Saturday, November 10, 2007

DAY 35: Rest area 27 km W of Nundroo Roadhouse to rest area 25km E of Penong

Fri 9th Nov 07
136 km @ 16.9 km/hr
tailwind for 35km then strong headwind rest of day

Another fickle weather day - the encouraging northerly element to yesterdays breeze continued until 1000 and then moved through 180 over the next hour. Wrongly I had hoped to reach Ceduna today if I can average over 20 km/hr, so the disappointment was palpable - serves me right for assuming! Anyhow just before 1000 I popped into Nundroo Roadhouse for bacon and eggs, left full of beans which as it turned out were fruitless. Nevertheless I plodded along but found I was drinking an awful lot - no wonder in this heat, added to which humidity was extremely low. A sandwich I was eating as i rode along started to turn crisp within minutes! in total I must have drank 5 or 6 litres of fluid while riding, and another 2 in the evening.
In fact although I thought I has provided well water-wise I had ran out alltogether by the time I reached Penong. There’s a nice little general store there with shady tables outside, and I slowly devoured half a litre of iced coffe and a large apricot Danish (I love everything with apricots in) and i can’t tell you how good the ice-cold drink felt to my parched throat, and how mouth-wateringly delicious the pastry was. So good in fact I repeated the process, and felt much better for that. I chatted to a nice young motorcycling guy who was returning to Perth after a couple of years in Canberra (I seem to have met a lot of ‘movers’ like him, most heading W to E, possibly discontented with over-development of WA which is going through a mining boom at the moment, from what I have been told.
The road today was a little hilly, so not quite as easy as it has been recently.
Forgot to mention a little ‘crisis’ i had last night - I had taken a penicyllin capsule about 8 but at about 9 as I was swallowing I gagged on a revolting taste and intense burning in my throat - the capsule must have been lodged there and the plastic coating (or whatever it is) had finally eroded. The pain was intense and I had to hang out of the tent thowing up - it was a very unpleasant experience, and my throat is still very sore today, and I am talking with a gravelly voice. I didn’t realise this last bit until I was singing whilst riding late this morning (before I had spoken to anyone lol). I have often had trouble swallowing large tablets for some reason.
After I had satiated my appetite at Penong I had a peek at the campsite there, but although clean it looked kind of austere and it was very hard ground too, so I decided to make a dash for the rest area 25km east, and a long draggy ride against the wind I arrived before 6 to find the most basic of facilities and no way I could avoid pitching in full view of the road, which didn’t seem very secure. There’s no way of prediciting these things unfortunately. the land is all used for cereals again so there’s a fence quite close to the road i.e. no heading back into the bush for a more discreet site. too bad, and I was too tired to carry on to look for a better site, anyway it was on the late side - it’s dark by about 1945 here.
Tomorrow there’s only a 47km or so run into Ceduna to complete the Nullabor ‘section’. I shall be glad to spend the weekend there getting me and my clothes / gear cleaned up at last. Camping in the bush can be a mucky business as the soil lately has been very dry and dusty, and it gets everywhere of course. Little chance of getting a shower or even wash either - there have been no rivers of any description for at least 1000 km in this dry area, and one can’t carry enough on a bicycle to do a proper job. Wet ones and Savlon are very useful and not so bulky!
Over this weekend I’ll come up with some stats about my Nullabor epic for those interested in these things. Hopefully I will at last find usable internet access.

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