Monday, August 04, 2008

DAY 284: Bush camp to Tom Price

44km @ 17.6 km/hr
Sun 3rd August 2008
Sunny, 28 deg C
Elevation of /destination 708m
Distance to date 17395 km (10872 miles)

The many local birds made a nice alarm clock, sounding off just before dawn. I didn’t have that far to go today, but the earlier I get to Tom Price the more I can get done and save tomorrow for exploring and internet. Only nuts and a cup of milk for breakfast unfortunately, but I’ll be in a cafe for breakfast proper in no time, I expect and hope. At least I haven’t so much weight to haul.
The 8% hill that I stopped at the foot of yesterday afternoon was still there this morning, but at least there was no headwind, in fact a small SE-erly was in the making. The hill was only 1km long thankfully, followed by a screamer descent of 68 km/hr (wheeeee!), then some quite large undulations as far as the T-junction at the Paraburdoo to Tom Price road. Thereafter it’s a gradual uphill to TP but it didn’t seem so draggy today since the sE wind was right behind me agan. The scenery all the way was very nice, big green hills with horizontal red stripes where the surface has slipped away to expose the rock beneath. There was little traffic on the Sabbath to worry about. Huge iron ore trains could be seen at several points where the road runs near the line from the mine, up to the port of Karratha I think, for export to Asia. These trains are about 2km long typically, with 3 locos pushing and 3 pulling. I’d hate to get caught at a level crossing with one about to come because they don't go very fast!
Tom Price seems a decent little place, greener than the other mining towns I’ve passed through like Mt.Isa or Port Hedland, and it boasts a goodly-sized Coles supermarket which I’m looking forward to raiding later. I got some good info from the VIC lady about places ahead of here, and it seems she knew that I was the guy seen on the gravel in Karijini NP - fame at last!
There is only one CP in TP so I paid my $29 for 2 nights and got set up with the pick of the camping spots, this still being before noon and the park almost empty. There is reasonable shade. I set about several chores immediately - washing clothes, cleaning all the dust off the bike and bags and charging batteries, in and between approaches by several caravanners who have seen me on the road and wanted to know all the usual stuff. "How many tyres have you gone through?" is the current favourite question. Touring cyclists are that rare I guess. Some scarcely believe it possible that someone could cycle all around Oz - such a thought is alien to them. I find it slightly embarassing somehow as I don’t think it’s SUCH a big deal.
I ‘phoned Lyn at around 0900 UK time and we had a good blather for a while, then I rode off with 2 empty panniers to Coles to buy food and drink - lots of it lol, then to the bottle shop for some beer. I bought steak, sausage and veg for a barbie, which was enjoyed in the busy camper’s kitchen swopping stories with other travelvers. Followed by fruit and Greek yoghurt, followed by Rocky Road and banana milk drink. Well, I didn’t have any lunch.....roll on breafast!
The piece

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