Distance today 99.3km at 17km/hr
TOTALS: Distance 4470km Donations $6746.09. Days remaining 74. 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 630pm on Monday the 5 July 2021.
My goodness I love ninja camping. I’ve missed it being 5 days since we said our goodbyes to stage 5 on the Great Central Road. Now we’re in stage 6 – Laverton to Wiluna and back amongst desert country yay.
Ninja camping’ for those who are new to our posts,is when we camp wild and discreet not too far off the road but enough to be tucked away and unawares to any passing traffic. It was born on the great central road as a safety measure during the night. But I’ve grown to love the rich experience.
The serenity of being amongst the desert landscape under a night sky of stars is addictive. It’s so silent except for the occasional bird call. I find all the senses wake up and attune to the enchantment of Mother Nature. I feel at home and grounded in the simplicity and especially connected as part of nature. It’s a beautiful time to settle into my camp routine and the perfect setting to share my post from the day.
The first thing I do after setting up camp is message my family that I’m safe and stopped for the night. My Inreach mini is a satellite device that lets me have two way text messaging to family. I love that we can still share outside of phone service. I can also briefly update my socials on Facebook and Twitter. Technology can be amazing to stay connected and connectedness is everything for my health and wellbeing. The device also tracks my progress that you can follow on the Mapshare link on my blog. In an emergency it can send an SOS to a 24/7 monitoring agency that negotiates an appropriate response messages updates so I know what’s happening. I have insurance to cover the cost of a rescue if necessary. It’s a great and essential bit of safety kit!!!!! You see it taped to the front strap of my backpack in the photos and it’s always charged and ready to keep us safe each day!! Great peace of mind for me and my family.
I packed up this morning and was ready to get underway at 8am. Then Brian came over to say hello and invited me to have a cuppa and breakfast with him. He’s from Hays Point near MacKay and was interesting to talk with. Brian’s travelling in his 6WD ex army troopie. It’s a beast of a car that he bought at an army auction. It’s all decked out in camouflage and capacity to travel 2000km without needing services. Very cool indeedy. We enjoyed a few cuppas and quality conversations about his travels in Australia. Like many folk, he’s unable to cross the SA border from WA with border closures still in place. He’s considering heading up north the same way we’re going, to get back to Queensland via the NT. All the best with your travels mate and I may see you later down the track. Brian made a donation of $20 to support our fundraising for beyondblue. Thanks for your generosity and time shared over breaky.
I stopped off at the shops on the way out of town to buy some snakes and make a last call to my family. Dawn and Dylan were collecting bottles and cans as they do for pocket money and Mum was busy counting cans for the recycling centre. I got to speak to the boy and find out how his school holidays are going and what they have planned for this week now out of lockdown. He gave me my third mission to get a picture of a desert bird. We’ve already ticked off a cactus plant and thorny devil lizard, so now I’m on the lookout again. I passed a road sign coming into Leonora to look out for wedge tail eagles. That’d be very cool for the little man.
It was after 930am when we got underway and into the headwind that kept us company for the day. The ride was slow going and a bit of a slog but we broke it up in 25km blocks. I gave the mind a Minty and Werthers Original caramel to play with for 10kms each then a snake for the last 5 kms before having a break. This helps chip away the kms and stay in a good headspace with the wind.
The road was quite undulating with flood plains and hills up over small ranges. The countryside was desert red sand with low lying shrubs and lots of rocky outcrops. There were a few clouds about intermittent with blue skies which always makes a great contrast with the desert colours. This is gold mining country and there were a number of large scale mine sites that I passed during the day.
One in particular was the size of a small mountain range with its excavations. From a distance it looked like a smoke haze from a fire. But as I got closer I could see it was massive tractors working on the different levels. They looked so small in contrast and it was really interesting to check out. At the top of a rise, I could back and appreciate the extent of the gold mining site.
It was also apparent how much rain they have had in the area with fields of green shoots near waterways. The greenery looked so out of place in their surroundings but are a sign that spring will be a sensation with wildflowers come September.
We timed our breaks at rest areas where we could to get off the road and out of the wind. I noticed a new flowering native that was showing off its red hanging bells in the afternoon light.
There’s mostly mining traffic on the road with lots of trucks and road trains. They’re all very gracious giving us a wide birth and honk on the air horn. I spent the day waving my hellos to all the drivers to show a respect. Some trucks are wide loads and have a pilot car warning their approach. We were passed by two trucks carrying mine trucks that are like the biggest Tonka Toys. I like big trucks 🤣
With 15km to go I was keen to get off the road and thinking about camp. We were counting down the kms when I spotted this small side track. 99.3km and good enough to finish our ride for the day. I navigated Banjo through the spinifex to a spot that worked. I noticed that the spines from spinifex plants can snap off once it gets old and brittle. A spiny clump remains at ground level that still super sharp. It can be easily missed so it was a good pick up to watch out for when we leave the track for breaks and camping. I got the boys back 👍
We set up ninja camp in time for sunset and savoured the twilight sky over a cuppa. The night sky is big and bright tonight with the Milky Way overhead in all its glory. I used the SkyView app on my phone to do some star gazing. Mars and Venus popped their heads up over the horizon. The app lets me take photos to share. A beautiful way to celebrate our first ninja camp to Wiluna. Time for dinner and bed. Talk soon xx