Monday, September 01, 2008

DAY 307: Bush camp to S-bend Roadhouse

Tues 26th August 2008
56km @ 14.5 km hr
Cloudy, sunny intervals, 23 deg C
Elevation of /destination 18m
Distance to date 18903 km (11814 miles)

Another dewy morning and a good excuse to stay in bed until the sun burnt the condensation off the tent. Gone are the days when I used to want to get out to avoid becoming fried! It was a very cool start but 500m of steep climbing warmed me up, and then it was a 4km coast downhill to rejoin the Great North Western Coastal Highway again, and a further 6km flat ride into Geraldton. As soon as I could I got off the busy highway and onto the coastal cycle path which runs along beside a white sandy beach.
I stopped at the VIC to ask about caravan park prices and location of internet places, before hitting the bakery for a very nice Cornish pastie. Uploading was trouble-free and quick, and while on there I booked 5 nights at the Freemantle YHA, having worked out just when I needed to be there date-wise. I’ve accounted for my last 10 days in Oz, and I think my hosts for the last weekend, Andrew and Joanne, are going to make sure I get to the airport with bike in good time for my flight home leaving in the early hours of Monday 15 September.
I lunched on a 12” chicken and avacado sub, sat in the main street watching the world go by, making up my mind to move on again today rather than stay in Geraldton. I had thought to stay 2 nights, but as has happened before, once I’m in a big town I seem to change my mind. It’s not a bad place, just nothing that I can see that I’m really interested in - I like rural rather than urban, the exception being the large cities where there are places such as botanic gardens and art galleries to see. It’s also somewhat gloomy weather today too, which doesn’t present a place as well as it might.
So after shopping at IGA I topped up water and hit the road south - now called the Brand Highway. Despite the southerly headwind progress was good initially, probably due to the many buildings and trees sheltering the road, but once these fell away the wind was full on and I made slower progress.
I went to have a look at the Greenough River mouth, 2km off on the right, where there’s a caravan park and a nice beach, but it was still early afternoon and I felt like riding on. The road becomes dead straight for 15km or more from here, and what with the fresh headwind and heavier traffic I started to wonder if I’d done the right thing. There wasn’t a hint of anywhere to camp at the side of the road either - continuous large house plots lined the road, interspersed with grain fields. The road is dead flat without much of a shoulder and with no shelter either. Around 1700 when I’d just about given up hope, a sign said that there was a roadhouse with caravan park just 2km ahead; this wasn’t shown on my map and came as a welcome surprise. Even more welcome when the manager said I would only have to pay $5 rather than the usual 20 - because I’m a cyclist. I quipped that I hadn’t been charged anything at the Wooramel roadhouse, and he threatened to charge me $10 instead, for my cheek. There was another cyclist staying here too - Robbie from New Zealand - he’s been touring various places in Oz with his wife for a few months but is just riding from Perth up to Kalbarri on his own at the moment. He may ride the Nullabor to Adelaide next. We had a lot of advice to offer each other about places we’d been to, and I picked up some good tips for the last leg down to Perth.

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