Distance today 100.65 at 16.2km/hr average
TOTALS: Distance 4870km. Donations $7120.09. Days remaining 69. Deserts: Sturt Stony, Strzelecki, Tirari, Gibson, Great Victorian. Tracks: Birdsville Development Road, Birdsville Track, Oodnadatta Track, Red Centre Way, Great Central Road, Goldfields Highway, Wiluna North 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 655pm on Saturday the 10 July 2021.
I’m super chuffed with the distance we managed today. I hoped to do 100km to give us every chance of getting to Kumarina Roadhouse tomorrow. It’s about 17km to the junction with Great Northern Highway where the road is sealed for the next 92 km. All going well we should be able to manage the 120km with an early start.
We woke this morning to a stunning sunrise. There were fluffy clouds to the east which elevated the morning colours spectacularly. It was an energising way to start the day over cuppa o’clock.
We got underway just before 8am. The clouds lifted to another blue sky day. The headwind was still constant but it wasn’t as gusty as yesterday which was a welcomed change. The road varied in conditions with stony corrugated sections that made slower going at times. But we had the day to get through our kms so we chipped away as best we could.
It’s cattle country and we passed the homestead entrance to Cunya Station. Gas companies run their lines through many of the properties including Cunya. Back in Gunbarrel Laagar I had dinner with Stacey who works for one of the gas companies. She’s a support worker employed to visit the property owners to check in on their mental health and well being. It’s a service offered to the property owners to support their remote lifestyle and offer services if they’re struggling.
13km into the ride we were stopped by Angela and her husband who had just been visiting Cunya Station as they’re friends with the property owner. They’re from Port Lincoln SA. Angela is an advocate worker with SA mental health and also volunteers with an organisation called Mentally Fit EP. She was particularly interested in our challenge and full of praise and encouragement. She donated $50 and promised to share our cause through her socials and with colleagues. Thanks Angela for your support to promote mental health and Beyondblue.
The road left Cunya station at a cattle grid that was surrounded by patches of low lying shrubs in purple bloom. It was a stark contrast to the browny red soil and sparse vegetation. it doesn’t sound very inviting but there’s a beauty in the landscape that’s unique to the area. I’m really appreciating the desert landscape here which feels vast and remote.
Before lunch Malcolm from Canberra stopped to check in with us. We crossed paths on the Birdsville Track the morning I was stuck on the roadside with tyre problems. On that day, Malcolm was heading back into Birdsville and said there would be campers coming along soon from Birdsville. He was spot on because that’s when Peter and Nigel stopped and helped. Malcolm remembers passing their cars and feeling relieved. Help they did!!!! I shared with Malcolm the story of Nigel and Peter and Nigel’s fatal accident at the Finke desert race. We spent some time together talking about our travel routes. He also did the Oodnadatta Track them headed to Kalgoorlie and did the Great Central Road in the opposite direction. He travels in his beloved camper called ‘The Goat.’ He’s an older bloke but still has a keen spirit for adventure, exploring new tracks when he can. Unfortunately my phones memory was full so I couldn’t take a picture. He grabbed a photo of Banjo and I with ‘The Goat’ and said he would text me the photo when in service. Nice time shared!!!!
At midday we had done 50km and enjoyed a break and banana chips for lunch. Mum popped them in the Wiluna box and they’re delish; full of calories but light in the tummy for the afternoon ride. Banjo was looking the goods with dusty red tyres and panniers.
He’s thriving in the track conditions and travelling well despite the bumpy road at times. I was also able to grab the spare phone so I could take photos and footage again.
We headed off for our second stint of 50km. Into the afternoon we came across two cars travelling from Victoria. Deb and Jim and Jeanine and her husband, are heading north but not sure yet where 🤣. They’re all good friends and more about the journeying together. Deb and Jim are keen cyclists and both enjoyed a ride on Banjo to get a feel for how he travels. He of course loved the attention. They filled my water bottle and Jeanine gave me some fruit for the afternoon. We must have spent an hour sharing all sorts of stories and smiles. They were very genuine, down to earth, open hearted and big fun!! I really enjoyed our time together. They were also very encouraging of our commitment and cause and were keen to get online and share our challenge once in Newman. We exchanged details and I hope to be in touch again. All the best fine folk. Wherever you end of adventuring up north, it’ll be amazing because you’ll make it so!!!
With the second camera on board, I was able to enjoy taking some photos again in the afternoon light. The desert colours deepen as the sun gets lower and the colours are brilliant.
By 430pm we clocked over our 100kms and soon found a camp off a side track. I had time to set up and make a cuppa before sunset. It was very satisfying and nice to stop and appreciate the full day.
The scenery around camp resonates the feeling of the landscape generally. Tree stumps are weathered and gnarled with passing seasons in the harsh conditions. The landscape has a story that seems ancient and timeless. I feel very privileged having time to experience its essence in detail.
Time for dinner with Old Man Emu and the big sky of stars for company. Looking forward to bed. Talk soon xx