Distance yesterday 65km at 14km/hr. Rest day today
TOTALS: Distance 4153km Donations $6662.09. Days remaining 78. Deserts: Sturt Stony, Strzelecki, Tirari, Gibson, Great Victorian. Tracks: Birdsville, Oodnadatta, Red Centre Way, Great Central Road.
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 8.00pm on Thursday the 2 July 2021.
We woke Wednesday morning to blue skies and a stunning day all set to get through some serious kms. Banjo boy had a flat back tyre that I imagined we got on our way into camp. I pumped up his tyre, packed up camp and enjoyed a cuppa before heading off.
Unfortunately the sealant didn’t hold and soon into the ride, we had to stop and repeat the process. His tyre was still loosing air and I stopped again to reassess. A car came pass and it was Danny who I met in Warburton.
He’s a mechanic from Perth who travels out to remote communities to service vehicles. He was working on one of the vehicles at the roadhouse and we had a chat during my overnight stay there. He was all smiles and hellos and happy to use his compressor to help us out. It was nice to touch base again and he was hoping to get a game of golf in at Kalgoorlie, covid permitting. Banjo and his 4WD looked vey manly together all dirtied up in desert red dust. He promised to stay in touch through Facebook and we got underway again to see if the higher pressure would do the trick.
Sadly no, and we had to stop again another 10kms on. Another car came by and we met Sarah and her dog Bunny, also travelling to ‘Kal.’ Sarah works for Communities and was on her way to Victoria providing her work permit gets approved to cross the border. She didn’t have a compressor but she did have a bag of Fantails that she shared. Thank you darling lady, they were just what we needed for the day ahead. At that time a colleague of hers came past travelling back to Warburton and she was able to help out. We said our ‘goodbyes’ and ‘good lucks’ and wee underway again.
Another 10 kms on and it was the same deal. Bugga!!!! Another car came past with two workers who were on their way to service the generators at Tjukayarlia. They weren’t carrying any air but offered to hold Banjo while I gave the hand pump another go. The lads headed off and we held our breath to see if this time would be any better.
No cars and in a pickle. I tried at least a half dozen times to use the hand pump while balancing banjo. It was ‘very tricky and very exhausting. We’d pump up his tyre, ride 5kms, pump up his tyre, ride 5kms and so on…. you get the picture. At about 2.30pm we had done about 65km. I knew it was time to dismantle the boy and try to repair him with a patch. I also noticed that silicone was escaping from the base of his valve which meant his issues may be more than a puncture. I wasn’t keen to do any repairs on the roadside so was about to pump him up one more time and find a camp for the night so we could deal with it safely.
At this time another 4WD came along heading towards Laverton. I waved him down and couldn’t believe my eyes when he wound down the window. It was the aboriginal police officer from Warakurna. If you recall, he was one of the police officers who stopped on our way into Warakurna to see if we were okay. He was all smiles and delighted to see us again.
I explained the situation and we agreed it was best to get a lift into Laverton so I could deal with the situation in a safe place. No arguments from me. At this stage I was exhausted physically and emotionally and was so relieved he was going our way. He had just taken unplanned leave and was driving to Geraldine for a family funeral. It was a bizarre set of circumstances and we were very thankful for his help.
So banjo got dismantled and strapped to the top of his car and I sat with the pannier bags on my lap and footwell. His car was otherwise full of gear but I would have been happy to be strapped on the roof with Banjo if need be 🤣 We enjoyed the best chats for the 140kms into Laverton.
He told me more about his background and work at Warakurna. Policing in the communities is very different to metropolitan police work. Response is more negotiated through follow up as there’s no back up and no room for going in for the hard arrest when tensions are high. It was super interesting listening to his open sharing and passion for his work. He spoke about why the mob just leave their cars abandoned by the roadside when they break down.
Apparently when a car breaks it’s seen as bad luck, so they remove the parts they need and burn the wreckage to get rid of the burden. He also said when a person is killed in a car accident their spirit wonders the road. A spiritual leader then conducts a ceremony whereby the person’s spirit can leave with the family members.
I so appreciated being able to gain some more insight into the culture differences and challenges through his perspective. I only know this man as the officer in charge of Warakurna but I thank him with all my heart for his openness, uncanny timing and generous kindness. I wish him and his family all the best in Geraldine.
He dropped me off in Laverton Campgrounds and I am staying here for a couple of days to fix the boy and reset for the next stage to Wiluna. Last night was about calling and updating family with what had happened.
Today I have been able to repair the boys tyre, do some shopping, wash the gear and pick up my next postal pack. It looks like the patch is holding so far. There was a 5mm gash in his tube most likely from a stone. All the silicone has come out through the gash and that’s what was escaping through the base of the valve. Mum and dad have sent a spare tube and silicone to Wiluna so we’re all set now to continue our challenge Saturday. Any punctures between here and there we’ll just have to patch so all good 👍
I also had my old set of tyres sent here so I can put the best set on the boy for the long haul to Halls Creek. Apparently it’s the rear tyre that wears quicker than the front. The back tyre bares the brunt of the weight and traction. The front tyres of my old and new set are still pretty good so I’ll run these and send the rear tyres back home. There’s still some life in them and at $200 bucks each, every km is $ saved.
So that’s tomorrow’s choirs; changing tyres, cleaning the boy, posting home some gear and shopping for extra items I may need. I also want to upload my media for the last posts as the internet has slow connection after 6pm. For now it’s time for a later dinner and bed. Nice to finally send an update this evening. Talk soon xx