Thursday, July 24, 2008

DAY 273: Cape Keraudren to De Grey Rest Area

Weds 23rd July 2008
83km @ 16.1 km/hr
Sunny, 29 deg C
Elevation of /destination 22m
Distance to date 16744 km (10465 miles)

I was awake just before dawn as some early risers passed my tent on their way to the beach, so I roused myself and went out just as the sun was leaving the sea - spectacular dawn. I spent an hour or so wandering about looking at some amazing shells and pieces of coral as things started to warm up a little - the sand was very cold indeed and my feet were getting to feel like ice blocks. Billy on and hot coffee called for, which helped a lot, as I chatted to the early riser on his return. Things started to go a bit pear-shaped after this, as the wind picked up and the fine sand was starting to leak into the tent all over my stuff. Oops! Rapid packing away of everything in sight as the tent threatened to take off never to be seen again as the strong wind funnelled down the valley from the sea. In record time everything was secured and packed away and on the bike. What now?
I decided to head off - I’d had a good look around the Cape this morning, and it wouldn’t be much fun in this strong wind, either swimming, or just sitting around sifting sand out of everything!
A lovely place, but so was the Pardoo Roadhouse which whispered *big breakfast* to me. This really is a good roadhouse, great bacon and eggs, everywhere very clean, friendly staff - very well run indeed. I eventually got back on the road at 1100 and got no further than 4km when I punctured again - rear of course, so everything off, bike upended, and tube replaced. I was happy to find a small sliver of metal or splinter in the tyre and duly removed same. I hate it when you can’t find anything; left with the fear that it might happen again.
For the first 50km from the roadhouse the road bends south more, so the SE wind is more of a nuisance, but after this it bends west again and the SE-er was a tailwind once more, however it was declining in strength. The road was pretty lumpy in parts today, which was uncomfortable for me, but traffic lighter now the school hols are over. After 50km too though the scenery becomes less attractive - lots of cattle having trampled everything in sight, and also mining activity. It’s all pretty flat though apart from the odd draggy uphill.
After stopping for a cuppa with little shade; lycra top draped over my head, I ambled on, but with 15km to go, at 1530, the wind quickly turned from SE to W in the space of a few minutes, so what was a tailwind was now bang on the right side, and speed fell from 18 to 14 immediately. I had planned to ride to a reported bush campsite 19km beyond De Grey RA so as to make tomorrow’s ride to Port Hedland an easy one, but the slower progress tired me and I decided to check the RA out. It was very nice - about 1km of camping sites alongside the wide and actually WET De Grey River - the first sign of water for at least 500km. Many of these were already taken but with just a tent and no vehicle I could take my pick of a number of sites close to the river, and soon found a decent place. Whilst I was looking a nice couple chatted briefly with me having passed me 3 times this week - and thrust 3 oranges at me - nice!
There were sevaral hundred Corellas on the river bank, and lots of Honeyeaters in the trees. Where I camped was surrounded by old shady paperbark trees. The 100m wide river actually looks very polluted though - it’s clear the cattle get access straight down the banks to get water, so probably wander around in the river doing what cows do...I was going to wash some clothes, but decided to leave it until tomorrow when I’ll have to check into a caravan park in Port Hedland.
I cooked supper and ate it watching the gorgeous red sunset over the river, silhouetting the road trains passing over the road bridge.

1 comment:

santhosh narayanan said...

nice post.. enjoyed the beauty of the beach side world. every description was accurate and clear.
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