Thursday, July 24, 2008

DAY 269: Bush camp to bush camp 15km NE of Barn Hill t/o

Sat 19th July 2008
76 km @ 13.6 km/hr
Sunny, 30 deg C
Elevation of /destination 28 m
Distance to date 16299 km (10187 miles)

Utter peace and quiet last night - wonderful - in this excellent bush camp site. I heard a ‘roo thumping around in the night but couldn’t see it, as usual. There was also a small army of large ants surrounding the tent; presumably having found a few crumbs lying around they got interested - but a spray of repellent around the edge of the shade cloth kept them mostly at bay. I was very relaxed about setting off; I really don’t know what the wind is going to do but it seemed to be westerly this morning as it was yesterday. The predictable SE-erlies have gone.
The first 14km were through open land with no trees at all, and as I was initially heading SE the wind was on my right side, but as the road turned gradually to the SW the full force of the fresh W wind became apparent, hence the very slow speeds and low distance achieved today. I was in good form though, and occupied myself as I passed through yet more unchanging thin woodlands by, among other odd occupations, singing Shenandoah (aka Bryn Terfel) and Jesus to a child (aka George Michael), though not very well it has to be said. I got quite a few toots from motorists as usual, which is always a welcome distraction. I passed many thin trees bearing yellow worm-shaped flowers some 4 to 7cm long and 1cm diameter which smelled wonderful - acacia, a kind of wattle (pic). I also disturbed a large brown bird that I couldn’t identify.
After 26km in over 2 hours I stopped and put the billy on and had a coffee and sarnie, and took an hour over it. No point in killing myself in this headwind. Maximum speed was only 18 km/hr today - amazing. It is pretty flat though; nothing you could call a hill. There have, unusually, been a few clouds around today - not seen any for weeks; maybe the weather is going through a change.
I kept plodding along thus all day and by 1600 decided to call it a day. I had hoped to reach the Barn Hill caravan park turn-off and have a look whether the 9km gravel access road is possible - my bike book says (in 2002) it was deep sand and unrideable. As I understand it there is just a caravan park - no other settlement - but it’s by a gorgeous beach apparently and will be a LOT less crowded than Broome and possibly a nice place to chill for a day. I’m only an hour away so I’ll check it out in the morning.
I found a nice campsite again, mostly unseen from the road and good and flat, plus easy to get in and out with the bike.
Good news too is that the tabs I got from the hospital in Broome have sorted my gastric problems straight off - so it must have been a parasite likie giardia I guess. Saddle sores are prominent but I usually manage to find a comfy position. The knee is feeling much better too lately.

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