Distance today 67km at 15km/hr average – 50km lift to facility
TOTALS: Distance 6983km. Donations $8670.09. Days remaining 41. Deserts: Sturt Stony, Strzelecki, Tirari, Pedirka, Gibson, Great Victorian, Little Sandy Desert, Great Sandy Desert, Tanami 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 7.30pm on Friday the 6 August 2021
What an eventful day. I’m sitting under the sky full of stars with Old Man Emu looking all handsome and shining at his best. I’m staying at the Mains Road Facility 20kms before the Balgo junction. I was 67km into the ride at 3.30pm when Pat, a worker here, pulled up to see if we needed anything. He invited us to stay with his crew at the facility tonight. It was still 50km further on and there was no chance we were going to make that distance before dark. He then offered to give us a lift and join the team for dinner. I couldn’t say no to that generosity. “That sounds great!!!”
The drive here was amazing. We entered the Tanami desert country; an open expanse of plains full of green low lying desert shrubs from the big wet season. Pat said this time last year it was dry grasses and dirt from the seasons of drought. We’re very fortunate to see the country at its best. Wild brumbies were grazing in the fields and the abundant birdlife was apparent even from the car.
I was able to have a shower and call home using their Wifi. I set up camp over sunset behind one of the dongers out of the wind and was ready for dinner o’clock at 6pm.
The facility is on a higher plateau looking out over the desert. What an incredible spot. Twilight was insane and I got a photo before joining the team for dinner.
We enjoyed 1 1/2 hours of fun banter and chats about their working day and lifestyle. It’s a small crew of about 10. They’re colourful characters; so welcoming and down to earth and dam fine company.
This morning started later. I had to figure out how I was going to tie-down Banjos panniers as the corrugations are hectic.
We were about to get underway when Leigh and Bruce pulled up to make sure we arrived safely. It’s so special to be on the receiving end of such care from strangers. We enjoyed a chat and were ready to start our days ride at 10am.
Our first break was at the Wolf Creek turnoff where we enjoyed another cuppa and a break from the windy conditions and bumpy track.
The road got heaps better after this. There’s little traffic now other than locals from the nearby communities and essential workers from the mines, main roads and stations. One car stopped with a family from Billiluna. They were very curious about our ride and Banjo. I was telling Peter, Davina and Azrian about the Brown snake I saw yesterday and they said that snakes good eating. I think in different times they would have taken me home. I would love to spend more time with local community folk. I find the cultural stories fascinating and I’m craving to understand more.
The speedo read 6970km and we set our goal for the day to do 2 x 15km to clock over the 7000km. We were just short of the first 15km when Pat pulled up.
The rest is a beautiful blur of new faces and stories. It’s been an awesome day full of unplanned events and rich experiences. I’m excited to cycle onwards tomorrow and see what other surprises are just round the corner!!! I have to get up super early to join the crew for breaky at 5am so it’s time to think bed. Night and talk soon. Xx