Saturday, November 10, 2007

DAY 29 Bush camp 45km E of Caiguna to Madura

Sat 3rd Nov 07
113 km @ 16.4 km/hr
wind on right side most of day

A much slower day today as can be seen from the speed compared to yesterday. I think I was more tired today too after yesterday’s 177 km (110 miles). I was away nice and early at 0700 though, since I didn’t bother with breakfast - the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse was only an hour along the road. I plumped for the ‘driver’s special’ breakfast which had everything including chips- at least 2000 calories he he. I topped up water bottles just in case - I’m probably carrying too much today with 6 or 7 litres since the cooler weather means I don’t sweat much - even yesterday I drank less than 2. Today was even cooler with cloud cover most of the day and the cool southerly wind blowing off the distant ocean. Sun, sun, where are you? I have only had a couple of completely sunny days since I arrived a month ago. At least it’s more comfortable to cycle in I suppose!
I actually felt a bit too full to start with but as the day wore on I settled into another slog - the scenery is stunning but all the same - reminds me of the plains in central Africa - mostly dried-out grass with the odd bush - very few trees here though. the roads are mostly dead flat and straight. There are a lot of road trains every day (and night) hauling goods between east and west Oz; I would guess there’s one every 1 or 2 minutes, and although I can see and hear them coming in good time you never quite know how much ‘woosh’ you get as they pass. They are mostly double-trailers and cause quite a draught as they pass. Most of them cause me to wobble a little, but as I keep as far to the left as I can this doesn’t usually cause upset. One has to be particularly vigilant when a road train coincides with something coming the other way, in which case I get right off onto the cinder shoulder, which can be poor at times so I have to almost stop at these times. The loose 'roly-poly' gravel is lethal to a loaded bike
The approach to mandura is pretty spectacular - after 100’s of kms of flat and straight you suddenly come upon an escarpment which drops about 60m or so, and there’s a viewpoint where you can see for many 10’s of kms across the desolate Nullabor Plain. There is a raw beauty in it’s barrenness.
Mandura ‘Oasis’ Roadhouse / motel is nestled at the foot of the escarpment. I had decided to fork out for a room here tonight so that I could get a shower (ahem, it’s been a few days!); do my washing (desparate!); make some phone calls (can I get Lyn in lol) etc.
The room was $63 (£28) and dinner was dear at $21.50 AND $7.50 for a beer! Everything is at least 50% more expensive on the Nullabor as it is so remote (that’s the excuse anyway). Nice to have lots of tea and coffee and electric kettle though.
Still no Internet though, neither has their been a mobile phone signal since Norseman 500km ago. This is the back of beyond after all!
Having ridden 430km in 3 days I could do with a shorter ride tomorow, but it’s 115 km to the next roadhouse at Mundrabilia, and it seems a shame to stop short of that - however I intend to take it easier and I must force myself to stop when I’m tired, especially if there’s a headwind, which looks likely.

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