Thursday, August 14, 2008

DAY 293: Coral Bay to bush camp 24km S of Minilya Roadhouse

122km @ 17.6 km/hr
Tues 12th August 2008
Sunny, 26 deg C
Elevation of /destination 8m
Distance to date 18078 km (11299 miles)

Leisurely start but a very quiet breakfast in the communal area; I have found it hard to engage with people here without a big effort, and this morning I just couldn’t be bothered to put the work in. People are just such hard work sometimes for me - just let me get back on the bike please! I find under-25’s especially are sometimes too self-absorbed to take any interest in communicating with anyone outside their peer group - people my age are akin to aliens.
I collected my $20 deposit for the room key and called in at the grocery next door for more muesli and a lovely fresh wholemeal loaf. This would have been made at the village bakery next door, which is a real asset to the place, as I told them so yesterday. I tried to pack it in the panniers without squashing; always a challenge.
I finally left at 0920 and straight into a NE headwind. The 13km to the highway was as hard work as it was on the way in - it all seems uphill as before, weird, because the wind hasn’t changed direction!
Turning south onto the highway changed matters, and for an hour I was pushed along nicely, but as the road bent east a little the wind was on the side, which felt harder. I stopped after 45km for a good hour’s break and a fair few slices of the fresh bread with hazelnut spread and 2 mugs of tea, but after this the wind fell behind more and speed increased along with my motivation. The first 60km today passed through very bare country with virtually no trees, and few bushes even; thereafter vegetation increased and thickened considerably. The Chiming Wedgebills were practising their scales all around me - my Simpson and Day birdie book amusingly describes their voise as “descending chime ‘why did you get drunk?’ Repeated monotonously with haunting quality” which sums it up very well. I also had another very strange sighting - on the road carriageway was a weird lizard-like creature; about 125 to 150mm long (5-6”) with a curved tail like a scorpion but front end like a lizard. It’s whole grey-brownish body was covered with dragon-like lumps. It stood stock-still as if to play dead, but when I went close it moved a little. I’ve never seen anything like it, even in a zoo. If anyone can ID it from the pic please let me know what it is.
I passed over the signposted Tropic of Capricorn and made increasingly good progress, and arrived at Minilya Roadhouse (98km) soon after 4. I had an iced coffee and watched the Olympics on TV for a few minutes, tempted to book a $60 room with TV and extend this privelidge, but no, I’ve just coughed up $160 for 2 nights at the Ningaloo Club (shock, horror!) and that’s enough for a while.
I was still feeling highly motivated and pretty strong so pushed on for another 24km until the sun was almost down to the horizon, whereupon I dived into the bush to my left and found a decent site right away some 80m back adacent to the fence.
Once set up I poured my half-mug of red, still a nice temperature from the heat of the day, sat back facing the sunset, and enjoyed the total and profound silence of the bush. The wind had dropped completely, and there was only the faint sound of cicadas clicking away in the far distance. Wonderful and peaceful; my element.
As the loaf was so fresh I decided to have tuna sarnies for dinner - I’ve eaten virtually the whole loaf in the space of just a few hours! Tomorrow I should make Carnarvon since I’m slightly over halfway there from Coral Bay thanks to today’s effort.

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