4th September, 2015
I am feeling content. I love Dreamer, my bike, Ziflex my trailer, Soulo my tent by Hillebergs The Tentmaker, the Primus Multifuel stove (that I’ve learned to love), the Ortlieb panniers. And all the other stuff I have, and how it all neatly packs into the Ortliebs, the Ziflex big black back and the Sea to Summit 65 ltr waterproof bag in which my bed rides snuggly on top of the Ziflex on the trailer. Love it all.
We left Norseman Hotel around 0730 and made our way gently towards the Eyre Highway about 2 km north. We made it to the large BP roadhouse where we addressed one of Rob’s ‘Must Do!’s namely eat on of the awesome sausage rolls the roadhouse is famous for. Washed down with good coffee.
Ray turns up and joins in. Ray, the Über-vegan Supa-cyclist, melted asphalt until a flat tyre stopped him in Cocklebiddy. There he realised he’d split the rim of his rear wheel. A thin fracture running about half-way up the rim for the entire diameter of the wheel. A catastrophic failure, and his fourth such catastrophe.
He hitched back to Norseman bringing his wheel with him enroute to Kalgoorlie where he’ll pick up another rim sent from Brisbane and have the whole wheel rebuilt before hitch-hiking back to Cocklebiddy where he’ll reassemble his bike and continue to melt asphalt as he continues his ride across Australia.
I expect in a couple of weeks he’ll catch up to us somewhere in South Australia.
As I ate my sausage roll I realised I was ready for this. I am, we are, well prepared.
I am confident in myself.
I am confident in my abilities.
In my emotional and mental state.
In my fitness.
In Dreamer my bike.
In Ziflex my trailer.
In all my other equipment.
In my food supplies and diet.
In my water consumption and supplies.
I am confident and I look forward to this.
106 km later we pull off the Eyre Highway to the Fraser Range Station and its famous camping area. Lovely place for a first night. Ate a fat rich ice scream in the late afternoon sun. Hot showers, at 1$ for 5 minutes, potable water from the camp kitchen which is itself amazing. With the fire going it was positively hot in the camp kitchen.
Riding was good with a bit of tail wind, mostly sunny though not too hot.
Traffic was/is light, with far less road-train frequency than the Ravensthorpe-Esperance sections. And the road-train drivers give us plenty of room, if they are able. Only the odd white van and/or car+caravan (vaner) races past without giving any room. Always shocks me and we both raise our fingers in appropriate salute.
We got headwinds day two. All day. Again the weather fine and not too hot.
We alternate every ten minutes to allow one to rest in the wind-shadow of the other who’s contending with that head-wind. All day.
Very handy being able to rest in Rob’s wind shadow. The difference between six or eight hours peddling against the wind. Or three or four hours in ten minute intervals.
We maintain a good moving average of 18 km and arrive at Balladonia roadhouse and camping before 1400, satisfying both Rob who tends to want to make milestones, and me who wants to stop riding at 1400.
1000 m before the actual roadhouse we bush-bash for 300 m and make a wild camp. Balladonia does not have a good reputation and with a cost of 30 AUD for a tent site it was a bit of a no-brainer to not stay there. We walked down to the roadhouse, enjoyed ice coffee, another ice cream and a couple of (expensive) beers.
27 km from Balladonia Roadhouse Australia’s longest straight stretch starts. 146.6 km of arrow straight blacktop. The next roadhouse is Ciaguna 178 km at the end of the dead straight bit. One night? Two? Hard to tell. Depends on many things. Wind, weather, whether too hot or too rainy or too windy. On what there’s to see as we ride along. We’ll need sufficient water to cover any contingency. The 10 ltr water bottles sold in the roadhouse are 50% cheaper than the same about of water in 6 1.5 lte bottles. The 10 ltr bottle fits very nicely in the Ziflex.
With nearly 15 ltrs of water on the bike I have plenty of water. Especially as when we were having lunch a couple of hours down the Eyre Highway a caravaner gave use 2 litre of ice! He said he “thought you’d like something cold to drink”.
There were things to see. Funny and/or iconic road signs. Rock people sitting by the road. The only Zebra crossing I’ve come across since leaving Perth and even there there are but a few, across the runway for any RFDS emergencies. An abandoned telegraph-station on Balladonia Station’s land with its large lavender bushes. A bobtail lizard we rescued from the asphalt and sent on his way back to the bush. Ever expanding horizon as the trees increasingly give way to salt and drought tolerant bushes. And finally, Woorlba camping place where I sit on my Helinox ground chair and reflect on my good fortune.
I am content and happy.
And I love what I’d doing.