Day 115 Gem Tree

Distance today 142km at 24km/hr average

TOTALS: Distance 7728km. Donations $10,125.09. Days remaining 24. 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 Monday the 23 August 2021

What a cracker of a day!!! 142km assisted tremendously by the southerly. We basically did two sections in one day. The first section up Stuart Highway was bliss; cruising between 30-40km/hr average. What a treat!!! I had forgotten what it was like to travel at that speed on the boy and we both loved it a lot. He got to stretch out his serviced specs and he’s purring !!!

We said our fair wells to Dira‘s home before finally getting underway just after 9am. What a beautiful lady; so generous, kind and big big fun!!! After our 5 days in Alice, I can also call her a friend. Dira left this morning at 745am and I hope to see her soon. I’ll be back to Alice with my family next time. We’re far from finished with this very cool town and the surrounding countryside needs exploring. Alice has grown on me something fierce and I can see why visitors end up staying and calling it home.

Yesterday we spent the day together pottering around home; Dira doing her weekend choirs and me packing the boy. We had cool tunes going on in the background so it was a chilled space and perfect Sunday. I wondered into town after lunch to buy some ingredients to make dinner. Dira went to the movies with a friend for the afternoon while I played in the kitchen making beetroot and pesto pizza with salad. It’s one of Dawn’s recipes that’s a taste sensation and it got two thumbs up from Dira with leftovers for her lunch today. Happy lady and my way to say thank you. Bless you Dira you’re a gem amongst gems.

The wind blew up overnight. It was a southerly and made our first 70kms big fun indeedy. Early on in the day we passed the highest elevation at 727.2m above sea level. This meant a slow decline for the next bunch of kms where we reached speeds up to 40km/hr oh yay 😀

At that rate we reached the turn off to the Plenty Highway just after midday. That was our original goal for the day. But we were keen to make the most of the conditions and set our sights on Gem Tree; another 70kms. The QLD border’s only 500km!!!!

The countryside was interesting amongst the rolling foothills of the MacDonald Ranges.

It’s sealed road for the first 160kms of the Plenty. It’s mostly single lane with dirt road shoulders to allow heaps of space to pass. Most cars moved off the road around us which was appreciated. I moved aside for a couple of road trains who have right of way on single lanes. Who’s going to argue with the rottweilers of the roads 🤣 I always enjoy exchanging big waves and truck horns and today was no exception.

I realised today we’re doing the second half of ‘Australia’s Longest Shortcut.’ We did the bottom half when we did the Great Central from Yulara to Laverton. And now we’re on the top half along the Plenty. How cool is that!!!!

We were chuffed to see the 2kms sign to Gem Tree and arrived just after 4pm.

Alex and Adele run the caravan park here. They were so keen to help our cause and put us up for the night for free under a shelter with power supply. Adele popped in later with a burger and chips for our dinner and invited me to stop in for a coffee in the morning.

I had another interview with Nick Crawford from Moreton daily while in Alice. Nick asked if reaching the $10,000 was the main goal of our challenge. It was an interesting question.

Fundraising for beyondblue gives our challenge greater meaning and purpose. It’s a cause I care deeply about as do many others. As soon as people realise we’re fundraising for beyondblue, they can’t do enough to help. It brings out the best in all of us to be part of something that impacts us all, especially living with COVID.

Personally this challenge is also about challenging myself. If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you!!!! There’s no truer words!!! The Tanami exhausted my mental health. In hindsight, I think I was looking for this point of breaking my limitations. To destroy is to create!! It’s like discovering a new baseline to build on and grow with deeper richness and appreciation.

It was my hope to evolve my bigger, stronger, wiser self through this challenge. I continue to unravel what this means. Understanding more about what mental health means is such a big part of this space.

I was speaking to Deb from Victoria, who’s also staying at the park.

She asked what mental health means to me from what I have experienced so far. My response was all about ‘connection.’ Mental health to me is about staying open, especially during struggle, and connecting to self and nature.

Sharing this openness with my family and folk along the way, is a caring habit that tops up the tank and keeps wellbeing alive. It’s like an investment that’s priceless and precious.

I love how easy it is to find these words and how much it matters deeply. Prioritising what matters most keeps me grounded so I can reach out further and live the adventure of life to its full. What a blessing!!!! Night and talk soon xx

Published by shecyclesolo

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

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