Monday, September 01, 2008

DAY 311: Bush camp to bush camp 17km E of Cervantes

Sat 30th August 2008
69km @ 15.4 km hr
Cloudy, sunny intervals, 24 deg C
Elevation of destination 122m
Distance to date 19181 km (11988 miles)
Destination = S 30°23.511’ ; E 115°11.036’

What a slow start today - didn’t wake until 9\8, and away around 10! I’m definitely winding down. I could hear Skippy the ‘roo thumping around nearby while I was having breakfast, but he didn’t show up to join me unfortunately.
It was a very short ride of 7km into Cervantes, and it didn’t take long for me to decide not to stay here tonight; to me it’s nothing more than a sprawling housing estate by the sea that happens to be near WA’s biggest visitor attraction, The Pinnacles. I found the sea accidentally at the end of the road to the caravan park, but there were no signs directing one to any other foreshore access - is this all there is? I was further put off when told how much internet access was - $10/hr at the bottle shop and an Australian record (for me) of $12 at the newsagent / Telecentre. I don’t know what the Telecentres are all about - have they been provided for the community? Do they get to use it for nothing? Why do they charge visitors so much then? Where does the money go to? Anyway they weren’t getting mine - the charges were just plain greedy as far as I’m concerned and I refused to play fleece the tourist today. Rant over...
I bought a few groceries and a passable pastie, had another quick look around, found nothing, so hit the road again. To just 1km out of town to Lake Thetis to see the stromatolites, or rather the remains thereof. These simple organisms apparently predate all life, and are responsible for originally producing all the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere - this is what I was told so if it’s wrong, please let me know someone. What is now left to be seen are the calciferous, coral-like clumps that are in evidence around the edge of the lake. A 1km or so concrete path is in the process of being built around the lake and I was able to cycle around it. The interpretive panels are not in yet.
I then decided to ride the 34km there and back to the Pinnacles and see what all the fuss was about, and turned off right again 2km E of Cervantes. It was quite a pleasant ride; flat for the first 12km then Tobleroning up and down the gearbox for the next 5km. I rode up to the manned entry booth and was told I didn’t have to pay, as a cyclist - good onya guys, that's more like it! At last something free around here lol! I was able to ride around the 3.5km sandy road that winds through the Pinnacles Desert as they call it. It is a pretty amazing sight actually; thousands of upright pillars sticking wierdly out of the flat sandy ground. Briefly, they are the products of weathering -

1. on shore winds have produced 3 or so rows of lime-rich (seashell) sand dunes over the past 2 million years...
2. with time the lime leached out of the dunes and settled into a harder layer beneath the ground...
3. roots and land movement penetrated and caused the harder layer to crack and fissure...
4. the upper strata subsequently eroded to leave the cracked layer exposed...
5. further weathering of the cracks left the pinnacles as seen today...

I seemed to attract quite a lot of attention with the other several hundred sightseers as I rode around; I guess they don’t expect to see someone cycling around a place like this. I enjoyed this ride around, but I had a wary eye on the black clouds hovering around - would it rain on me and spoil the party?
Anyway after about an hour I’d seen all there was to see and turned around and headed back the way I’d come, faster this time what with the downhills and a more favourable wind, and by 1620 I was back where I’d turned off. The wind was even more in my favour as I headed NE so I decided to press on for as long I could. I passed a rather nice camping spot but as the wind was still good I carried on, but a few km further on the wind dropped, there was a long uphill, and nowhere to camp. This road from Cervantes (to the Brand Highway) is very undulating so far, with deceptively-steep hills. The rain was still threatening and I didn’t want to get wet and cold, but Lady Fortune came to my rescue when I spotted an old disused track on the right, and in I went unseen. Well, what a lovely spot - easy to get in and a beautiful array of trees and shrubs, especially Banksia, another WA emblem. Some 100m in I cleared the small stones away and gathered dead leaves to put down as a comfort layer on the somewhat stony ground, and set up. Later I walked the old track for at least 1km marvelling at the beauty of it all - my own private floral forest for a while. Completely hidden from the road too. Note the grass trees (pic), which are very common now, and the Banksia seed (pic). And it never rained...
As I ate my usual mound of pasta (linguini actually) it became quite cold, and I was glad to get in the tent and get my legs into my sleeping bag for warmth. I type sat in my Thermarest chair, then when finished revert back to mattress only to lie down for a read, or more likely, to do some Sudoku. I've now got a book of 'Hard, Harder and Hardest' puzzles, and I'm struggling a bit with the former - I probably need a pencil so I can start trying numbers, then rubbing out if found incorrect later. Any advice gratefully accepted!

1 comment:

hemant said...

I am very exciting that you are on a journey of Australia with bicycle. Your views are very good. Your pictures are awe-inspiring for me.