Monday, October 22, 2007

DAY 17: Fitzgerald River RA to Ravensthorpe

Mon 22 Oct 07
80 (hard) km, side / headwind
cloudy and cold (12 deg C)

From my arrival at the Fitzgerald River rest area at 1530 yesterday to my leaving this morning not another soul stopped or stayed here - all to myself. I briefly felt a bit edgy when I thought I saw someone moving about in the dunny (loo) when there were no vehicles here and the nearest house is 10’s of km away - a ghost? Until I realised there was a fern-like bush wafting around in the wind, that’s all. All part of the experience!
Whilst I was packing the tent away a kookaburra came and stood beside me as tame as could be - I could have reached down and touched it.
From the start the road rose in a steady drag, and with the wind no longer behind me I knew I was in for a tough day. There would be no culinary compensations either as there is NOTHING between these 2 places, other than some farms set well back from the road - no cafes or shops though.
By just 20 km I was feeling quite weary and stopped to eat the last of my snacks - I had probably not brought enough along. The side / headwind made everything feel harder, and I just plugged away as best I could. I don’t think I’m as fully fit as I might be yet.
The road was endlessly straight, and in places I could see 6 or 7 km ahead of me - vanishing point. Lots of dead kangaroos again.
The cereal fields continued - mostly barley, wheat and canona (latter is used to make margerine), but there was usually a margin of trees at the side of the road, which offered some shelter.
With 15 km to go I saw a car parked ahead of me and wondered if it was George returning from Albany in replacement hire car. I was pretty hungry by now and my first question was “have you got any chocolate?”. He hadn’t as it happened, but I was happy to see him anyway, and in factg he did find me half a bag of sweets from somewhere to top up sugar levels. He then continued onto Esperance where he will continue his trip by bike.
The next (and last) 15 km was hardest of all - uphill, wind more in my face now, covered with flies brought out by a bit of rare sunshine, and if that wasn’t enough threatened by nest-protective magpies. These birds are renowned here for attacking anyone who comes within range of their nests during breeding season - inflicting severe injuries on occasion; I resorted to screaming at them when they came too close, and it seemed to work.
I finally crawled into Ravensthorpe and the nearest cafe for food and drink, then uploaded to the blog at the very expensive Telecentre, although it was a very fast connection.
The caravan park is good, and only $7 too!
Had a nice chat with the Dutch couple next door and got my laundry done at last - I had nothing clean left, and had to put on wet gear this morning after 2 days rain and no way of drying. All in all ending the day on a positive note.
I now have 188 km to Esperance with only 1 roadhouse after 88 km, so the extra shopping I did here thgis afternoon should easily get me by. The wind might drop according to one person I met; better then a headwind!
I will have the cane toads lullaby tonight as I get down to sleep, I can hear them starting up already. In case you wondered I’m typing this up in the tent, in the dark, with my head torch; so forgive me any typos!

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