Distance Thu 55km at 12km/hr to Renahans Bore Rest Area
Distance Fri 46km at 11km//hr to Mains Road Facility
Distance Sat 69km at 12km/hr to Ninja camp 2 to Yuendumu
TOTALS: Distance 7495km. Donations $9240.09. Days remaining 33 Deserts: Sturt Stony, Strzelecki, Tirari, 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 730pm on Saturday the 14 August 2021.
I’m going back over my photos from the last days. They’re such full days of experiences that I’ll remember as highlights from the Tanami. I’m currently sitting under the stars with a warm wind blowing gentle for now.
We’re in different countryside and camped amongst rocky outcrops with rolling hills on the horizon. Through this stretch are a series of floodway river beds. There’s no off roads as this area is likely flowing strong during the wet. Finding a spot was trickier tonight. We had to navigate through the grasses of spinifex and burrs bushes that are not kind to Banjos tyres. Here’s hoping we missed the extra pointy ones. So far so good.
As much as I have enjoyed the last days, Ninja camping fills me with a sense of home away from home. I feel instinctively grounded to nature and the stuff that matters most. There’s a real peace and intimacy there. There’s a wall of rocks beside the roadway that we’ve tucked ourselves behind enough to relax and enjoy our posting.
It seems ages ago when we woke at our anthill camp. A hectic wind blew up overnight so it took us a while to pack up without being blown to Alice. We said goodbye to our wonderful camp and started our day.
The wind added another tricky dimension to the conditions so I was very happy to have 5km of sealed section to help us along. We passed a blue tongue who was sunning himself and tried in vein to move him off to the edge. Further up was a squished brown snake but the blue tongue was stubborn and set on warming himself. He was a handsome risk taker!!!
There’s lots of bores off the road that must have water in before the dry takes it toll. They must offer a haven for animals and birds as there were lots of prints that were also dry in the clay base.
It’s easy to loose focus as I get a bit tired and we continue to have spills in the thicker sandy patches. It’s a bit exhausting picking up Banjo over, as he’s heavy especially watered up in the front panniers which detach in the process.
We welcomed a stop to video our first road train for the day who stopped and checked in we’re okay. We met Simon who has a mate, Conrad, who also likes to take on challenges. He was keen to share some of his adventures and know more about our cause. He donated $20 before getting underway. Thanks Simon. I’ll pop your donation online when I’m in Alice.
The road trains also find it hard on the road and are slow going especially when loaded up. Most are heading out to Granite Mine and it’s a 6-10 day round trip. The drivers stop every 30min to check over the truck for signs of wear and tear. It’s a very expensive toy when they break.
At 55kms I was done for the day and stopped at Renahans Bore Rest Area. Over the next hours we had visits from a number of truckies who were having their 30min break. We met Michael, Charlie and Nathan. They were all big softies topping up the water for the local birds from the tank.They’ve been doing it for years and the birds all gather round the tank when truckies pull up. It was so lovely to watch their softer nature and joy.
Nathan ended up staying later while he cooked up a feed and enjoyed a chat. He’s been working on the Tanami for 5 years now and had some amazing photos to share, especially during the storm season. His trucks been stuck for days during the wet season. His attitude is total acceptance as its just part of the job. He is also a keen artist and shared photos and scrapbooks of his drawings. He ended up parking at the rest area overnight as they’re not allowed to be on the road after dark. I had a great sleep knowing there was someone else parked and was able to turn off for some decent zzzzzs
We had a cuppa in the morning before he headed. It was super early and time for me to kick over to NT time. The wind continued and it was a lot chillier to get started. We got going after topping up the bird bowl of course 🤣
This was the most sandy stretch so far and riding was hard.
We spent more time falling over than riding and I was getting frustrated to say the least. We tried to keep ourselves distracted by spotting flowering shrubs by the roadside which usually helps me keep a better headspace.
While I was repacking Banjo again after a spill I noticed that the gerry can had leaked with all the bumping. It was in the pannier with my spare mobile phone. It was in a waterproof case but must have soaked out. Oh dear not a good mix water and electronics. I was very done at this stage.
Soon after Jimmy, a mains road worker, came passed and offered us to stay at their facility another 8kms on. Oh yes please!!!! I had an awesome night chilling out with the boys. It was one of their birthdays and they were in good spirits around the fire into the evening.
The guys made donations which totalled $465.00. How humbling was that. They were full of praise for our cause and shared an interest in supporting beyondblue. I was able to have a decent wash, clean my clothes and charge my devices. It was just what I needed to reenergise for today. They’re also going to touch base with their manager to see if he is interested in offering us further sponsorship. Thank you gentlemen. You were my guardian angels on a day that I needed it and I loved our genuine time shared.
Despite having a beautiful night sleep, I woke feeling pretty tired from the last days. But we were keen to knock over as many kms as we could to manage Yuendumu by 1pm tomorrow.
I’m so tired tonight I feel quite out of sorts. I breathe in the sky of stars like a big security blanket and think of my family. On that note it’s time to be horizontal and hopefully a good nights sleep to recover from the day. This track is definitely challenging me. Night and talk soon.