Monday, August 11, 2008

DAY 290: Bush camp to Giralia Station

Sat 9th August 2008
119km @ 18.0 km/hr
Sunny, 29 deg C
Elevation of /destination 25m
Distance to date 17850 km (11156 miles)

Much to my relief the ants did not overwhelm my tent last night, in fact as it went dark and cooled down they all scattered, presumably back to wherever ants go to keep warm. I didn’t sleep well though, probably due to all the caffiene I had yesterday - I should know better! It was pretty cold again overnight, but I just managed to keep warm enough.
As I lay in bed with muesli I watched the Grey-Crowned Babblers flitting from bush to bush, babbling away incomprehensibly as usual, sounding stessed out. I was far from stressed, not having a care in the world as Lyn rightly reminded me the other day on the phone, and happily hit the road for another chunk of Outback cycling.
Mostly flat, but the road is bumpy and narrow with no shoulder. Although it’s busier than the Tom Price to Nanutarra road it isn’t too threatening, and I only had to jump off a couple of times when 2 vehicles were crossing. This was quite a nice section scenically, little dark red mountains deither side, and lots of wild flowers everywhere, and with them some nice odours. Of course there are no settlemements whatsoever on these roads.
I stopped at the only rest area for the abominable loo (yeuchhh. strooth!!!) but took advantage of an offer of water from an old caravanner couple just to get me by. They also made me a cup of coffee which was welcome.
Just before the Exmouth link road turns off the North West Coastal Highway there’s an information area which has seats and is covered over for shade, so I took the opportunity to get the billy on and have a snack. Several other couples dropped by too with all the usual questions, but we learned plenty from each other about where to go and what to see as ever.
I turned right to head towards Exmouth, but I have been having doubts as to whether I will actually go there, and the main reason for heading that way, to access Cape Range NP where the Ningaloo Reef touches the coast. It’s around a massive 300m detour, and some of that is going to be against the wind in open country; however by heading this way I have another option of visiting Coral Bay, which is supposed to be very nice. I could even hire a car there and drive up to Cape Range...I’ll decide tomorrow.
It was 48km from the turn to Giralia Station caravan park, so I thought I might as well get a shower and see what it was like. The road after the junction is dead straight and flat, and I was fortunate to still have the easterly helping me along, although it wasn’t that strong it was still welcome. This branch road featured lots of clumps of red, ground-hugging Sturt’s Desert Pea along the shoulder - one of WA’s iconic flowers.The CP is down a 4km gravel track which became more corrugated the further along it I went, and the place itself was disappointing - dry and dusty with virtually no grass to pitch on, scruffy-looking, and not a patch on some of the bush sites I’ve found myself. Why did I bother?
At least there was a camp kitchen which I had to myself - I haven’t managed to engage any of the few caravanners here into conversation - but as I type I hear that my nearest neighbour is a world-class snorer - how I despise snorers! I may throw something at his tent later (I wish). Great. Next time I think of opting for a CP when I can camp in the bush I really must talk myself out of it.

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