Distance today 85km at 13km/hr average
TOTALS: Distance 4770km. Donations $7011.09. Days remaining 70. 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 Friday the 9 July 2021.
We’re sitting under the Southern Cross enjoying a cuppa on our first Ninja camp to Kumarina Roadhouse, 70km into Wiluna North Road. It’s a starry night and blissfully quiet with the wind easy off after twilight.
The vegetation around camp is much like what we rode through today. It’s more sparse with Mulga tress and red sandy patches dotted with white granite stones. While it’s still desert scenery, it has a unique feel.
The track is remote and quiet and an welcomed change from the mining traffic and road trains from the last week.
We woke early this morning as Jasmine invited us to have breakfast before heading off on our day’s ride. They have been gracious and generous hosts at Gunbarrel Laagar Travellers Rest. Jasmine and her husband are still settling into the managing position having started only 3 weeks ago. They’re a young couple from Tassie in their early 20s and doing an awesome job!!! I wish them all the best and congratulate their brave step and adventurous spirit. We have enjoyed lots of chats over our stay and they’re excited about living life to its full and creating opportunities for their future.
It was a 12km ride back into town. The local traffic welcomed us with lots of waves and horn toots. It’s a pity the campgrounds we’re so out of town as it would have been interesting to spend some time mingling with the local aboriginal community. I made sure I popped into the post office to say thank you to Jemma for dropping my postal pack at the campgrounds the day prior. This let us get our to dos done in 1 day and be ready to get underway again today.
Wiluna North Road headed north out of town and into a gusty headwind for the days ride. This made the going slow between 10-13km an hour. But it was a blue sky day and we had the time to chip away at the 75kms we had planned. We managed 70kms before the sun got low on the horizon and it was time to make camp. I’m happy with the days effort given the conditions.
The road is in pretty good condition. It’s been recently graded which was appreciated given it was a slow incline gradient for the most part. There’s little traffic so the corrugations aren’t too hectic. The slower going gave us a chance to appreciate the scenery and settle into track riding again. It’s nice to be off sealed road and back into a more authentic desert feel. We skirt the Little Sandy Desert between Wiluna and Newman.
We stopped at 25km for a break. It’s awesome having a pole again to prop the boy up of needed. I also heard from the family through satellite messaging that they were able to buy the foot pump from Repco and it’s in the post for Newman. Oh yay oh yay that’s the best news. He boy travelled well today but it will be a lot more reassuring to have a pump that makes lighter work when I need to pump his tyres. Thanks Mum and dad. You and Dawn are my right hand helpers and are making this challenge possible with your constant support. It’s such a language of love.
Wiluna North Road is the start of the Canning Stock Route that veers off to cross the desert at the 40kms mark. The entrance was an awesome spot to have a break and appreciate the epic track which is currently closed due to COVID. The CSR was going to be the most challenging part of our challenge. Banjo was prepared with the track in mind and we trained for the sandy conditions on the inland track, Bribie Island. It’s seems a long time ago hauling 20+ litres of water and falling over a zillion times until we got our skills up riding weighted in sand. I remember feeling like a crumbed sausage after each training session 🤣 It was significant to revisit those memories at the junction.
I was very conscious to stay open and connected to the landscape. I passed maybe 2 or 3 campers on the road so there was little contact with other folk other than a few waves. I took the time to notice the flowering natives that included my favourite upside down bush and grevillias.
One car stopped later in the day and offered to refill our water bottle which was appreciated. We had a quick chat about our travels. They’re from Albany on route to Queensland to visit Lawn Hill. My family did a road trip back in September that included the national park. We all loved the north west corner of outback Queensland and it was special to recall and share stories from our travels. It was also just nice to have a chat. This lifted the spirits to do another 5kms before I noticed a great side road to access a camp site for the night.
We had enough time to set up camp before sunset and make a cuppa to appreciate the twilight colours. It’s not as cold tonight so I can enjoy being under the night sky while I post and have dinner. On that note the tummy’s rumbling so I might see what’s on the menu. Breaky was a bit big for a morning tummy so I made an egg toasty for takeaway which will make a yum entree. Noodles for main 👍
I hope to do a large chunk of kms tomorrow and get as close as we can to the junction with The Great Northern Road. This means an early start as it’s likely the headwind will continue as it has been for the last week. All good as long as we have time to chip away at the day and see what treasures we can find along the way!! Night and talk soon.