Saturday, November 10, 2007

DAY 36: Rest area 25km E of Penong to Ceduna

Sat 10th Nov 07
47 km @ 17.5 km/hr
Headwind for first 15km then tailwind to Ceduna

Fickle wind again - just when I thought it would be a hard (albeit short) slog it was a breeze for most of the morning - I was contentedly sat in favourite pose outside Ceduna cafe with capuccino, pastie and apricot slice by 1030. Heaven after the hardships and shortages of the bush / Nullabor / roadhouses. I was like a kid in a sweet shop for the first time (again).
The ride itself was without drama; but the previous night was not pleasant. I didn’t feel at all comfortable with pitching so close to the road in full view of everyone passing - it must have been clear that I was alone - and I had trouble getting to sleep as a result. I could hear the roadtrains miles before they passed me so my bnrain was tuned into this. And what a noise they made as they passed some 50m away. Anyhow I must have dropped off and I woke at 0600 as usual, and hurriedly packed and got going asap.
I didn’t bother with breakfast apart from a banana and a few Ritz crackers because I knew I could top up at Ceduna, and was savouring that event! My water was a bit salty and very warm, but that’s not unusual these past couple of weeks. Water is a necessity despite it’s palatability although I do sometimes add a little Gatorade recovery drink powder to liven it up a bit.
There was a bit of tree shelter along the way, but where the grain fields were open all the way to the road my speed dropped quite a lot. Once again the cereal fields were half the size of Wales, and lonely combine harvesters raised large dust clouds as the precious soil disappeared into the air and occasionally down my throat and in my eyes.
After brunch at the bakery I checked in at the caravan park on the sea front and very close to all the shops; very nice site and not too expensive at $17. Unfortunately all the shops closed at noon so some of the items I was after will have to wait. The TIC was open though, with good internet at $8/hr, and in 2 hours I uploaded all the nightly-prepared files onto the website, as well as answeriong a string of e-mails. A colleague of my son Ashley generously donated £100 to WaterAid - excellent.
I had thought I might buy a nice steak to cook on the barbie grill at the campers kitchen but the fish and chip place looked good so it was double snapper, chips and salad for $13.50 (£5.50) - very nice it was too, washed down by a litre bottle of nice beer.
Chatting to other campers at the CK is always interesting, and one of the topics was a lot of noise last night by Aboriginals in the streets around here. As I understand it there is a lot of drunkenness around and anyone found ‘over the top’ is taken to a centre where they are fed and helped to sober up. There is very little interaction between white and black as far as I can see; not that one sees many indigenous people at all.
I plan to spend a second night here and go over the bike and clean up some of the gear, as well as explore a bit. The fishing seems to be very good here judging by what people are cooking that they caught themselves today.

Had trouble sleeping again as the site is quite full and people were coming back from the hotel next door.

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.

DAY 34: Nullabor Roadhouse to rest area 27 km W of Nundroo Roadhouse

Thurs 8th Nov 07
119 km @ 15.9 km/hr
gusty headwind then no wind at all!
Had breakfast in the roadhouse then away well before 8.

The wind was fairly strong and in my face - so much for the theory that it doesn’t get windy until later! As I was within the 40km or so of true ‘treeless plain’ (Nullabor) there was no shelter at all and the wind was full on. I battled for about 30km until some trees reappeared and things started to improve. I noticed that the wind was moving to my left (north) and as the road bent to the south the headwind was soon gone, and I had a slight tailwind. So fickle is nature! From 9 to 18 km/hr in just half an hour.
It was also very hot today with blazing sunshine, well into the 30’s so lots of sun block used.
It felt good to be moving faster again, partly negated by the return of the roly-poly hills again. I could have reached Nundroo before dark, but I decided, along with 3 or 4 motorhomers, to stay the night at the rest area. I cooked some pasta and sat on a log and ate as the flies swarmed around me. I’m sure there wouldn’t be so many if people didn’t just chuck their rubbish on the ground at these places instead of in the bin provided.

These lizards (right) are all over the place - often killed on the road as they are so slow. If you go near them they open their mouths in an aggressive stance but it's all bravado.
At this rate I should complete the Nullabor run (Norseman to Ceduna) by Saturday all being well - around 1200 km in 11 days. It has probably been easier than it might had the weather been hotter, but the headwinds were struggle at times.
One thing that highly amused me was a dunny (above) kindly provided at one of the rest areas that I popped into for a snack. I’ve seen one with no door before now but this one had no roof or walls either! It comprised of a steel drum buried in the ground with a WC fitted to the top of the drum (see pic). At least there was a bush in front of it! I won’t tell you whether I used it or not!

DAY 33: bush camp 60km E of WA/SA border to Nullabor Roadhouse

Weds 7th Nov 07
130 km @ 14.4 km/hr
gusty headwind most of day approx 20-30 km/hr

Having learnt that the wind here dies overnight and doesn’t seem to get back up to full force until late morning (when the land warms up?), despite feeling like a lie-in I dragged myself up at 0600 and after a quick peanut butter and jam sandwich was away soon after 7. True enough, there was little wind and for the first 2 hours made good progress. But there were viewpoints of the Australian Byte coastline to inspect, and very spectacular they were too, and I was slowed down even more by all the tourists I met at these places - mostly motorhomers, and they are a nice lot, but i am getting a little tired of answering the same questions such as "what made you want to do this?" or "where did you start?" etc. etc....i don’t wish to appear anti-social but it does get a little tiresome sometimes, especially when I wanted to get on and get the calmer conditions.
The Bunda cliffs are pretty impressive - the viewpoints you can see for many miles straight down the rocky coast, and the cream and grey of the cliffs against the emerald green and ice-blue areas of sea
is startlingly beautiful. I went to have a look at all 6 viewpoints as they were all within a km of the road so no big detour.
After 1000 or so the wind started to increase as expected and although it was strong it was a little less so than yesterday as can be seen from my average speed. I hadn’t intended to go all theway to Nullabor RH but i was going well, I had the time, and cooked FOOD was calling, so i just kept going - it was a very hard day though and I was whacked on arrival after 9 hours in the saddle. The light wa starting to fade as i put the tent up - it’s going dark just before 2000 at the moment. For the exorbitant sum of $15 (not including shower) I was priveleged to erect the tent on rock-hard ground behind a dilapidated building - rip off! Still, I did get showered and was soon gazing at the menu with mouth watering - and I chose spag boll yet again - it just hits the spot so well after cycling, and of the 3 recent examples this was the best - very meaty as I like it, and lots of grated cheese (no Parmesan) over it. Just the job!
I heard from some motorhomers that the 2 couples cycling the same way as me, that I have separately metcouple of weeks ago, are around a day behind me, so it looks like we might meet up again soon.
This bicycle was apparently the first to be ridden accross the Nullabor by a helmeted cyclist - it is situated at the Nullabor Roadhouse!? Bit low tech?

Health report: the boils are well on the mend; I’m still taking the penicyllin though. The sciatica and thumb joint problems that have dogged me for the last couple of years seem to have disappeared - the magical healing properties of cycling?! Despite using factor 30 I’m still peeling, and that’s from very little sun, though mostly it has been blazing sunshine the last 2 or 3 days. All in all I’m in decent shape, though a roadside shrine to some poor devil reminded me not to be complacent about the road trains - they are my constant companions. Oh for a quiet country lane!

DAY 32: Eucla Motel to bush camp 60km E of WA/SA border

Tue 6th Nov 07
75 km @ 11.8 km/hr
gusty headwind all day approx 30-40 km/hr

Woke feeling a little tired still, and thought I might linger here and stay here again tonight, but after some thought decided to carry on, despite being aware that the wind would be the same as yesterday i.e. in my face. To be honest i don’t like the atmosphere here much - it’s more a resort than a roadhouse, and again the owners / managers whatever weren’t friendly. i had breakfast in the camp kitchen - the luxury of an electric kettle and toaster! and had a good natter with some other campers, including a teenage boy and his mother who very kindly gave me a loaf, and blow me a little later just before I set off the son came around with 4 little tins of my favourite tuna in sauce, wrapped in a copy of the Watchtower - clearly a gift from God! and very gratefully received - these items considerably improved the quality of my food reserves for the last 500km of the Nullabor.
The wind doesn’t pick up properly until between 9 and 10 it seems (mental note to get going earlier!!) so for the first hour I was somewhat liberated, however once the relentless SE-er kicked in it was back to jogging pace again - note average speed for day of only 11.8 km/hr - it didn’t ease all day. I plugged away regardless, receiving much sympathy from motorhomer contacts during the day, but to be honest I felt OK. I am never going hard on this tour, really just tootling along to try and conserve energy for the long haul (a year!).
After 13km i passed through the WA/SA border and i enetered my second state. There is a quarantine checkpoint for people entering WA - no fruit and veg allowed in, in case WA becomes victim to the fruit fly and otrher pests. I will get checked at Ceduna, 500km east, for the same goods entering the first centre of population of SA.
After the border the road deteriorates a little as there is no tarmac shoulder for cyclists if a road train is coming I have to jump off onto the pebbly (and unstable) gravel shoulder, however the tar surface is still OK. On the good side the road now runs very close to the sea, and there are several viewpoints to hop off and admire the view. the first one reveals a spectacular but desolate white sandy beach complete with ice-blue sea,,,hich stretches as far as the eye can see. The beach itself is about a km away so I didn’t go down, but it was perfect as it was. The next few viewpoints were just as spectacular in different ways - sheer cliffs; panoramic views and all. The tress have all but disappeared and there is little shelter from the relentless and gusty wind, which persisted until the end. The wind usually dies down at night however at 2000 it is still quite strong and knocking the tent about a bit; it’s also getting quite cold too because of the clear skies overhead.
on the faunal front, apart from the ubiquitous crows I havd counted a large lizard crossing the road (dangerous, as they are so slow; what I think was a (poisonous) Tiger snake that had just been hit I think and was still writhjing about; 2 dead camels side by side (long dead by the look of it). I have been looking out for whales in the Bight but we are coming to the end of their 'season’ of movement now. the crickets are getting louder as the evening wears on. I found a really secluded and hidden camp site about 200m from the road; there’s also an emergency phone on the road too just in case (these only seem to be every 50km apart or so).
Well, I’ve eaten and battened down the hatches, I’ll soon finish this, do some Sudoku and then have a read, and probably soon after 2100 I’ll be asleep - waking up between 5 and 6 as a rule.

DAY 31 Mundrabilla Roadhouse to Eucla Motel

Mon 5th Nov 07
76 km @ 12.7 km/hr
headwind all day approx 30-40 km/hr

Had a good sleep last night despite generator noise, and a good breakfast of cereal, raisin toast and tea for only $9, which is cheap for the Nullabor, where prices seem to be around double elsewhere. I liked this place, a cut above some of the other roadhouses.
The first few km were a slog against the wind, but the sky darkened once more, it started raining, and the wind lifted for 20 km or so. After that was awful - sun came out, a strong gusty wind got up, and it was right in the face. At one point I was only doing 9 km/hr, fast walking pace. It was pretty tedious, and this is where one has to suffer and adopt a strong mental attitude - it felt as if I were going nowhere. then someone threw something out of a car at me, God knows what but I don’t think it was meant for my good. Regular stops and snacks got me through it, but the last 10km especially were interminable. The last 25km was also hot and dry.
Checked in at the gravelly Eucla Caravan Site ($15 showers extra) and after setting up the tent headed off on the 4km ride to the old 19th century Telegraph Station which is this places raison d’etre. The place is now half-buried in sand, it being near the beach / sand dunes. I wanted to walk to the beach itself but it was a km away over the dunes and I didn’t want to leave the bike on it’s own that long. i was pretty tired anyhow.
Back to cafe for another spag boll (mmmm) and as I was led to beleive by others there is a small selection of groceries - I actually got a loaf - woohoo! I was short of sugar but didn’t want to carry the minimum sized 1kg bag, so the young lady kindly said to grab a handful of individual sugar packs. With a few other items I should now be OK until Ceduna 500 km away and where the next supermarket is (bliss!).
Got talking to a couple formerly from Newcastle who emigrated to WA 20 years ago, and who are in the process of moving to Queensland for ‘more peace and better weather’. they will keep an eye open and invite me for coffee up the road, as they are taking their time to get to their new home.

DAY 30 Madura Motel to Mundrabilla Roadhouse

Sun 4th Nov 07
115 km @ 14.3 km/hr
headwind all day approx 20-30 km/hr

Started the day with a phone call to Lyn; there’s 10.25 hrs difference between UK and this part of WA - I was just up and she was about to go to bed. The cafe wasn’t open so I’ll have to breakfast on the go. As i was fastening my panniers up a large spider appeared and walked off across the floor, so I thought I’d better tell the cleaner who was working next door. she thought it was harmless but sprayed it anyway just in case. I would have left it alone given a choice.
Weather was same as usual - cloudy and cool, in fact I hardly saw the sun all day. I felt the wind though - a strength-sapping SSW that with the road heading E / SE it was going to be a hard day. There was very little shelter either - very few trees apparent now apart from the 1m high mallee and slightly taller saltbush, so there was little respite from the wind. I planned to do about 80km and call it a day, but once this was attained I thought I’d carry on ‘just a little bit farther’ and of course went all the way to the next roadhouse at Mundrabilla. Needless to say there was nothing in between origin and destination - just pancake-flat and mostly dead straight road. The escarpment that started at Madura continued as a low range of hills running parallel to the road to the north; quite signifdicant feature in such a flat landscape.
The road trains were just as numerous as on weekdays with one every minute or so - you really can’t relax. Again most drivers were courteous and gave me plenty of room, however 2 road trains came (I beleive) deliberately and dangerously close - one of these actually had wheels in the cinder verge and was only a few feet from me, even though there was nothing else approaching and a dead straight road.
after nearly 8 hrs in the saddle I was delighted to reach Mundrabilla, and having paid my $10 had the tent up in a jiffy and w as awaiting my spaghetti Bolognese. There was a very wide choice of food here and my choice went down a treat, as did a huge chunk of chocolate cake, as a rather talkative man waffled away about all the places I should go and see. I was too involved with the delicious food to be honest, though it was nice to have some company. The people that run Madura were not too talkative last night; I felt they could have made a bit more effort to engage paying customers.
A shorter run to Eucla tomorrow will givew me a little respite from a few hard days, and by all accounts there is something akin to a shop there where I hope to replenish my dwindling food stocks for the second half of the Nullabor (yes I’m halfway across!).
The Nullabor is not quite as stunning when the sun isn’t shining, the true colours don’t come out - let’s hope this changes soon.

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.

DAY 28: Rest Area 50km E of Baladonia to bush camp 45km E of Caiguna

Friday 2nd Nov 07
177 km @ 20.1 km/hr
tailwind on rt shoulder (S) for most of day, warm

Hugo came over for a chat before we set off this morning and I was quizzing him about the gold he’s found over the last 20 years or so. Although he found next to nothing this year (he works his plot
from Feb to Oct then returns to Sydney for the summer) 5 years ago he found a 10kg nugget worth ‘over a million’. He found it using metal detectors.
Anyway I was still away for 0710 with a decent tailwind that allowed me to easily cruise at 22km/hr. This kept up most of the day, but although it was bright and sunny first thing it clouded over and rained a little later on. It wasn’t that cold though, and I was just happy with the tailwind.
I wasn’t prepared for what happened halfway along the 90 mile straight though. I could see something black o the road ahead - at first I thought it was a kangaroo, but you don’t see many during the day. As i got closer i could see it looked like a dog - but 100km from the nearest habitation? When i came within spitting distance I saw that it was mostly black with fawn underparts - a little like a small lean Alsation dog but with more pointed ears - it was of course a dingo, and I now recall seeing some with similar markings at Austraia Zoo last December. It stopped and tensed as it watched me but didn’t run away, far from it it started to come towards me - only 10m away at this point! It was taking a rather unhealthy interest in me - why? I had been led to believe that they avoid humans, anyway there was tones of kangaroo roadkill aroung - fresh stuff too! I wanted to take a picture but took the cowards way and pedalled away as quickly as I could, but the thing followed me. I accelerated to 25 km/hr and it was still there, alternating between running on the road and sparse bush at my side. fter 2 km it was still there much to my surprise - it was only when I wound her up to 30 that it started to drop back, and even then after fully 10km it was still following me although had lost considerable ground and i started to relax. Why? what did it want? Was it a case of ‘dog’ chases cyclist or was their sometrhing mnore sinister? Any Oz friends reading this, what do you think?
After this ‘escape’ I completed the rest of the 90 mile straight by 1400 and shortly after rolled into Caiguna Roadhouse feeling a little tired; however I was very much revived an hour later following sausage, bacon and egg egg and 3 slices of raisin toast with butter and plum jam, not to mention 2 mugs of tea. The road bent a little more to the north after Caiguna and this meant the southerly wind had even more ‘tail’ in it and I could now cruise at 27 km/hr with ease. Forgot to mention Mick and Mo Newing (Globetrotters) from London, who are touring Oz in a motorhome, and who stopped to chat. They are seasoned and comitted travellers having sold their home to help fund their trips - they also toured South America last year. (
There was supposed to be a rest area about 20km east of Caiguna but if there was I didn’t see it, and I went another 45km without finding it. I finished up having to camp in the bush at around 1830 as it started to get dark. However this last stretch was scenically wonderful - the shadows were lengthening
highlighting the contrasting pastel colours - pink earth, very pale blue sky; fluffy white clouds and the straw coloured grass - with the land being completely flat the expanse of sky was huge - I hope the pics
do it some justice, because the vista was breathtaking. There’s something about last afternoon / early evening that enhances an already wild and beautiful landscape.
It was pretty breezy as I set the tent up but I managed it just before it went properly dark. I shan’t be cooking tonight as I has a decent meal at the Roadhouse, just a snack. I was pretty pleased with my long mileage today, I’ve ‘earned’ 3 spare days ahead of my schedule in the last 2 days alone!

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.