Saturday, July 12, 2008

DAY 261: Bush camp to Fitzroy Crossing

88 km @ 15.5 km/hr

Fri 11th July 2008

Sunny, 31 deg C

Elevation of /destination 125 m

Distance to date 15721 km (9826 miles)

When I saw my campsite in daylight it didn’t look so bad and exposed as it did last night - it was hidden by a bund at the side of the road. Last night wasn’t as cold thankfully. I was awake at fist light i.e. 0540, determined to get away earlier today to give me more time in Fitzroy Crossing, which I reckoned I might reach in a little over 4 hours by yesterdays standards, but how wrong can you be?!

I packed up carefully to avoid stirring up the bulldust too much - it’s so very fine it’s liable to get everywhere. The first 15km was easy enough even with the wind gentle still at this early hour, but after that the road bent to the north as the wind developed from a NE direction - the first time I can recall this. I have been told that NE winds prevail on the west coast this time of the year, so perhaps this is the start of it. Anyway it made the next 30 or 40 km very hard work - from the heady 40 km/hr of yesterday I was grovelling at 14, and down to 9 on the worst stretch.

The road was almost flat with a little rise every 3km or so, such that you could only see that far, and I hoped that over the rise the road would bend back to the left, but it kept bending to the right instead, and I got slower. The lack of tree cover at the side of the road for the most part meant the wind hit at full strength. At last nirvana; the road went left and life got easier, but still far from yesterday’s joys.

The lack of trees meant I could see far to the horizon, and the land was predominantly flat with odd single mountains looming in the far distance. Road condition was very good, and it seems it has been upgraded recently, including a good shoulder. Only for the last 12km did the road deteriorate in quality.

I stopped after 40km and found a nice shady tree to rest and refresh under, which was very welcome after the hard effort into the wind. Nearly 6 hours after setting off I finally rolled into FC feeling pretty whacked, but a couple of iced coffees and a steak pie (well, gravy only pie actually) revived me a little, as a couple of small black children talked to me outside the supermarket, where litter was ankle deep. The library charges a massive $12/hr for internet - a rip-off - but apparently it’s only $6/hr at the Fitzroy Lodge so I’ll go there tomorrow.

I decided to stay at the caravan park just next to the shops ($11 pppn) and found a shady spot. It’s pretty busy so I won’t quite have the peace of the bush tonight.

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