Saturday, November 10, 2007

DAY 27: Fraser Range CP to Rest Area 50km E of Baladonia

Thursday 1st Nov 07
140 km @ 16.4 km/hr
SE side wind for most of day, warm

Away early at 0730 to a cloudy morning with a hint of rain. Usual flat and straitish road and 90 km of nothing to Baladonia Roadhouse. A slight tailwind early on got me off to a good start; in fact the 90 km was fairly easy, or I am getting fitter. Plenty of toots from motorists and especially motorbikers little response from lorry drivers ar usual. Scores of smelly dead kangaroos everywhere, what a carnage!
Hit Baladonia by 1300; what a negative experience! Whoever oens this lucrative business has no consept of customer service - miserable waitress, maddening muzac, stupid PIE internet setup at $14/hr (dearest ever although very slow dial-up connection (I only managed to get around 8 internet pages in 17 mins for $4 grrrrrr!) filthy toilets that hadn’t been cleaned for a week by the looks of it - I strongly recommend avoiding this place.
So still not able to upload my pre-typed blog text and photos - God knows when I’ll be able to do this. These PIE machines are supplied on contract and just look like a big plastic box with a screen and keyboard - no USB ports visible etc. They may be less hassle for the roadhouse but rated 1/10 for customer satisfaction. The US Skylab crashed to earth somewhere near here and a piece of it is displayed in a small museum at the roadhouse.
I thankfully escaped after an egg and bacon butty and capaccino (which actually weren’t’ too bad) and feeling strong, kept going for another3 hours to clock 140 km. The whole day had been very enjoyable, but the last couple of hours were magic - the ever-present eucalyptus forest gave way to low mallee scrub with the sun casting deep shadows and revealing many shades of green.
I came to the sign that everyone takes a picture of (see pic) which sees the start of the longest piece of dead straight road in Australia. After this the road really does disappear in a ‘vcanishing point’ many km away.
After another hour i came to a rest area and set up the tent next to a table - woohoo! As i was setting up the tent a guy pulled up in a converted pick-up/ camper, and came to introduce
himself -p Hugo from Sydney. He promptly filled up my mug with white wine and told me about himself - he has been on his annual pilgrimage to a plot of land he leases in the Pilbara, WA, where he prospects for gold. He has been doing this for 20 years or more, without much success it seems. This time he only found 20g of gold worth some $70! Anyway this very generous guy filled up my cup again and I gave him an orange (as you do), and we chatted while I finished ny meal of pasta and tuna, well dusted with parmesan cheese. We discussed Australian politics and aboriginals. The meeting was yet another spontaneouis gesture of friendship that seems typical Aussie style. It started to get cold so we retired to our respective humble abodes for the night.
As it went dark I went for a short walk in the bush tosavour the growing night noises of crickets and birds having a last feed. Later on after typing this out I will go and have a wander to look at the stars. there is no street lighting within 200 km of here so the stars really stand out.

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