Monday, September 01, 2008

DAY 312: Bush camp to bush camp 31km E of Lancelin

Sun 31st August 2008
111km @ 17.2 km hr
Cloudy, 23 deg C
Elevation of destination 70m
Distance to date 19292 km (12057 miles)

A spot of rain fell as I was rousing myself but it didn’t come to much, anyway, there was a heavy dew over everything to start with. This has been a great camping spot though, and there wasn’t a breath of sound last night apart from an occasional bark from a distant dog.
The first 5km undulated to the junction with the Jurien Bay to Brand Highway road, then it was flat for 9, but the last 21km to the highway featured big undulations of 2km up at 5% or so followed by a similar descent, painstakingly repeated 5 or 6 times as I slowly passed a long wind farm. There was a light to moderate NE wind all day that mostly helped me along nicely, so I got further than expected. The sky was darkish all day, and I fully expected rain, but it never came.
Once on the highway there was no mercy from the traffic volume, Sunday or no; it was very busy. None of the 65km on the Brand Highway today had anything like a decent shoulder, and there was none at all for a lot of the way. There was a gravel shoulder, but it wasn’t of consistent quality with stretches of roly poly pea gravel, soft strctches, and a deep camber in places that made me slide right off the road once to escape a road train. As one of the main highways in WA it’s appalling that there isn’t a properly designated shoulder to cycle on; funny thing is the carriageways seem wider than usual, and I’m certain they could paint in a decent width of shoulder without making the main cariageway too narrow. It is a pretty dangerous road, so beware! At one point a local mine road train came within a foot of me on an open road when there was absolutely no need - another psychopath driver presumably, having fun with me? It left me feeling very angry and nervous, and after that I got off whenever a lorry was coming, as far as I could see anyhow - it’s not always easy to see what’s coming up behind you in the mirror if the lights in the wrong place.
After 30km on the highway there are 2 roadhouses at Cataby, where I stopped for a snack. I don't know; you don't see one for a hundred km then there are 2! In fact they are Cataby; there’s nothing else there except for a hotel, and I smiled at the signs at the roadhouses' rivalry, one of which says “Open 24 hours” and the other going one better by claiming “Open 25 hours”!
There was another 35km of highway truck-dodging to do before the turnoff to Lancelin, but I was surprised to find another roadhouse just 2km before the turnoff at Regan’s Ford on the Moore River, which isn’t marked on my map. I had to stop of course and sample their wares, and I took the opportunity to ring Lyn from there too.
As I rolled out, weaving around yet another coachload of tourists returning from the Pinnacles, the sky was black, and I momentarily considered staying in the caravan park next to the roadhouse, but trusted to luck and carried on. I started to think this was a bad move since the first 2km of the Lancelin road were wall to wall posh olive orchards, and after they finished there were several km of occupied plots, but finally these fell away and it was back to bush. Part of this is the Moore River NP and I think I was probably camped close to the park boundary. Again, it was a nice campsite with lots of wildflowers around.
It’s been another cool day, much cooler than I have been used to for the past few months, and I felt very cold indeed at dusk, until I was able to climb into my sleeping bag. I only have around 40km to Lancelin tomorrow so I can take my time in the morning again.

Pics show yesterday's camp (first) and today's (second).

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