Day 97 Ninja Camp 1 to Balgo Junction

Distance today 100km at 15km/hr average

TOTALS: Distance 6917km. Donations $8670.09. Days remaining 42. Deserts: Sturt Stony, Strzelecki, Tirari, Pedirka, Gibson, Great Victorian, Little Sandy Desert, Great Sandy Desert. Tracks: Birdsville Development Road, Birdsville Track, Oodnadatta Track, Red Centre Way, Great Central Road, Goldfields Highway, Wiluna North Road, Marble Bar Road, Great Northern Highway.

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 6.30pm on Thursday the 5 August 2021

I would like to start tonight’s post by acknowledging my Mum. She had her 82nd birthday on Tuesday. Unfortunately they’re all in lockdown back home but she still got to celebrate with a Skype chat with my sisters, phone calls from family and friends, fish and chips from our favourite takeaway and a Shiraz or two to toast her day. Mum and Dad live in independent living and have made dear friends with other residents who also made sure she was spoilt.

Mum and Dad are always ready for a call to unpack my day and learnings. They listen and offer advice when I need to make decisions and help me remember other necessities while away like census. I would have definitely missed that one 🤣 My family relationships keep me grounded especially during this challenge. Dawn and Dylan, my sisters and their families, and Mum and Dad are my number one source of strength to maintain a sense of mental health and wellbeing. I always want you to know how blessed and grateful I am to have your care and language of love.

Dylan I saw a desert snake today!!!! It all happened so quick mate I didn’t get a photo. He was a huuuge brown snake sunning himself on the roadside until we disturbed him. He slithered off all shiny and handsome. We gave him a wide birth and wished him a warmer day. The weather has been hot so the snakes have woken up early. But today was cooler and he needed some rays. It was my mission from Dylan to spot a desert snake so ✔️.Start thinking about my next mission darling man when I again have service to call you and mummy.

It’s a windy overcast night. A few spots of rain hit the tent before but it stopped as quick as it started. I’ve prepared dinner and ready to get under the awning if Mother Nature changes her mind.

We’re on the Tanami. How good it that!!! We got underway just after 730am and are so excited about starting this stage. It was a 17km ride out of Halls Creek to the turn off. The sign at the junction said “BEWARE – Loose Service, Dust and Corrugations. We’re ready for whatever the track will dish out for the next 12 days all going well!!

It was all of that and more today.. Banjo and I enjoyed every one of our 100kms. We’ve had our full of sealed roads and it’s awesome to be back on desert tracks. The wind has changed to a southerly bringing cooler days and nights. Dawn texted me via satellite, that’s it’s forecast 21-24 degrees during the day getting down to 4-7 at night for the next few days. We haven’t had those temps since the Great Central Highway. The sleeping bag, thermals, down and beanie are back out tonight for our first ninja camp to Balgo junction.

The countryside has a desert theme of grassing plains, anthills and spinifex. Rocky hills dominated the landscape early on and it was quite hilly in parts. The headwind and corrugations took the edge off the downhills but it still gave the legs a bit of relief. It’s a lot more sandy in parts with sections of stones, rocks and gravel to keep us on our toes. Banjo handled the conditions confidently in his new tyres that are now seasoned in dust and looking intrepid.

We had a 9 hour day in the saddle but that allowed us to do 83 kms on the track plus the ride out of town. It was awesome to get the legs and lungs going again. the fitness is pretty good but it’ll take a few days to find our balance and cadence again off road.

We were watered up with 13L until a couple travelling in their caravan stopped to see if we needed anything. They’re heading out to Wolf Creek Crater. Leigh and Bruce topped up our drinking bottle and shared one of their apples! They also offered to carry our 10L to where we planned to camp. “Oh yes please!!!” We checked out Wiki camps and found this spot another 50kms on. Thank you fine folk. What a considerate offer and huge help.

This lightened the load for us to get on with the afternoon. We stopped to join Courtney and Tristan parked on the roadside having a chat. They work on neighbouring cattle properties. Interesting people. They both share a love for the land and station life. They recon city life is harder. Tristans a fitter and turner from Ruby Plains Station and Courtney works as a cook. They were full of cheekiness and good company and we spent over an hour chatting about station life and living on the land. I could have easily settled in for the afternoon.

We said our goodbyes and got back to our respective days. We appreciated the countryside as it changed over the afternoon.

We came across lots of cows by the roadside. Two in particular were having a siesta until we startled them. “Oh please don’t be afraid!!!”

We also disturbed a flock of black cockatoos who took off in a red spray of tail feathers. Oh yay!!!

The Tanami is infamous for being dusty and I could see why when our first road train passed like a desert storm!!!! The driver gave us a big friendly ‘toot’ as he disappeared into his cloud of dust.

I arrived at camp about 5pm to find a XXXX Box tucked under a tree. Leigh and Brice had marked the box and bottles with “water drop for cyclist” and attached a mix bag of lollies for a treat. Darlings!!!

We enjoyed a colourful sunset with the cloud cover as we set up camp and savoured the last of twilight over a cuppa. Great spot. The road is quiet since it got dark so it’s just us the crickets enjoying the night air. Our first night on the Tanami gets a big thumbs up. The clouds are clearing and there’s even a few stars making an appearance just in time for dinner. Night and talk soon!!!!

Published by shecyclesolo

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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