Distance today 50km at 16 km/hr
Total distance 3510km. Donations $4621.00 Deserts 3/10. Days remaining 91
Note to new readers: I am travelling with my bike who’s name is Banjo. I often refer to ‘we’ meaning Banjo and I. ‘We’ have an amazing support team of family, friends, sponsors and folk we meet each day. But it’s still up to ‘us’ to face the challenge and tackle each day one peddle at a time.
It’s 8pm on Friday the 18 June 2021
What an amazing start to The Great Central Road.
It was 12.30pm before we got underway. This morning I spoke to my family and we planned replacement tyres for Banjo. Lothar brought up yesterday about how his tyres are wearing and the likelihood of replacing them. That’s not something that can happen without planning and instep my amazing primary support crew. Dawn left out my spare set of tyres for Dad to collect and send to Laverton. I’ll then put the best pair on the boy for the long hall from Laverton to Halls Creek. I’ll find room for a spare tyre just in case. Dawn is arranging with Darren at the ‘MoutainBiker’ for a new set to be posted to Halls Creek so the boy will be good for the Tanami, Old Ghan and the Simpson Crossing into Birdsville. With that critical logistics in place I was good to start packing up.
Claudia and Lothar soon popped in with my battery bank they had recharged overnight and to say our goodbyes. Tears and hugs and blessings. They gave me cards of good wishes that I have appreciated this evening.
They are about light and warmth and the interconnectedness we share when are hearts are open. Thank you for being a home of light for me too. Our connection is a place to learn, to grow, to love. The image of Lother reaching up to the sun for perspective is an image for me that I treasure. It is about choice and responsibility for how I want to see and be seen during this equally precious time. Bless you both and safe journey until we meet again.
Wanju (June) came up to me while I was finishing packing up camp. She is from Taiwan and travelling Australia. She felt compelled to say hi and connect and we spoke for over an hour. What a beautiful soul. We shared tears and hugs over conversations about connection, family and living life to the full. Thank you for taking the time to cross paths and all the best in your journey. Wanju gave me a gift of Tai preserved plums that are supposedly sweat and salty and I’m looking forward to experiencing them as part of dinner.
Time to get underway and we were good to go. Our first stop was at the National Park Entrance and the rangers that check through visitors into Anangu Land and the Uluru-Katu Tjuka National Park. It’s a World Heritage Area. Because we’re travelling through we didn’t need a National Park Pass and just had to show our permit to travel aboriginal (Anangu) owned land. They were able to confirm we could get water at the Katu Tjuka sunset viewing centre and we were on our way with their blessings. Very excited indeedy.
The road signs alerted us to look out for wildlife; camels and lizards in particular. Great sign for my next challenge from Dylan to spot a desert lizard. I’m on it mate!!!!
Katu Tjuka loomed closer as our ride continued.
The landscape was breathtaking. It’s represented by scrub plains of sand dunes, spinifex, desert oaks and mulga trees. Apparently we might spot hill kangaroo amongst the rocks. Creek bds at the foot of the Olgas support other trees that need more water like large eucalypts. New species of plants were spotted some of which we were introduced to during our nature talk yesterday. The honey grevilia is used to sweeten drinks like a cordial and the flowers are spear shaped in vivid orange and yellow. I also noticed a small ground bush that has striking red tulips flowering around its base; so bizarre. It’s called an ‘upside down plant’ for obvious reasons. The mature and juvenile desert oaks are the main specimen of trees. The juvenile is an elongated bush with spiked leaves pointing downwards to divert rainwater to its roots. It stays in this form until the roots reach the water table to support the tree in its maturity. The mature tree is able to store water in its branches and roots in the arid conditions.
I also noticed termite mounds built around spinifex clumps. They eat the spinifex breaking it down into precious nutrients for the soil. They have an unusual cylinder tubing at the top of the mound and look like red sloppy castles we build at the beach.
Katu Tjuka grew closer and more handsome with every km into the ride.
We stopped off at a viewing platform by the roadside and were able to appreciate this amazing land more from the information provided.
Apparently the lizards are predominantly sand goanna and thorny devils that can be seen sunning themselves on the road. I’ll be sure to pay attention and try to spot one for my little man.
The closer we got to Katu Tjuka the more we could see the streaks of colour that contour the rock. Rain leaches out the different sand composites and the streaks are variations of grey and purple against the red. Just breathtaking. It runs like a waterfall in the wet and must be a spectacular sight. Not that I want it to rain 🤣
After 50km we arrived at the sunset viewing and entrance to the number of walks you can take to appreciate the phenomenon that took millions of years to form the rounded formations.
It was about 4pm by this stage and the cloud cover of the day was slowly lifting. At sunset o’clock, the light hit the rock in a spotlight of colour. What an appreciation. There were a number of tour groups and independent travellers enjoying the time and we mooched around for a possible discreet campsite. there are tables nestled amongst the surrounding area and we spotted one tucked away from the main thoroughfare.
We could enjoy the delight of colour over sunset and wait out the last of the visitors.
The light lit up the flowering grasses around our campsite that glowed with pride into twilight.
Now banjo and I are tucked under our shelter and taking in the sounds of silence and stars. A breeze is blowing an extra chill in the air but I’m rugged up under the gortex and cosy enough. What an amazing day. Tomorrow we head into the aboriginal lands toward Docker River and the WA border. It will be a two day ride of 90km each day so an early start each day to cover the kms. The road is unsealed soon into our travels. It’s awesome we can water up here and be good for another discreet camp before the official campground at Docker River just before the border.
Time for dinner with the crescent moon for company. Talk soon xx