hunts like a lioness
A mother bear with cubs
Shes loyal to her loving mate
And howls with wolves at night.

Shes just as strong and vulnerable
As mother natures world
So keep her full of life and she
Will keep you wild at heart.

Theaussiechallenge Post # 58 Burkett Rd Rest Area

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

Theaussiechallenge Post # 57 Fortescue

Day 66 76 days to go. Distance today 100 total 5311km. It’s 6.30pm Tuesday 11/9/12 Fortescue Roadhouse. Or should I say an oasis 101. That’s at least how it felt pulling in after 4pm this arv. Tough tough day. Ive been so spoilt with tailwinds I forgot what a slog it is when battling a headwind. I hadn’t figured on it at all and took my leisurely time this morning not getting under way ’til after 8pm. Oppsy. Pretty soon we were against head and side gusts like I hadn’t encountered since that windy hill in Vietnam. And much like then it was an inglorious day with tears at a particularly pointy time this arv. With the creepy hills and steeper inclines plus the roadtrain traffic adding their own gusts ontop from both directions, was a well earnt 100kms when we pulled up soooo happy that was over. More of the same tomorrow but talking to some lads here in the campgrounds they say it turns up after 11am. So the alarm is set for very early o’clock to be on the road with daylight and get in what ks we can before it blows up. It’s a longer day tomorrow at 165km so we’ll need all that time to chip away if its anything like today. We even met a whirly wind head on that threw us across the road to the other shoulder. No cars around thank goodness so Rube and I thanked mother nature for her timing x Rube struggled as well feeling the strain in her gears like a steep incline with no relief poor darling she clanged and winged and we both wiped each others tears and got back into it with a deep breath for the last 10kms. We averaged 13km per hour for 8 hours eeeek. That time has seen us cover more 160-170km so it was a real eye opener and character building experience for both us chicks. There were a bunch of positives but. The landscape is rocky hills, raw and tough covered in green grassy clumps with red red soil and wildflowers galore. It’s beautifully barren and that’s our focus tomorrow to enjoy the scenery. We stopped at the roadhouse this morning to top up our water bottles and spent some time talking to a couple and a truckee who donated $5 each. They were both keen to check out our set up and full of questions how we’re managing water and camping and of course the road trains which is everyones first question. Later on in the day a couple Travelling from Perth stopped to see if we needed more water and we grabbed another litre from them working harder than what I had counted on. We drank 5 litres in total so the extra litre was really appreciated. I enjoyed the road side break and chat to give the frown factor a rest. They were telling me about another female cyclist from mexico they met a couple of months back. She was cycling around Australia to promote her home country as the tourist mecca it is and not just a drug lord haven. She was 55 years old and will be home most likely now and I hope she succeeded in sharing her clear love for her country. Cool stuff. The campgrounds here is very much an oasis amongst the barren countryside. There’s a grassy patch that’s thick and lush for campers and I have pitched the grasshopper on the lushiest patch I could find. A bit of a contrast from last night’s rocky red dirt. We’re all cleaned up and the cycle gear washed. It was sooo disgustingly dirty streaked with salt sweat marks and red dirt. We looked pretty scary arriving this arv. The poor fella at the roadhouse must of got an awful fright when we walked in this arv no wonder he let us camp for free. Thankyou Dave your facilities are awesome and it’s a special camp amongst camps for us tonight yay. The difference a wash makes when I’m feeling mentally and physically crapola is amazing and we feel ready to tackle tomorrow now with a better prepared mindset. There’s another 2 lads in tents nerby and I was talking to them when we first arrived. They have the coolest off road motor bikes and traveling Australia doing all the tracks off highway one. They also loved the Bungles and checked it out by air as well as the walks and said it’s been their highlight too so far. They’re pretty big berly lads indulging in home brew ginger beer and full of good natured cheek and color and jokes about the greynomads all in good jest. They’ve also shared some wonderful times with caravanners they have met along the way and we exchanged stories about drinks and dinners they’ve been treated to. They have the muchies now and have headed over to the roadhouse for a steak burger and hot chips. That’s got my starvs happening so it’s time for dinner for this weary wee cyclist and an early night for an early start. $1589.35 Cash donations. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 56 Karratha

Day 65 77 days to go. Distance today 125km total 5211km. It’s 7pm Monday 10/9/12 Bush camp 2km sth Karratha shell Road House. Do you know how much I love posting and this time of night no moreso than tonight after what’s been a bit more of a tricky day. There’s such a comfort in it for me and bazar sense of home. I’m sitting in between Rube and the Grasshopper with my cuppa and all cleaned up wet wipes style and now posting you fine folk in a comfy space. It’s so lovely knowing my family and new and old friends will be reading this and it’s my connection with you yay. This part of WA is proving to be a bit trickier. It makes me appreciate how spoilt we have been with the facilities in the rest areas up to now. The same facilities here are a bit skinnier as we’re finding. All good but with plan B done up this arv to figure in more roadhouse and campground stops. Water is one of challenges so with the tweaked itinerary Ive allowed to stay where water is available or in between roadhouses where we can water up for the next day. Fully watered up we carry now 8 litres and that see’s us through the day and overnight. Then at a couple of places over the next 2 weeks we’ll have to carry an extra 4 litres to cover the next day as well. But Ive figured out how that can work so on paper it works and that’s a goof start. I like this part of the challenge and again reminds me what’s most important at the end of the day. Foremost that Rube and I are safe and sound at the end of the day. Secondly allow for water as the vanners are not reliably around. This seems to be because the places to stay overnight are off the trunk road and along the coast 10 to 20km off at dirt road access points. There’s also sights inland and many have opted to take this road to check out those National Parks. The Camp’s 6 Australia book said we could camp at the Shell Roadhouse at Karratha but when we got there this arv were told that they no longer allow this as it’s too dangerous with the amount of Roadtrain traffic in/out of the place. And that’s an understatement!!!!! Since leaving Port Headland yesterday the number of roadtrains have at least doubled. This means it’s been pretty full on managing the constant passing both ways with the wind they generate. Rube and I are definitely staying positive but with the truckee wave working overtime when safe to do so. I know that good karma means good road safety and the essential ingredient to ending the day safe and sound with anything else bonus steak knives. This is our first principle and it works and keeps us smiling with all ten fingers and toes. The folk at the roadhouse pointed us to Karratha which was backwards 10km to the turnoff then another 7km into town eeeeeeeeeek. Time for a can of Persi Max. I think the lady felt sorry for me and gave it to me as a freebie thankyou x I inhaled it and gathered myself together for the trip back. About 2 kms into it I spotted a travel bus that had pulled up 50m down a dirt road. This may be a better option. I spoke to the folk and asked if I could camp nearby which worked for them yayayayayaya. I dropped the trailer and went back to the roadhouse to water up and returned to set up camp double yay. This gave me the chance to reshuffle the itinerary and we’re felling happier with how the next days look to Perth. I’m feeling allot happier now having some predicable stops that allows for water and safe places to stay overnight. The days are mentally tougher for the time being so it’s good to have a reliable stop to aim for to help chip through the day. While at the roadhouse a fella donated $10 but didn’t want to hand round for his receipt so we have our first Mr Unknown carbon copy in the book very funny!!! But thankyou anyway Mr 🙂 Before leaving the rest area this morning we also received a donation from Brian. He’s a 71 year old dear fella travelling by himself in his van with a Posty Bike attached to the back. He was telling me the history of these bikes which was really interesting. Apparently there’s lots of posty bike clubs across Autralia and the motor cycle is sought after by many for it’s quirky reliability. Posty bikes came about in 1975 when Honda made a contract with Australia post to design a reliable bullet proof machine that could take the weight, go all day without a splutter, start first time round and run on an oily rag. Hence the 110cc Red Posty Bikes that are pretty much nowadays as first designed back in 1975 with the contract still going strong. Australia Post run them for 25 000km then sell them to the public on auction that’s why they’re a real commodity when folk score them. Brian thinks that Honda may have started selling them direct to the public about 12 months ago but the design’s different and not the real McCoy that clubbing folk so love. I really enjoyed our chats this morn and found all this stuff interesting. It was nice to have him wave us off and wish us safe travels. Likewise mate and thankyou for the $5 donation. Along our travels today we stopped to take some great micro shots of a patch of more desert peas amongst other wild flowers and beautiful landscape backdrop. I also met a very curious gecko who was happy to he held for some pickies or maybe too shi# scared to move 🙂 We popped him back in his sandy terrain which he blended so beautifully in his camouflage color. Nature’s so clever isn’t it? This part of our travels seems very long stretches and the countryside vast with floodways a dominant feature. They must get such full on water pass through here during the wet given the size of the dry river beds that we cross during the day. So that’s about us for the day and time for dinner and beddy byes as I’m pretty weary from the day and looking forward to an early night. I checked out the photos before including the sunset shots we snapped here and they are pretty cool. I look forward to uploading this next lot when I get a chance to share with you fine folk. With the $15 donations from Brian and Mr Shell Roadhouse Man that makes the total now $1579.35. Talk soon x PS I almost forgot Rube’s rear tyre valve had a blow out today so we had a character building exercise changing her tube by the roadside contending with the windy gusts of the passing road trains bugga but all fixed and sorted. It’s my beloved job to look after my girl cause she soooo looks after me 🙂

Another day ends
and tomorrow awaits
full of anticipation
for all it will bring
and the challenge ahead
as we cycle our beautiful Nation.

Another day ends
and a new day will break
full of the color of life
in every surprise
and adventure ahead
as I dream of tomorrow tonight.

Theaussiechallenge Post # 55 Sherlock River Rest Area

Day 64 78 days to go. Distance today 147 total 5086km. It’s 7.15pm 9/9/12 Sherlock River RA. We’ve had a very delish day a bit longer than intended but just means less ks to tomorrow yay. We had aimed for Whim River hotel where I was told we may have scored a camp but it was all closed up when we got there with just a small miner’s camp. Thank goodness because I was needing water and I bailed up some lads and scored some litres. We were good then to peddle to the next rest area which was 27km further on but it is worth the extra ks. It’s situated right on a river full of birdlife. We set up camp over sunset then made a cuppa and sat on twilight watching the black swans and white cranes and tweet tweet birds play in the river bank grasses. Such a beautiful space to end the day. There’s only two other vans here so there’s little people noise competing with the busy river life. I sat and thought how good is this. End of day cuppa always tastes pretty good but this one was extra num.

I was treated to breaky and take away lunch at the miner’s camp this morning which was an awesome start to the day. There was everything on offer but what appealed was toast and butter so I endulged in a few pieces and fresh coffee. I jam packed a chinese container with spinach leaves, tomato and cheese slices so that’ll make for a yummy dinner tonight yay. That was such a score staying there overnight and the folk treated me so well we felt very spoilt. All the lads were full of warm smiles and hellos and happy to have us there. Its funny cause on the exterior they’re big and tough looking, heavily tattooed most of them with every second syllable a swear word with a smile. Real characters I liked it allot. The mess room was a hub of blokey blokes discussing sunday morning bloke stuff and very entertaining over breaky. We went into Port Headland town and did a top up shop then headed on the road with a nice tail wind.

We soon came across a bunch of supported cyclists heading towards Port Headland with a wicked headwind poor buggas. But they were in good spirits and doing a cycle from Perth to Broome to raise awareness for WA disability services. I stopped and chatted to them a while and they were a genuine bunch of cool folk very encouraging and keen to swop stories. Further down the road we were stopped by a woman from a travel magazine I can’t remember now which one bugga. Her name was Laura and she interviewed us and took a bunch of photos which was really cool. She got our details and will be in touch down the track to clarify any details and send us the photos. I’ll be able to get the name of the mag from her then . She told us what an inspiration we were and how lucky she was to stumble across us. It’s so special for me to hear this stuff. I love love love knowing I have inspired others with good stuff it so counts bigtime big to me and Rube.

The landscape was mixed today lots of flat floodways but with patches of those rocky hills classic mining area stuff with lots of mining activity in the area. This means the road train traffic is full on but we love the big tonkers. It keeps us amused exchanging waves and getting hello horn blasts. It’s time now to indulge in the chinese takeaway container and for some early comfy zzzz,s. The grounds quite sandy so it should be a comfy sleep tonight yay. Ive just set up the inner fly on the grasshopper tonight so we’ll be able to enjoy the stars which are crazy bright and stunning. Talk soon x

The floodplain’s dry and long
and we surprise him with our stop.
It’s lonely without rain
to give him work.

He shares his treasured birds,
their song and blooms of wild flowers.
Bursts of soaring color
brings him new life.

It’s into springtime now
which means the wet’s just weeks away.
Our visit lifts his heart
and makes him smile.

Theaussiechallenge Post # 54 Port Headland

Day 63 79 days to go. Distance today 150km total 4939km. It’s 6pm Saturday 8/9/12 Port Headland. I can’t believe it, Ive been warned prior that Port Headland is pretty much impossible to get accommodation and if you can it’s craaaaazy expensive. It’s nowadays a mining town catering for the zillion miners working the local sites. The road train traffic is nuts and my truckee wave worked overtime today. The sites started about 100km out of town and so the wave from that point on got a good workout. I love it!!! I regard everyone a big brother and am particularly thankful for their wide berth and keeping all fingers and toes after each tonker passes. Anyway back to the story…… about 5km out of the centre of town I passed a BP that had a caravan sign out front but No Vacancies as expected. What the hell may as well ask and so glad we did. We hit the jackpot first up. The campground is only for miners with a whole bunch of demountables and permanent van sites crammed in. The Asian lady behind the counter pointed me to the security office. I wondered round lost and was about to give up when a groundsman asked if I was ok and called up security on the two way. I met Michael who’s an ex NSW police officer and couldn’t have been more accommodating. He found us a spot to pitch the grasshopper and gave me a voucher to have dinner and breakfast at the dining area. Considering what the folk or company pay to stay here it’s so generous and we’re feeling pretty so fortunate. Rube’s already snoring having worked pretty hard today with windy conditions and rough roads. We woke to an overcast day so turned off the alarm and went back to sleep getting up with the sun and sunrise again. I’m liking this allot more by the way. It feels like a luxury after packing up in the dark for the last few weeks to beat the heat. Neil came over to wave us off and take some pickies of Rube for his friends. The girl was blushing so cute!!! Neil’s friends are trying to convince him to do a ride across the Nullabor with them. He was happy to take some pickies as his bit of research towards the trip.

The scenery was much like yesterdays and long stretches of it. But the wild flowers are a real feature and I played spot the new variety with Rube to entertain the brain. She spotted our first desert pea and I got some great micro shots. It was the only patch we saw for the day so well done to my eagle eyed girl!! The landscape changed with the start of the mining. Those odd shaped rocky crops started popping up to break the otherwise flat floodplains.

I got a visit just before from Mitch one of the miners in the grounds and he was asking a bunch of questions about what we’re up to. He said that he clears about $2500 per week but that rent in town can be little change from $1200 nuts stuff. The mining companies subsidize much of the expense but otherwise many lads share rentals to share the expense. Mitch donated $50 before wishing us well and getting back to his beer.

We’ll peddle into town in the morning and do a top up shop before heading onto the station where we were given heads up to stay about 100km south of town awesome shorter day!!! I can smell the dining hall and its stirring the starvs so Ill end it there for this evening. We have service so I can upload the posts from the last days yay! Cash donations $1564.35. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 53 Pardoo Roadhouse

Day 62 80 days to go. Distance today 140km total 4789km. It’s 8pm Friday 7/9/12 Pardoo Roadhouse. When the alarm went off this morning I woke to a very windy wind outside and thought mmmmm time for a sleep in yay. Not a big one but it was nice to get up with the sun and another beautiful sunrise. Camped next to us was a fella riding his BMW off roader around Australia in one month. It looks just like the lads in ‘Long Way Round’ and we got talking this morning over morning coffee. He is so excited spending his month’s off work on his adventure. He was telling me about his river crossings in the Bungles like a big kid which always makes me smile. Rube and I got on the road about 8am and that windy wind was at our tails yaaaaaaaay!!!! The whole ride double yaaaaaaaay!!! The scenery was really barren with red red sandy shoulders off the road. Trees were sparse and the ground was mostly shrub height mixed grasses. There were flashes of bright purple wildflowers which looked sensational and the ever present birdlife made the zippy ride a real treat. We were stopped by a couple wanting to make a donation. Talk about darling folk. They had just spent the last months up in Broome as the caretakers for the camping offered in the PCYC grounds. Many of the local facilities that have ground space like the pistol club and showgrounds, take in vanners during the busy tourist months. They make some extra cash and help Broome with the tourist numbers. They invite vanners as volunteer site managers in exchange for free stay in the grounds. Ross and Wayne have 3 mini something pooches and the PCYC and pistol club are the only sites that take pets. Therefore they’re very popular as so many folk travel with their fury babies. Ross loves to cook and each Thursday night she would cook up a 3 course meal. They’d arrange entertainment and sell tickets and over their 7 weeks raised an extra $7000 for the club. No wonder they’ve been invited back the last 3 years running. They checked we had enough water and donated $10 before heading thankyou xx It was 140km to Pardoo Roadhouse and we pulled in just after 1.30pm nice!!!! The folk were happy for us to stay as a freebie and we spent the afternoon doing some have-tos, lazing by the pool and writing. It was as beautiful as the sunset this arv showing off it’s pinks and reds across the wisps of clouds on the horizon. About this time we got a visit from Neil and his wife also staying here. He’s a super keen cyclist and really wants to do some cycle touring. It was really fun talking bike stuff and gear and sharing ideas with another bike nutter. Neil was so excitable full of questions and bouncing ideas it was fun chats and cool to show off our kit. He was goooing over how good Rube looks. Needless to say Neil’s the new crush!!! They donated $20 and I gave them a card to hopefully be in touch. All the best with the tripping and scheming!!! It’s 50kms to Port Headland tomorrow so time for dinner and beddy byes. Cash donations $1514.35 awesome stuff!!!! Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 52 Sandfire Roadhouse

Day 61 81 days to go. Distance today 110km total 4649km. It’s 6pm Thursday 6/9/12 Sand Fire Roadhouse. Today started with another spectacular sunrise. I’m really enjoying the early starts. It’s cool and there’s hardly any traffic on the road so we ride with the birds in all their tweeting morning glory. The number of trucks increase after ‘roo risk’ passes then die down again over breaky o’clock. After chatting with Roger and Jan last night I have an added zest in my truckee wave. This sense of big brother bond with the lads is really strong. When I stopped today at Sand Fire Roadhouse there was a truckee having lunch and I sat with him for an hour talking all stuff weather and routes and loads and kms. He was shy at first and a bit stuttery but soon found his mojo and chatting momentum. This sparked a series of social ‘run ins.’ I met Ron who’s riding his Harley around Australia in 6 weeks to raise money for cancer research. He’s got a brochure and is registered on http://www.everydayhero/Ron McLaughlin. A totally totally cool guy and bike and it was great to chat with him a while and exchange details. I hope we’ll cross paths again. He looks just like Steve Waugh. I was trying to think who he reminded me of and of course thought of it after he left. Hope to hear from you mate and have a safe and successful ride. Love the brochure!!!! He’s also on facebook if you want to check him out. Sue and John then arrived on their way though to eighty mile beach. They too had just been staying at Barn Hill Station and loved loved loved it!!! i gave them the dates when I’ll be Geraldton and they’ll be home by then so awesome we’ll get to spend some time together in their home town on the 20/9. I then met Morgan and Karen who have crossed paths a few times now the last in Roebuck Bay. They were the couple going to the open air cinema and had a wonderful night. I sat with them while they had lunch and we chatted about travel and Mongolia. They’re a very cute and cool couple!! They also donated $10 thank you guys and no doubt we’ll be chatting again soon when we cross paths maybe Coral Bay? Ed and Nancy then donated $10 and we gotto chatting about their recent stay at a station 100km south of Port Headland just north of Whim Creek. It’s owned by Sandi and Barry Franklia and it’s only 1km off the main road. They said it was awesome and a real heritage homestead and great facilities. They said to try them for a stay and mention their names so that’s the plan on the other side of Port Headland. It works in well with the days for ks so awesome!!! Ed and Nancy also have a caravan park 200km south of Perth called ‘Australind’ and have invited us to stay. it’s close to the highway by a lake and sounds beautiful in a beautiful corner of the State so that’s definitely us when the time comes. Thank you so much and see you soon xWe should be there around the 7th Oct after our days off in Perth. This young bloke and his girlfriend and another couple at the roadhouse for lunch then handed over $5 each thank you Tony and Gavin and Dora ($5). I’ve just gone through the receipt book and almost forgot about the sweetest couple who pulled up alongside us riding today and stopped to make a donation. They too were from a place south of Perth and were soooo excited and supporting of our ride. They were full of questions and ‘well dones’ and donated $50 with huge hugs from both. What a lovely experience and very generous donation thanks lovely people!!! You gave us a booster shot for the last 50kms. The folk at the roadhouse welcomed us through the door….’hi Maree we know all about you and your fundraising for white ribbon…happy birthday for yesterday and you’re welcome to stay….’ How incredibly cool!!!! The girl behind the counter came round and gave me a huuuge hug. Another couple who we met in Goldfire Rest Area are staying here and gave the staff heads up about us. How lovely was it to be welcomed like that. It was kinda like the reception we got a Banka Banka when Robyn and Terry and Sam had arrived before us and made arrangements with Bob for Rube and I to stay. I popped over before to buy some mints for tomorrow and they gave them to me on the house plus a piece of chocolate cake as a belated birthday treat!!!! Yum it’s been indulged with a coffee double yum with icing and everything 🙂 The roadhouse is really cool with a small plantation of mango trees that has provided a shady afternoon and a huge number of peacocks for amusement. Ive washed the cloths and stinky me so we’re all afresh to tackle tomorrow. Counting up the donations today thats $80 and a total over $1484.35. Time for dinner talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 51 Stanley Rest Area

Day 60 82 days to go. Distance today 60km total 4539km. It’s 12.30pm Wednesday 5/9/12 Stanley Rest Area. There’s a crazy wind today with Mother Nature blowing a south easterly with attitude. Rube and I were ready for a break after slogging 4 hours for 60km. What’s that about and today of all days being our birthday. We rode into the rest area and were greeted with ‘hey Maree want a cuppa?’ Roger and Jan are camped here overnight and apparently we met Saturday night. They too were perched on the rock wall to watch the ‘Stairway to the Moon’ in Roebuck Bay. Morning coffee o’clock is always good especially when made for you. Roger is a retired road train driver so I was a wide eyed kid listening to him talk shop about Truckee’s. It was soon midday and a headwindy 110km to Sandfire Roadhouse had the big thumbs down from me and a gooey spitooey from Rube. It’s otherwise a beautiful day so I checked the days to Perth and could manage early stumps with only minor tweaking. Rube’s been singing,’happy birthday to us’ ever since and I can’t agree more 🙂 We found a possie under a shelter and in all happiness.

It’s 9pm. Rube and I pottered about doing lots of yummy nothing for the afternoon. We had a visit from Hazel who stopped at the rest area for afternoon tea. She gave me the biggest hug in appreciation of our cause what a dear lady. She donated $20 before her and hubby got going again. Another couple Shirley and Colin puled up and Shirley was particularly fascinated with what we’re doing. They are from Perth and hope to cycle in France so we have inspired them to move their idea forward into a plan Nice!!. They offered us to stay when in Perth or leave our gear there if needed when we visit home. There’s a bike shop nearby and they’re quite close to the airport so it’s all very generous, very workable, and very appreciated options. They filled our water bottles before leaving thank you kind folk keep ‘living the dream’ as your business card says and we’ll be in touch soon. I almost forgot, Shirley gave me a piece of fruitcake for my birthday. It didn’t last 5 minutes after they left yum burp! It was happy hour and a man gave me a can of solo for to have over sunset double burp!! Jan popped over and invited me to dinner for a vegy casserole and banana muffins Roger had made for my birthday. Talk about spoilt. We shared a very interesting and easy evening dining under the stars to what was the perfect end to a very cool day. $1404.35 cash donations with Hazel’s $20. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 50 Goldwire Rest Area

Day 59 83 days to go. Distance today 125km yesterday 40km total 4479km. It’ 7.15pm Tuesday 4/9/12 Goldwire Rest Area. Rube and I had an early finish today arriving just after 2pm. It’s been a comfy afternoon with a beautiful breeze sharing a shelter space with three really interesting couples chatting into the evening. They’re all seasoned 5 star vanners with every mod con and comforts. Lesley and Nigel showed me round their van which has been custom built costing $100 000 and it’s pretty much a luxury mobile home which they live out of nowadays traveling with the seasons. Nigel picks up contract work as needed managing telecommunications projects and then they’ll travel again for another 12 to 18 months. What a great semi retirement life. They are such a source of info about Australian places and indigenous culture. We’ve had the best chats together and it’s been really interesting hearing their experience and thoughts on the challenges for indigenous Australia. This subject really interest me and I’m loving hearing other’s thoughts and understandings. Two of the families have pooches and I’ve had a cool time playing with them. Thanks for the time shared this arv lovely folk it’s been a real treat.

The ride today was pretty tough with offshore headwinds and slow inclines for the most part. But Ive been pretty relaxed with it and it wasn’t long before the kms passed after an early 5.30am start. It was a total fog out this morning and a wickedly heavy dew. So much so my speedometer shorted from the wet and we relied on the road signs for distances which was a different experience. I brought a spare and have set it up but need a battery for the wheel magnet so I’ll grab one when I can. Otherwise there’s enough signage to break up the day’s distances and we’ll manage ok ’til then. The sun looked wonderful coming up through the fog and created a misty pink skyline that was a beautiful start to the day. It was so much cooler traveling just inland from the coast which made it far more comfy than the tricky heat from Kununarra to Broome.

It was awesome getting all the photos uploaded yesterday mammoth effort taking 5 hours and $30 but happy to be sharing that stage of our cycle including the Bungles. It meant a later start for us not leaving ’til 4pm and only managed to get to the Roebuck roadhouse before the light ran out for the day. But we scored a free camp from the manager Kris and will make up the distance today/tomorrow. It’s still 170km to the Sandfire Roadhouse so another early start should see us there about 4pm. I’ll spoil myself to a shower and pamper for my birthday yayayayaya. Rube turns 5 and mwa 45 so it’s a big special day for us chicks.

Lesley and Nigel donated $5 so thats a total of $1384.35. Time for dinner and an early night. There’s a chill tonight brrrrrrrrr nice to tuck into the sleeping bag for some comfy zzzzz’s. Talk soon x